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Undergraduate prospectus 2021

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Geophysics BSc

Geophysics is the study of the physical process that shape the Earth, including its, composition, evolution and dynamics. We tackle this through a multidisciplinary programme ranging from understanding Earth materials, through the internal processes that drive plate tectonics, volcanoes and earthquakes, to understanding atmosphere, weather and climate. This provides a firm foundation in geology, physics, mathematics and computing.

Covid-19 programme updates

Due to COVID-19, there may have been updates to this programme for the 2020 academic year. Where there has been an update, these are indicated with a red alert and a link which will provide further information.

Key Information

Programme starts

September 2020
UCAS code
Duration
Full-time: 3 years
Accreditation
Geological Society of London
Application deadline
15 January 2020
Location
London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A Levels

Grades
AAB
Subjects
Mathematics and Physics required.
GCSEs
English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 5. For UK-based students, a grade C or 5 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

Contextual offer

Grades
BBB (more about contextual offers)
Subjects
Mathematics and Physics required.
GCSEs
English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 5. For UK-based students, a grade C or 5 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

IB Diploma

Points
36
Subjects
A score of 17 points in three higher level subjects including Mathematics and Physics, with no score lower than 5.

Contextual offer

Points
32 (more about contextual offers)
Subjects
A score of 15 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:

Equivalent qualification

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.

Pass in Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 18 credits awarded with Distinction in the Level 3 units, the remainder of the credits in the Level 3 units awarded with Merit. Please note, where subject specific requirements are stipulated at A level we may review your Access to HE syllabus to ensure you meet the subject specific requirements prior to a final decision being communicated.

D3,D3,M1 in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects, including Mathematics and Physics.

AAB at Advanced Highers (or AA 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 AAB, including Mathematics and Physics.

International applications

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

UCL 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.

Degree benefits

  • Our department delivers world-leading research embracing the origins and history of life, Earth’s composition and structure, earthquake and volcanic hazards, and past and present climate change, and these are fully integrated within our taught programme.

  • 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 department has one of the highest staff/student ratios in the country, resulting in small classes. Teaching is delivered by all of our research-active staff guaranteeing up-to-the-minute understanding and providing opportunities to take part in cutting-edge research activities.

  • We have recently moved into the renovated Kathleen Lonsdale Building with new, world-class facilities include bespoke teaching laboratories, new microscope facilities and student study areas, all in the heart of the department, next to staff offices and research laboratories.

Accreditation

This programme is accredited by the Geological Society. Undergraduate students may join the Geological 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.

Degree structure

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual modules, normally valued at 15 or 30 credits, adding up to a total of 120 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 30-credit module 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.

Modules

An indicative guide to the structure of this programme, year by year.

Core or compulsory module(s)

Classical Mechanics
Dynamic Earth
Earth Materials
From Petrology to Petrogenesis (including Cornwall fieldwork)
Mathematical Methods I
Mathematical Methods II
Surface Processes (including Dorset/Devon fieldwork)
The Earth

Optional modules

All first-year modules are compulsory.

Core or compulsory module(s)

Electricity and Magnetism
Global Geophysics
Numerical Methods for Earth Sciences
Mathematical Methods III
Structural Geology and Tectonics

Optional modules

You will select 45 credits from the following options:

Maps, Images & Structures 

Geology of the Solar System I (Taught at Birbeck in the evening)

Surface Processes & Structures (Please note that GEOL0015 Maps, Images & Structures is a pre-requisite for this module) 

Igneous Petrology

Principles of Climate 

Isotope Geology 

Geology of the Solar System II (Taught at Birkbeck in the evening)

Any appropriate modules in Physics, Maths, Statistics, Chemistry or Engineering (subject to course conflict)

Core or compulsory module(s)

Field Geophysics (including fieldwork)
Geodynamics and Global Tectonics
Seismology I
Seismology II

Optional modules

You will select 60 credits from the following:

Advanced Geochemistry
Climate and Energy
Crustal Dynamics, Mountain Building and Basin Evolution (including fieldwork)
Earth Resources and Sustainability
Groundwater Science
Marine Geology
Metamorphism and Metamorphic Processes

Ocean Physics and Climate Change

Or any appropriate modules in Physics, Maths, Statistics, Chemistry or Engineering (subject to course conflict)


Covid-19 module updates
Due to COVID-19, there may be updates to the modules for your chosen programme of study this year. Some modules may not be available or may need to be moved to a later term or year of study. These updates are relevant for 2020-21 academic year only.  The full list of modules will be available in the module catalogue from late August.  From the first week of September, you will be invited to complete module selection from Portico, our student record system. There may need to be additional updates or changes to modules during the academic year to allow for new guidance from the UK Government and Public Health England. Your department shall keep you updated of these changes as they become available

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.

