Prospective Students

If you are interested in applying to join the Mantle Processes Group at UD, please review the information below. This should help you to learn more about what we do and whether we are a good fit for you.

Here are some frequently-asked questions about the group:

What degree would I pursue at the University of Delaware?

If you join the group, you will be part of the Department of Earth Sciences and can pursue a Masters and/or Ph.D. degree in the Geosciences. You can learn more about the department’s degree programs here and more about the university’s graduate programs, along with the application link, here.

How would I be funded?

The group’s graduate students are funded by a combination of external and internal fellowships as well as graduate research and teaching assistant positions. Because the funding landscape is constantly changing, we strongly encourage you to apply for external fellowships, including the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Fellowship and others. UD maintains a database of funding opportunities you should review, and most other research universities do also (see for example an excellent site at UCLA). If you are applying from overseas and/or are not eligible for U.S. fellowships, there might be funding opportunities in your home country.

Are my research interests a good fit for the group?

The research focus of our group is on understanding plate tectonics through analysis of the geochemical and rheological properties of the Earth’s mantle. Our work is mainly based around field samples of peridotite, which we collect from a variety of land and sea locations. Depending on the project at hand, we may decide to focus only on geochemistry or on rheology, while other projects use techniques and concepts from both disciplines. If you join our group, you will be encouraged to learn about both areas of research, so that you broaden your Earth Science training beyond your individual project.

You can learn about past projects through the publications page. Some papers are open access. You can contact me if you’re interested in a paper that you cannot access.

What courses and background should I have to apply to join the group?

People can become a geologist starting from a number of different disciplines. If your undergraduate degree is in the geosciences, then coursework in petrology, structural geology, geophysics, and plate tectonics will provide you with a solid foundation to succeed. If your degree is in another science discipline, then you would be expected to take core geoscience courses as part of your graduate degree work. While not required, a background in physics, chemistry, fluid mechanics, linear algebra, and/or statistics can be helpful.

Would I do fieldwork if I join your group?

Most projects involve a field component, followed by laboratory work using a range of analytical techniques. My goal is for every lab member to participate in at least one field expedition, as sampling rocks in the field assists in linking micro-scale observations to large-scale processes. In advance of fieldwork, the group meets regularly to plan the expedition, with a focus on making sure that everyone feels prepared and safe for the work that they will be doing.

Fieldwork is challenging for some students and I am open to finding alternatives that will make projects more accessible.

Do you address AJEDI issues in your group?

We consider increasing accessibility, justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (AJEDI) to be part of our work as geoscientists. All members of the group are expected to contribute to maintaining an equitable and inclusive work environment. As part of of our group meetings, we discuss AJEDI articles and are using these to guide improvements in our practices. Through this and other trainings, we are seeking ways to enhance diversity in the geosciences, a persistent issue for this discipline.

When should I apply?

Applications are due in early January and receive priority for funding decisions. We will consider applications submitted after the official date and will continue to look at applications during the Jan-Apr admissions period. You should contact me if you are interested in applying outside of the normal cycle to find out what funding opportunities are available.

Okay, I’ve decided to apply. What should I do next?

I strongly recommend that you contact me (warrenj at if you are interested in applying. This will give us an opportunity to discuss whether the group is a good fit for you, and if so, specific projects, funding, etc., that are available. As I am not able to respond to all emails that I receive, sending the following information makes it easier for me to give you meaningful feedback:

  • An up-to-date CV
  • A brief statement of your research interests and goals.

I look forward to meeting you!