New Student Help


Students are required to enroll in (12) units each quarter to be considered full-time, where classes are generally (4) units and seminar classes are (1- 2) units. During the first year, all units will be from classes and are generally taken for letter grades. Later years, students can enroll in classes and/or 1-12 Research units under your advisor (Res. units must be taken S/U). Students may create a new class by proposing it, finding someone to teach it, and getting 4 students to enroll. Detailed descriptions of classes can be found in the online course catalog:

Research - First-year advisor(s)

New students generally have not found advisors for their doctoral research before entering the program (though some have). Therefore, rotations are set up for most incoming graduate students, such that a student is scheduled to work with a different advisor each quarter. Students are allowed to work with anyone they wish first year, regardless of who is funding them. Students should be proactive in searching for research topics and an advisor during their first year. An advisor should be determined by the end of the first year.

Research - Expected progress

Students may research as much as they want during their first year Sept - June, but will probably focus on classes. During the summer of their first year, students are expected to research full-time in the area they wish to pursue and with the advisor they wish to do their dissertation work with. The summer project may or may not relate to their larger dissertation project.

Conferences and Field work

Most students attend the fall AGU meeting (in Dec.) during their first year even if not presenting a poster or oral presentation of their research. Students are encouraged to attend for the exposure to current research in Earth Science, and to help them learn what topics in Earth Science interest them most. Funding for travel may come from first year advisor(s) but is not guaranteed. Students interested in attended AGU should discuss options for travel funding with their advisor or the first year committee. Subsequent conference attendance, during the first year or thereafter, is generally dependent on presentation of one's research. The fall AGU conference usually coincides with winter break, and so does not interfere with classes.

Earth science research often takes students into the field. However, during the first year, students are expected to attend classes regularly, and only take up field work which does not interfere with class or which is integral to their doctoral work.

Office Keys

Maria Rivas, IGPP front office (also see Maria to set up photocopying)


Netops, 534-1753

For answers to all computing-related questions (IGPP network information, printers, email, help with Macs, Unix support, and all general issues), go to When you arrive at IGPP, ask your 1st quarter advisor about computing resources, when you get your laptop you should head up to the NetOps office (Revelle, Rm. 4112, x41753).

Employment Paperwork

Iris McCrary, IGPP front office & Becky Burrola, SIO Grad office

Register for Classes


  • GEOP Program Director: Lisa Tauxe
  • Curr. Grp Advisor: David Sandwell
  • Curr. Grp Chair: Glenn Lerley
  • Ombudsman: Lisa Tauxe, Peter Franks
  • SIO Grad office: Josh Reeves, Denise Darling, Becky Burrola
  • GP Student Rep: Dara Goldberg, Matthew Cook, Jessie Saunders, Wesley Neely (2015-2016)


If you are dialing a UCSD number (beginning with 534-xxxx or 822-xxxx), simply press 4-xxxx or 2-xxxx. If you are dialing off campus, first press '8', then the off campus number. Long distance calls can only be made with a UCSD long distance authorization code, which you will have to request from your advisor if necessary. Then go to Maria (front office) for card ordering - processing takes 1 week.


The SIO Graduate department will issue you a mailbox (down the hill) with Mail Code 0208. You will also be issued a mailbox at IGPP (central Munk lab), with Mail Code 0225, which you will share with the other 1st year students. While it is up to you which mailbox you prefer to have your mail sent to, it is wise to check both boxes frequently, as miscellaneous (and sometimes important) mail always ends up at both.

Admission and Employment

When you arrive at SIO, you will need to make an appointment with Becky Burrola (4-1695), to make sure that all of your necessary admission paperwork is complete and that you are placed on the payroll. You will also need to stop by the IGPP business office and see Iris McCrary regarding employment paperwork. Monthly pay is issued either by check or by direct deposit to your bank account.


After you obtain your Student ID from main campus, you will need to see Maria Rivas, (IGPP Business office, 4-1927) about arranging access to the photocopiers at IGPP. You will also need a budget number from your advisor’s administrative assistant.

There are three photocopy machines at IGPP:

  • Munk (1st floor next to mail boxes)
  • Revelle 3000 (2nd floor)
  • Revelle 2000 (1st floor)

Munk and Revelle 3000 machines work with your student ID card (after activation through Maria) or copy card, while the Revelle 2000 machine requires you to log your copies with your IGPP budget number. If you want to copy journals in the library, copy cards can be purchased at the library, or can be supplied by your advisor. You can also check out library journals for 1 day. Most (recent) journal articles are available through the UCSD library: You can also temporarily check out journals from the IGPP reading room with check out log sheet.

Residency info

After your first year, you will need to apply for California residency status. The SIO Graduate Department can give you the necessary forms/materials needed for this process. It is best to KEEP EVERY BILL during your first year (including pay stubs and bank statements) to ensure that this process runs smoothly. Other suggestions include acquiring memberships to Blockbuster, Ralphs/Vons (supermarket clubs), San Diego Zoo, etc. for the "proof of membership to local merchants" requirement. It is also good to keep a file of these items early on.

Tax forms and instructions may be found at workshops, for the bureaucratically challenged, are offered each year on upper campus. Separate workshops are also offered for international students.

E-mail lists

All new students should be automatically placed on specific curricular group list servers (Josh Reeves, 4-1694, [email][/email]). If you suspect that there is a problem with your email address on an IGPP list server, check with NetOps ([email][/email], 4-1753).

Check out for a complete list of available list servers at SIO and how to subscribe. 

Faculty guidance

If you have an academically-related problem, or simply need someone to talk to (besides your advisor) about an unpleasant occurrence at SIO, there are quite a few people to turn to. The Geophysics Graduate Advisor is available for help with choosing an appropriate advisor, course selection, and overall advisement within the Geophysics Curricular Group. For more personal issues, the Student-Faculty Ombudsmen provide non-biased, and confidential, faculty assistance. Both the Graduate Department Chair and Vice Chair are also available to assist students when needed.

Student Groups

Intermural Sports

Innertube Water Polo, IM Soccer, Softball, Beach Volleyball, Roller Hocky or any other sport offered by RIMAC (you can organize your own team!).