Geophysics BSc

Year of entry

2024 course information

Open Days 2023

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2023
Delivery type
On campus
3 years full time
Work placement
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
AAB, (specific subject requirements)
Typical Access to Leeds offer
Full entry requirements

Course overview

A student and a lecturer sat in front of a computer screen showing geophysical data.

Our Geophysics degree draws on the expertise and active research of one of the UK’s largest teams of academic geophysicists.

Geophysics is the application of physics to planet Earth to understand processes such as the generation of Earth's magnetic field, motion of Earth's tectonic plates, and the movement and structure of the oceans and atmosphere.

It provides the tools to look inside the Earth in order to find resources, monitor natural hazards and track movement of the Earth’s surface.

During your degree you'll study all aspects of geophysics with a focus on the solid Earth, whilst gaining strong analytical, computational and numerical skills, which are highly valued by geophysics companies, research institutions, and financial and governmental departments.

There's a strong emphasis on applying your knowledge in the real world through practical hands-on learning and field trips, in national and international destinations.

Why study at Leeds:

  • Gain invaluable experience and improve your employability by spending a year studying abroad at one of our partner institutions, before returning to Leeds to complete Masters-level modules in your final year.
  • Take advantage of our world-leading research here at Leeds, carried out within five institutes that tackle complex global challenges such as climate change, energy security and natural hazard management.
  • Experience expertise teaching delivered by a programme team made up of internationally renowned academics working at the forefront of their fields, who are passionate about the subjects they teach.
  • Benefit from excellent specialist facilities, featuring lecture theatres, extensive lab spaces — including our Earth Visualisation Lab — and computer clusters fully equipped with the latest technology to support your learning.
  • Put theory into practice with our extensive fieldwork activities located across the world, where you’ll advance your research skills and gain hands-on experience highly valued by employers in industry.
  • Enhance your career prospects and give your CV that competitive edge before you graduate with our exciting study abroad programmes and paid industrial work placement opportunities.
  • Join one of our societies, such as ROCSOC or SusSoc, where you can meet like-minded people at events such as comedy and film nights, trips and through sports. You could even be elected as a member of the committee, which is a great opportunity to develop your management and leadership skills.

Course details

Your degree is designed around a combination of compulsory core modules and a choice of optional modules that allow you to tailor your study towards the topics that interest you most.

Year 1

In your first year, you’ll study compulsory modules only, training you in the fundamental skills in geology, maths, physics, geophysics and computer programming that you’ll use throughout your degree. Students who don’t have A-level Further or Pure Maths will study University level maths in their first and second year (students with this A-level study a discovery module).

Year 2

In your second year, compulsory modules train you in the key geophysical techniques used to look inside and understand the Earth. These include methods used to understand plate tectonics, earthquake and volcanoes, as well as tools to investigate the near-surface as used to enable civil engineering projects, locate and extract the resources we need to make batteries and wind turbines, and to enable the understanding of the subsurface needed to permit carbon sequestration.

Year 3

Your final year includes a project that allows you to do research with a member of staff on a topic of mutual interest. Recent projects have involved machine learning, study of the Earth's core, computational physics, study of volcanic systems and earthquakes using satellite data and archaeological geophysics to name a few.

In compulsory modules, you’ll study the global structure and dynamics of our planet, and attend seminars from visiting researchers from around the world. Optional modules allow you to pursue interests in, for example, volcanic systems, engineering geology or the petroleum and energy sector.

One-year optional work placement or study abroad

To advance your skill set and boost your experience, you can apply to take up an industrial placement or study abroad at one of the many universities we’re in partnership with worldwide.


Ask any of our students and they will tell you that taking part in field trips is one of the most enjoyable and memorable aspects of the programmes in the School of Earth and Environment at Leeds.

We offer fieldwork opportunities at each level of study, giving you the chance to study a fascinating subject in contrasting environments away from the University. In year 1, you’ll use Leeds as your ‘laboratory’, carrying out group work around the city you live in and in years 2 and 3 you’ll have the option to undertake international and local fieldwork.

