Student Opportunities

The Jackson School has student opportunities for research among our different themes and disciplines. Learn more about the current graduate and undergraduate student research opportunities.

  • Enhancing Diversity in Geoscience Graduate Education (EDGE) November 5-6, 2020
    Enhancing Diversity in Geoscience Graduate Education (EDGE) November 5-6, 2020

    The Jackson School of Geosciences (JSG) at The University of Texas at Austin invites students with strong academic records* who will contribute to a diverse and inclusive community at the school to submit an application to attend the virtual JSG EDGE: Enhancing Diversity in Geosciences Graduate School Education–Graduate School Preview November 5-6, 2020. This program is based on the successful EDGE (Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education) programs funded by the National Science Foundation.

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    The JSG EDGE is designed to encourage US citizens and permanent residents traditionally underrepresented in the geosciences to apply to train with JSG faculty and research scientists whose research agendas are of interest to the students.

    At the JSG EDGE 2020, students meet virtually with Jackson School of Geosciences faculty and research scientists interested in training diverse graduate students to conduct interdisciplinary geoscience research for the lasting benefit of humankind. Students will also meet with current JSG graduate students via a panel and social mixers, hear about some of the research at JSG via lightning talks by faculty and research scientists, and take virtual tours of JSG labs.

    Selected applicants learn about the graduate school application process, funding opportunities, and about interdisciplinary research training opportunities in the geosciences for students with Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Mathematics, Computer Science, Geology and other STEM degrees.

    *Applicants to our graduate program are expected to have completed a minimum of two college-level courses in calculus and 4 courses completed in at least 2 of the following areas: physics, chemistry, biology and computer science. Additional courses in geological sciences, including field training appropriate for the subject of interest, depend on the particular area within the geosciences that a student wishes to study. Specific programs may require additional prerequisite coursework.
  • Paleoclimate reconstructions in the southern Rocky Mountains (Undergraduate - summer/fall/spring flexible)
    I am looking for one or more undergraduate student researchers to work on paleoclimate reconstructions in the southern Rockies using geochemical indicators in lake sediments. No experience necessary. Depending on progress, there will be opportunities to publish.

    Posted by: Timothy Shanahan
  • Stable isotopes as hydroclimatic indicators (Undergraduate - Summer/fall/spring flexible)
    I am looking for an undergraduate student researcher to work on the analysis of stable isotopes in natural waters and plant materials. No experience necessary. The student researcher will be trained in extracting water samples on a vacuum system and analysis of stable isotopes using a laser spectrometer. Depending on progress, there may be opportunities to publish this research

    Posted by: Timothy Shanahan
  • PhD/MS/Internship opportunities (Graduate or Undergraduate)
    My group welcomes new students with strong motivations on understanding how solid Earth and planets operate and its impacts on shaping habitable surface environments. Prospective students are expected to have a STEM background. If these describe you, feel free to contact me through email for position openings in my group.

    Posted by: Chenguang Sun
  • Electromechanical instrumentation design (Graduate or Undergraduate)
    Electromechanical instrumentation design

    Posted by: Darrel Tremaine
  • Sustainable Urban Systems (Graduate or Undergraduate)
    Sustainable Urban Systems

    Posted by: Darrel Tremaine
  • Dendrochronology and dendrochemistry (Graduate or Undergraduate)
    Dendrochronology and dendrochemistry

    Posted by: Darrel Tremaine
  • Speleothems and cave monitoring (Graduate or Undergraduate)
    Speleothems and cave monitoring

    Posted by: Darrel Tremaine
  • Hydrogeochemical investigations in urban riparian zones (Graduate or Undergraduate)
    Hydrogeochemical investigations in urban riparian zones

    Posted by: Darrel Tremaine
  • Mapping Air Quality and Climate Impacts from the Major World Economies (Graduate or Undergraduate - 10 hours/week through Fall and Spring semester, full time during Summer semester.)
    Particle aerosol pollution has negative impacts on both the climate system and on air quality and human health. This project works to map the strength and geographic distribution of climate and societal impacts of aerosol emissions from the major world economies. The student working on this project will use high-resolution climate projection data to analyze the impact of regional air pollution on global weather patterns and air quality conditions. The student will have the opportunity to define their own research question, present research at an international scientific conference, and engage with project collaborators at other institutions.

