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Geophysics

A complete study of the physics of the solid Earth and its constituent materials, and of its the atmosphere, oceans and ice sheets,

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.

Geophysics Degree
 

Prospectus:

Further enquiries:

Dr Pieter Vermeesch

How to apply

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.

Modules:

Year 1

Term 1 - Autumn Term 

Module CodeCredit ValueModule Title
Compulsory:  
GEOL0001 15Earth Materials 
GEOL000715The Earth 
PHAS000215Mathematical Methods I
PHAS001015Classical Mechanics

Term 2 - Spring Term

Module CodeCredit ValueModule Title
Compulsory:  
GEOL000215From Petrology to Petrogenesis
GEOL000415Dynamic Earth
GEOL000615Surface Processes
PHAS0009 15Mathematical Methods II
Fieldwork:  
Dorset/Devon Coast Part of GEOL0006 Surface Processes (takes place in the Easter vacation)
Cornwall/Devon Coast Part of GEOL0002 From Petrology to Petrogenesis
Year 2

Term 1 - Autumn Term 

Module CodeCredit ValueModule Title
Compulsory:  
GEOL001215Global Geophysics
GEOL001615 Structural Geology and Tectonics
PHAS002115 Electricity & Magnetism
PHAS002515Mathematical Methods III
Options:
See note below* 
  
GEOL001515 Maps, Images & Structures 
XBKB002415Geology of the Solar System I (Taught at Birbeck in the evening)
   
Fieldwork:  
Scotland Part of GEOL0015 Maps, Images & Structures (taught at the end of the preceding summer) Term 2 - Spring Term

Term 2 - SpringTerm  

Module CodeCredit ValueModule Title
Compulsory:   
GEOL001815 Numerical Methods for Earth Sciences 

Options: 

See note below*

  
GEOL001015Surface Processes & Structures (Please note that GEOL0015 Maps, Images & Structures is a pre-requisite for this module)
GEOL001115Igneous Petrology
GEOL001315 Principles of Climate 
GEOL001715 Isotope Geology 
XBKB002515Geology of the Solar System II (Taught at Birkbeck in the evening)
Fieldwork:  
Pyrenees Part of GEOL0010 Surface Processes & Structures (taught at the Easter vacation)

*Other optional modules are available from Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Engineering and Statistical Science. Please check with the Geophysics Director for approval. You may NOT select PHAS0027.

Year 3
Term 1 - Autumn Term 
Module CodeCredit ValueModule Title
Compulsory:  
GEOL002015Field Geophysics
GEOL002915 Seismology I 

Options:

See note below* 

  
GEOL0022 15 Ocean Physics and Climate Change
GEOL003215 Metamorphism and Metamorphic Processes 
Fieldwork:  
Royal Greenwich Park, Greenwich, London Part of GEOL0020 Field Geophysics (takes place in September preceding the start of Year 3)
 Term 2 - Spring Term
Module CodeCredit ValueModule Title
Compulsory:   
GEOL0030 15 Seismology II 
GEOL005715Geodynamics and Global Tectonics

Options:

See note below*

  
GEOL002315Crustal Dynamics, Mountain Building & Basin Evolution (fieldtrip only; no classroom element)
GEOL002515Earth Resources & Sustainability 
GEOL002715 Groundwater Science
GEOL002815 Marine Geology 
GEOL003115 Advanced Geochemistry
PHAS005015 Climate and Energy 
Fieldwork:  
SE Spain GEOL0023 Crustal Dynamics, Mountain Building & Basin Evolution (fieldtrip only; no classroom element)

Other optional modules are available from Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Engineering and Statistical Sciences. Please check with the Geophysics Stream Director for approval. Please not you may NOT select PHAS0057 Physics of the Earth.

Year 4

MSci Co-ordinator: Prof David Dobson

Before entry to the Fourth Year of an MSci course, a student should nomally have passed at least 165 credits at Level 6, and achieved a mean mark of at least 60% for the Third Year of study.

Term 1 - Autumn Term 
Module CodeCredit ValueModule Title

Options:

See note below*

  
GEOL002615Earth & Planetary Materials
GEOL005215Physical Volcanology & Volcanic Hazard (places are limited and cannot be guaranteed)
GEOL004315Tectonic Geomorphology
GEOL003515 Sustainable Management of the Environment 
 
Term 1 & 2 
Module CodeCredit ValueModule Title
Compulsory:  
GEOL003915Earth & Planetary System Science
GEOL007245Independent MSci Project
Options:   
Term 2 - Spring Term
Module CodeCredit ValueModule Title

Options:

See note below*

  
GEOL005415Earthquake Seismology & Earthquake Hazards 
GEOL004015Melting & Volcanism
GEOL004615Deep Earth and Planetary Modelling 
Fieldwork:  
Germany Part of GEOL0039 Earth & Planetary System Science

*Other optional modules are available from Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Engineering and Statistical Science. Please check with the Geophysics Stream Director for approval.

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.