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Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre SouthamptonUndergraduate study

GG89 MSci Geophysics and Geology

Our MSci Geophysics and Geology course will give you broad knowledge of contemporary geophysics and a range of geophysical, geological and mathematical skills, including excellent field skills and computer programming. You will gain an in-depth understanding of geological processes that have shaped the Earth over the past four billion years, and how physical principles can be applied to study processes operating in, on and around our planet.

Apply nowThis course has places available in Clearing.

Introducing your degree

We will give you access to fantastic facilities including Europe's largest Earth and marine sciences library, cutting-edge labs and teaching equipment as well as learning from leading academics in their field. You will graduate with the field-based research skills to support careers at the cutting edge of geology and geophysics.

All of our geoscience degree courses are accredited by The Geological Society of London, meaning our teaching is of the highest quality and has been approved by an independent body of academics and industrialists.

Photo of Lucy Cook
The highlights have definitely got to be the field trips where you apply all the knowledge you’ve learned in your lectures and lab sessions. Geology students get to know each other very well very quickly because you spend long days together, in the field or stuck in a caravan, in all weathers. We started off in Tenby in Wales and also spent time mapping in Ingleton in Yorkshire.

Geophysics is one of our primary methods for investigating and understanding the Earth, including such topics as plate tectonics and earthquakes, and exploration to discover what is under the Earth’s surface. There are a host of different applications and career directions from archaeology and engineering to hazard assessment and sustainable use of resources.

If you are looking for a professional career in geophysics or quantitative Earth science, this is the programme for you. This four year MSci Geophysics and Geology degree will equip you with a broad knowledge of contemporary geophysics and a range of geophysical, geological and mathematical skills, including excellent field skills and computer programming. These skills transfer readily into the world of work, and our students have been very successful in finding summer placements and subsequent employment in the geophysical industry. As an alternative to, or alongside, traditional solid Earth geophysics, you can study topics such as controls on climate, or how we can study processes within coastal zones

Ocean and Earth Science (OES) 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.

Ocean and Earth Science is housed in the prestigious National Oceanography Centre Southampton (NOCS), which opened in 1995 housing the University of Southampton department and part of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)’s National Oceanography Centre. NOCS is one of the world’s largest centres devoted to research, teaching

View the programme specification for this course for 2019/20 entrants

Programme Structure

The programme is offered as a full-time course. The MSci programmes normally last for four years, diverging from the BSc structure after two years. You have the opportunity to apply to study abroad during the second semester of year three at one of our exchange institutions. The key content of the programme is delivered within the compulsory modules, while options in each year allow you to control specialisation.

At Southampton the programme is divided into individual study modules for each Part.  Each study module is accredited as being worth a certain number of ECTS points (ECTS = European Credit Transfer Scheme). Normally up to 60 hours comprises contact teaching (lectures, practicals, tutorials, etc.), and the remainder of the time is for your own independent study.  You need to acquire 60 ECTS at each level. Most modules are generally assessed at the end of each semester, but some are assessed entirely by coursework throughout the duration of the module. Information about pre and co-requisites is included in individual module profiles.

Study is undertaken in four parts, each part corresponding to one year of full-time study.  At Southampton the programme is delivered in a semester pattern, each semester having 12 weeks for teaching and learning and 2-3 weeks for examinations.

Part 1

In Part 1 you will learn the basics of Earth Science, alongside developing Maths skills significantly beyond A-level. You will gain an overview of how the Earth works as a system, including the interactions between the solid Earth and the oceans and atmosphere. You will learn about the minerals which are the basic constituent parts of rocks, their chemical compositions, and how to identify them both in hand specimens and using a microscope. You will start to learn how to interpret geological maps, and understand geological processes within a plate tectonic framework. In addition you will start to build field skills with both geological and geophysical field courses. You will also start to learn technical software (such as Geographic Information Systems) and programming skills, which will continue throughout the degree. The modules in Part I are designed so that they are accessible to students who have not studied Geology A-level, but will still stretch those who have.

Part 2

Part 2 builds on the material from Part I, and gives you a grounding in all the skills that you need to be effective as a Geophysicist. You will start to understand the controls on how rocks deform, and methods for quantitative analysis of field deformation data. You will see how we can use geophysical exploration for a range of targets, including engineering onshore. You will develop the understanding of how igneous rocks form, and how rocks can be metamorphosed at high temperatures and pressures. You will see how we can use principles from chemistry to investigate processes within the Earth, and how we can use chemical isotopes to date those processes. You will also start to learn about the way that materials can be transported and deposited to form sedimentary rocks. Your technical skills will be enhanced by regular use of GIS and by further developing your programming skills to analyse large geophysical datasets. Your field skills will be developed by two courses which will include independent mapping of small regions. In addition you will further strengthen your Maths skills.

