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Degree type

BSc

Course length

3 years full-time

Location

Durham City

UCAS code

F662

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Please note: Courses may be affected by Covid-19 and are therefore subject to change due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19. Applicants will be informed of any changes which we are required to make to course entries as a result of Covid-19.

Typical offers

Typical offers
A Level AAB
BTEC DDD
International Baccalaureate 36

Course details

Geophysics is the application of physical principles to the study of the structure and dynamics of the Earth and increasingly other planets. Geophysics has many practical applications and forms an essential part of the economic exploitation of hydrocarbon and mineral resources. Geophysicists are also involved with assessing and mitigating natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis.

The Geophysics with Geology degree shows progression from the first year through to the third year. In the first year, you share the core modules with the other degree courses, but it also includes additional core modules which specialise in Mathematics and Physics. In the second and third years, you deal with material that is specialist, numerically based and at the cutting-edge of geophysical research.

Graduates from this degree have secured employment across the geoscience sector, within the mineral exploration and extraction industries, in petroleum exploration companies, and with environmental and hydro-geological industries. The advanced quantitative skills developed during this course can provide a strong base for securing employment outside geoscience, for example, in finance, insurance and banking.

Year 1

Core modules:

  • Earth Materials
  • Understanding Earth Sciences
  • Field Studies
  • Further Mathematics for Geoscientists
  • Geoinformatics.

Year 2

Core modules:

  • Fieldwork (Geophysical)
  • Geophysical Methods for Geoscientists
  • Geophysical Data Applications
  • Structural Geology and Tectonics.

Examples of optional modules:

  • Hydrology and Climate
  • Igneous and Metamorphic Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Sedimentary Environments and Paleoecology
  • Modelling Earth Processes
  • Up to two modules from another academic department.

Year 3

Core modules:

  • Dissertation
  • Advanced Geophysics
  • Earth Structure and Dynamics.

Examples of optional modules:

  • Petrology, Geochemistry and Global Tectonics
  • Earth System and Climate
  • Geological Evolution and Petroleum Systems of the British Isles
  • Volcanology and Magmatism
  • Deformation Processes of the Lithosphere
  • Environmental Geochemistry
  • Earth Sciences into Schools
  • Environmental Management.

Placement

You may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.

Learning

This course is mainly delivered through a mixture of lectures, practical classes, tutorials and fieldwork. Typically lectures provide key information on a particular area, and identify the main areas for discussion and debate. Practical classes and fieldwork allow you to gain direct experience of practical and interpretative skills in Geophysics. Tutorials provide opportunities for smaller groups to discuss and debate particular issues or areas, based on the knowledge that you have gained through your lectures and practical classes.

The balance of these types of activities changes over the course of the degree, as you develop your knowledge and your abilities as an independent learner. This is one of the key attributes that you will develop (thereby preparing you for work or further study once you have completed the course).

In the first year you will typically attend six hours a week of lectures, and 12 hours of practical classes. You are also required to attend six tutorial sessions during the academic year. Outside timetabled contact hours, you are also expected to undertake your own independent study to prepare for your classes and broaden your subject knowledge. It is expected that you will attend a week-long field course in the Lake District during the Easter vacation.

The balance starts to shift in the second year, as you develop your abilities as an independent learner. Lectures still play an important role in supporting you in developing your knowledge and skills, with an average of six hours a week, and you will participate in six, two-hour practical classes per week across the academic year that introduce you to, and give you the chance to practice geophysical research methods. You are required to attend a one-week geophysics field course.

This move towards independent learning continues in your final year. You are required to carry out a dissertation. You will be assigned a tutor appropriate to your dissertation. Support for your dissertation will take the form of one-to-one tutorial sessions. This provides you with the opportunity to engage with academic issues at the forefront of geophysical research, in a learning environment that is very much focused on discussion and debate of these issues. This places a premium on preparing effectively for classes.

This emphasis on using independent study and research skills developed in earlier years is continued through your dissertation. Under the supervision of a member of academic staff with who you will typically have three or four one-to-one supervisory meetings, you will undertake a detailed study of a particular area resulting in a significant piece of independent research. At Level 3 you will have the option to attend a one-week field trip to Cyprus, and there is the optional module which requires you to attend a field trip to Tenerife.

Throughout the course, you will have access to an academic tutor who will provide you with academic support and guidance. Typically you will meet with your tutor six times a year, in addition to which all members of teaching staff have an open door policy and available to meet with you on a ‘drop-in’ basis. The Department also has an exciting programme of weekly one-hour research seminars which you are strongly encouraged to attend, there is also a seminar programme run throughout the year by the student-led Arthur Holmes Society.

Entry requirements

A level offerAAB including Mathematics or Further Mathematics plus one other Science from Physics, Chemistry, Geology, Geography, Economics, and Biology or Psychology.

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/OCR Cambridge Technical Extended DiplomaDDD plus two science A levels from the list above.

IB Diploma score36 with 665 in higher level subjects, including two science subjects from the list above.

In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:

  • We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study.
  • If you do not satisfy our general entry requirements, the Foundation Programme offers multidisciplinary degrees to prepare you for a range of specified degree courses.
  • If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take an International Foundation Year pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.
  • We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry.

Science A levels

Applicants taking Science A levels that include a practical component will be required to take and pass this as a condition of entry. This applies only to applicants sitting A levels with an English examination board.

Alternative qualifications

International students who do not meet direct entry requirements for this degree might have the option to complete an International Foundation Year.

English language requirements

Country specific information

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £9,250 per year
EU students £28,500 per year
Island students £9,250 per year
International students £28,500 per year

The tuition fees shown for home students are for one complete academic year of full time study and are set according to the academic year of entry. Fees for subsequent years of your course may rise in line with an inflationary uplift as determined by the government.

The tuition fees shown for overseas and EU students are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities

Earth Sciences

Of those students who graduated in 2018:

  • 78% are in paid employment or further study 15 months after graduation across all our programmes

Of those in employment:

  • 86% are in a professional or managerial job
  • Average salary of £27,000.

(Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey. The survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing 15 months after graduation. Further information about the Graduate Outcomes survey can be found here www.graduateoutcomes.ac.uk)

Department information

Earth Sciences

Earth science is a quantitative, multidisciplinary subject, which examines our planet from the surface to the core. Earth science draws upon elements of physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology and physical geography. You will look at climate change, the formation of the oceans, mass extinctions, the nature of rocks and minerals, and the structure and chemistry of the Earth. Earth science embraces the entire planet from the surface to the core, and also contributes to our understanding of other planets in our solar system and beyond.

For more information see our department pages.

Rankings

  • 4th in The Complete University Guide 2021.
  • 4th in The Guardian University Guide 2021.
  • 8th in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021.

Staff

For a current list of staff, please see the Earth Sciences Department web pages.

Research Excellence Framework

  • Ranked joint 7th in the UK for world-leading research impact (REF 2014).

Facilities

The Earth Sciences building is laid out across three floors, providing focused spaces for research, support, teaching and specialised equipment.  Academic staff, PDRAs, and PhD students are located on Level 3, providing a mutually supportive research environment. Research support and administrative staff are accommodated on Level 2, which includes four large teaching and seminar spaces, whilst technical staff are housed on Level 1 where the main research equipment facilities are located in purpose-built laboratories.

More information on our facilities and equipment.

Apply

Find out more:

Use the UCAS code below when applying:

Apply

F662

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) handles applications for all undergraduate courses.

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