About this course
At Southampton, Geophysics is a wide-ranging degree, which combines many of the sciences. We have strong links with industry, excellent facilities and offer many fieldwork opportunities. You'll graduate with the knowledge and skills needed to pursue a career in anything from oil and gas exploration to offshore surveys. You'll spend a year abroad at one of our partner institutions and boost your employability.
Geophysics is the science of applying physical principles to help us understand our world. It works at the intersection of many different science disciplines, including:
At Southampton, you'll learn about current geophysics and gain a range of geophysical, geological and mathematical skills. These include practical field skills and computer programming.
This wide-ranging course is one of only a few in the UK that combines terrestrial and marine geophysics.
You can shape the course to your personal interests or career plans by choosing options that explore subjects like:
our unique seafloor surveying module
You'll spend a semester at one of our partner universities abroad, including the USA, Norway, Netherlands and Australia. You can experience a new culture, teaching approach and different modules.
As part of this course you can:
study in a world-leading research institution, National Oceanography Centre Southampton (NOCS)
access superb, industry-standard facilities, including the National Oceanographic Library and 150 laboratories
develop your mapping skills, geophysical survey experience, data acquisition and analytical techniques on residential field courses in the UK and abroad
benefit from our many links to geophysical and geological companies
Accreditation by The Geological Society of London means that our teaching is of the highest quality and has been approved by an independent body of academics and industrialists.
You can download the course details, including modules, in the programme specificationPDF opens in a new window.
Location and awarding body
International Baccalaureate Career Programme (IBCP) offer
Please see the University of Southampton International Baccalaureate Career-Related Programme (IBCP) StatementPDF opens in a new window (PDF, 62.17 KB) for further information.
Applicants are advised to contact their Faculty Admissions Office for more information.
Scottish Qualification offers
Offers will be based on exams being taken at the end of S6. Subjects taken and qualifications achieved in S5 will be reviewed. Careful consideration will be given to an individual’s academic achievement, taking in to account the context and circumstances of their pre-university education. Please see the University of Southampton’s Curriculum for Excellence Scotland Statement (PDF, 111.01 KB) for further information. Applicants are advised to contact their Faculty Admissions Office for more information.
Find a list of accepted international qualifications listed by country.
This is a list of the international qualifications that are recognised by the University of Southampton. If you are not sure that your qualifications meet the requirements of this course please contact our Admissions Teams.
Other ways to qualify
You might meet our criteria in other ways if you do not have the qualifications we need. Find out more about:
our Access to Southampton scheme for students living permanently in the UK (including residential summer school, application support and scholarship)
skills you might have gained through work or other life experiences (otherwise known as recognition of prior learning)
Find out more about our Admissions Policy.
Within the modular system, this Geophysics degree will let you develop your interests, and apply physics to studying the Earth's systems or even other planets.
In your third year, you will study a variety of advanced modules at one of our partner institutions abroad. You'll return to Southampton to complete your studies in your fourth year.
A major part of all our degree programmes is the research project. Students can collaborate with their former overseas host university for their project.
You'll gain the core mathematical knowledge needed for geoscientists, and skills for scientists in general. You'll examine:
the earth and matter
You'll have a choice of optional modules.
You'll extend your knowledge and skills through fieldwork. You'll study structural geology and get an introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Optional modules will let you follow your own interests from classical mechanics to a deep exploration of oceanography. You can also study structural geology and the origin, structure and composition of igneous and metamorphic rocks.
You'll do your third year at one of our oversease partner institutions. Options include:
Pennsylvania State University, United States
University of Bergen, Norway
James Cook University, Australia
You'll study a variety of advanced modules, which often focus on research methods and fieldwork.
During the summer holiday before year 3, you'll complete a Geophysics field course.
You'll undertake an individual research project on a topic of your choosing. A member of staff will help you decide on a topic and give you ongoing supervision.
You'll also choose from a range of specialised optional modules.
The Barrel Award module is a team project to compete in an international competition. It is organised by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.
Want more detail? See all the modules in the course.
Modules year 1
You must take the following compulsory modules in year 1:
- Key Skills for Geoscientists
- Earth Materials
- Waves, Light and Quanta
- Dynamic Earth
- Mathematical Methods for Scientists 1a
- Electricity and Magnetism
- Math Methods for Scientist 1b
- Earth and Ocean System
You can choose from the following optional modules in year 1:
Modules year 2
You must take the following compulsory modules in year 2:
- Structural Geology and GIS
- Physics, Fieldwork & Key Skills for Geophysicists
- Mathematical Methods for Scientists
- Exploration Geophysics and Remote Sensing
You can choose from the following optional modules in year 2:
Modules year 3
You must take the following compulsory modules in year 3:
Modules year 4
You must take the following compulsory modules in year 4:
You can choose from the following optional modules in year 4:
Learning and assessment
The learning activities for this course include the following:
- classes and tutorials
- individual and group projects
- independent learning (studying on your own)
Support for your studies
You'll be supported by a personal academic tutor and have access to a senior tutor.
