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Geophysics (Geology)

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Ready to apply? You can apply for this course online now using the UCAS website. The deadline for UK students to apply for this course is 25 January 2023.

The deadline for international students is 30 June 2023.

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Use these details to apply for this course through UCAS:

  • University name: University of Liverpool
  • Course: Geophysics (Geology) F640
  • Location: Main site
  • Start date: 25 September 2023

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Bachelor of Science

Bachelor of Science (BSc) is a bachelor’s degree awarded for an undergraduate programme in the sciences.

Course overview

Discover how planet Earth works and how we use physics to image its static and dynamic subsurface, from inner core to crust.

Introduction

This programme provides training in the principles and practice of geophysics with an emphasis on pure and practical physics.

The programme covers core topics in geology, geophysics and physics, plus a choice of advanced modules in geophysics. Major features include training in practical/applied geophysics, exploration geophysics (particularly seismology), planetary-scale geophysics and geophysical inverse theory.

This degree provides high-level training in geophysics with supporting geology, and includes fundamental university training in physics and mathematics. You don’t need to have studied geology before, and this degree therefore opens up a range of careers in geoscience. The programme provides particularly strong opportunities for careers in interpretation and processing of geophysical data (environmental, engineering, and exploration geophysics), and research areas related to geological applications.

Fieldwork currently involves field areas in Wales, Spain and Tenerife. You will work within one of our research groups to undertake a significant geophysical research project in your final year. This provides excellent training in research methodology for an academic or industrial research career.‌

Upon completion of your first year, it is possible to transfer to a Geology degree at the end of year one.

A number of the School’s degree programmes involve laboratory and field work. Fieldwork is carried out in various locations, ranging from inner city to coastal and mountainous environments. We consider applications from prospective disabled students on the same basis as all other students, and reasonable adjustments will be considered to address barriers to access.

A number of the School’s degree programmes involve laboratory and field work. Fieldwork is carried out in various locations, ranging from inner city to coastal and mountainous environments. We consider applications from prospective disabled students on the same basis as all other students, and reasonable adjustments will be considered to address barriers to access.

What you'll learn

  • Sedimentary rocks and fossils
  • Geoscience and earth history
  • Earth structure and plate tectonics
  • Structural geology
  • Field mapping techniques
  • Seismology and computing
  • Signal processing and seismic analysis

Accreditation

This degree is accredited by the Geological Society of London, satisfying the requirements of Fellowship and Chartered Geologist status.

Accreditations in detail

Accreditations

This degree is accredited by the Geological Society of London, satisfying the requirements of Fellowship and Chartered Geologist status.

Course content

Discover what you'll learn, what you'll study, and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Year one

A strong feature of year one is the acquisition of fundamental skills in maths, geology and geoscience, supported by an integrated approach to transferable skills conveyed through the tutorial system.

Fieldwork involves:

  • 1 day in North England (Autumn)
  • 8 days in Pembrokeshire (Easter)

Compulsory modules

Study Skills and GIS (Earth Science) (ENVS101)

Credits: 15 / Semester: whole session

This module introduces students to the key skills necessary to succeed on a University Earth Science course. It does this via a series of lectures, workshops, and tutorials, together with a geology fieldwork day and attendance at departmental seminars and talks. The lectures, towards the start of the firt semester, cover academic integrity, exam skills, employability and 2D/3D visualisation. Tailored workshops cover Geographical Information Systems (GIS), Word, Excel and programming skills. Small-group (typically 4 to 8 students) tutorials are run by academic staff and cover essay writing, careers and employability. Students receive formative feedback on a practice essay in the first semester before completing one that is summatively assessed, set in the second semester. Academic tutors undertake personal development planning (PDP, i.e. careers and module selection advice) with each tutee. It is recomended that all students attend departmental seminars and the annual Herdman (student-led) conference as these help students integrate into the department and understand the sorts of research and applied activity that takes place.

