For prospective graduate students:

We are always looking for students interested in pursuing a PhD in our field.  Our students have backgrounds in Geophysics/Geology/Physics or in Engineering. We accept students with and without a MSc. Obviously, the more research you have done by the time you apply, the better are your chances to be admitted into our program. We generally are able to admit students that have a MSc.  and published paper(s) in the InSAR field. All PhD students  are on 12-month research assistantships, with the tuition covered by the University. See our advertisement

Although the website of the RSMAS Graduate Studies says that the deadline for student applications is in December, applications can be submitted at any time. We are well aware that in many countries the search for PhD positions occurs in spring and we are working towards adjusting our application schedule to this. 

If you are a foreign student you will need to pass the TOEFL/IELTS test, no matter the quality of your English. This is a requirement of the Federal Government to issue student visas. Given possible delays, you are encouraged to sign up for this test when you are considering to apply.

Current Projects (5/2023):

1. Earthquake-triggered magmatic unrest

There are many observations of volcanic unrest in the days to months following large earthquakes, but it is generally not known whether unrest is caused by magmatic or by hydrothermal processes.  This PhD project will use a global multi-parameter investigation combining space-based ground deformation (InSAR), gas emissions, and thermal flux measurements with numerical static stress change modeling to identify and investigate triggered magmatic unrest. This is a joint project with Michigan Technological University funded by NASA.

2. Dynamics of ocean island volcanoes

This PhD project will investigate the eruption cycle of oceanic hotspot volcanoes with the aim of testing whether stress change models can hindcast past and forecast future volcanic processes. The research targets are the volcanoes in the Hawaiian and Galapagos islands, with emphasis on the 2022 eruption of Mauna Loa volcano, following on the work of Varugu & Amelung (2021).

3. Active tectonics of the Chaman fault system and the Makran subduction zone

This PhD project will use InSAR data to study the mechanics of strain accumulation along the Chaman fault system in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and along the Makran subduction zone. Science questions to be addressed include the maximum earthquake size and degree of seismic coupling of the megathrust fault. This project follows on Fattahi & Amelung (2016) and Lv et al. (2021).

For prospective postdoctoral researchers:

I am very much interested to hear from you if your research interests overlap with mine.   We encourage prospective postdocs to investigate which funding sources are available to them. With a well-defined research program we can submit funding applications to multiple sponsoring organizations. Occasionally we receive full postdoc funding and/or matching funds.