Information about the Geophysical Engineering is frequently asked by the candidate students who want to pursue education in engineering, due to its accelerating necessity and importance with the recent geopolitical developments in the world; including our country, Turkey. What is Geophysical Engineering, its field of working and career opportunities?

The frequently asked questions about Geophysical Engineering are answered by Prof.Dr. Z. Mümtaz Hisarlı from Istanbul University-Cerrahpaşa, the largest engineering faculty in Turkey.

- What is Geophysics?

Geophysics is the science studying the earth, its atmosphere and hydrosphere, the space it interacts with, and the structure of other planets using their physical properties (e.g. density, susceptibility, thermal conductivity, electrical conductivity, seismic velocities, dielectric properties). Geophysics also used to explore minerals, water, oil and gas, and to study and determine dynamic properties of the subsurface using scientific methods for constructions.

- What is the work of a Geophysical Engineer?

A geophysical engineer searches for natural sources such as oil and gas, groundwater, geothermal sources, and minerals; explores and determines properties of a reserve; makes research on ground and surface waters, environment and environmental problems, and archaeology; makes location and route determination for engineering structures; investigates sites and foundations of constructions; makes research on seismicity and other natural hazards, and educates for awareness.

A geophysical engineer uses physical principles and collects data on the land and sea, from the air and space, using electronic devices and systems, and interprets the data using mathematical methods; reveals the structure and behavior of the earth and its surroundings.

In brief, geophysical engineering is a profession related to a wide variety of fields; energy, natural hazards and environment, and construction.

- What is the field of work of a Geophysical Engineer?

Geophysical Engineers Works in a wide variety of fields, which can be generalized as follows;

  • Studies earthquakes, its origins and its effect on the nature
  • Explores natural resources using latest technology (industrial raw materials, minerals, coal, quarries, oil and gas, groundwater and geothermal)
  • Investigates and characterizes sites for a large variety of engineering structures; makes microzonation studies for city/area planning.
  • Studies dynamic properties of the ground and seismicity for critical structures including nuclear power plants.
  • Images subsurface to reveal archaeological remains.
  • Makes research for environmental problems (e.g. soil and groundwater pollution, deposition zones of natural gasses, investigations on landfills, household and chemical waste storage sites, and natural impact assessment).
  • Studies physical structure of the earth and other planets (interior of the earth, its context and physical properties; atmosphere and hydrosphere; interplanetary medium; geophysical studies on other planets).

Geophysics in the every aspect of life

- How close to geophysics that we are in our daily life?

Since back in our childhood days, we are familiar with the announcements on TV, radio and internet about the earthquakes starting like “As we informed by the Kandilli observatory an earthquake with 5.0 magnitude is recorded in the region.”. Such information is provided by the geophysicists working in observatories using advanced technologies. Similarly, whenever a dispute on the continental shelf areas between our neighbors comes up, the Sismik-1 research vessel of the MTA used to start working in the Aegean Sea and been reported by the media. The Sismik-1 vessel of the MTA is a geophysical research vessel, where geophysicists are working.

Recently, Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa vessel of Turkish Petroleum started oil exploration in East Mediterranean Sea using seismic methods. Thus, now the media reports on this. Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa vessel is also a geophysical research vessel, where geophysicists are working.

The first seismic research vessel produced in a Turkish shipyard is the Oruç Reis vessel of the MTA and its conducted entirely by geophysical engineers. The vessel currently conducts research for oil and gas in Marmara and Black Sea and many news reports on this have been aired.

The InSight robotic lander, sent to Mars to record “marsquakes”, has placed its seismometer on the Mars’ surface. The purpose of that project is to continuously record the quakes to reveal the internal structure of the planet. The evaluation of these quakes is associated to the Marsquake work group in ETH Zurich, which also includes one of our 2005 graduates, Dr. Savaş Ceylan. Dr. Ceylan took his PhD. Degree in Missouri University in 2013 and joined the InSight Marsquake work group in 2015 to conduct postdoctoral research.

- Can you introduce the history of your department?