Covid-19 field trip updates
Due to COVID-19 updates, there may need to be changes to planned field trips for this programme. This will depend on travel restrictions, social distancing measures, and the availability of the relevant venues. Your department will keep you updated if field trips are able to occur and/or any alternative options available. 
Covid-19 practical component updates
Due to COVID-19, there may be changes to the availability of the practical components for your chosen programme. Any updates relate only to the 20/21 academic year and may not apply to all students across the programme depending on your year of study.  Your department will keep you updated if the practical component of your programme is able to occur and/or any alternative options available.   There may need to be additional updates or changes to the practical component during the academic year to allow for new guidance from the UK Government and/or Public Health England. Your department shall keep you updated of these changes as they become available. 
Covid-19 contact hours on campus
In Term One, while campus will be open, all the learning activity for the core content of your modules will take place online – including lectures, tutorials, seminars and assessments. By “core content” we mean everything you need to learn to complete the module successfully. In addition to these online contact hours, we will be offering some face-to-face educational activities for students on campus, and we will provide alternative online activities for those students unable to join us on campus. These activities, which will include contact with academic staff, will be relevant to your programme of study may include seminars, academic and employability skills workshops, small-group or individual tutorials, lab and practice-based teaching. UK Government safety guidelines will limit the amount of ‘in person’ activity we can offer and while it will vary from programme to programme, is likely to be no more than 1-2 hours per week. This will vary across departments, particularly if your programme includes laboratory/practical/studio/workshop sessions. You will be updated with more specific details as they are available and your timetable will indicate which sessions will be on campus and which will be available online.
Communicating further Covid-19 mitigation plans
We are continuing to follow UK Government guidance, as well as the expertise of our researchers, including specialists in health, education, human behaviour and infection prevention, to make sure UCL is as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. If it becomes necessary to make further changes to your programme as a result of new guidance/regulations, UCL and your department will communicate these as soon as this becomes clear. We will keep you up-to-date with our plans throughout term one, so you have the information you need to be able to take decisions that are right for your circumstances. Please ensure that you keep in touch with your department by regularly checking your UCL emails, Moodle courses, the Coronavirus FAQs for Students page and any UCL online groups or social media you follow.

Assessment

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

Covid-19 assessment updates
There may be changes to the format of assessments for modules in this programme due to COVID-19. These will be summarised for each module on the module catalogue from 17 August 2020.   If any changes to assessments need to be made during the academic year due to updates in government guidance, these will be communicated to you as soon as possible from your department.    

Detailed course descriptions are available on the department website: Geophysics BSc.

Careers

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.

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

Tuition fees

The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2020/21 academic year. The UK/EU fees shown are for the first year of the programme at UCL only. Fees for future years may be subject to an inflationary increase. The Overseas fees shown are the fees that will be charged to 2020/21 entrants for each year of study on the programme, unless otherwise indicated below.

UK/EU students
£9,250 (2020/21)
Overseas students
£28,610 (2020/21)

Full details of UCL's tuition fees, tuition fee policy and potential increases to fees can be found on the UCL Students website.

Additional costs

Students will be required to pay for transportation to overseas field trips and food. (The department covers accommodation and transport costs in the UK.)

Funding

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.

Departmental scholarships

Funding opportunities relevant to the department may appear in this section when they are available. Please check carefully or confirm with the programme contact to ensure they apply to this degree programme.

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

Your application

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 2020



Selection

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 a Post Offer Open Day. This visit will include introductory talks on UCL 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. Instead these applicants will have an opportunity to chat with current students and staff during an online Virtual Open Day.

For further information on UCL's selection process see: Selection of students.


Page last modified on 15 July 2020