    Helpful skills:
    - Basic experience navigating a Linux-based system using the command line
    - Interest in climate and/or air quality issues
    - Familiarity with opening and plotting gridded data files in a programming language like Matlab or Python
    - Eagerness to self-teach any new programming skills necessary
    - Thoroughness with documenting code and research activities

    Posted by: Geeta Persad
  • Using Big Climate Data to Plan for Water Stress in the Western U.S. (Undergraduate - 10 hrs/wk through Fall 2020, eligible for renewal for up to two years)
    Many communities and industries across the United States, particularly in the Western U.S., already struggle to meet their water needs. State-of-the-art climate projections suggest that climate change will only intensify these problems, but water decision-makers often struggle to apply the available climate projection data to their management needs. The student working on this project will use high-resolution climate model projections of future water cycle conditions in the Western U.S. to analyze how the metrics that matter most for regional water management may change in the future. Opportunities available to present within the University community and in external venues and to engage with decision-makers.

    Helpful skills:
    - Basic experience navigating a Linux-based system using the command line
    - Familiarity with opening and plotting gridded data files in a programming language like Matlab or Python
    - Eagerness to self-teach any new programming skills necessary
    - Thoroughness with documenting code and research activities.

    Posted by: Geeta Persad
  • Student Opportunities (Graduate)
    I am always interested in adding motivated new students to my Earthquake Science research team in the Jackson School. For prospective graduate students, please review the application guidelines and expectations listed on the Jackson School website (see orange link above). We do not accept "off track" admissions in the Jackson School, so the standard Fall application season is your best bet. I strongly encourage prospective students to reach out to me via email during this time with your CV and research interests. I highly value diversity in thought and experience, and students from underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

    Posted by: Daniel Trugman

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  • Lab Assistant (Graduate or Undergraduate)
    Laboratory Assistants typically work in 3-5 hour blocks, helping researchers collect and process data on all techniques across the lab, as well as occasionally perform some of the few routine lab activities like carbon or gold coating, touch-up polishing, and billing.

    Posted by: Phil Orlandini
  • Structural Diagenesis Initiative (Graduate)
    Initiative research is on processes that systematically create and destroy fracture porosity and that influence fracture size and spatial distribution. Fluid flow in fractured rock is an increasingly central issue in recovering water and hydrocarbon supplies and geothermal energy, in predicting flow of pollutants underground, in engineering structures, and in understanding large-scale crustal behaviour. Our cross-disciplinary research is providing fundamental advances in our understanding of how the diversity of natural structural patterns evolves.

    Posted by: Stephen Laubach

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  • LA-ICP-MS single-pule U-Pb depth profiling recovery of thermal histories (Graduate)
    Seeking motivated Ph.D. students interested in in-situ geochronology to pursue project in method development and application of laser ablation continuous mode or single-pulse U-Pb LA-ICP-MS geo-thermochronology as well as trace element speedometry to constrain thermal history or lower and middle crustal rocks. The UTChron Geo- and Thermochronometry laboratory houses two Element2 magnetic sector single collector ICP-MS instruments with a large-volume cell Excimer laser system, ideally suited for depth profiling and U-Pb and trace element split stream analysis. The laboratory also houses a Bruker optical interferometric microscope to control laser ablation rates as well as a Raman system. The focus of applications is on method development and application to the exhumation of middle and lower crustal rocks in rifted margin settings.

    Posted by: Daniel Stockli
  • Laser ablation (U-Th)/He and 4He/3He dating of zircon and apatite (Graduate)
    Seeking motivated Ph.D. students interested in noble gas geo-thermochronology and geochemistry to pursue project in method development and application of laser ablation (U-Th)/He dating and depth profile 4He/3He thermochronometry of zircon and apatite. Our laboratory has a dedicated noble gas extraction line with a SFT magnetic sector noble gas mass spectrometer and dedicated Excimer Laser. The lab also houses two Element2 magnetic sector single collector ICP-MS instruments with a second Excimer laser as well as a state-of-the-art Bruker optical interferometric microscope. The project will develop laser ablation methodology to recover detailed thermal histories from apatite and zircon by laser ablation (U-Th)/He and 4He/3He dating as well as comparison to step-heating fractional loss experiments.

