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Undergraduate prospectus 2021

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Geophysics MSci

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

For the most up-to-date advice and information concerning UCL's response to the coronavirus outbreak please go to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) information pages. There is a Frequently Asked Questions section for prospective students and schools.

Key Information

Programme starts

September 2021
UCAS code
F663
Duration
Full-time: 4 years
Accreditation
Geological Society of London
Application deadline
15 January 2021
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 (top 20 in Times Higher Education 2020 World rankings by subject) 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 technique of ground penetrating radar (GPR), a new magnetometer/gradiometer (for archaeological and environmental surveys) and new, modern seismics.

  • The department scored 100% for overall satisfaction in the 2019 National Student Survey.  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 and fourth years 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 first three years of the MSci programme are identical to the BSc programme. However, the additional fourth year of the MSci allows for a major individual research project and advanced optional modules, providing extra depth and breadth of knowledge.

Upon successful completion of 480 credits, you will be awarded a MSci (Hons) in Geophysics.

Modules

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.

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.

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:

Igneous Petrology
Isotope Geology
Maps, Images and Structures (including fieldwork)
Surface Processes and Structures (including fieldtrip)
Principles of Climate

or any appropriate modules in Physics, Maths, Statistics or Chemistry

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 Betics fieldwork)
Earth Resources and Sustainability
Groundwater Science
Marine Geology
Ocean Physics and Climate Change

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

Compulsory module(s)

Earth and Planetary System Science (including fieldwork)
Independent MSci Project

Optional modules

You will select 60 credits from the following:

Deep Earth and Planetary Modelling
Earth and Planetary Materials
Earthquake Seismology and Earthquake Hazards
Melting and Volcanism
Physical Volcanology and Volcanic Hazard
Tectonic Geomorphology

You may take up to 30 credits outside the department.


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 sometimes an oral examination.

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

Accessibility

Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

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 2021/22 academic year. The UK 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 2021/22 entrants for each year of study on the programme, unless otherwise indicated below.

UK students
£9,250 (2021/22)
Overseas students
£31,200 (2021/22)

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

The department makes a substantial contribution towards fieldwork costs (ranging between £150-800 per student per trip), covering all accommodation and in-field transportation for all fieldwork which is organised by the department. The majority of the fieldtrips include breakfast and/or dinner. Some fieldtrips in the second year are self-catered.  Students are expected to cover their transportation to and from the beginning of the field location for some of the 2nd and 3rd year non-UK field trips (cost of a return flight/train or bus), at an estimated cost of £200-£400.Costs for years 1-3 are the same as for the coresponding BSc.  In the fourth year, there is a 4-day trip to Germany.  Students are expected to cover their transport to Germany (~£150). In-field transportation and accommodation (half-board) are covered by the department, so students are expected to cover lunches (~£50).

A guide including rough estimates for these and other living expenses is included on the UCL Fees and funding pages. If you are concerned by potential additional costs for books, equipment, etc., please get in touch with the relevant departmental contact (details given on this page).

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 2021



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 thse 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.


UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.


Page last modified on 28 September 2020