Sedimentary Rocks and Fossils (ENVS118)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

​This module provides a basic introduction to sedimentology and palaeontology. Students learn about the origin of sediment, sedimentary processes and structures and the ways in which sediments are converted into solid rock. The course outlines the importance of sedimentary rocks for hydrocarbons, water and as construction materials. Students learn how to describe and interpret sedimentary deposits.

The palaeontology component introduces students to the major fossil groups and to the ways in which  organisms can be preserved as fossils. It covers the importance of fossils for the study of evolution, environmental change and earth history. Students learn how to describe fossils and how observations contribute to a broader understanding.

Students will be assessed by means of two practical tests and a theory examination.

Mathematics for Physicists I (PHYS107)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

​This module aims to provide all students with a common foundation in mathematics, necessary for studying the physical sciences and maths courses in later semesters. All topics will begin "from the ground up" by revising ideas which may be familiar from A-level before building on these concepts. In particular, the basic principles of differentiation and integration will be practised, before extending to functions of more than one variable.

Introduction to Field Geology (ENVS109)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This field module provides a basic training in field techniques and gives students practical experience working with a wide range of rock types and tectonic structures to solve geological problems. Students gain experience in recording field data and use their own data to interpret geological processes and environments. 
The module is assessed by means of an individual fieldwork portfolio, and a group synthesis poster completed after the field class.

Earth Structure and Plate Tectonics (ENVS112)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

The “Earth structure and plate tectonics” module provides an introduction to the Earth and aim to teach students about:
1) the structure and composition of the Earth, the Earth’s gravitational and magnetic fields, and dynamics within the deep Earth;
2) the physics of Earth material and the geological time scale; and
3) plate tectonics.

Introduction to Structural Geology and Geological Maps (ENVS156)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module introduces a key subject within Earth Sciences, Structural Geology and Geological Mapping. In this module you will be introduced to geological structures from the micro to the mountain scale, and receive training in the geometrical techniques used to document and analyse them. You will also learn the basic principles of stress and strain which underpin a number of advanced Earth Science subjects and skills used in industry and research. Finally, the module will provide training in how to read and understand geological maps, and train your 3D visualisation skills by learning how to create geological cross-sections from maps, and how to stereographically plot 3D geological data. A combination of virtual lectures, practical skill development sessions, discussion sessions, and directed reading will help you navigate this important Earth Sciences topic. You will be assessed on the development of your practical skills through an end-of-semester open book practical exam, and you will write an individual research paper on a specific topic in structural geology.

MATHEMATICS FOR PHYSICISTS II (PHYS108)

Credits: 15 / Semester: second semester

​This module introduces some of the mathematical techniques used in physics. For example, matrices, differential equations, vector calculus and series are discussed. The ideas are first presented in lectures and then the put into practice in problems classes, with support from demonstrators and the module lecturer. When you have finished this module, you should: Be able to manipulate matrices and use matrix methods to solve simultaneous linear equations. Be familiar with methods for solving first and second order differential equations in one variable. Have a basic knowledge of vector algebra. Have a basic understanding of series, in particular of Fourier series and transforms.

Earth Materials (ENVS185)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module will introduce and develop understanding of rock-forming minerals, and other key Earth materials in terms of their environments of formation, occurrence, and abundance. The module will focus on exploring the uses and societal significance of a range of Earth materials, especially those most important for providing sustainable and renewable energy resources and various societal infrastructure. The key practical skill of mineral description, identification and interpretation will be developed and applied throughout the module, to equip students with appropriate skills for many later geoscience modules.

Programme details and modules listed are illustrative only and subject to change.

Our curriculum

The Liverpool Curriculum framework sets out our distinctive approach to education. Our teaching staff support our students to develop academic knowledge, skills, and understanding alongside our graduate attributes:

  • Digital fluency
  • Confidence
  • Global citizenship

Our curriculum is characterised by the three Liverpool Hallmarks:

  • Research-connected teaching
  • Active learning
  • Authentic assessment

All this is underpinned by our core value of inclusivity and commitment to providing a curriculum that is accessible to all students.

Course options

Studying with us means you can tailor your degree to suit you. Here's what is available on this course.

Global Opportunities

University of Liverpool students can choose from an exciting range of study placements at partner universities worldwide.

