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Durham University


F662 Geophysics with Geology BSc Undergraduate  2019


UCAS code F662
Degree BSc
Mode of study Full Time
Duration 3 years
Location Durham City
Typical Offers A Level
International Baccalaureate
Please also check Requirements and Admissions.
Alternative qualifications
Contextual Offers You may be eligible for an offer which is one or two grades lower than our standard entry requirements. Find out more.
More information Still have questions?
Department(s) Website

Course Summary


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 programme shows academic progression from the first year through to the third year. In the first year, it shares the compulsory modules with the other degree courses, but it also includes additional compulsory 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.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

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

Year 2

Compulsory modules

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

Optional modules

  • Hydrology and Climate
  • Igneous and Metamorphic Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Palaeoecology and Sedimentology
  • Modelling Earth Processes
  • Up to two modules from another academic department

Year 3

Compulsory modules

  • Dissertation
  • Advanced Geophysics
  • Earth Structure and Dynamics

Optional modules

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

We review course structures and core content (in light of e.g. external and student feedback) every year, and will publish finalised core requirements for 2019 entry from September 2018.

Placement Year

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

Course Detail

To find out more about the modules available to students studying at Durham University please click here.

Please note: Current modules are indicative. Information for future academic years may change, for example, due to developments in the relevant academic field, or in light of student feedback.

Course Learning and Teaching

The programme 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 allows you to gain direct experience of practical and interpretative skills in Geophysics. Tutorials provide opportunities for smaller groups of students to discuss and debate particular issues or areas, based on the knowledge that they have gained through their lectures and practicals.

The balance of these types of activities changes over the course of the programme, as you develop your knowledge and your abilities as an independent learner. This is one of the key attributes that the programme develops in its' students (thereby preparing you for work or further study once you have completed the programme). 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 both introduce you to, and give you the chance to practice geophysical research methods. You are required to attend a one-week field course.

This move towards greater emphasis on independent learning continues in the final year. You are required to carry out a dissertation. You will be assigned a tutor appropriate to your dissertation. Support for the 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 the independent study and research skills developed in earlier years is continued through the dissertation that all final year students undertake and which is the capstone of their undergraduate degree. Under the supervision of a member of academic staff with whom 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 programme, you will also 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 are available to meet with students on a ‘drop-in’ basis. The Department also has an exciting programme of weekly one-hour research seminars which undergraduate students are strongly encouraged to attend, and there is a seminar programme run throughout the year by the student-led Arthur Holmes Society.

Admissions Process

Subject requirements, level and grade

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.
  • Two science subjects at A level or equivalent are required for all courses
  • For Geophysics with Geology (F662), one of these science subjects must be Mathematics or Further Mathematics at A level at grade B or above, or a comparable qualification in Mathematics.
  • We do not include General Studies or Critical Thinking as part of our offer
  • Typical IB score 36 to include 665 in higher level subjects
  • If you do not satisfy our general entry requirements, the Foundation Centre 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
  • Please consult the University website for required evidence of English language proficiency
  • 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.

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

How to apply

Please be advised that there is an additional fee of £120 to cover first-year fieldwork. Fieldwork costs for subsequent years are dependent on modules chosen.

Information relevant to your country

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £9,250.00 per year
Home Student £9,250.00 per year
Island Student £9,250.00 per year
International non-EU Student £24,300.00 per year

Note: Fees are subject to review and change in-line with inflation.

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding 

Career Opportunities

Earth Sciences

The Earth Sciences (geology, geophysics, geochemistry and environmental science) lie at the heart of every society worldwide providing materials and energy for society to develop and prosper. 

The nationally accredited undergraduate and postgraduate courses provided by the Department of Earth Sciences in Durham offer the perfect start to a career in the earth and environmental sciences. Our courses are tailored to suit both academic and industry career progression. Our degrees are also widely recognised as an excellent general degree qualification by a broad range of employers in the financial services and education sectors.

The pre-eminent position of Durham Earth Sciences in the UK coupled to our close links to industry, especially at a postgraduate level really give our graduates the edge they need when competing for jobs. The UK and indeed the world in the 21st century needs Earth Scientists more than ever and a degree at Durham will ensure that you are able to maximise this opportunity and develop a successful career and play your part in society.

