The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre SouthamptonUndergraduate study

F640 BSc Geophysical Sciences (3 yrs)

Geophysics explores how physical principles can be applied to study processes operating in, on and around our planet, such as motion within its core tectonic movements, dynamics of the oceans and atmosphere, and the interactions in space between the solar wind and the Earth’s magnetic field.

At a practical level, engineers employ geophysical methods to explore below the Earth’s surface in the search for oil, gas and other natural resources as well as for scientific investigation. Increasingly, geophysicists are involved in monitoring the environment and assessing natural hazards, whether global or connected with specific engineering projects.

Introducing your course

This is the course page for BSc Geophysical Sciences at the University of Southampton. Find out everything about Geophysical Sciences and what studying here involves.

In this course page we explain a range of key information about the course. This includes typical entry requirements, modules you can take and how assessment works. We also suggest career opportunities open to you as a University of Southampton graduate of BSc Geophysical Sciences.

If you still have questions, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to answer any enquiries. See our contact us page for our telephone, email and address information.


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This degree in geophysics programme has been designed to provide comprehensive training in geophysics. The modular system will provide you with extensive knowledge of all of the fundamental aspects. You will have the opportunity to tailor your degree to your own requirements by choosing options in particular areas of the subject, ranging from seafloor exploration to tides and waves within the oceans, or studying the Earth from satellites, with further options available in maths, physics and archaeology.

View the programme specification document for this course

To Apply

All undergraduate applications should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Click on the 'How to Apply' tab on the navigation menu for detailed information on how to apply including deadline dates or click here to go directly through to the UCAS website.


The Geological Society of London

Key Facts

A recent British Geophysical Association study identified geophysics as a subject area with considerable employment potential for talented graduates.

The programme has strong links to industry, through a combination of summer placements, one year industry placements and the opportunity to undertake research work on real industry data in year three.

The National Student Survey 2015

  • 96% geophysics students agreed or strongly agreed that staff are good at explaining things
  • 100% geophysics students agreed or strongly agreed that the library resources and services are good enough for my needs
  • 98% geophysics students agreed or strongly agreed that they have been able to access general IT resources when needed
Thumbnail photo of James Adcock

“Your degree from Ocean and Earth Science means that you have been taught well and gained a sound base from an internationally recognised institution to build upon in your chosen career. ”

James Adcock - BSc Geophysical Sciences

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

A Levels:
GCE A-level

ABB grade A levels or equivalent, to include Maths and Physics.

Other qualifications:

Please click here to find out about other qualifications

English Language

For details of our English Language entry requirements please see here

Selection process:
15-20 (overall intake across all Geophysics courses)
Average applications per place:

We will consider your geophysics degree applications as soon as possible after it arrives at the University. In selecting applicants, we use the information provided on the UCAS form to determine whether you have the potential to flourish within Ocean and Earth Science.

Candidates who are predicted to attain our standard degree offers will be invited to visit the  University and the waterside campus. During this visit, you will meet with one of our academic staff to discuss the offer and explore how your interests and aspirations fit with the course. This formal interview also gives us the opportunity to get to know you.

Contextual Offers

The University of Southampton is committed to widening participation and ensuring that all students with the potential to succeed, regardless of their background, are encouraged to apply to study with us. The additional information gained through contextual data supports our admissions teams to recognise a student’s potential to succeed in the context of their background and experience. Students flagged in this way will be given additional consideration and not be rejected solely on the basis of their predicted (or actual) grades.

Please see our contextual admissions pages for more information.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.


Typical course content

Within the modular system, this geophysics degree programme will allow you to develop your interests in broadly applying physics to the study of the Earth or other planets.

Innovation modules outside your subject area

Our Curriculum Innovation Programme offers you the chance to take optional modules outside your chosen subject area. This allows you to personalise your education, to develop new skills and knowledge for your future. Modules range from "Living and working on the web" to "Business skills for employability".

View the Curriculum Innovation modules for this course

Learn a language

Some of our courses also give you the option of taking a language module, which can count towards your degree. These modules cover ten languages and range from absolute beginner to near-native speaker level.

View the language modules on offer for this course

Year 1

To ensure that a through grounding in the basic sciences is obtained, in year one students take physics, geology and mathematics modules. All modules are compulsory.

Year 3

The third year includes five modules in core Geophysical topics, with a wide range of options for the other modules. Two optional modules must be chosen from the lists below. You may choose to do a more traditional solid earth geophysics degree, or to include a significant emphasis on oceanography, climate, or planetary and solar system science.

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

Course fees for 2016/17 full-time UK and EU undergraduate students are typically £9,000 per year. Tuition fees for international students differ between each course. Most part-time courses cost 50% of the full-time fee.

View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Career Opportunities

The strength and prestige of our geophysics degree will open doors to a wide range of employment opportunities. Potential employers view graduates of our Ocean and Earth Science programmes as superbly qualified scientists with excellent personal and transferable skills in numeracy, communication and team working.

At a practical level, engineers employ geophysical methods to explore below the Earth’s surface in the search for oil, gas and other natural resources, as well as for archaeological investigation.

Increasingly, geophysicists are involved in monitoring the environment and assessing natural hazards, whether global or connected with specific engineering projects.

If you have the drive and ambition, and a love for geophysical sciences, the career opportunities once you graduate with your degree in geophysics are enormous.

Among our graduates is James Adcock, now senior geophysicist for a company specialising in shallow and archaeological geophysics. He works behind the scenes, and occasionally on-screen, on the Channel 4 programme Time Team. "I have specialised in one area, called GPR (ground penetrating radar) but use all of the techniques initially learnt at Southampton in the work I undertake," he said.

Learning & Assessment

Ocean and Earth Science is strongly committed to providing the very best learning experience to all our students in a friendly and stimulating environment. We are known nationally and internationally for our excellence in teaching, and are continually improving the scope and delivery of our activities

On arrival at the University all geophysics degree students are assigned a personal tutor from the academic staff, who provides help and encouragement throughout the degree course and beyond, into industrial or academic careers and research opportunities. Each degree programme is a stimulating mix of lectures, practical classes, field work and tutorials, supported by computer-aided learning, and independent study. You will acquire an in-depth understanding of the fundamental principles and modern concepts within your chosen subject, as well as a good personal and transferable skills profile. The fully modular course structure allows you maximum flexibility for specialisation according to your own interests.

As part of the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS), Ocean and Earth Science has a strong reputation for research-led teaching. World-leading research carried out by academic staff provides direct and enthusiastic input into a challenging and stimulating teaching programme. There is unique opportunity for students to undertake research projects with other NOCS scientists.

Study Locations

NOCS (National Oceanography Centre Southampton)

Ocean and Earth Science is based at the world-renowed National Oceanog...Find out more

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