Geology & Geophysics

Earth Science: Geology & Geophysics Programmes

Earth science is the scientific study of our planet Earth; to save our planet we need to understand our planet. Earth sciences includes both geology and geophysics, and at the University of Liverpool in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences, world-leading experts in Earth Science teach a range of programmes in geology and geophysics, including joint degrees with physics and physical geography. These degrees programmes are informed and enriched by our cutting edge research but, most importantly, focus on training students in all the various theory and practical skills they need to go on to careers that directly tackle key societal needs and societal problems.

Why study geology in Liverpool?

Geology is an applied science concerned with understanding the evolution of planet Earth, and using that knowledge to help our society prosper through wise and careful use of finite resources. Challenges that University of Liverpool geologists are trained to help tackle include mitigation of risks in cities built on volcanoes or fault zones, discovery of new Earth resources to support and enrich growing populations in a sustainable way, and understanding and predicting how the developing climate crisis is likely to impact on society. To do this, geology integrates and applies all of the basic sciences to comprehend the Earth System on all scales. Two aspects of geology that are particularly valuable to our graduates are an appreciation of deep time that provides a uniquely useful viewpoint on our dynamic Earth, how it has changed, and how it is likely to change in the future, and an ability to draw conclusions and make decisions with only limited information and uncertainty. These skills make a geology degree superb training for careers in many areas; geology graduates use their transferable skills to work in careers ranging from resource geologists, to environmental consultant, to landscape architect, and from teaching to company CEO. 

Why study geophysics in Liverpool?

Geophysics uses theory and methods from physics to investigate the fundamental structure and evolution of our planet and, increasingly, the other planets. Geophysics, like geology, is a subject that plays a key role helping our society prosper through wise and careful use of finite resources. 

Geophysics differs from geology because it has more focus on application of physics to do this, especially through the use of remote sensing methods that exploit the fundamental physics of heat, waves and fields to construct images of the Earth’s interior structure, both shallow and deep. These remote-sensing methods provide powerful information about how the internal processes of the Earth work, and how they affect us at the surface, for example through recording seismic waves created by earthquakes or by human activity, to help predict how likely earthquakes are to happen again in any particular location, or even to detect illegal testing of nuclear weapons.