During field trips, you’ll learn essential fieldwork and team working skills and transferable skills that will prove invaluable to your future career.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Geophysics BSc in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Physics of the Earth and Atmosphere 40
Computers and Programming in Geosciences 10
Advanced Mathematics 2 10
The Rock Cycle 20
3D Earth 20
Shaping the Earth 10

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Advanced Mathematics 1 10

Year 1 discovery modules

Module Name Credits
Natural Hazards 10

Year 2 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Advanced Mathematics 3 10
Time Series Analysis and Digital Signal Processing 10
Tectonophysics 10
Numerical Methods and Statistics 10
Applied Geophysics 30
Advanced Mathematics 4 10
Sedimentary Basins and their Resources 10

Year 2 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Fluid Dynamics 15
Quantum Physics and Relativity (Geophysics) 10
Electromagnetism (Geophysics) 10
Introductory Oceanography 10
Climate Change: Science and Impacts 10
Atmosphere and Ocean Dynamics 10
Deformation Processes 10

Year 3 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Independent Geophysical Project 40
Practical Geophysics 10
Research Seminars in Geophysics 10
Inverse Theory 10
Global Seismology 10
Global Geophysics 10

Year 3 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Engineering Geology 10
Volcanic Processes 10
Earth Observations from Space 10
Groundwater 10
Geoelectrics 10
Structural Geology for the Future 10
Strategic Energy Issues 10

Discovery modules

Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area.

This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

Most modules combine lectures with practicals, workshops or seminars, depending on the subject. These are enhanced with skills classes, fieldtrips and small group academic tutorials. You can expect to study in a variety of settings, from large lecture theatres to computer clusters, seminar rooms, tutorials, laboratories, visualisation suites and out in the field.

We offer research-led teaching across the breadth of our disciplines, from specialists in their field. As Leeds is a research-intensive Russell Group University, you’ll be studying amongst staff who are at the cutting edge of research world-wide, and who will incorporate this expertise into their teaching.

You’ll have a designated personal tutor throughout your studies at Leeds, who will be an academic member of staff. You’ll have fortnightly academic tutorials with your tutor throughout your first two years, in your tutor group (of typically 5 students), as well as one-to-one meetings twice per semester. In addition, our excellent student support team is based close to where you’ll work and study to help with anything from academic advice to timetabling and project submission enquiries. You’ll also receive support from fellow students through our peer mentoring scheme.

Our Virtual Learning Environment will help to support your studies: it’s a central place where you can find all the information and resources for the School, your programme and modules.

You can also benefit from support to develop your academic skills, within the curriculum and through online resources, workshops, one-to-one appointments and drop-in sessions.

Watch our taster lecture to get a flavour of what it’s like to study at Leeds:

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


You'll be assessed through a variety of methods, specifically designed to help students learn, whatever their preferred learning style. We use both coursework and exams, but with a general progression from an emphasis on exams in year 1 towards an emphasis on coursework your final year.

Entry requirements

A-level: AAB, including mathematics and physics.

Where an A-Level Science subject is taken, we require a pass in the practical science element, alongside the achievement of the A-Level at the stated grade.

Excludes A-Level General Studies or Critical Thinking.

GCSE: English and Mathematics at grade C (4) or above, or an appropriate English language and Mathematics qualification. We will accept Level 2 Functional Skills English in lieu of GCSE English.

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ): We recognise the value of this qualification and the effort and skills required to undertake it, where an applicant is taking the EPQ this may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. The EPQ taken with A-Levels, for example, could be ABB with an A in the EPQ.

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

Pass 60 credits overall with 45 credits at Level 3, 30 credits with Distinction and the remaining 15 credits with Merit or above.


DDD in National Extended Diploma/3 National Extended Certificates in Mathematics and Physics. We will accept a combination of BTECs and A-Levels. Please contact the School's Undergraduate Admissions Team for more information.

Cambridge Pre-U

D2, M2, M2 including Mathematics and Physics.

International Baccalaureate

35 points overall, with 16 points at higher level to include 5 points in Mathematics and Physics.

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

AAAABB/H2H2H2H2H3H3 including Mathematics and Physics

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

AABBB overall with AB in 2 Advanced Highers (AH). For non-AH applicants AAAABB. To include Mathematics and Physics.

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.

Typical Access to Leeds A Level offer: BBB plus a pass in the Access to Leeds scheme.

For alternative qualification offers please contact the admissions team.

If you do not have the formal qualifications for immediate entry to one of our degrees, you may be able to progress through a foundation year. We offer a Studies in Science with Foundation Year BSc for students without a science background at A-level and an Interdisciplinary Science with Foundation Year BSc for applicants who meet specific widening participation criteria.

International Foundation Year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.


UK: £9,250 (per year)

International: £27,500 (per year)

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will remain capped at £9,250 for 2023/24 and 2024/25. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2023/24
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 are available on individual course pages.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2024/25
Tuition fees for international students for 2024/25 will be available on individual course pages from September 2023.

Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Additional cost information

Travel, accommodation and subsistence costs associated with compulsory field trips are covered by the university.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.


Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

We may consider applications submitted after the deadline. Availability of courses in UCAS Extra will be detailed on UCAS at the appropriate stage in the cycle.

Read our guidance about applying and writing your personal statement.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2023

This course is taught by

School of Earth and Environment
Faculty of Environment

Contact us

School of Earth and Environment Undergraduate Admissions


Career opportunities

A degree from Leeds and the experience you'll gain here will give you the edge to find the career you want. Your course will give you the experience and knowledge that employers are looking for to help you secure a graduate job.

Plus, University of Leeds students are among the top 10 most targeted by top employers according to The Graduate Market 2023, High Fliers Research, meaning our graduates are highly sought after by some of the most reputable companies in the field.

Geophysics graduates are in demand among companies that value teamwork skills, independence, numeracy and scientific literacy.

Your main strengths as a Leeds graduate will be the breadth and depth of your core knowledge and skills in the Earth Sciences. You will have the ability to combine quantitative and analytical skills with a good overview and understanding of geophysical and geological problems.

Our graduates have secured positions including:

  • Geophysicist, National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology
  • Energy Officer, Energy Department, Prime Minister’s Office
  • Project Leader, Schlumberger
  • Software Developer, Cloudhouse
  • Catastrophe Risk Analyst, Wills Re
  • Graduate Operational Meteorologist, Met Office
  • Geo-Environmental Engineer, PWA Geo-Environmental
  • Graduate Geophysical Engineer, RSK Group
  • Higher Scientific Officer, British Geological survey
  • Geophysicist, National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology
  • Physical Volcanology and Volcano Seismology, Montserrat Volcano Observatory
  • Seismic Data Processing Geophysicist, Schlumberger

Our strong research tradition means that our graduates are also found working as researchers in government organisations and universities around the world.

Read our alumni profiles to find out more about where our students are working.

Careers support

At Leeds we help you to prepare for your future from day one. Our Leeds for Life initiative is designed to help you develop and demonstrate the skills and experience you need for when you graduate. We will help you to access opportunities across the University and record your key achievements so you are able to articulate them clearly and confidently.

You will be supported throughout your studies by our dedicated Employability team, who will provide you with specialist support and advice to help you find relevant work experience, internships and industrial placements, as well as graduate positions. You’ll benefit from timetabled employability sessions, support during internships and placements, and presentations and workshops delivered by employers.

You will also have full access to the University’s Careers Centre, which is one of the largest in the country.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

This programme offers you the option to spend time abroad as an extra academic year and will extend your studies by 12 months. You will return to Leeds to complete your final year of study.

Studying abroad is a unique opportunity to explore the world, whilst gaining invaluable skills and experience that could enhance your future employability and career prospects too.

From Europe to Asia, the USA to Australasia, we have many University partners worldwide you can apply to, spanning across some of the most popular destinations for students.

Once you’ve successfully completed your year abroad, you will be awarded the ‘international’ variant in your degree title which demonstrates your added experience to future employers.

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

Work placements

The graduate recruitment market is highly competitive so it’s important that you stand out. An industrial placement could be the opportunity you need to impress potential employers and improve your chances of securing the career you want.

Benefits of a work placement year:

  • 100+ organisations to choose from, both in the UK and overseas
  • All placements are salaried
  • Build industry contacts within your chosen field
  • Our strong connections with industry mean you’ll be in direct contact with potential employers
  • Advance your experience and skills by putting the course teachings into practice
  • Gain invaluable insight into working as a professional in a particular company or sector
  • Improve your employability

If you decide to undertake a placement year, this will extend your period of study by 12 months and, on successful completion, you will be awarded the ‘industrial’ variant in your degree title to demonstrate your added experience to future employers.

With the help and support of our dedicated Employability team, you can find the right placement to suit you and your future career goals.

Here are some examples of placements our students have recently completed:

  • RSK – Geophysicist Placement Student

  • Gardline Geosurvey Limited – Geophysicist

  • Geomatrix Earth Sciences Ltd – Geophysicist Intern

  • GeoTenerife – Intern

During your industrial placement, you will have an industrial supervisor from within the company, plus an academic supervisor who will keep in touch throughout your placement.

Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.

Student profile: Isabelle White

If you are fascinated by the natural world but need a quantitative approach to satisfy your curiosity, this is the perfect course for you and there’s no better place to study Geophysics than at Leeds!
Find out more about Isabelle White's time at Leeds