The Exploration Geophysics curriculum is divided into three semesters, featuring eight taught modules and an independent research project. Taught modules cover a broad range of geophysical disciplines as applied to resource, environmental and engineering industries.
In Semester one, you will learn the theoretical tools of the trade, via fundamental modules covering topics such as seismic fundamentals and acquisition, computational inverse theory, field and structural geology, seismic data processing and near surface geophysics.
Throughout Semester two, you will put this theory intro practice, with applied modules in topics such as reservoir geophysics, petrophysics, seismic interpretation and gravity and magnetic methods. The semester culminates in a residential fieldtrip, in which you will undertake and data acquisition and analyse the data you collect.
Throughout Semester three, over summer, you will apply the skills learnt during the taught course to undertake an independent project to explore a current geophysics research problem. These projects are typically tailored to the individual interests of students, and often involve an external collaborator – whether from the industrial or research sectors – and the potential to undertake an internship for at least part of the project period.
Project topics regularly include investigations of specific geological issues and prospects, studies of novel seismic analysis tools, and integrated geophysical investigations – on scales from basins to quarries. All are unique to each year, with a desired commercial or academic outcome: about 10% of projects involve fieldwork, and can be case studies or innovative research-aligned investigations – even to a publishable standard.
Exploration Geophysics features 2 field exercises. In Semester 1, you will undertake two days of field geology, to help you visualise subsurface targets and the geological structures that they represent. In Semester 2, you will complete a 4-day residential field trip at a site in North Wales, where you will use our geophysical survey systems to image and understand a variety of subsurface targets.
Want to find out more about your modules?
Take a look at the Exploration Geophysics module descriptions for more detail on what you will study.
The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.
For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Exploration Geophysics MSc in the course catalogue
Exploration Geophysics: Project and Dissertation
Computational Inverse Theory
Geophysical Reservoir Evaluation
Gravity and Magnetic Methods
Geological and Physical Methods for Subsurface Characterisation
Seismic Fundamentals and Acquisition
Seismic Data Processing
Seismic Reflection Interpretation and Sequence Stratigraphy
Learning and teaching
Exploration Geophysics features a 22-week taught syllabus, spanning two semesters. You may expect up to 6 hours of contact time from staff each day, either via face-to-face lectures, workstation practicals, or online workshops. A number of workshops are led by industry professionals, including on seismic processing, interpretation and inversion. You will undertake coursework submissions throughout the taught-course and have opportunities for constructive feedback on your work. Discussion of your progress and understanding among your MSc peers is encouraged.
You will be assigned a personal tutor, who will maintain contact with you throughout the year and offer pastoral guidance. They will help you to settle into the university and clarify any procedures, as well as helping you prepare for employment on graduation. You will also receive administrative support from SEE’s dedicated Student Education Support office.
You’ll also learn the latest geophysical developments through our “Tuesday Talks” seminar series, featuring a weekly visit from a professional geophysicist. Our recent programme has featured professionals from Drax Power, Fugro, Shell, BP, Cornish Lithium and the British Antarctic Survey.
Our Virtual Learning Environment will help to support your studies: it’s a central place where you can find all the information and resources for the School, your programme and modules.
You can also benefit from support to develop your academic skills, within the curriculum and through online resources, workshops, one-to-one appointments and drop-in sessions.
On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.
Modules are assessed through a variety of exam papers and coursework exercises. Each features opportunities for formative feedback, to help you hone analysis and reporting skills ahead of formally-assessed submissions. Our coursework gives you the opportunity to learn through assessment, with each exercise drawing on authentic examples of geophysical data and testing your appraisal and analysis of it. While most of these submissions are individually assessed, some provide opportunities for groupwork to offer an authentic experience of the diversity of a professional team. The project module tests your ability both to undertake and communicate a science project, and its assessed components include a dissertation, a poster and a research seminar presented to peers, course staff and external industry guests.