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

F640 BSc Geophysical Sciences (3 years)

Explore how physical principles can be applied to processes operating in, on and around our planet, with Southampton’s BSc Geophysical Sciences course.

This three-year degree programme works at the intersection of many sciences including Mathematics, Physics, Astronomy and Geography to help you understand the processes that shape planet Earth.

Introducing your course

Whereas most programmes focus on terrestrial geophysics, Southampton combines this with an expertise in marine geophysics. 

You will deepen your understanding of core tectonic movements, dynamics of the oceans and atmosphere, and the interactions in space between the solar wind and the Earth’s magnetic field.

Geophysics is playing a growing role in industry with many engineering and environmental institutions employing geophysical methods to explore below the Earth’s surface searching for oil, gas and other natural resources. Geophysicists are increasingly involved in monitoring the environment and assessing natural hazards from global processes or engineering projects.

All of our Geophysics programmes are accredited by the Geological Society of London.

Geophysics

Overview

What is this? (More Information) This information is based on historical data and may have been aggregated. Find out more.

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.

Accreditation

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 2017

97% of Geology and Geophysics students were satisfied or very satisfied with the overall quality of their course.

 

 

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:
QualificationGrade
GCE A-level

ABB grade A levels or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University, 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:
Intake:
15-20 (overall intake across all Geophysics courses)
Average applications per place:
5

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.

Modules

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 of your subject area

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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.

Semester One
Compulsory

PHYS1022 Electricity and Magnetism

SOES1001Credit: 15
SOES1008Credit: 15
Semester Two
Compulsory

PHYS1011 Waves, Light and Quanta

SOES1002Credit: 15
Optional

One of the following must be chosen

PHYS1015 Motion and Relativity Semester 1

PHYS1013 Energy and Matter

Year 2

Four optional modules must be chosen from the lists below.

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.

Semester One
Compulsory
SOES3021Credit: 15
SOES3032Credit: 15
Optional
SOES3010Credit: 15
SOES3014Credit: 15

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

NameYear of entryMode of studyUK/EUInternational
BSc Geophysical Sciences2018Full-time£9,250£20,320
View the full list of course fees

Funding

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 addition to this, students registered for this programme typically also have to pay for:

TypeDescriptionCost
Printing and copying Coursework such as essays, projects and dissertations may be submittable online. However, some items will require submission as a printed copy, including some items where it is not possible to submit online Please remember that we are unable to refund any credit that has not been used by the end of your course, so please consider this when topping up your printing/copy account. You will be given a printing allowance towards the costs of printing lecture handouts or you may choose to use digital versions only during lectures. The University Print Centre also offer a printing and copying service as well as a dissertation/binding service. Current printing and copying costs can be found here (https://www.southampton.ac.uk/printcentre/copyrooms/service.page). They also provide a large format printing service, e.g. Academic posters. Current costs can be found here (https://www.southampton.ac.uk/printcentre/exhibition/academicposters.page). £0.05-0.50

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

TypeDescription
StationeryApproved Calculators: Candidates may use calculators in the examination room only as specified by the University and as permitted by the rubric of individual examination papers. The University approved models are Casio FX-570 and Casio FX-85GT Plus. These may be purchased from any source and no longer need to carry the University logo.
StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
EquipmentField Equipment and Materials: Please see Appendix 4.
EquipmentLaboratory Equipment and Materials: Laboratory equipment and consumables will be provided where appropriate. (Please also see Appendix 4).
FieldworkLogistical Costs: Please see Appendix 4.
ClothingLab coats and safety spectacles: Marine Biology students will receive a lab coat, dissection kit and waterproof notebook during Induction. If these are lost the student must replace them at their own expense.
ClothingField course clothing: You will need to wear suitable clothing when attending field courses, e.g. waterproofs, walking boots. You can purchase these from any source.
ClothingWet Suits: You will need to purchase a suitable wet suit and associated snorkelling equipment if participating on SOES6052.
EquipmentData Storage: Students are expected to provide their own data storage device
EquipmentSoftware Licenses: Will be provided by the University where appropriate
EquipmentHardware: It is advisable that students provide their own laptop or personal computer, although shared facilities are available across the University campus.

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 www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.

