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



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.


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