Of those students that left in 2017:

- 95% are in employment or further study

Of those in employment:

- 90% are in graduate level employment
- Median salary £20,000

(Source: Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey of 2016/17 graduates. The DLHE survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing six months after graduation. Full definitions for the DLHE Record can be found

The exposure to both academic and industry circles during my time at Durham was invaluable, which was greatly helped by the CeREES Geo-Energy Scholarship Programme offered by the department of Earth Sciences. The department of Earth Sciences is a highly regarded department both in terms of research and the calibre of teaching.

Durham Earth Sciences graduates progress into successful and challenging careers in a range of sectors including oil and gas, environment, engineering, marketing, business, armed forces, healthcare and finance. Course related employers include BP, Wardell Armstrong, Halliburton, Sirius, Atkins and the National Oceanography Centre where graduates have taken roles as geophysicists, exploration geologists, geotechnical engineers, data scientists and mineral surveyors. Those interested in a different career route need not worry as our Earth Science graduates have also secured positions with renowned employers in other sectors. These include Deloitte, Royal Air Force, University of Edinburgh, RIPA International and Fairfax IS PLC where they work as accountants, research associates, trainee investment bankers, warfare officers and programme coordinators.

BP has enjoyed a productive relationship with Durham's Department of Earth Sciences, recruiting many geologists and geophysicists over the years and working collaboratively on a number of research projects. In recent years the establishment of CeREES has seen the quantity and quality of applicants increase. The 'industry-savy' aspects of the programme equip graduate students with a wider and deeper grasp of the challenges and opportunities the energy industry affords, adding value that clearly manifests itself in the students' applications and at interview. With the recent establishment of the Durham Energy Institute I look forward to this trend strengthening. In our current intake I've been particularly pleased to see a Durham undergraduate competing successfully against those with MScs and PhDs from other leading universities.

Professional recognition

All but one of our degree programmes are accredited by our professional body (The Geological Society of London - GSL), demonstrating that our undergraduate programmes cover the range of skills expected of a trained geoscientist at this level. The Geoscience degree programme (F641) was designed not to be an accredited programme in order to provide a more flexible route for some of our students who are unable to carry out the substantial amount of fieldwork required by the GSL for accreditation.

Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

Pre-application open days are the best way to discover all you need to know about Durham University. With representatives from all relevant academic and support service departments, and opportunities to explore college options, the open days provide our prospective undergraduates with the full experience of Durham University.

Please see the following page for further details and information on how to book a place:

Discover Durham Tours

Discover Durham tours offer a brief introduction to the University. The tour begins at one of our undergraduate colleges, where you will receive an introductory talk from a member of college staff, followed by a tour of the college by current students.

Overseas Visit Schedule

Department Information

Earth Sciences


Earth Science draws upon elements of physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology and physical geography. You will study the present state of the Earth to develop an understanding of the geological past. 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.

The Department is very proud of its high-quality teaching, underpinned by internationally renowned research. We are based in a purpose-built, modern building with state-of-the-art facilities for teaching and research. We welcome hard-working, motivated applicants and take pride in our graduates, who go on to a wide range of highly successful careers in the Earth Sciences, both in industry and research.

  • 98% of our Earth Sciences students said that the teaching on their course was intellectually stimulating in the National Student Survey 2017 (sector-wide average 86%)
  • 5th in The Complete University Guide 2018
  • 4th in The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2018.


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


The Department has premises on the Mountjoy Site very close to the University’s IT facilities and Bill Bryson Library. We have excellent equipment including: extensive computing facilities (including multimedia PCs and UNIX workstations); microscopes; TV/microscope projection facilities; four lecture/practical laboratories with comprehensive A/V facilities; extensive state-of-the-art geochemical research laboratories; a micropaleontology laboratory; a geophysics seismic research facility; extensive rock sample and thin section teaching and research collections. Our Department is designated as a mainstream centre for teaching and research covering the broad spectrum of Earth Sciences. We are a friendly, social and informal community of about 80 staff and 300 students, more than 70 of whom are working for MSc and PhD degrees. In the recent HEFCE teaching quality review, the Department was graded Excellent.


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