BSc Geophysics - University College London

Programme title:
Final award (BSc, MA etc):
(where stopping off points exist they should be
detailed here and defined later in the document)
UCAS code:
(where applicable)
Cohort(s) to which this programme
specification is applicable:
Intakes from 2000
(e.g. from 2008 intake onwards)
Awarding institution/body:
University College London
Teaching institution:
University College London
Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Parent Department:
Earth Sciences
(the department responsible for the administration of
the programme)
Departmental web page address:
(if applicable)
Method of study:
Full time
Criteria for admission to the
Length of the programme:
3 years
(please note any periods spent away from UCL, such
as study abroad or placements in industry)
Level on Framework for Higher
Education Qualifications (FHEQ)
(see Guidance notes)
Relevant subject benchmark statement
Advanced Level (Level 6)
Earth Sciences
(see Guidance notes)
Brief outline of the structure of the
(see guidance notes)
Board of Examiners:
Name of Board of Examiners:
Earth Sciences
Professional body accreditation
(if applicable):
Geological Society
Date of next scheduled
accreditation visit:
September 2020
To provide a broadly based education in all major branches of geophysics, integrating theoretical studies with essential practical skills
in the field and in the laboratory.
To develop the ability to work on group projects, prepare written reports and acquire oral skills.
To provide a sound training that may lead to careers in geophysics either with industry or through academic research.
To provide training in the methods of scientific research, including literature research, the
identification and analysis of a research problem, the acquisition, analysis, and interpretation of data.
The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding,
qualities, skills and other attributes in the following areas:
A: Knowledge and understanding
Knowledge and understanding of:
 The origin, evolution and structure of
the Earth as a physical and chemical
system, including the solid Earth, its
oceans, ice sheets, atmosphere and
 The origin and nature of the
geophysical fields, including the
gravitational, magnetic, electrics and
global stress fields.
 Earthquake seismology and the
relation to earth structure and its
 The physical and chemical principles
underlying the processes by which
rocks form and change through
melting, crystallization, solid-state flow,
recrystallization, chemical diffusion,
weathering, erosion, deposition of
sediment and rock deformation.
 The origin, evolution, and internal
structure and dynamics of the Earth
and planets.
 The interpretation of geophysical data
and images towards an understanding
of earth surface processes.
 The understanding of the origin and
evolution of surface features and how such
features provide information on earth &
planetary interiors, dynamics and evolution.
Teaching/learning methods and strategies:
lectures, practical classes, various forms of coursework
including written assignments, computer-based teaching,
fieldwork, and tutorials.
Assessment is by annual written examination, assessed
laboratory work, course work, and field work, tutorial
essays and marked problems, reports on individual field
B: Skills and other attributes
Intellectual (thinking) skills:
1. Reason inductively and deductively
2. Identify and solve problems
3. Analyse and interpret data
4. Test hypotheses critically
Teaching/learning methods and strategies:
Intellectual skills are developed through the teaching
and learning programme outlined above. Laboratory and
fieldwork exercises involve the collection and analysis of
scientific data, and the use of the data to deduce
processes, and to test or construct hypotheses.
Intellectual skills are assessed particularly through
written reports and examinations, as well as through
assessed coursework.
C: Skills and other attributes
Practical skills (able to):
 The identification, analysis, and
classification of Earth materials.
 The interpretation of structures, textures,
and fabrics in rocks in terms of the
processes by which they have formed.
 The methods of observation,
measurement, and recording of
geological and geophysical data in the
field, and the construction and
interpretation of geological and
planetary maps.
 The geometrical analysis of complex threedimensional structures.
 The measurement and interpretation of
geophysical data, and its analysis in terms of
the internal structure arid composition of the
 The application o f geological and
geophysical skills towards an understanding
of earth and planetary surfaces and interiors.
Teaching/learning methods and strategies:
Practical skills are taught in laboratory and field classes,
and in tutorials, and involve a combination of
demonstration, group exercises, and individual exercises.
An important aspect of the skills teaching is the
independent mapping project, in which the students have
to apply their training, unsupervised, and produce a
planetary map and report using mission image data. This
exercise has the effect of developing the self-confidence
and independent ability of the student, and allowing them
to test and develop their interpretation skills.
Practical skills are assessed primarily through assessed
coursework and projects.
D: Skills and other attributes
Transferable skills (able to):
 Team-based problem-solving.
 Communication and discussion of
scientific ideas.
 Oral and written presentation skills.
 Graphical design skills.
 Numerical skills appropriate to a
physical scientist.
 Use of information technology (wordprocessing, internet, databases,
spreadsheets, statistical and graphical
 Job application and interview skills.
 First-aid training.
Teaching/learning methods and strategies:
Transferable skills are inculcated through
(1) individual and team-based coursework
assignments involving independent prefects
that have to be completed to a schedule,
(2) seminars and oral presentations in
tutorials, (3) preparation of major written
reports, (4) coursework involving
calculations, usually computer-based and
involving spreadsheets, mathematical and
statistical software; and (5) literature based
research using electronic databases and
the internet. First-aid training is part of our
field-skills training.
Transferable skills are assessed in part
through assessed coursework and projects,
and through the informal medium of the tutorial system.
The following reference points were used in designing the programme:
 the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications:
 the relevant Subject Benchmark Statements:
 the programme specifications for UCL degree programmes in relevant subjects (where applicable);
 UCL teaching and learning policies;
 staff research.
Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the
learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if he/she takes
full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information on the learning outcomes,
content and teaching, learning and assessment methods of each course unit/module can be found in the
departmental course handbook. The accuracy of the information contained in this document is reviewed annually
by UCL and may be checked by the Quality Assurance Agency.
Programme Organiser(s)
Professor Paul Bown
Date of Production:
February 2003
Date of Review:
December 2014
Date approved by Head of
17 December 2014
Date approved by Chair of
Departmental Teaching
Date approved by Faculty
Teaching Committee
17 December 2014
February 2015