Geophysics BSc

Year of entry

Register your interest for Open Days 2024

Bookings for our 2024 Open Days are not open, but you can sign up to be informed once dates are announced. Register your interest

UCAS code
Start date
September 2024
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.

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. This has become fundamentally important in order to understand problems such as space weather, forecast earthquake and volcanic hazards, as well as searching for resources, from freshwater to minerals.

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.

Geophysics is a profession in high demand meaning, once you graduate, you’ll be equipped with the specialist knowledge and skills sought after by employers worldwide.

Why study at Leeds:

  • Our globally-renowned research that tackles complex global challenges such as climate change, energy security and natural hazard management feeds directly into your course and shapes what you learn at Leeds with the latest thinking.
  • Experience expert teaching delivered by a programme team made up of leading specialists with extensive industry experience from across the breadth of this field.
  • Benefit from excellent specialist facilities featuring 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 by undertaking fieldwork activities 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 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.


Accredited by the Geological Society

Accreditation is the assurance that a university course meets the quality standards established by the profession for which it prepares its students.

This programme is accredited by the Geological Society.

This accredited BSc is the first step to becoming a Chartered Geophysicist, an increasingly important professional qualification – especially in the geotechnical and engineering geology sectors.

Course details

This degree covers a broad basis in geophysical topics across the discipline, providing you with a solid foundation by the end of your second year. Staring out from physical fundamentals we will apply these to geophysical examples ranging from hazards caused by earthquakes and volcanoes to environmental monitoring.

Fieldwork will also be integral to your course, with opportunities to explore many different environments first-hand.

Each academic year, you'll take a total of 120 credits.

Year 1

In your first year, you’ll develop fundamental skills in geology, maths, physics, geophysics and computer programming that you'll use throughout your degree. If you don’t have A-level Further or Pure Maths (or equivalent) you will study maths in your first and second year. Students with this higher level of Maths will study a discovery module instead.

Year 2

In your second year, compulsory modules provide 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 academic 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.

You’ll also explore the global structure and dynamics of our planet through compulsory modules and attend seminars from visiting researchers from around the world. Optional modules allow you to pursue interests in, for example, volcanic systems, engineering geology, environmental monitoring, and applications in the energy sector.

One-year optional work placement or study abroad

During your course, you’ll be given the opportunity to advance your skill set and experience further. You can apply to either undertake a one-year work placement or study abroad for a year, choosing from a selection of universities we’re in partnership with worldwide.


Ask any of our students and they will tell you that taking part in fieldwork is one of the most enjoyable and memorable aspects of the course. We offer a range of increasingly sustainable fieldwork opportunities, giving you the chance to study a fascinating subject in contrasting environments away from the University.

It’s integrated with lectures and module coursework, giving you the opportunity to:

  • Practice the skills you have learnt in class in real-life situations.
  • Gain first-hand experience of collecting and analysing data.
  • Build valuable individual research skills – vital for your final year research project.
  • Develop professional skills sought after by employers like project planning, communication and teamwork.
  • Get to know your lecturers and fellow students even better.

The geophysics degree at Leeds provides a variety of field course destinations.

In year 1, you’ll use Yorkshire as your ‘laboratory’, carrying out group work around the city you live in. In years 2 and 3 you will undertake fieldwork at national and international destinations.

Our field trips are designed to be as sustainable as possible and balance their carbon footprint with the learning outcomes of the trip.

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
Introductory Physics (Geophysics) 15
Vibrations and Waves (Geophysics) 10
Fundamentals of Geophysics 10
Critical Thinking and Communication 5
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

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 leading edge on research world-wide.

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.

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 in your final year.

Entry requirements

A-level: AAB including mathematics.

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. 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.

International Baccalaureate

16 points at higher level to include 6,5,5, with at least 5 points in Mathematics.

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

AAAABB/H2H2H2H2H3H3 including Mathematics.

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

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

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: £30,250 (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 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 and 2024/25 are available on individual course pages.

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 (aside from self-catering costs) associated with compulsory field trips are covered by the university. However, you must pay for incidental or personal expenses. The university currently contributes towards the cost of accommodation for independent dissertation fieldwork.

Whilst the school supplies some field equipment and professional tools on arrival, you'll need to cover the cost of clothing and some equipment that’s needed for taking part in field trips, such as waterproofs, boots and a field backpack. A list of equipment you’ll need is available on request.

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 on our living costs and budgeting page.

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.

Admissions guidance

Read our admissions guidance for full details on what to include in your application.

What happens after you’ve applied

You can keep up to date with the progress of your application through UCAS.

UCAS will notify you when we make a decision on your application. If you receive an offer, you can inform us of your decision to accept or decline your place through UCAS.

How long will it take to receive a decision

We typically receive a high number of applications to our courses. For applications submitted by the January UCAS deadline, UCAS asks universities to make decisions by mid-May at the latest.

Offer holder events

If you receive an offer from us, you’ll be invited to an offer holder event. This event is more in-depth than an open day. It gives you the chance to learn more about your course and get your questions answered by academic staff and students. Plus, you can explore our campus, facilities and accommodation.

International applicants

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students.

We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Read about visas, immigration and other information here.

If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of Earth and 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'll 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'll 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'll 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

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.

This programme offers you the option to spend time abroad as an extra academic year and will extend your studies by 12 months.

Once you’ve successfully completed your year abroad, you'll 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

A placement year is a great way to help you decide on a career path when you graduate. You’ll develop your skills and gain a real insight into working life in a particular company or sector. It will also help you to stand out in a competitive graduate jobs market 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
  • 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'll 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'll have an industrial supervisor from within the company, plus an academic supervisor who will keep in touch throughout your placement.

Find out more about Industrial placements.

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