The beginning of the geophysics education in Turkey starts in the first years of the foundation of the Turkish Republic. The institute of Astronomy and Geophysics is established in the Faculty of Sciences of the Istanbul Darülfünun (present Istanbul University) in the 1926-1927 academic year. After the end of the World War II, all faculties of the Istanbul University have been restructured with the introduced autonomy, and the Faculty of Sciences included Geophysics in these reorganization efforts in 1948. As a result, Institute of Geophysics is founded in 1952 and Ord.Prof.Dr. M. Fouché is assigned as the first director of the institute. Later, between 1953-1954, Assoc.Prof. İhsan Özdoğan is transferred into the Institute of Geophysics. The following year, 1954, has a special importance in the history of the institute. With the joining of Prof. Dr. J. Coulomb, the former director of the Paris Geophysics Institute, the institute is administered by a geophysicist for the first time.

The name of the institute is later changed as department of Geophysics. In the following years, education programs of the department are updated according to the scientific advances and the conditions of the period, in 1959, 1965, and 1968. During the establishment and development periods of the department, great contributions are made by the lectures and conferences given by the foreign researchers. In 1955, works on the education of geophysics are started and Applied Geophysics department is founded. In 1969, Diploma program for the Master’s Degree on Geophysics is established.

In 1978, with the formation of the Faculty of Earth sciences, the Geophysics department is separated from the Faculty of Sciences, and the Geophysical Engineering Department started graduate classes in 1980. With the introduction of the law of Council of Higher Education (Y.Ö.K.), the Engineering Faculty is established by merging Chemistry and Earth sciences Faculties, including the department of geophysics.

Every year we organize seismic training course with our powerful academic staff

- Can you inform us about you academic staff?

In our department, geophysics, applied geophysics and seismology subdepartments are present. In these subdepartments, a total number of 32 personnel; 12 professors, 5 associated professors, 7 Dr., 7 research assistants and one technique personnel are employed.

Starting from 2016, every year we have been organizing the seismic training course, welcoming our students and graduates all over Turkey, in which the latest developments in oil industry are taught.

Geophysical Engineering department with the best laboratory infrastructure in Turkey

- Can you give information about your laboratories?

In our Geophysical Engineering department, Plaeomagnetism, Seismology, Seismic Data Processing, and Measurements laboratories are present. Our Paleomagnetism laboratory has the best infrastructure in Turkey. In the laboratory, the magnetic fields of rocks are measured, revealing the location of the rock on earth during its origination. In this field, many national and international projects are realized and several articles are published on distinguished journals.

Seismology Laboratory: Established within the context of an EU project. In the laboratory, the earthquake activity is observed online from the surface and downhole seismometers installed in Northwest Turkey. Using the data of the laboratory, various articles on distinguished journals are published.

Seismic Data Processing Laboratory: The laboratory consists of a server, equipment and software granted by Turkish Petroleum, Western GeoCO. The student laboratory includes 14 computers. The latest developments in seismic data processing are taught to our students in this laboratory. In addition, a Dell Precision T7600 Workstation and the Omega SPS data processing software of the Schlumberger oilfield services company has been granted to our department.

Geophysical measurements laboratory: The laboratory consists of the latest geophysical equipment that are used for research and educational activities in our department.

- Can you give information about the collaborations of your department?

Currently, we have mutual collaboration protocols signed with General Directorate for Mineral Research of Turkey (MTA) and Turkish Petroleum (TP), opening a path for information exchange in every field. Thus, collaboration between the industry and University is established, giving these companies an opportunity to know our students better. Our graduate students are also able to find internships easily in Kandilli Observatory, Turkish Petroleum, MTA, AFAD, Ministry of Environment and Urbanization and DSI etc.

Our graduates have career opportunities in Tukey and abroad

- What are the career opportunities for the graduates of your department?

Many of our graduates pioneered the development the oil and mining sectors in Turkey and carried the geophysics in Turkey to its current status.  In the last 5 years, more than 50 of our graduates are sent for postgraduate education in abroad (e.g. USA, Canada, Australia, England, and Germany) by Turkish Petroleum and the General Directorate for Mineral Research of Turkey. Additionally, many of our graduates are working as engineers in governmental institutions, such as AFAD, DSI, municipalities, and in private geophysics companies. Many of our graduates are also employed by national and international oil and gas companies.


Erasmus Program

Our department has signed the inter-institutional ERASMUS agreement with Charles University, Prague. Under the Erasmus agreement, every year two of our students are exchanged. In order to join the program, our students can access information about the Erasmus program and the Charles University in Prague using the links below.

Click for more information about the Erasmus program.

