This broad-based programme provides a complete study of the physics of the solid Earth and its constituent materials, and of its 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.
- Mathematics and Physics required.
- English Language and Mathematics at grade C. For UK-based students, a grade C or equivalent in a foreign language (other than Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew or Latin) is required. UCL provides opportunities to meet the foreign language requirement following enrolment, further details at: www.ucl.ac.uk/ug-reqs
- A score of 16-18 points in three higher level subjects including Mathematics and Physics, with no score lower than 5.
UK applicants qualifications
For entry requirements with other UK qualifications accepted by UCL, choose your qualification from the list below:
Not acceptable for entrance to this programme
Pass in Access to HE Diploma, with between 28 credits awarded with Merit and a minimum of 23 credits awarded with Distinction in the Level 3 units, the remainder of the Level 3 units awarded with Merit.
D3,D3,D3 - D3,M1,M1 in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects, including Mathematics and Physics.
AAA-ABB at Advanced Highers (or AA at Advanced Higher and AAA at Higher - AB at Advanced Higher and BBB at Higher). Mathematics and Physics required at Advanced Higher
Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A-Levels at grades AAA-ABB, including Mathematics and Physics.
In addition to A level and International Baccalaureate, UCL considers a wide range of international qualifications for entry to its undergraduate degree programmes.
Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates
The Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPCs) are intensive one-year foundation courses for international students of high academic potential who are aiming to gain access to undergraduate degree programmes at UCL and other top UK universities.
Typical UPC students will be high achievers in a 12-year school system which does not meet the standard required for direct entry to UCL.
For more information see: www.ucl.ac.uk/upc.
English language requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency. Information about the evidence required, acceptable qualifications and test providers can be found on our English language requirements page.
The English language level for this programme is: Standard
A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.
- 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.
- 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 modules.
This programme is accredited by The Geological Society. Undergraduate students may join The Geology Society as a Candidate Fellow and can become a Fellow of the Society upon graduation. A Fellow of the Society with relevant postgraduate experience in the practice of geology has the opportunity to apply for Chartered Geologist (CGeol) status.
Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Earth Sciences.
- 92% rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual modules, normally valued at 0.5 or 1.0 credits, adding up to a total of 4.0 credits for the year. Modules are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional modules varies from programme to programme and year to year. A 1.0 credit is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).
In their first two years all students study a common geophysics syllabus covering the fundamentals of mathematics, mechanics, electricity and magnetism, Earth materials, structural geology and tectonics, global geophysics and Earth processes. Theoretical studies are integrated with a large element of illustrative practical work both in the laboratory and in the field.
In the third year there are more advanced modules in seismology, geodynamics and global tectonics and there is the opportunity to specialise in, for example, the environmental aspects of the subject such as groundwater resources.
We take a modern approach to teaching, with modules based around laboratory practicals and theory workshops. Fieldwork provides a unique opportunity to develop independent and team skills and problem-solving abilities.
The BSc programme is identical to the first three years of the MSci programme.
An indicative guide to the structure of this programme, year by year.
From Petrology to Petrogenesis (including Cornwall fieldwork)
Mathematical Methods I
Mathematical Methods II
Surface Processes (including Dorset/Devon fieldwork)
All first year modules are compulsory.
Electricity and Magnetism
Maps, Images and Structures (including Italy fieldwork)
Mathematical Methods III
Structural Geology and Tectonics
You will select 1.0 credit from the following options:
Physics of the Solar System
Surface Processes and Structures (including Pyrenees fieldtrip)
Field Methods in Active Tectonics (including Abruzzo-Vesuvius fieldwork)
Geodynamics and Global Tectonics
You will select 1.5 credits from the following:
Climate and Energy
Crustal Dynamics, Mountain Building and Basin Evolution (including Betics fieldwork)
Earth Resources and Sustainability
Ocean Physics and Climate Change
Physics of the Earth
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 sometimes an oral examination.
Detailed course descriptions are available on the department website: Geophysics BSc.
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.
All our students are encouraged and helped towards making informed career choices. We have excellent relationships with many employers in diverse aspects of the Earth and planetary sciences, and students are actively guided towards achieving their potential at UCL in preparation for their future careers.
In addition to further study, main employment destinations include: exploration and production for mining, oil and engineering companies; groundwater resources management; investigating ground conditions associated with land use, such as planning, construction and waste disposal; geological surveying, and collecting geological information for maps and databases.
First destinations of recent graduates (2012-2014) of Geophysics programmes at UCL include:
- Geophysicist, Schlumberger
- Graduate Geophysicist, RSK Group
*Data taken from the 'Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education' survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012-2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
UCL is commited to helping you get the best start after graduation. Read more about how UCL Careers and UCL Innovation and Enterprise can help you find employment or learn about entrepreneurship.
Fees and funding
The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2017/18 academic year and are for the first year of the programme only.
- UK/EU students
- £TBC (2017/18 - see below)
- Overseas students
- £23,710 (2017/18)
UK/EU undergraduate fees are currently (August 2016) capped at £9,000 and UCL charges fees at the level of that cap. This cap on UK/EU undergraduate fees is currently under review by the UK Government and may be subject to increase for the year commencing 2017 and for each year of study thereafter. Fees for overseas students may be subject to an annual increase in subsequent years of study by up to 5%.
Please see the full details of UCL's fees and possible changes on the UCL Current Students website
Various funding options are available, including student loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students whose household income falls below a certain level may also be eligible for a non-repayable bursary or for certain scholarships. Please see the Fees and funding pages for more details.
The Scholarships and Funding website lists scholarships and funding schemes available to UCL students. These may be open to all students, or restricted to specific nationalities, regions or academic department.
Application and next steps
We will assess your application on the basis of your performance, or predicted performance academically, but we will also be looking for an indication of how your interest in natural and Earth sciences has developed, what aspects particularly appeal to you, and whether you have undertaken any research or reading to find out about the subject matter you wish to study.
How to apply
Application for admission should be made through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Applicants currently at school or college will be provided with advice on the process; however, applicants who have left school or who are based outside the United Kingdom may obtain information directly from UCAS.
Application deadline: 15 January 2017
We normally reach a decision on making an offer on the basis of the application alone. If you are resident in the UK and have been made an offer you will be invited to an applicant open day. This visit will include introductory talks on Earth sciences and our degree programmes, a tour of the department and UCL and a question and answer session.
Although we do recommend that all applicants who receive an offer visit UCL, we recognise that this is not always possible; applicants from regions distant from London and from outside the UK are not normally required to attend.
For further information on UCL's selection process see: Selection of students