Imperial College London logo
  • Tuition Fee:
  • Local: $ 11.4k / 2015 cohort
  • Foreign: $ 32.9k / 2015 cohort
  • Languages of instruction:
  • English
  • Deadline:
  • 15 January 2016
  • StudyQA ranking:
  • 576pts.
  • Duration:
  • 3 years

    Applicants including Oxford and Cambridge among their entries – 15 October 2014

    Photos of university / #imperialcollege

    All our courses combine a strong traditional emphasis on observational and field skills with the numerical and analytical fundamental science required to understand Earth processes and systems quantitatively.

    Geophysics is the application of physical laws and principles to the study of the Earth: how it formed, and how it is evolving, from the largest to the smallest scale, and from the deep interior to the upper reaches of its atmosphere.

    Geophysicists make observations on land, at sea, in the air, and from space, to probe the planet. They search for resources within the Earth, especially oil and gas, and learn techniques that might lead to prediction of natural and manmade hazards and disasters.

    Three year courses lead to the BSc Honours degree of Imperial College London.

    The department fully supports the strategic aims of Imperial College London and in particular the
    educational aims:
    To identify, attract and develop students of the highest ability who are most able to benefit
    from an education at the College and in this department
    To provide a research-led education of the highest international quality within an intellectually
    challenging and inspiring environment
    To provide an educational experience that empowers graduates to be leaders in their chosen
    careers and contribute to the long-term needs of society
    To maintain excellence in organisation by being efficient, effective, adaptable and integrated. 

    Year 1

    Dynamic Earth 1
    Earth Materials
    Physical Processes (4)
    Programming for Geoscientists
    Maths Methods 1 (4)
    Solid Earth Geochemistry (4)
    Surface Processes
    Internal Processes
    Structural Geology 1
    Optical Mineralogy and
    Life & Earth History
    Introduction to Field Geology
    Graphics & Statistics for
    Geoscientists 1
    Field Geology 1
    Projects and Tutorials 1 (1)
    Geoscience Workshops (2)
    + optional Imperial Horizons (3)

    (1), (2)
    Projects and Tutorials and Geoscience workshops take place throughout the year on a variety of
    Imperial Horizons courses in term 1 and 2 can be taken as an additional 6 ECTS.
    Students may not have A-levels or equivalent in all three of Maths, Physics and Chemistry.
    Introductory level 1 courses in these subjects allow such students to delay studying more advanced
    material in one or more of these subjects until year two; the programme and timetable allow for this

    Year 2

    Applied Geophysics 1
    Vibrations and Waves
    Global Geophysics
    Structural Geology 2
    Maths Methods 3
    Low Temperature
    Geochemistry (4)
    Remote Sensing & GIS
    Numerical Methods 2
    Earth Resources
    Field Geophysics
    Maths Methods 4
    Independent Geophysics
    Project (1)
    Data processing, modelling and
    interpretation of Morocco
    Projects and Tutorials 2 & Geoscience Workshops
    + optional Business for Professional Engineers & Scientists (2)
    + optional Imperial Horizons (3)
    (1) Year 2 develops the fundamental geological and geophysical knowledge and skills that are required
    to undertake a major independent project at the end of the year. This is in the form of two guided
    modules in term 3 which consist of significant elements of independent work. Independent geophysics
    project continues over the summer and into year 3.
    (2) Students can take Business for Professional Engineers and Scientists course in term 1 and 2 for
    credit which may contribute to the coursework element. Students taking this option will graduate with
    66 ECTS for their 2nd year – an additional 6 ECTS for their 2nd year.
    (3) Imperial Horizons in term 1 and 2 can be taken as an additional 6 ECTS which is not for credit.
    (4) For students with missing A-levels in Chemistry, students take Solid Earth Geochemistry instead of
    Low Temperature Geochemistry.

    Year 3

    Seismic Techniques
    Hydro and Fluid Flow 1
    Plus three from:
    Basins & Tectonics
    or Climate
    or Ice and Fire
    or Mechanics (2014/2015 only)
    Thermodynamics (1)
    Elective courses vary annually.
    In 2014/2015 they are:
    Earth Sytems
    Minerals Processing
    Environmental Impact
    Solid Waste 1*
    Solid Waste 2*
    Low temperature
    GIS & remote sensing 2
    Env & Eng Geol 1
    Physical Oceanography
    Palaeo & Env Magnetism
    Hydrogeology & Fluid Flow 2
    Business for professional
    engineers and scientists
    + optional Imperial Horizons(2)
    Earth Science Synthesis 1
    Earth Science General Paper
    (Yr 3)
    Independent geophysics
    project, &
    Workshops assoc with project
    + optional Imperial Horizons(2)

    (1) Thermodynamics is taught in term 2 and examined in term 3
    (2) Imperial Horizons in term 1 and 2 can be taken as an additional 6 ECTS which is not for credit

    UK requirements for international applications

    Universities in the United Kingdom use a centralized system of undergraduate application: University and College Admissions Service (UCAS). It is used by both domestic and international students. Students have to register on the UCAS website before applying to the university. They will find all the necessary information about the application process on this website. Some graduate courses also require registration on this website, but in most cases students have to apply directly to the university. Some universities also accept undergraduate application through Common App (the information about it could be found on universities' websites).