    Posted by: Daniel Stockli
  • PhD Student (Graduate)
    I am accepting applications for a new PhD Student in my lab. This student must be interested in paleontological or carbonate sedimentology research (both would be best), and should be aware of the current/recent projects in the Martindale Lab. Exceptional MSc students will be considered, but preference is for a doctoral student (prior research experience at the undergraduate or MSc level is desired).

    Posted by: Rowan Martindale
  • Postdoctoral Fellow (Graduate - ongoing)
    Purpose of position: To conduct research in numerical simulation of fluid flow using both traditional Darcy flow simulators as well as Invasion Percolation methods, sandbox flow modeling, and development of a strong publication record on the topic.

    Essential functions: Develop numerical simulations of fluid flow CO2 in mm to m scale models informed by geologic depositional heterogeneity. Assist in designing and implementing laboratory validation experiments of sandbox flow modeling to support theoretical and numerical simulations. Publish results in peer reviewed outlets, assist in project reporting and make presentations, as needed to support project.

    Required qualifications: PhD in hydrogeology, environmental engineering, or closely related geoscience field earned within the last three years. Relevant laboratory experience with sandbox scale flow experiments. Demonstrated research interest in forward and inverse modeling of subsurface flow and transport pertaining multi-phase flow.

    Preferred qualifications Demonstrated strong oral and written communication skills. Demonstrated ability to conduct experimental studies. Demonstrated experience in presenting and publishing results, including CO2 or CCS.

    Posted by: Tip Meckel

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  • High Resolution 3D marine seismic for fluid studies (Graduate)
    Opportunities exist to become involved in the design, acquisition, processing, and interpretation of high-resolution 3D marine seismic data. Current applications include characterization for subsurface storage of carbon dioxide and natural fluid migration studies. We anticipate development into imaging modern systems as reservoir analogs.

    Posted by: Tip Meckel
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship Position (Graduate)
    March 27, 2018
    Postdoctoral Fellowship Position

    The Bureau of Economic Geology in the Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin currently has long-term, funded projects on the environmental implications of CO2 sequestration. We are currently recruiting recent Ph.D. scientists or engineers for a postdoctoral fellowship position.

    Position: Numerical and Analytical Modeling of Fluid Flow in Porous Media Related to CO2 Injection

    General topics of research is related to reservoir fluid flow modeling and simulations in CO2-EOR/Sequestrations settings with various focuses including history matching, optimization algorithms, regional geomechanics and economics related to oil and gas production. We are interested in outstanding fellowship applicants with direct experience in reservoir simulation using commercial packages specially CMG package (all modules). Experience in running simulations in parallel environment is a plus. Candidates must have interest in theoretical analyses and mathematical modeling of fluid flow problems. Strong and deep understanding of fundamentals of reservoir engineering and coding skills in Matlab, Python or other relevant programing languages are required. We anticipate that the successful candidate will have formal training in petroleum engineering or related fields.

    Successful candidate will be part of Gulf Coast Carbon Center (GCCC), an interdisciplinary team of research geologists and engineers who conduct CO2-sequestration research at the Bureau of Economic Geology. GCCC is one of the world’s leading research groups in CO2 sequestration. Our Frio brine injection experiment was the first to monitor CO2 injection into brine, and we are currently involved in several large scale CO2 injection monitoring projects in the U.S. GCCC collaborates closely with faculty in departments across the UT-Austin campus, other universities, and U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories.

    This position will be based in North Austin, at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus, The University of Texas at Austin. Austin is often on the list of top 10 places to live in the U.S.

    Please send a resume and a short expression of interest to:

    Dr. Seyyed Abolfazl Hosseini
    Email at:

    The University of Texas at Austin is an equal employment opportunity/affirmative action employer. All positions are security sensitive, and conviction verification is conducted on applicants selected.

