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Geophysics (Physics)

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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 (Physics) F656
  • Location: Main site
  • Start date: 25 September 2023

Related courses

There are thirteen courses related to Geophysics (Physics) that you might be interested in.

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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 will cover core topics in physics, geophysics, geoscience and mathematics, plus a choice of advanced modules in geophysics. Major features include training in practical geophysics, exploration geophysics (particularly seismology), planetary-scale geophysics and geophysical inverse theory.

High-level training is given in geophysics with supporting physics, providing classical physics training to second year university level, and includes university training in geoscience and mathematics.

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 Physics 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.

What you'll learn

  • Computational physics
  • Dynamics and relativity
  • Thermal physics
  • Properties of matter
  • Structure and plate tectonics
  • Wave phenomena
  • Exploration and environmental geophysics
  • Data modelling
  • Signal processing and seismic analysis

Accreditation

This degree is recognised by the Institute of Physics.

Accreditations in detail

Accreditations

This degree is recognised by the Institute of Physics.

Course content

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

Year one

Students build fundamental skills in maths and physics in year one, with an introduction to core geoscience topics and Earth history. This is supported by an integrated approach to transferable skills conveyed through the tutorial system.

Fieldwork involves:

  • 1 day in North England (Autumn)

Compulsory modules

Study Skills (Geophysics (Physics)) (ENVS106)

Credits: 7.5 / Semester: whole session

This module introduces students to the key skills necessary to succeed on the Geophysics (Physics) course. It does this via a series of lectures, workshops and tutorials, together with a field day and attendance at departmental seminars and talks.

Lectures cover writing skills as well as exam preparation. The workshops cover IT skills. The small-group tutorials are run 3 times each semester to support the lecture and workshop programme. The tutors also undertake personal development planning (PDP) with each tutee. The field day visits a local place of geological interest early in the first semester and provides information for the formative essay.

Attendance at departmental seminars helps students integrate into the department and understand the sorts of research that takes place.

INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTATIONAL PHYSICS (PHYS105)

Credits: 7.5 / Semester: semester 1

​ The "Introduction to computational physics" (Phys105) module is designed to introduce physics students to the use of computational techniques appropriate to the solution of physical problems. No previous computing experience is assumed. During the course of the module, students are guided through a series of structured exercises which introduce them to the Python programming language and help them acquire a range of skills including: plotting data in a variety of ways; simple Monte Carlo techniques; algorithm development; and basic symbolic manipulations. The exercises are based around the content of the first year physics modules, both encouraging students to recognise the relevance of computing to their physics studies and enabling them to develop a deeper understanding of aspects of their first year course.  

Dynamics and Relativity (PHYS101)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

The module provides an overview of Newtonian mechanics, continuing on from A-level courses. This includes: Newton’s laws of motion in linear and rotational circumstances, gravitation and Kepler’s laws of planetary motion. The theory of Relativity is then introduced, starting from a historical context, through Einstein’s postulates, leading to the Lorentz transformations.

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.

Thermal Physics and Properties of Matter (PHYS102)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

Einstein said in 1949 that "Thermodynamics is the only physical theory of universal content which I am convinced, within the areas of applicability of its basic concepts, will never be overthrown." In this module, different aspects of thermal physics are addressed: (i) classical thermodynamics which deals with macroscopic properties, such as pressure, volume and temperature – the underlying microscopic physics is not included; (ii) kinetic theory of gases describes the properties of gases in terms of probability distributions associated with the motions of individual molecules; and (iii) statistical mechanics which starts from a microscopic description and then employs statistical methods to derive macroscopic properties. The laws of thermodynamics are introduced and applied.

EARTH STRUCTURE AND PLATE TECTONICS (ENVS112)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

Module aims:

To introduce students to the structure and composition of the Earth, the Earth’s gravitational and magnetic fields, and dynamics within the deep Earth.

To introduce students to the physics of Earth material and the geological time scale.

To introduce students to plate tectonics.

Foundations of Quantum Physics (PHYS104)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module illustrates how a series of fascinating experiments, some of which physics students will carry out in their laboratory courses, led to the realisation that Newtonian mechanics does not provide an accurate description of physical reality. As is described in the module, this failure was first seen in interactions at the atomic scale and was first seen in experiments involving atoms and electrons. The module shows how Newton’s ideas were replaced by Quantum mechanics, which has been critical to explaining phenomena ranging from the photo-electric effect to the fluctuations in the energy of the Cosmic Microwave Background. The module also explains how this revolution in physicist’s thinking paved the way for developments such as the laser.

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

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
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 £24,100
Fees stated are for the 2022-23 academic year and may rise for 2023-24.

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.

Contextual offers: reduced grade requirements

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Alternative entry requirements

Changes to Geophysics (Physics) 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.