UCL Earth Sciences

Geophysics Degree







site menu Study Geophysics

This broadly-based programme provides a complete study of the physics of the solid Earth and its constituent materials, and of its the atmosphere, oceans and ice sheets, leading to a firm foundation in geology, geological fieldwork, physics, mathematics and computing. The programme is fully accredited by the Geological Society of London.

Prospectus: BSc UCAS Code F660

Prospectus: MSci UCAS Code F663

Geophysics


Benefits

Degree Benefits

  • The programme includes up to three months of field classes in the UK and continental Europe, with financial support from the Department.
  • UCL has state-of-the-art geophysical instruments including the new must-do technique of ground penetrating radar (GPR), a new magnetometer/gradiometer (for archaeological and environmental surveys) and new, modern seismics.
  • The programme is fully accredited by the Geological Society of London, and the department will pay one year's subscription for you to become a student fellow of the society.
  • World-leading research in mineral, ice and rock physics, and in geophysical hazards, is undertaken in the department and is used in the development of our courses.

Together with subject-specific skills, geophysics graduates have a wide range of transferable skills, developed through fieldwork, computer modelling and independent research, which are highly valued by employers in general, offering opportunities for careers in the City, commerce and government.

Degree Overview

In their first two years all students study a common geophysics syllabus covering the fundamentals of global geophysics, geophysical instruments and fieldwork, laboratory rock and ice physics, seismology, physics of the earth's deep interior, weather, ice sheets and climate. Theoretical studies are integrated with a large element of illustrative practical work both in the laboratory and in the field. In the third and fourth years there is the opportunity to specialise in, for example, the environmental aspects of the subject.

Options will also be available in planetary science, such as Astrobiology, and space science, such as Solar and Magnetospheric Physics.

A modern approach to teaching is used with courses based around laboratory practicals utilising sophisticated research-level equipment, and around theory workshops. Fieldwork training is provided in both first and second years. Third year teaching is predominantly research-led and in the fourth year a major independent research project is taken.

The first two years of the BSc and MSci programmes will be the same. However, the additional fourth year of the MSci allows for a major individual research project and advanced options, providing extra depth and breadth of knowledge. We recommend you apply for an MSci initially, as this keeps more options open.

Your Learning

We use a mixture of lectures, practical classes, field courses, directed reading, problem-orientated learning, private study and tutorials to enable you to gain the theoretical knowledge and practical skills demanded by the programme, as well as to develop key transferable skills such as critical analysis, report writing, team working and organisational skills.

Assessment

You will be assessed by a combination of written examinations, practical examinations, coursework, independent project reports and an oral examination.

Modules






Geophysics Modules 
Term 1 - Autumn Term 
Module Code Unit Value Module Title
Compulsory:    
GEOL1001
0.5 Earth Materials
GEOL1013
0.5
The Earth
PHAS1245 0.5 Mathematical Methods I
PHAS1247 0.5 Classical Mechanics
Term 2 - Spring Term
Module Code Unit Value Module Title
Compulsory:    
GEOL1002 0.5 From Petrology to Petrogenesis
GEOL1004 0.5 Dynamic Earth
GEOL1012 0.5 Surface Processes
PHAS1246  0.5 Mathematical Methods II
Fieldwork:    
Dorset/Devon Coast   Part of GEOL1012 Surface Processes (takes place in the Easter vacation)
Cornwall/Devon Coast   Part of GEOL1002 From Petrology to Petrogenesis
Term 1 - Autumn Term 
Module Code Unit Value Module Title
Compulsory:    
GEOL2014 0.5 Global Geophysics
GEOL2026 0.5 Maps, Images & Structures
GEOL2027

0.5
Structural Geology & Tectonics

PHAS2201 0.5
Electricity & Magnetism
PHAS2246 0.5 Mathematical Methods III
Options:
See note below*
   
Fieldwork:    
Italy   Part of GEOL2026 Maps, Images & Structures (taught at the end of the preceding summer)

Term 2 - Spring Term
Module Code Unit Value Module Title

Options:

See note below*

   
GEOL2009 0.5 Surface Processes & Structures
GEOL2010 0.5 Igneous Petrology
GEOL2012
0.5
Metamorphism

GEOL2028

0.5
Isotope Geology
Fieldwork:    
Pyrenees   Part of GEOL2009 Surface Processes & Structures (taught at the Easter vacation)

*Other optional modules are available from Mathematics, Physics and Statistical Science. Please check with the Geophysics Director for approval (c.lithgow-bertelloni@ucl.ac.uk)

Term 1 - Autumn Term 
Module Code Unit Value Module Title
Compulsory:
   
GEOL3030 0.5 Field Methods in Active Tectonics
GEOL3047
0.5
Seismology I

Options:

See note below*

   
GEOL3039
0.5 
Ocean Physics & Climate Change
Fieldwork:    
Abruzzo-Vesuvius
  Part of GEOL3030 Field Methods in Active Tectonics (takes place in September preceding the start of Year 3)
Term 1 & 2 
Module Code Unit Value Module Title
Compulsory:
   
GEOL3003 1.0 Geodynamics & Global Tectonics
Term 2 - Spring Term
Module Code Unit Value Module Title
Compulsory:
   
GEOL3048
0.5

Seismology II

Options:

See note below*

   
GEOL3040
0.5
Crustal Dynamics, Mountain Building & Basin Evolution (fieldtrip only; no classroom element)
GEOL3043 0.5 Earth Resources & Sustainability 
GEOL3045
0.5

Groundwater Science

GEOL3049
0.5 
Advanced Geochemistry
Fieldwork:    
SE Spain   GEOL3040 Crustal Dynamics, Mountain Building & Basin Evolution (fieldtrip only; no classroom element)

Other optional modules are available from Mathematics, Physics and Statistical Sciences. Please check with the Geophysics Stream Director for approval (c.lithgow-bertelloni@ucl.ac.uk)

MSci Co-ordinator: Professor David Dobson

The fourth MSci year is primarily intended as a research year with a major 1.5 cu independent research project, linked to a research group in our Research School and a 0.5 cu research seminar series. In addition, students take four 0.5 cu modules from the Research School’s masters’ teaching programme.

Before entry to the Fourth Year of an MSci course, a student should nomally have passed at least 11 course units, with at least three course units at advanced level, and achieved a mean mark of at least 60% for the Third Year of study.

Term 1 - Autumn Term 
Module Code Unit Value Module Title

Options:

See note below*

   
GEOLM006 0.5 Earth & Planetary Materials
GEOLM008 0.5
Physical Volcanology & Volcanic Hazard(places are limited and cannot be guaranteed)
GEOLM010 0.5 Tectonic Geomorphology
Term 1 & 2 
Module Code Unit Value Module Title
Compulsory:
   
GEOLM003 0.5
Earth & Planetary System Science
GEOLM905 1.5 Independent MSci Project
Options: 
   
Term 2 - Spring Term
Module Code Unit Value Module Title

Options:

See note below*

   
GEOLM002 0.5 Earthquake Seismology & Earthquake Hazards 
GEOLM021
0.5
Melting & Volcanism
GEOLM037 0.5 Deep Earth & Planetary Modelling 
Fieldwork:    
Germany   Part of GEOLM003 Earth & Planetary System Science

*Other optional modules are available from Mathematics, Physics and Statistical Science. Please check with the Geophysics Stream Director for approval (c.lithgow-bertelloni@ucl.ac.uk)