UCAS code: F690
Duration: 4 years
College: Science and Engineering
Geophysics and Geology are concerned with the study of the Earth. Geophysics is the study of the Earth's internal structure and dynamics through the use of physics and mathematics. You will learn the fundamental physical principles and mathematical techniques underpinning the subject, and their application to fields as diverse as oil and gas exploration, environmental monitoring and protection, and mitigation of natural hazards. You will gain an understanding of the inner workings of our planet.
Geology is the study of the evolution of the Earth over the last 4,500 million years and is founded on careful observation of the natural world, coupled with the application of physical, chemical and biological principles. The unifying theory of plate tectonics has transformed our understanding of the global processes behind the Earth's evolution, including the creation and destruction of the oceans, the origin of volcanoes and of ore deposits, the development of hydrocarbon basins and the building of mountains.
Our geophysics programmes are unique in Scotland. The University has one of the largest groupings of geophysicists in Europe, offering unrivalled courses that cover practical applications of physics and mathematics in the geosciences.
You will study a common first year introducing you to the foundations of physics, geophysics, mathematics and earth dynamics on which the rest of your programme will be based.
You will take more advanced maths and physics courses, three further geology courses (including a residential trip to develop your field geology skills, currently run in the Lake District) and a specialist geophysics course. In addition, you will choose an option course from a wide selection in the schools of Physics & Astronomy, GeoSciences or elsewhere.
Your specialist geology and geophysics courses will continue, with an emphasis on geology. You will take part in field trips in both Scotland and Spain. As the content of the programme is updated to reflect the advancing subject matter, and student feedback, the location of field courses may change. You will also have the choice of two option courses in earth sciences.
You will continue your specialised studies with a focus on seismology and the Earth's planetary evolution, and will take part in a geophysics field course along with students from universities in France and Germany. You will complete independent geophysics project work or a geology mapping exercise for your honours dissertation. Option courses will be available in earth sciences.
Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.
To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.
In your first year, many of your lectures will be taught in the Central Area close to the city centre. Practicals and other teaching take place within the School of GeoSciences, located at the University's King's Buildings campus. You can access the University's libraries and IT facilities, and the School's laboratories provide personal workspace with computing and microscope facilities during your honours years.
You will be taught through a mixture of lectures, seminars and tutorials, group work, practicals and fieldwork, self-directed learning and project work. In your honours years, you will devote more time to self-directed study and will receive individual supervision for final-year project work.
You will have access to the University's specialist research facilities and laboratories for analysing rocks, minerals and fluids and measuring the physical properties of rocks.
Assessment will be both formative and summative, with a combination of practical work, essays, oral and written examinations, independent project work, field reports and notebooks, depending on the course.
On MEarthPhys programmes you will also be assessed on computer programming exercises, and in the final year of all our programmes there are elements of assessed presentation and scientific writing skills. Most senior honours courses and projects will also involve modelling elements.
Find out more about this programme's aims, what you will learn, how you will be assessed and what skills and knowledge you will develop.
To give you an idea of what to expect from this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.
Our graduates have successfully entered challenging and rewarding careers in areas such as oil or mineral prospecting, numerical weather forecasting and industrial management and administration.
You will be able to consider careers as a geophysicist or geologist in the oil, mining or nuclear industries or apply your skills to other disciplines such as engineering, finance, business, consultancy or a variety of governmental or civil service positions. The numerical and analytical skills you will gain, including the ability to interpret complex systems, are prized by potential employers.
The typical offer is likely to be:
We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
You must provide evidence that your written and spoken English is at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.
If English is not your first language, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your spoken and written English:
For SQA and GCSE students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:
Key Information Sets (KIS) are part of a government initiative to enhance the information that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.
KIS are available for most undergraduate programmes and are intended to make it easier for you to find information about the programmes you are interested in studying. It is one of many sources of information available that will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.
You can also use this website to find more information on our programmes and the learning environment you will experience at the University of Edinburgh.
Please note that some programmes do not have data available and will not display a KIS.
You will incur costs on compulsory field trips. In 2016, these were around: Year 2 - £150, Year 3 - £130, and Year 4 - £200. In 2016 there were also optional field trip costs in Year 3 of £1,541 and/or £320.
Previous destinations include Lake District, Scotland, England or France/Germany, with the option to add Jamaica and Arran.
Find more information about field trip costs on the GeoSciences website.
For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.