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Deep Earth Systems PhD Course

Deep Earth Systems PhD Course: Forging links between petrology and geophysics

Dates: 2 - 13 October 2017 

Location: Department of Geoscience, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark

Application Deadline: 16th June, 2017



The Earth System Petrology group in the Department of Geoscience is again offering a PhD course on Deep Earth Systems.

Understanding fundamental Earth processes is inherently an interdisciplinary endeavor.  In particular, research on the constitution and dynamics of the Earth’s interior requires expertise in thermodynamics, petrology, geochemistry, and geophysics linked through high-pressure and high-temperature mineral – melt physics, seismology, rheology, heat flow and geodynamics.  Many outstanding problems relating deep Earth to surface processes through time demand levels of expertise in diverse fields difficult to master during the normal course of graduate education. 




Course Description

The Earth System Petrology group in the Department of Geoscience is offering its two-week intensive Ph.D. course in Deep Earth Systems designed for strengthening students' background in thermodynamics, phase equilibria, heat and mass transfer, continuum mechanics, elasticity and viscoelastic theory, wave propagation, and rheology important for integrating petrologic and geophysical (especially seismological) observations, and modeling processes of the deep earth.  The course will build a foundation of understanding based on first-principles that links the constitution of Earth materials to their stability and mechanical behavior, and reinforces these concepts through exercises, critical reviews of the literature and group projects. 

At the end of the course, the student will:

  • understand and use basic principles of thermodynamics as applied to deep Earth systems;
  • understand and use basic principles of continuum mechanics and wave theory as utilized in studies of deep Earth systems;
  • demonstrate competency in their understanding of these principles by problem solving, both individually and in working groups;
  • critically evaluate extant literature through independent reading and group discussion, and leadership-directed group discussion;
  • critically evaluate and verify existing models, and stratigize independent tests or alternatives;
  • develop collaborative skills working in group settings on common problems;
  • increase competency in verbal and written communication through oral presentations and a final group project report.




Course Format and Content

Deep Earth Systems is team-taught by Aarhus faculty and invited experts in petrology, geophysics/seismology and geodynamics in a collaborative environment of inquiry-based learning.  Basic concepts will be reinforced through exercises designed to equip students with the tools for more advanced problem-solving. Participants will work together in critically evaluating current literature and models. The first week will involve lectures, practical exercises, tutorials and group seminars. The second week will be devoted entirely to group projects under the guidance from 1-2 faculty members culminating in a mini-symposium reporting the results of the research. Preparatory reading will be assigned two weeks before the course begins. Progress reports and research updates will be held each morning of the second week to help direct and focus the day’s activities. Final reports will be turned in on the final day of the course following short presentations by each research group. 





Credit for the course will be based on class participation, including exercises, oral presentations and written reports produced by each research groups.  Students will receive 5 ECTS points for successful completion of the course.  For students from non-EU countries appropriate documentation of course completion will be provided. 




Application Process

Students interested in participating in this short course can apply by completing the online form below including your full name, home institution, graduate level, and a brief statement (200 words) describing how this PhD course can/will benefit your graduate education and research.

The application deadline is 16th June 2017. Information regarding admission will be sent out no later than 3 July 2017.



There are no tuition or registration fees. Students are, however, responsible for their own travel and accommodation costs. Upon registration, local travel and accommodation details will be provided.