Appendix 4: Fieldwork and related University contributions and Costs

This appendix covers all programmes offered in Ocean and Earth Science that include fieldwork.

Fieldwork: introduction

Experience of working in the field is an essential part of your learning process and is also widely regarded as valuable in personal development.

Please note that circumstances may dictate that some field-courses are timetabled within part of the vacation period.

For compulsory residential field courses, accommodation and travel are provided (for Independent Geology Mapping a fixed amount is provided to cover these costs for the least expensive area). You are usually expected to cover the costs of food and drink, although some courses may include meals. For optional field courses, students are asked to make a contribution to the travel and/or accommodation costs. Details are provided in the table below.

Please note that if a field course is compulsory for your degree programme and you later move from that degree programme to one where that field course is optional, you will be charged for the cost of that field course. To provide an example: students on the MSci Marine Biology programme undertaking the field course to Bermuda will be charged the full cost of the field course if they later choose to transfer to the BSc Marine Biology degree programme.

In addition to the field courses mentioned in this booklet, there are also one-day field courses associated with specific modules; students are expected to cover food and drink costs for these days, but transport is arranged and paid for by the department. As the department arranges transport, should students wish to make their own way to or from field courses, then they must meet these costs themselves.

Additional Information

SOES3020: Tenerife Field Course

As this is an overseas field course which requires the department to make early flight bookings to minimise costs, students who pre-register for this module will be liable for the full flight costs if they subsequently opt not to take the module.

SOES3025: Independent Geology Mapping

Precise costs depend on specific arrangements made by students and on individual destinations. The department undertakes to cover the costs for accommodation and travel up to the cost of the least expensive destination, and currently provides £500 per student.

SOES6052: Tropical Field Course

This field trip is optional and open only to MSci Marine Biology and MSci Biology with Marine Biology students. Students are expected to fund their travel and to provide their own snorkelling equipment, including 3mm-thick wetsuit. The total cost is currently expected to be no more than £800-900. The department provides full board, IT and lab facilities and course-related travel whilst on Bermuda.

Notes:

Where a student contribution is made, invoices will be issued approximately 2 weeks prior to the start of a field course and payment will be due within 7 days.

Dates and costs are correct at the time of going to press.

Fieldwork equipment 

Geology and Geophysics students

• Geology and Geophysics students will need a minimum amount of field equipment and this is provided by the department. Most will be provided during Induction.

• Geology students receive: compass-clinometer; geological hammer; hand lens; waterproof field notebooks (quantity depends on degree programme); steel tape measure; safety helmet; clip board; safety goggles; bottle for dilute hydrochloric acid; outdoor first aid kit; 3 mapping pens; grain size comparator cards.

• Geophysics students receive: compass-clinometer; hand lens; waterproof field notebooks (quantity depends on degree programme); steel tape measure; safety helmet; clip board; safety goggles; bottle for dilute hydrochloric acid; outdoor first aid kit; 3 mapping pens; grain size comparator cards.

• All Geology and Geophysics students are recommended to purchase the following items: a pair of compasses; set squares; protractor; pencils (including coloured); eraser; University-approved calculator.

• Geology and Geophysics students will also need to provide their own walking boots, waterproof clothing, and a rucksack; some students purchase a ‘Weather writer’ which affords more protection for maps in wet weather.

• Some of the items not included in the induction pack can be purchased from the department/University. Please visit Room 161/05, Level 1, NOCS.

Marine Biology and Oceanography

• Marine Biology students will receive a lab coat, dissection kit and waterproof notebook during Induction.

• Oceanography students will receive a lab coat and waterproof notebook during Induction.

Insurance (travel, medical, personal property and baggage)

Students are automatically insured whilst on University organised field courses undertaken as part of their official studies, including field work.

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.

Breakdown of study time and assessment

Proportion of time spent in scheduled learning, teaching and independent study
Learning, teaching and assessment stage123
Scheduled learning & teaching study36%44%33%
Independent study64%56%67%
Placement study0%0%0%
Proportion of assessment by method
Learning, teaching and assessment stage123
Written exam assessment63%31%25%
Practical exam assessment14%8%18%
Coursework assessment23%61%57%

Study Locations

Waterfront Campus

NOCS (National Oceanography Centre Southampton)

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

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