    Posted by: Seyyed Hosseini
  • PhD Student Opportunity in Climate Research (Graduate)
    A PhD student is recruited to conduct modeling and observational study of Pacific decadal variability and its relation to decadal modulations of El Nino-Southern Oscillation at the University of Texas at Austin. Background in oceanic and atmospheric sciences is preferred but not required. General information on the graduate program at the UT's Jackson School of Geosciences can be found at The deadline for Fall 2014 application is January 1st, 2014. Interested candidate should contact Yuko M. Okumura ( for more information.

    Posted by: Yuko Okumura
  • Graduate and Post-Doctoral opportunities in GeoFluids Research Group (Graduate)
    The GeoFluids Research Group has immediate opportunities for graduate and post-doctoral study. Dr. Flemings is most enthused by students who have a commitment to a doctoral program because that allows time to delve deeply into research. However, he also regularly accepts exceptional M.S. students into our research group. If you are interested, please e-mail, Peter Flemings (

    Current Research Opportunities:

    1. Hydrate Melting:
    Examine the melting of methane hydrates in Arctic systems. DOE funded effort will examine the impact of warming over human time scales and longer. The project description is found here. We are looking for students and post-doctoral scientists with a fascination for marine geology and a yen for quantitative analysis of fluid flow.

    2. Mass Transport in Shales:
    Study transport processes in shale systems! You will perform permeability testing of shales (e.g. the Barnett, the Marcellus…) and develop multi-scale numerical models to describe mass transport within these systems. The work will include both laboratory analysis and sample characterization. This project is supported by Shell.

    3. GeoPressure Analysis:
    Study geopressure in sedimentary basins through our industry funded consortium UTGeoFluids. Dr. Flemings is always looking for students with a yen to characterize and model overpressure in sedimentary basins.

    4. Mudrock Geomechanics:
    Study the geomechanics of mudrocks through experimental analysis. This research is supported by UTGeoFluids. In this research, we analyze both intact samples (from industry and the ocean drilling program) and we synthetically create mudrocks. We ask fundamental questions such as:
    How to mudrocks compact?
    What is the permeability of mudrocks and how does it evolve?
    What is the strength of mudrocks?

    Posted by: Peter Flemings

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  • Graduate research opportunities in computational seismology (Graduate)
    Texas Consortium for Computational Seismology is looking for Ph.D. students interested in computational research. Our group works on a broad range of topics in exploration geophysics, from wave-equation seismic imaging and inversion to computational algorithms for seismic data processing and seismic interpretation. The work is supported by industrial sponsors. We use open-source software tools and high-performace computing resources.

    Posted by: Sergey Fomel

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  • No longer accepting students (Graduate or Undergraduate)
    Having retired from my faculty position in 2014, I am no longer taking on new students.

    Posted by: William Carlson
  • General Opportunities in Field and Laboratory Based Studies (Graduate or Undergraduate)
    My position does not permit sole supervision of graduate student theses, but I co-supervise or serve on graduate student theses committees, particularly those involving aspects of GIS, GPS, structural geology, tectonics and petrology/mineralogy. I have supervised several undergraduate student honors thesis, both lab- and field-based, and look forward to continuing to do so.

    Posted by: Mark Helper
  • Research in structural geology and diagenesis (Graduate or Undergraduate)
    Fundamental and applied research on fractures, particularly as these studies apply to petroleum reservoirs, is conducted under the auspices of the Fracture Research and Application Consortium at The University of Texas at Austin. The academic program of research, mentoring and teaching is led by staff of the Bureau of Economic Geology, the Department of Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering and the Department of Geological Sciences. Students in the Energy & Earth Resources Graduate Program also participate in FRAC sponsored research projects.

    For further information on opportunities for fracture studies within the program see the FRAC pages on opportunities in Geology, Petroleum Engineering, Geophysics, and Energy Economics.

    FRAC welcomes Visiting Scientists from industry and from other academic institutions. Contact Steve Laubach for more information about these opportunities.

    A key part of the FRAC academic program is the Structural Diagenesis Initiative, a new teaching and mentoring perspective on interacting mechanical and chemical processes at high crustal levels in the Earth. For more information on the initiative see the Structural Diagenesis Initiative web site.

    If you are a prospective student, please see the admissions information on the Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering or Jackson School of Geosciences web sites.