Farabi Exchange Program

The student and instructor exchange program between the institutions of higher education, which is briefly called the Farabi exchange program. The program aims mobility of students and instructors of institutions with associate, undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

Farabi exchange program aims that students and faculty members continue their education activities in a higher education institution other than their own institutions for one or two semesters.

The principles of the Farabi exchange program are defined extensively with the related legal regulations,

Farabi (871 - 950)

Born in Farab city of Turkistan in 871. He has travelled through important science centers of the time, such as Buhara, Baghdat, Damascus, Chairo, Harran, and Aleppo. Farabi has written works on philosophy, mathematics, logic, political sciences and music. In the Islamic world, his reputation reached to the levels that can be compared that of Aristotle. Farabi was called as “muallim-i sani” (the second teacher), following Aristotle who was called as “muallim-i evvel” (the first teacher). Farabi is known in the western world as “Alpharebius”. Farabi died in Damascus in 950.


1. The provisions of Istanbul University-Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Engineering Undergraduate Education Internship Directive are applied.

2. The place of internship is determined by the relevant department's internship commissions or by the student.

3. Internship dates are determined in accordance with the academic calendar and internship guidelines.

4. The documents requested by the place where the internship will take place are; It is obtained from the Department Heads or Dean's Registrar's Office and delivered to the internship place.

5. The information part of the student in the Mandatory Internship Form must be filled in by the student on the computer and 3 copies must be printed and signed.

6. In the Compulsory Internship Form, the information part of the internship place is filled and signed by the institution official.

7. To the Compulsory Internship Form approved by the institution, the original health benefit declaration letter of undertaking (or the UNIVERSITY CERTIFICATE to be obtained from the e-state gate SSI), a copy of the Identity Card and a photocopy of the Student Identity are attached.

8. The Internship Book and Internship Registration Slip provided by the student are filled and the photograph is pasted.

9. Compulsory Internship Form (with its attachments), Internship Book and Internship Register Receipt prepared by the student are submitted to the Departmental Internship Committee 30 days before the internship date. The submitted documents are signed by the Departmental Internship Committee together with the stamp.

10. Compulsory Internship Form (1 copy), Internship Book and Internship Register Receipt approved by the Internship Committee are delivered to the student.

11. Compulsory Internship Forms (with their attachments) and Internship Commission Determination List approved by the Internship Committee must be submitted to the Student Affairs Office of our Dean's Office at least 10 working days before the start of the internship. (Forms that do not comply with this period will not be processed due to heavy fines imposed by SGK.)

12. Internship start and end dates should be checked by the Internship Committee. (Internship Commissions are responsible for errors that may occur due to internship cancellation, overlapping of dates if more than one internship is to be done, etc.)

13. In case the student wants to cancel the internship or change the dates, he / she should immediately apply to the Student Affairs Office of our Dean's Office (with the approval of the Department Internship Committee). Otherwise, their internships will be considered invalid.

14. The Student Insured Employment Declaration can be obtained personally from the Student Affairs Office of our Dean's Office 10 days before the beginning of the internship.

15. At the end of the internship, the student will submit the Internship Book and Internship Register Receipt to the relevant Internship Committees within 3 weeks after the beginning of the following Education Semester. (Internships of students who do not comply with this period will not be accepted.)

16. The Internship Commissions evaluate the Internship Book and the Internship Register Receipt submitted and make the necessary notifications to the Student Affairs Office of our Dean's Office in accordance with the Internship Directive of Istanbul University-Cerrahpaşa Undergraduate Programs.

Istanbul University-Cerrahpaşa Undergraduate Programs Internship Directives
Health Benefit Statement and Covenant
Mandatory Internship Form
Internship Registration Form
Compulsory Internship Scoring Schedule
Internships book
Maritime Transportation Management Engineering Department Internship Directives

Note: Internship Score Sheet must be delivered to the student office within the first ten days of the next month for each month of internship. (For example, our students who will do their internship between June 20 and August 15, 2012; the institution must be approved by the student office.)



 "According to the Vocational Education Law numbered 3308, the procedures and principles regarding the payment of some of the wages of the students studying in the enterprises from the unemployment fund" have come into force.

In this context, enterprises that want to benefit from the unemployment fund contribution by paying wages to intern students during their internship; They must approve the attached table completely and send it to the Engineering Faculty Student Affairs Office within 30 days of the end of the internship together with the payroll (approved) and bank receipts of the fee deposited to the student's account (payroll is not accepted).