What's available on this course?

Year in China

Immerse yourself in Chinese culture on an optional additional year at Xi'an Jiaotong Liverpool University in stunning Suzhou.

  • Learn Chinese
  • Study in a bustling world heritage city
  • Improve employment prospects
  • Study Chinese culture
  • 30 minutes from Shanghai
  • Learn new skills

Read more about Year at XJTLU, China

Language study

Every student at The University of Liverpool can study a language as part of, or alongside their degree. You can choose:

  • A dedicated languages degree
  • A language as a joint or major/ minor degree
  • Language modules (selected degrees)
  • Language classes alongside your studies

Read more about studying a language

Study as a Master's degree

This course is also available as a four year MESci programme.

View Geology and Geophysics MESci

Your experience

Teaching takes place through lectures, practicals, workshops, seminars, tutorials and fieldwork, with an emphasis on learning through doing.

Virtual tour

What students say...

Easily the best thing about my course is the field work, I’ve been to Scotland, Wales, Ireland, the Alps. In January, I go to Tenerife – when we get to use all the geophysical equipment you’d use in a job.

Jamie Richardson, MESci Geology and Geophysics

Careers and employability

The programme is particularly strong for careers in geophysical data analysis, and research areas related to global geophysics and planetary science.

89.5% of environmental sciences students are in work and/or further study 15 months after graduation.

Discover Uni, 2018-19.

There has never been a better time to study Earth sciences. Many of the fundamental questions of our times will be answered by geoscientists, as we seek to provide sustainable resources for the world’s population, as well as predict and mitigate climate change and natural hazards by building a better understanding of the planet on which we live.

The majority of our recent graduates have gained employment within a degree-related field or continued within further education after graduation. We have close links with geoscience and environmental industries ensuring that our degrees properly equip you for future employment. The truly interdisciplinary nature of our degrees additionally makes graduates in Earth sciences highly sought after by other employment sectors.

Recent employers

  • Geological Surveys in the UK and abroad
  • Hydrocarbon and support industries: ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, Geotrace, Geokinetics, Neftex, Robertson, Deloitte, CGG, Osiris, PGS
  • Engineering and environmental consultancies: The Environment Agency, Environmental Resources Management, URS Corporation, Caulmert Ltd, VerdErg Renewables, RSK Geophysics, RSK Environment, Geomaterials, Fugro
  • Mining and related industries: Gold Fields, Rio Tinto, Cliffs Natural Resources, Geological Solutions, Hanson Aggregate Marine Ltd, Aggregate Industries.

Preparing you for future success

At Liverpool, our goal is to support you to build your intellectual, social, and cultural capital so that you graduate as a socially-conscious global citizen who is prepared for future success. We achieve this by:

  • Embedding employability within your , through the modules you take and the opportunities to gain real-world experience offered by many of our courses.
  • Providing you with opportunities to gain experience and develop connections with people and organisations, including student and graduate employers as well as our global alumni.
  • Providing you with the latest tools and skills to thrive in a competitive world, including access to Handshake, a platform which allows you to create your personalised job shortlist and apply with ease.
  • Supporting you through our peer-to-peer led Careers Studio, where our career coaches provide you with tailored advice and support.

Fees and funding

Your tuition fees, funding your studies, and other costs to consider.

Tuition fees

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching and assessment, operating facilities such as libraries, IT equipment, and access to academic and personal support. Learn more about tuition fees, funding and student finance.

UK fees
Also applies to Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland
Full-time place, per year £9,250
Year in industry fee £1,850
Year abroad fee £1,385
International fees
Full-time place, per year £25,350
Year in industry fee £1,850
Year abroad fee £12,675
Fees stated are for the 2023-24 academic year.

Additional costs

We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This includes costs for a lab coat, geological field kit, and sustenance during compulsory field trips.

Find out more about the additional study costs that may apply to this course.

Additional study costs

We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This includes costs for a lab coat, geological field kit, and sustenance during compulsory field trips.

Students should expect to cover the following costs.

