Do Geophysics PhDs have work options outside of oilfield and Houston?

<p>This is crossposted in the Science Majors forum, but since Geophysics is essentially computational geosciences, I think it's almost just a specialty of CS. </p>

<p>My girlfriend just finished applying for her Geophysics graduate degree, some schools MS and some PhD. She worked in petroleum before, but doesn't really mind the industry she's in as long as she gets paid a fair wage. However, it seems that the only city where there is work for a geophysicist(albeit, extremely highly paid work) is in Houston. I don't really want to work in the oil industry and frankly, I don't really like the idea of settling in Houston in general. </p>

<p>Other than fieldwork, which she doesn't want to go into anyway, are there any other industries and cities, say on the West coast or East, where she can make good use of her degree? I know that there are opportunities in environmental work, seismic imaging, and mining that geophysics can open doors to, but I don't know where those jobs are or how hard they are to get into. Is there something else she can work on while she is in school(say programming or such) that she can leverage later to expand her range of industries? Geophysics seems so geographically constrained.</p>

<p>Academia? NASA's planetary science missions use geophysicists, geologists and their kin to study planets. Other than that, I couldn't tell you.</p>

<p>And NASA is also in...Houston. Bleargh.</p>

<p>While there are enormous global opportunities for geophysicists in the oil industry, their expertise is also needed in other areas of geological research--seismology and volcanology, for example. Encourage her to keep her options open to academic positions; at the same time, don't get too hung up on the "oil industry is bad" aspect. In the oil industry, if she pays her dues in a place like Houston, chances are that in a couple of years she can easily move to Denver, southern California, or any number of amazing places globally.</p>

<p>I don't mind her working in the oil industry at all. It's just that if I have to live and work next to her I will need also need to be in Houston and likely work in oil - being as that's the predominant industry as well - which is something I don't want for myself. </p>

<p>It seems like the places that are known for oil, generally do that to the exclusion of everything else. Houston, Stavanger in Norway, Bakersfield in CA(which is still 2 hrs from LA), the Middle East. Denver sounds nicest of the bunch but I don't know if there is much other opportunity for me to pursue there. I didn't even realize that oil still has a big presence there.</p>

<p>NASA is in Houston... And Langley, VA, and Pasadena, CA, and Huntsville, AL, and Cape Canaveral, FL, and Palo Alto, CA, and Cleveland, OH, and Washington, DC... Give me a break.</p>

<p>Yeah, I was being a bit facetious. But I don't think NASA's in much of hiring mood these days anyway - moon base talk aside - and I don't see any indication it might improve in a few years.</p>

<p>You just aren't looking. Manned missions took a hit but research and robotic missions are going strong. Research actually got a funding INCREASE.</p>

<p>or look at US Geological Survey, for example ...</p>

<p>[url=<a href="http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/kids/become.php%5DBecome"&gt;http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/kids/become.php]Become&lt;/a> a Geophysicist... A What?<a href="job%20opportunities%20both%20at%20USGS%20and%20elsewhere">/url</a></p>

<p>Job postings right now ...</p>

<p>Research Geophysicist, GS-1313-13 (DEU-PERM-CA)
Agency: Geological Survey
Location: Menlo Park, CA </p>

<p>Open Period: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 to Friday, February 17, 2012</p>

<p>Research Geologist, GS-1350-12, (DEU-AH)
Agency: Geological Survey
Location: Woods Hole, MA
Open Period: Monday, January 30, 2012 to Friday, February 10, 2012</p>

<p>Woods Hole would be a nice place to live, I'd think.</p>

<p>Actually, USGS requires US citizenship, so can scratch that option. :-/</p>