Timothy Henstock is the course leader.
How we’ll assess you
We’ll assess you using:
- coursework, laboratory reports and essays
- individual and group projects
- oral presentations
- written and practical exams
There is a shortage of geophysicists around the world, so you'll be well placed to gain employment with a wide variety of global companies when you graduate. This could include roles such as:
traditional energy exploration
offshore surveys for wind farms
assessing hazards related to submarine cables
Unique modules such as Seafloor Surveying will give you skills that are in high demand for offshore engineering work, such as wind farms and cable installation.
You'll be prepared to work in areas such as:
marine geophysical survey
The degree is also a good foundation for study and research at postgraduate level.
We host an annual careers fair at the National Oceanography Centre. It is attended by over 25 key employers all looking for Southampton graduates.
Careers services at Southampton
We are a top 20 UK university for employability (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2019). Our Careers and Employability Service will support you throughout your time as a student and for up to 5 years after graduation. This support includes:
work experience schemes
CV and interview skills and workshops
careers fairs attended by top employers
a wealth of volunteering opportunities
study abroad and summer school opportunities
We have a vibrant entrepreneurship culture and our dedicated start-up supporter, Futureworlds, is open to every student.
Work in industry
You’ll have the opportunity to take a paid year in employment between your second and third year.
Fees, costs and funding
You'll pay £9,250 in tuition fees for the academic year 2020 to 2021. This fee might change for further years of your course.
International student fees
You’ll pay £20,970 each year. This fee will stay the same throughout your studies.
What your fees pay for
Your tuition fees pay for the full cost of tuition and all examinations.
Find out how to:
Extra costs you might have to pay
- Fieldwork: logistical costs
- Approved Calculators
- Field Equipment and Materials
- Printing and Photocopying Costs
- Software Licenses
- Computer discs or USB drives
- Laboratory Equipment and Materials
See the full list of extra items and costs in the programme specificationPDF opens in a new window 2020 to 2021.
Accommodation and living costs, such as travel and food, are not included in your tuition fees. Explore:
Bursaries, scholarships and other funding
If you're a UK or EU student and your household income is under £25,000 a year, you may be able to get a University of Southampton bursary to help with your living costs. Find out about bursaries and other funding we offer at Southampton.
If you're a care leaver or estranged from your parents, you may be able to get a specific bursary.
Get in touch for advice about student money matters.
Scholarships and grants
You may be able to get a scholarship or grant that's linked to your chosen subject area.
We award scholarships and grants for travel, academic excellence, or to students from underrepresented backgrounds.
Support during your course
The Student Services Centre offers support and advice on money to students. You may be able to access our Student Support fund and other sources of financial support during your course.
Funding for international students
Find out about funding you could get as an international student.
Life at Southampton
The University offers a friendly, diverse and welcoming home for you while you study. You'll work, live and socialise with students from more than 130 countries.
Clubs, societies and facilities
Our campuses have:
cafes and restaurants
a post office
Our sports facilities include a 25-metre swimming pool, a gym with 140 fitness stations, squash courts, a bouldering wall, outdoor pitches and much more. There are over 80 sports clubs you could join, and activity classes including yoga and spin.
We have an internationally known theatre, concert hall, art gallery and cinema showing everything from mainstream blockbusters to international arthouse classics. You could perform at a gig, concert or show, take part in an exhibition or join a writers’ workshop. Find out more about arts and culture at Southampton.
Whatever your passion or community, you can find like-minded people at one of the Students’ Union clubs and societies. There are more than 200 to join, and social activities in every hall of residence.
Support while you study
We aim to help you deal with any problems you might come across, so you can make the most of your time at university. We offer support with:
mental health, learning difficulties and disability
money and accommodation
computers and IT
How to apply
When you apply use:
UCAS Course Code: F661
UCAS Institution Code: S27
What happens after you apply
We will assess your application on the strength of your:
- predicted grades
- academic achievements
- personal statement
- academic reference
We aim to respond to you within 2 to 6 weeks with a decision about your application.
We treat and select everyone in line with our Equality and Diversity Statement.