    Posted by: Stephen Laubach

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  • Undergraduate and Graduate Opportunities (Graduate or Undergraduate)
    I regularly work with from 2-5 undergraduates and am open to co-advised honors theses and other. I feel undergraduate research is one of the most important aspects of undergraduate education.

    I will be accepting several graduate students over the next two years (I average from 2-5 total).

    I am particularly interested in PhD students with prior experience in systematic methods, an interest in phylogenetic or anatomical (evolution of morphology) questions concerning the evolution of birds.

    I am also interested in highly motivated MS candidates with an interest in studying avian evolution. Although I have advised theses on non-avialan dinosaurs in past years, given current funded research projects, I am presently interested in advising students interested in working on birds (origin and evolution of).

    Please feel free to contact me via email with any questions.

    Posted by: Julia Clarke
  • Innovative Detrital Provenance Studies - Double Dating PLUS (Graduate)
    A major thrust of my current research the development and application of more comprehensive isotopic detrital provenance tools. U-Pb on zircon is clearly the big work horse, but only goes so far and sometimes yields "no" useful info, e.g., if the source of the sediment is mostly recycled sediment. We have extensively pursued double dating of zircons by U-Pb and He, as zircon He ages yield very interesting insights into the thermal and tectonic history of the source terrane; often yielding very different insights than crystallization ages. The combination is powerful, but I think we can take things so much farther by combining double dating with other constrains. People have tried fission track (not precise enough), Hf/Hf (to get mantle separation model ages), etc., but what we want to do and are working on is really Double Dating ++, combining zircon U-Pb-He dating with a variety of other geochemical aspects to more comprehensive understand detrital provenance and improve paleo-tectonic reconstructions. For example, trace-element thermometry (Ti in zirc), REE on zircon (met vs mag origin), Hf/Hf (see above), oxygen isotopes, etc. and also to develop rutile in an analogous manner (e.g., Zr in rut thermometry, Cr/Nb ratio (mafic vs granulitic), REE, etc.). The sky is the limit and what can learn so much. The issue in part it, how much can a single grain tell us before it's gone? The project sounds very laboratory oriented, but it's really a combination of field and lab work. We have identified a few possible case study areas, e.g., Morocco; great exposures, long-lived and preserved record of basin deposition since the Precambrian. My group is already working on some case studies in NW Himalayas, the N & S Pyrenees, the Sevier FTB, Permian Basin and other foreland basin. New projects include provenance studies along rifted and passive continental margins such the Gulf of Mexico, the central Atlantic Margins in Canada, USA, Portugal, and Morocco.

    Posted by: Daniel Stockli
  • Graduate and undergraduate research in geologic sequestration of CO2 (Graduate or Undergraduate)
    Gulf Coast Carbon Center supports a team of students and post docs working in geologic sequestration (deep subsurface long-duration storage) of the major greenhouse gas CO2, as a method to reduce release to the atmosphere. Student projects are wide ranging, from sedimentology to policy, linked in that they are 1) multidisciplinary and 2) applied to current issues.
    Students are typically jointly supervised by faculty in geology or petroleum geosystems engineering and staff at the GCCC. A class in geologic sequestration is offered in the fall some years.

    Posted by: Susan Hovorka

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  • Graduate Student Position in Mineral Physics Lab (Graduate)
    The mineral physics lab at the Department of Geological Sciences, Jackson School of Geosciences, the University of Texas at Austin invites applications for graduate student positions towards a Master's or Ph.D. degree in mineral physics. The Jackson School of Geosciences has exceptionally well-funded research programs and offers a number of scholarships to support graduate students for an extended period of time. Candidates with strong background and/or interest in physics (solid state physics), math, and geophysics/geochemistry are strongly encouraged to apply. Our mineral physics research programs focuses on high pressure-temperature experimental studies on materials properties using synchrotron X-ray and optical spectroscopies in a diamond anvil cell. Information about the graduate student programs at the Jackson School is available at:
    Please contact Dr. Jung-Fu Lin at for further information.

    Posted by: Jung-Fu Lin
  • Research in Marine Geology and Geophysics (Graduate)
    There are opportunities for research within Marine Geology and Geophysics.

    Posted by: Sean Gulick