Seismology Skill Building Workshop for Undergraduates


This FREE workshop is intended for undergraduate students (e.g.... computer science, geophysics, geology, math, physics, engineering) or recent graduates who will be starting graduate school in the fall of 2021 that want to develop scientific computing skills within a seismological context. There are no-minimum course or experiential requirements in order for students of all backgrounds to participate. However, students who have completed at least one semester of math and physics will be best able to benefit from the course. Two semesters of each math and physics would be ideal. 

Note: If you do not meet the inclusion criteria above and would like to be notified should space in the workshop become available, please complete this short overflow form

Workshop Goals

The goals for the workshop are to increase participants'... 

  • Knowledge, skills, and interest in seismology and scientific computing, 
  • Self-efficacy in using seismic data, and 
  • Competitiveness in the application process for graduate school, summer internships, or professional jobs.


Mike Brudzinski, Miami University

Michael Hubenthal, IRIS EPO (primary contact for course - hubenth "at"

Gillian Goldhagen, UC Riverside


The SSBW, by default, is a FREE, not-for-credit workshop open to all undergraduate students or recent graduates who will be starting graduate school in the fall of 2021. At the end of the workshop participants will receive a performance report certificate via email indicating the content of each module, the number of assignments completed for each module, whether the assignments were completed by the deadline, and your average score on each module. In this scenario, the final project will be optional and will be ungraded.

To accommodate registrants who wish to seek university credit for participating, two optional pathways are outlined below. 

Option 1: Local University Credit – Some students may wish to receive course credit from their local university for successfully completing the SSBW, including the final project. The process for setting this up will vary by institution. However in most cases, this is something you need to set up BEFORE beginning the SSBW.  Please check with your local faculty advisor for full details on the process.  Please note that arranging for local university credit and paying for any costs per credit will be your responsibility. We will support you as you make these arrangements by providing an overview of the course curricula, as well as resources your local faculty member would need to provide an official grade. These resources would include the final performance report certificate described above, and a rubric for the local faculty to score the final project.

Option 2: Miami University Credit – Students can also receive course credit for completing the SSBW through Miami University as Dr. Mike Brudzinski is one of the lead instructors of the workshop.  The fee for this 3-credit course will vary depending on your residence (Miami workshop tuition information TBD).  Students will be evaluated as a combination of the average score on all assignments (90%) and a rubric score on the final project (10%).  See the costs associated with this option and learn more.

This course is being offered as an online workshop only. Participants will be provided with login credentials to access the workshop materials once their registration has been processed. 

Minimum System Requirements

Computer/Internet: To participate, students will need to have access to a PC/Mac where they can install a virtual disk that will be provided, and SLACK for communication. Chromebooks or tablets are unlikely to be sufficient. Since the course is online and will require downloading of data, reasonable internet access (DSL, LAN, or cable connection desirable) is expected.

Workshop Format

Every other week a new learning module will be assigned for students to complete. Each module has been designed to develop a particular set of scientific computing and computational thinking skills relevant for seismological research. Modules will be introduced and discussed via webinars held every Monday throughout the summer at 2pm US Eastern. All webinars will be recorded to support participants in other timezones. Participants will then work through each module at their own pace during the remainder on the week. Participants will be able to ask questions, provide feedback, and share their successes and challenges with other participants through a moderated learning platform. Supplemental materials such as relevant papers, webinars, and other resources will be made available for those who wish to extend their learning. All webinars will be recorded to allow participants from across a variety of time zones to participate.  Based on the 2020 workshop, participants should expect to invest approximately 5-6 hours per week including participating in the weekly webinar (or watching the recording).

DRAFT 2021 Workshop Syllabus

Learning Modules 

A total of 6 learning modules will be assigned to students and each will consist of 5 to 7 assignments.   

Module 1 − Introduction to Linux command line, shell scripting, and basic plot generation with Generic Mapping Tools (GMT) that enables exploration of earthquake patterns in space, time, and magnitude, and Earth’s internal structure based on seismic wave travel times.

Module 2 − Introduction to Seismic Analysis Code (SAC) for viewing seismograms as both waveforms and spectrograms, and conducting time series analysis, filtering, and component rotation that enables detection, characterization, and interpretation of seismic wave patterns.