Part 3

During Part 3 there is a focus on synthesising the material from the previous years. You will study the long-term evolution of the Earth, and how it has become and remained a suitable place for life. You will engage with the core observations that sit behind ideas such as plate tectonics, working with current research data during guided exercises exploring how to analyse it, and see how an Earth scientist must combine different types of data in order to make progress. You will develop your knowledge and ability to apply geophysical exploration methods. In addition you will see how the geological processes that you have studied earlier in the degree are critical for formation of resources that support modern society. You will continue to develop and consolidate your geological field skills by carrying out an independent mapping project, and gain experience using geophysical equipment in the field by designing your own surveys to investigate the near-surface geology of a region.

Part 4

During Part 4 you will be working at the edges of current Earth science knowledge. You will spend much of the year working on your advanced independent research project, developing in-depth technical skills by working alongside active researchers in a scientific area of your own interests. You will develop high-level critical skills by working to synthesise current literature on a topic, while also developing your writing and presentation abilities. You will further strengthen your programming skills. You will also look at the Physics and Maths that allow us to understand the large-scale structure of the Earth.

 

Why study at Southampton?

  • With an interdisciplinary focus, we draw on expertise from a wide variety of disciplines from across the University 
  • We have strong links with a range of geophysical companies across all key discipline areas, which has resulted in many students securing summer internships and later employment 
  • Our degree programmes will enable you to study a mix of quantative and descriptive disciplines that are highly sought by employers 
  • Our degrees ensure you get valuable, career relevant fieldwork expertise 
  • Based at our unique Waterfront Campus, the world-leading research institute, National Oceanography Centre Southampton (NOCS) 
  • Your final year advanced independent research project, will allow you to develop in-depth technical skills and work alongside active researchers in a scientific area of your own interest.

Typical entry requirements

GCSEs:
Typical GCSE entry requirements for MSci Geophysics and Geology
QualificationGrade
GCSEMinimum of 5.
A Levels:
Typical A Levels entry requirements for MSci Geophysics and Geology
QualificationGrade
GCE A-level

AAB including Maths and at least one other ‘preferred’ subject.

IB:
Typical IB entry requirements for MSci Geophysics and Geology
QualificationGrade
International Baccalaureate34 points including HL Maths.
Selection process:

The University’s Admissions Policy applies equally to all programmes of study. The following are the typical entry criteria to be used for selecting candidates for admission. The University’s approved equivalencies for the requirements listed below will also be acceptable.

The Faculty welcomes applications from school leavers, graduates and mature students. To be admitted to this programme you must be able to satisfy the requirements of the University of Southampton.

All places are conditional on satisfactory evidence of academic achievement.

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

Typical course content

Please note that where a list of options has been given, this is an indicative list and we cannot guarantee to offer every option each year.

Year 1

Semester One
Compulsory
SOES1002Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
SOES1008Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
SOES1001Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
SOES1014Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
MATH1009Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
MATH1008Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
Optional

Two of the following modules must be taken. If you have not taken A-level Chemistry we recommend SOES1005; if you have not taken A-level Physics we recommend SOES1012 or SOES1004. SOES1004 is a prerequisite for SOES2010 in year 2.

GEOG1002Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
SOES1004Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
SOES1005Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
SOES1012Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15

Year 2

Semester One
Compulsory
SOES2038Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
SOES2039Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
30
SOES2037Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
SOES2018Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
SOES2004Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
SOES2013Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
MATH2015Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15

Year 3

Semester One
Compulsory
SOES6004Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
SOES3025Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
30
SOES3021Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
SOES3032Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
SOES3006Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
SOES3002Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
Optional

ONE module must be chosen from the recommended list below. For SOES3020 there is a fieldtrip to Tenerife and you will be asked to pay towards some of the costs, which in previous years has been approximately £300

SOES3014Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
SOES3041Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
SOES3008Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
SOES3015Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
SOES3020Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15

Year 4

Semester One
Compulsory
SOES6001Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
SOES6025Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
SOES6037Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
SOES6030Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
45
Optional

A total of TWO modules must be chosen. **For those students who choose to take SOES6059 Basin Analysis there will be an opportunity to work on data related to, and to potentially compete, in the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) Barrel Award (SOES6064) in Semester 2. This option is only available to a small number of students, selected from those who would like to take the course. Students should be aware that participating in SOES6064 may prevent choosing other modules.

SOES6064Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
SOES6059Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
SOES6007Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
SOES6006Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
SOES6047Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
SOES6005Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
SOES6061Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
SOES6011Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
15
SOES6024Credit[?]
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
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).

Tuition fees

List of tuition fees for this course and it's variations
NameAwardYear of entryMode of studyUK/EUInternational
Geophysics and GeologyMSci2019Full time£9,250£20,970
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 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.

You will develop core knowledge and understanding, subject specific skills and general and transferable, graduate key skills via compulsory module and specialised option module lectures, tutor and student-led tutorials, student-led seminars and presentations, essay and report writing, effective use of the internet, guided independent study, group study and your own research. Experimental, research, experimental design, data processing and interpretive/analytical skills are further developed through laboratory and practical classes and fieldwork (including boatwork).

Study Locations

Waterfront Campus

NOCS (National Oceanography Centre Southampton)

Ocean and Earth Sciences is based at the world-renowed National Oceano...Find out more

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