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? Our degree offers you the best of both subjects. Many people confuse geology and geophysics, as both study the Earth and how it works. For example, they both explore the mechanisms behind plate tectonics. However:
- Geologists focus on the materialistic surface of the Earth and its evolution.
- Geophysicists are mainly concerned about the Earth's physical processes, including its internal composition and atmosphere.
- the microscopic properties of minerals
- the structure and composition of the Earth
- how large scale forces such as gravity, seismology and magnetism shape the Earth
- our Earth's past to forecast and safeguard its future
- the impact of global climate change on our world
- 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).
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How to apply
This course has limited vacancies, and is no longer accepting applications from some students. See the list below for where you normally live, to check if you’re eligible to apply.
Republic of Ireland
This is the deadline for applications to be completed and sent for this course. If the university or college still has places available you can apply after this date, but your application is not guaranteed to be considered.
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Points of entry
The following entry points are available for this course:
- Year 1
Standard Qualification Requirements
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
|IELTS (Academic)||6.5||Total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.|
|TOEFL (iBT)||92||Total 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 Advanced||Total 176 with at least 162 in each component.|
|Cambridge English Proficiency||Total 176 with at least 162 in each component.|
|Trinity ISE||ISE II with distinctions in all four components.|
|PTE Academic||62||Total 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:
The student satisfaction data is from students surveyed during the Covid-19 pandemic. The number of student respondents and response rates can be important in interpreting the data – it is important to note your experience may be different from theirs. This data will be based on the subject area rather than the specific course. Read more about this data on the Discover Uni website.
Fees and funding
|Channel Islands||£9250*||Year 1|
|Republic of Ireland||£9250*||Year 1|
|Northern Ireland||£9250*||Year 1|
*This is a provisional fee and subject to change.