Student Research Opportunities

The Jackson School has undergraduate and graduate student opportunities for research among our different themes and disciplines.

  • Ph.D. Project Greece – Petrochronology and tectonic evolution of the Cycladic Blueschist Complex (University of Texas at Austin)  (Graduate)
    Ph.D. project available in the Stockli Research Group and UTChron Laboratory of the Dept of Geological Sciences (https://www.jsg.utexas.edu/dgs/) at the Jackson School of Geosciences (https://www.jsg.utexas.edu/) of The University of Texas at Austin. The project focuses on the tectonic and metamorphic evolution of the Cycladic Blueschist Complex in central and northern Greece to constrain the tectonic and metamorphic evolution of one of the world’s best-exposed subduction complexes. The project entails field mapping and structural analysis with strong emphasis on accessory mineral (zircon, apatite, titanite) LA-ICP-MS petrochronology, microanalytical mineral imaging and elemental and isotopic mapping, and low-temperature (U-Th)/He thermochronometry of the Cycladic Blueschist Complex in central and north-eastern Greece with the goal of constraining the pre-subduction, subduction, and exhumation history of Cycladic blueschists and understanding subduction underplating within the Hellenic subduction complex. The project is a collaboration with the University of Athens (Prof. Soukis) and we are seek an outstanding, motivated, and independent PhD student with interested in combining field and cutting-edge laboratory work.

    Interested candidates should contact Dr. Daniel Stockli with any inquiries and questions regarding the project or application procedures. For more information regarding the Stockli Research Group (https://www.jsg.utexas.edu/stockli-group/), the UTChron Laboratory (https://www.jsg.utexas.edu/utchron-lab/) please see these website links.

    Applications are due January 1, 2022, and information about applying to our program is online using the online application from the Graduate School of the University of Texas at Austin. Applications must be complete in the Graduate and International Admissions Center (GIAC) by the appropriate deadline. ALL ITEMS must be received by the deadline. We currently do not require submission of a GRE score for the application for the Fall of 2022. International applicants do require submission of TOEFL scores.

    For general admissions questions, please see https://www.jsg.utexas.edu/education/graduate/admissions/

    The University of Texas at Austin is one of the most diverse campuses in the nation. With nearly 52,000 students from all 50 states and 123 countries, we take seriously our motto: What Starts Here Changes the World. We boast 18 colleges and schools with over 300 degree programs, representing a diversity of thought and scholarship that is staggering. The Dept. of Geological Sciences at UT seeks to foster an environment that promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion where faculty, students, and staff feel valued and welcome regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, nationality, veteran status, socio-economic status, political beliefs, physical or cognitive ability, and age.

    Posted by: Daniel Stockli
  • PhD/MS opportunities  (Graduate)
    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
  • MSc or PhD Student  (Graduate)
    Our team is almost always interested in recruiting new graduate students who are interested in paleoecology, marine communities, carbonate sedimentology, and/or geobiology.

    Posted by: Rowan Martindale
  • 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 (pflemings@jsg.utexas.edu).

    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.
    http://www-udc.ig.utexas.edu/geofluids/

    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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  • 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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  • Antarctic airborne geophysics graduate student opportunity  (Graduate)
    As part of the Center for Oldest Ice Exploration (COLDEX), we are looking for graduate students to participate in the airborne exploration of the South Pole-Dome A region of East Antarctica, as part of the search for the oldest ice record of climate yet found. We will use airborne ice penetrating radar, gravity, magnetics and laser altimetry to map out the structure of the ice sheet, and map out the underlying geology, to find regions where ice from the mid-Pleistocene (a critical transition point in recent climate history) remains undisturbed. Two field expeditions to Antarctica of eight weeks in duration are expected as part of COLDEX's aerogeophysical program, which will be conducted by Polar and Planetary Geophysics at the University of Texas institute for Geophysics, part of the Jackson School of Geosciences. We expect this work to be at Ph. D. level.

    We are looking for students with an interest in complementing instrumental, operational and management experiences with research coupling geophysical observations to better understanding of ice sheet behavior in the hidden deep interior of Antarctica. COLDEX is committed to enhancing participation of under-represented groups in the Earth Sciences, and we strongly encourage individuals from these groups to apply. The nature of the Center will allow for broad interdisciplinary collaborations, and we favor applicants with broad research interests.

    Please contact Duncan Young (duncan@ig.utexas.edu) for more information.

    Posted by: Duncan Young

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  • Postdoctoral Fellow  (Graduate)
    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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  • Graduate and undergraduate research in geologic sequestration of CO2  (Graduate)
    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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  • Research in structural geology and diagenesis  (Graduate)
    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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  • Hydrogeochemical investigations in urban riparian zones  (Graduate)
    Hydrogeochemical investigations in urban riparian zones

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

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

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

    Posted by: Darrel Tremaine
  • Electromechanical instrumentation design  (Graduate)
    Electromechanical instrumentation design

    Posted by: Darrel Tremaine
  • 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: seyyed.hosseini@beg.utexas.edu

    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
  • Stable isotopes as hydroclimatic indicators  (Undergraduate)
    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
  • Paleoclimate reconstructions in the southern Rocky Mountains  (Undergraduate)
    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
  • 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: http://www.jsg.utexas.edu/.
    Please contact Dr. Jung-Fu Lin at afu@jsg.utexas.edu for further information.

    Posted by: Jung-Fu Lin
  • 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 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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  • 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 http://www.jsg.utexas.edu/. The deadline for Fall 2014 application is January 1st, 2014. Interested candidate should contact Yuko M. Okumura (yukoo@ig.utexas.edu) for more information.

    Posted by: Yuko Okumura
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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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  • Research in Marine Geology and Geophysics  (Graduate)
    There are opportunities for research within Marine Geology and Geophysics.

    Posted by: Sean Gulick