Lab coat- approximately £10-20. Students are advised to purchase a lab coat before the start of their studies. The first lab practical will take place in teaching week one and all students are required to wear a lab coat.

Geological field kit – £69.50. Students are advised to purchase the recommended field kit from the School’s online shop before the start of their studies. Field kits will also be available on campus at the start of the semester. The field kit contains:

  • Compass clinometer
  • Helmet
  • Hand lens
  • Stereonet
  • Michel-Levy chart
  • Hi-vis jacket
  • Grain size card
  • Large, clear plastic bag
  • Whistle

Project/dissertation costs – the School may provide a budget of up to £200 for certain field or lab-based projects. Desk-based projects receive no budget from the School.

Compulsory field courses – students will undertake compulsory field courses in years one, two and three. The School will normally cover the cost of accommodation and travel for these courses. Students are required to cover sustenance (food and drinks) costs.

Geophysics (North America) programme only- additional costs of year three in North America are around £1,500‐ £2,000 (costs will vary according to the type of accommodation, flights etc). £600 travel bursary available from the University.

Find out more about additional study costs.

Scholarships and bursaries

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to help cover tuition fees and help with living expenses while at university.

Scholarships and bursaries you can apply for from the United Kingdom

Entry requirements

The qualifications and exam results you'll need to apply for this course.

My qualifications are from: United Kingdom.

Your qualification Requirements

About our typical entry requirements

A levels

ABB

Applicants with the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) are eligible for a reduction in grade requirements. For this course, the offer is BBB with A in the EPQ.

You may automatically qualify for reduced entry requirements through our contextual offers scheme.

If you don't meet the entry requirements, you may be able to complete a foundation year which would allow you to progress to this course.

Available foundation years:

GCSE 4/C in English and 4/C in Mathematics
Subject requirements

Mathematics and Physics A level. For applicants from England: For science A levels that include the separately graded practical endorsement, a "Pass" is required.

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma

D*DD in relevant Diploma.

International Baccalaureate

33 points with no score less than 4, inc. Higher Level Mathematics and Physics

Irish Leaving Certificate H1, H2, H2, H2, H3, H3 including H2 or above in Mathematics and Physics
Scottish Higher/Advanced Higher

Not accepted without Advanced Highers at ABB including Maths and Physics

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Acceptable at grade B including Mathematics and Physics A Levels with grades AB
Access Considered if taking a relevant subject. 45 Level 3 credits in graded units, including 30 at Distinction and a further 15 with at least Merit. 15 Distinctions are required in each of Mathematics and Physics. GCSE English and Mathematics grade C/4 or above also required.
International qualifications

Many countries have a different education system to that of the UK, meaning your qualifications may not meet our entry requirements. Completing your Foundation Certificate, such as that offered by the University of Liverpool International College, means you're guaranteed a place on your chosen course.

Contextual offers: reduced grade requirements

Based on your personal circumstances, you may automatically qualify for up to a two-grade reduction in the entry requirements needed for this course. When you apply, we consider a range of factors – such as where you live – to assess if you’re eligible for a grade reduction. You don’t have to make an application for a grade reduction – we’ll do all the work.

Find out more about how we make reduced grade offers.

About our entry requirements

Our entry requirements may change from time to time both according to national application trends and the availability of places at Liverpool for particular courses. We review our requirements before the start of the new UCAS cycle each year and publish any changes on our website so that applicants are aware of our typical entry requirements before they submit their application.

Recent changes to government policy which determine the number of students individual institutions may admit under the student number control also have a bearing on our entry requirements and acceptance levels, as this policy may result in us having fewer places than in previous years.

We believe in treating applicants as individuals, and in making offers that are appropriate to their personal circumstances and background. For this reason, we consider a range of factors in addition to predicted grades, widening participation factors amongst other evidence provided. Therefore the offer any individual applicant receives may differ slightly from the typical offer quoted in the prospectus and on the website.

Alternative entry requirements

Changes to Geophysics (Geology) BSc (Hons)

See what updates we've made to this course since it was published. We document changes to information such as course content, entry requirements and how you'll be taught.

7 June 2022: New course pages

New course pages launched.