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Course summary

If you are curious about how our planet works and want to help solve some of the biggest global challenges facing it then geophysics may be for you. What is geophysics? Geophysics is about understanding the Earth's systems interactions and complexities, exploring everything from liquid metal in its core to moving continents. We study the composition of the deep Earth to the rapidly changing composition of the atmosphere. We can use geophysics to monitor processes that result in catastrophic events like earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. Using a process called remote sensing we can gather vast amounts of data, often obtained through satellites, aircraft and drones. We can collect data from the edges of space to the centre of the Earth to understand, model and predict how it behaves. Using coding and building computer models helps us understand complex data and predict how the Earth will behave in the future. We are seeking ways to provide renewable sources of energy and finding materials and technologies that enable them. Geophysics is also about understanding the physics of environmental change. We can look for ways to mitigate the harmful impact of humans and repair damages of the past. Our understanding ranges from how atoms behave under immense pressures and temperatures deep within the Earth, to examining interactions between planetary bodies in our solar system and beyond. Understanding how the atmosphere and oceans interact allows us to predict the impact of human activities on the rapidly changing climate. We can benchmark our progress towards a net-zero future. The interdisciplinary and interconnected nature of geophysics defines much of what we do. It is why geophysics plays such an essential role in creating a more sustainable and equitable future. What will I learn? You'll study properties and forces that act on planetary or inter-planetary scale, such as the microscopic properties of minerals, large scale forces such as gravity and magnetism, and the inner workings of the Earth. We will train you in fundamental physical principles and mathematical techniques of geophysics and you will learn to apply these techniques to diverse fields including:

  • monitoring the Earth's changing environment and climate
  • mapping environmental pollution above and below ground
  • measuring rock and soil properties before civil engineering work
  • carbon capture, energy storage and management of water resources
  • technological innovations to sustainably explore and manage the Earth's resources for society's needs
  • understanding the behaviour of the Earth's deep interior
  • understanding how the Earth and other planets have formed and changed over their lifetime
Our research-led, industry-informed teaching ensures your degree has real-world relevance and helps make you highly sought after by employers. We embrace a hands on approach to learning, so you can develop in-demand practical skills. Many of your activities simulate those that professionals perform in the real world. Open to a world of possibilities We are one of the largest and most successful groups of Earth and environmental scientists and geographers in the UK. Many are world experts in their field. Our staff incorporate the latest research in your teaching, and share our discoveries.
  • We have pioneered research proving human-caused greenhouse gasses are warming our planet, helping to underpin the 2015 Paris Agreement.
  • We work with major space agencies to monitor the environment using satellite data.
  • We are 16th in the world in the QS World University Rankings 2022.
  • We are in the world's top 50 and the UK's top 10 universities for geophysics, natural sciences, environmental sciences, geology, earth and marine sciences (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021).
  • Get advice and guidance with our dedicated Careers Service.

How to apply

This course is not accepting applications at this time. Please contact the provider to find out more.

Application codes

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Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1

Entry requirements

Standard Qualification Requirements

Direct entry to second year is available. Detailed entry requirements, including typical offer levels, and information about other qualifications we accept, are available on the University of Edinburgh’s website. You’ll also find important information on how to apply. You must submit a fully completed UCAS application that includes details of the qualifications you are taking, including full predicted grades for qualifications not yet completed, your personal statement and your reference.

Please click the following link to find out more about qualification requirements for this course

Minimum Qualification Requirements

Please click the following link to find out more about minimum qualification requirements for this course

English language requirements

TestGradeAdditional details
IELTS (Academic)6.5Total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.
TOEFL (iBT)92Total 92 with at least 20 in each component (including Home Edition). We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
Cambridge English AdvancedTotal 176 with at least 162 in each component.
Cambridge English ProficiencyTotal 176 with at least 162 in each component.
Trinity ISEISE II with distinctions in all four components.
PTE Academic62Total 62 with at least 54 in each component.

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence. For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher: SQA National 5 at C; SQA Standard Grade at 3; GCSE at C or 4; Level 2 Certificate at C or IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry). We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests. English language qualifications must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the degree you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE, or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Full details of our English language requirements can be found on our website:

Unistats information

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Fees and funding

Tuition fees

Channel Islands £9250* Year 1
Republic of Ireland £9250* Year 1
Scotland £1820* Year 1
England £9250* Year 1
Northern Ireland £9250* Year 1
Wales £9250* Year 1
EU £32200* Year 1
International £32200* Year 1

*This is a provisional fee and subject to change.

Additional fee information

Scotland (to be confirmed) In 2022-23 the fee level set by the Scottish Government was £1,820. The 2023-24 fee rate is expected to be confirmed by the Scottish Government in early 2023. Students must apply to the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) for payment of their tuition fees. England/Wales/Nothern Ireland - The Rest of UK (RUK) rate is yet to be confirmed and was £9,250 for 2022 entry. For 2023 entry this may increase in line with inflation and will be subject to government limits. Full time international and EU students will pay a fixed annual fee rate for the duration of their programme. The amount for 2023 entry will be confirmed in Summer 2022.
Geophysics at The University of Edinburgh - UCAS