Module 3 − Use the myriad of IRIS waveform, metadata, and earthquake catalog request tools (e.g.., web services, earthquake browser, Wilbur, MUSTANG, etc.) to check data availability and access data that enables exploration of relationships between earthquakes and plate boundaries and earthquake frequency and magnitude.

Module 4 − Use various methods to visualize collections of seismic waveforms for a given earthquake and software for forward modeling and inversion that enables both estimation of subsurface velocity structures and earthquake hypocenter and fault plane solutions.

Module 5 − Introduction to Python and commonly used libraries (e.g., NumPy, Matplotlib, Pandas, and ObsPy) for retrieving, processing, and plotting of data tables and times series that enables rapid scientific analysis of earthquake catalogs and seismic waveforms.

Module 6 − Use existing and create new Jupyter Notebooks with Python to explain and share code with other scientists that enables advanced seismogram processing including removing an instrument response, calculating a spectrogram, and estimating temporal changes in cultural noise.

Final Assignment - (Draft Scoring Rubric

  • Choose seismic recordings somewhere in the world
  • Create a Notebook to request and process the data
  • Annotate the process of how and why you chose the station(s), along with what you found from the processing.
  • Ideally, you should generate several plots in the Notebook to illustrate your findings and justify the conclusions you draw from them. 

See last year’s final project showcase! 

Extra - We will also include special presentations throughout the workshop including the following...

  • Overview of careers in seismology and geophysics 
  • From Undergrad to PhD/MS - The graduate school process
  • Etc. 

The registration period for this workshop closed at Sat, May 15, 2021 - 11:59:00 PM.

The abstract submission period for this workshop closed at .

The whitepaper submission period for this workshop closed at .

Between May 31st to August 20th, 2021, webinars will take place each Monday from 2pm to ~3:00pm US Eastern. Since this workshop draws a global audience, all webinars will be recorded and made available to participants following the webinar through the workshops SLACK Channel.  

The webinar registration period for this workshop closed at .

A list of attendees is not yet available.

The scholarship application period for this workshop closed at .

What 2020 Participants Said About the Workshop

More than 400 students from around the globe actively participated in the SSBW in 2020. Respondents to the end of workshop survey held very positive perceptions of the workshop! More than 95% of participants described the workshop as high quality, 84 % were satisfied or very satisfied with their experience in SSBW, and >70% were highly likely to recommend the workshop to their peers!

  • "Because the workshop was so well developed, the activities were interesting and well guided. The professors were always very helpful and the communication was always good. Thanks!"
  • "I benefited a lot from this and would encourage people to give this workshop a try. It’s amazing the things you can create. I thought the Jupyter notebook was really cool!"
  • "This workshop was run fantastically and taught new concepts, but was not set up in a way that was meant to be overly challenging or stress-inducing. Great for people with little coding experience, all info was built up from the base level."
  • "Thought out and indepth real world exercises with guidance but room for learning and making mistakes"
  • "A lot of expectations I had going into the program were met. The courses were designed in such a way that it was easy to follow lectures and get help with challenges through the slack channels. It also was not one-dimensional as I was able to pick up some programming skills as well. Therefore, I would absolutely recommend to my colleagues"
  • "As technology continues to advance, becoming a scientist in any field requires you to be at least an amateur programmer/coder. The two fields are becoming inextricably linked, and I think providing an introductory course in a scientific field alongside learning how to efficiently code with data specific to that field is an extremely useful way to introduce new students to said field of science."
  • "This was by far the best experience I've ever had learning online. I wish all of my online classes were this in-depth and helpful! If I had a friend who was interested in this sort of material, I'd recommend him/her to this workshop in a heartbeat!"

As a final project (optional for certificate-only participants), participants will create and submit a Jupyter Notebook to showcase their learning and skills! Participants should choose some seismic recordings or events from anywhere in the world, and then use the Notebook to request and process the data. The Notebook should annotate the process of how and why they chose the station(s) or event(s), along with what you found from the processing. Ideally, they would generate several plots in the Notebook to illustrate their findings and justify the conclusions they draw from them. Projects will be displayed here starting in late August, 2021.

See last years "Showcase" here

Important Dates
  • Registration:
    Mar 15th – May 15th
  • Workshop dates:
    May 31st – Aug 20th
  • Workshop Location