    Both undergraduate and graduate students may receive three types of responses from the university. The first one, “unconditional offer” means that you already reached all requirements and may be admitted to the university. The second one, “conditional offer” makes your admission possible if you fulfill some criteria – for example, have good grades on final exams. The third one, “unsuccessful application” means that you, unfortunately, could not be admitted to the university of you choice.

    All universities require personal statement, which should include the reasons to study in the UK and the information about personal and professional goals of the student and a transcript, which includes grades received in high school or in the previous university.

    University requirements

    Program requirements

    Our minimum offer for all our courses is AAA but we normally ask for additional or higher requirements depending on the individual student. Students are interviewed before being made an offer.  Most of our offers are targetted to individual students. Our undergraduate intake is therefore among the best qualified in the country.

    If studying UK qualifications you will need three A levels, and at least two A-levels from the following list:

    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Geology
    • Geography

    Only about 20% of our students have prior knowledge of geology, so don’t worry if you have not studied Earth science or geology before. What we are looking for are students who love science and have a deep desire to learn more about the Earth.

    A-level equivalents

    We welcome students from across Europe and worldwide with A-level equivalents such as International or European Baccalaureates, Scottish Advanced Highers or the Irish Leaving Certificate. Students with other competencies will also be considered.  We encourage students who have not taken A-levels to visit the relevant pages on the Registry website.   

    Maths and physics

    Maths is an important part of all the courses so we expect students to have at least GCSE Maths (or equivalent) at grade A, or an AS level (or equivalent) at grade B or above.

    Students wanting to study geophysics must have A-levels (or equivalent) in physics and maths (although you can still study geophysics combined with geology without physics A-level).

    Candidates admitted without an A-level (or equivalent) in maths, physics or chemistry are provided with additional subject teaching in the first year and take the intermediate level courses in those subjects a year later.

    In addition to A-levels (or equivalents) we place great emphasis on interview and take other qualities as well as academic ability into account.

    Rio Tinto Scholarships

    The Rio Tinto Scholarshipswill provide financial support for Earth Science students during their university degrees. These scholarships are a shared vision between Rio Tinto and Imperial to encourage students to apply their skills in the mining sector. Scholarswill be selected at the end of theirfirst year of their studies at Imperial,with continuous funding for years 2, 3 and 4, subject to satisfactory performance. Each Rio Tinto Scholar will receive: • Financial aid of £4,000 per yearforthose selected in September 2014 • Preferential entry to Rio Tinto’s graduate program (subject to meeting standard selection criteria) • Mentorship by Rio Tinto staff members • Opportunities to apply studies through internships and vacationwork • Networking opportunitieswith Rio Tinto managers and high profile Imperial College visitors Scholarship holders are not compelled to join Rio Tinto on graduation.

    Rio TintoUrra Fieldtrip Rio Tintowill fund the first year geosciences fieldtrip to Urra, Southern Spain,which specifically develops observational and practical skills for all first year undergraduate students. Anglo-American Scotland Fieldtrip Anglo-Americanwill fund the second yearfieldtrip to the Highlands, the pre-independent mapping trip designed to enhance independent mapping skills.

    Burhouse Bursary The Burhouse Bursary is awarded annually to an overseas student. Eligible students are contacted by the department in late August and encouraged towrite an essay to be submitted in late September, before starting theirfirst year of studies in October. MinSouth Student

    The MinSouth Sponsorship, administered by MinSouth, is available to UK students starting their second year. Students must not be in receipt of any other major scholarship or sponsorship otherthan student loans and educational grants. The MinSouth Sponsorship is £1,000 per yearto the end of their degree, subject to satisfactory progression. Applications, accompanied by an essay are available from the Academic Tutor

    All students study a very similar syllabus in years one and two, so you can switch between courses up until the start of year three, although most students decide on their degree title by the end of year 1.

    This makes it relatively easy to switch between courses up until the start of year three. However, most students chose their degree title during or at the end of year 1 when they have more knowledge about the course content and what they enjoy.   The modules you choose in years three and four will determine the name of the degree you graduate with.

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