Study Geophysics at UBC

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About Geophysics

Geophysics involves the use of physics and mathematics to understand the history, structure and processes of Earth and other planets. The field explores topics such as the cause of earthquakes and the Earth's magnetic field. Today's geophysicists contribute their expertise to solving a host of practical and fundamental problems that range from locating buried contaminants to using high-performance computers to simulate the flow of Martian ice caps. Many geophysics undergraduates find employment with companies involved in environmental engineering, petroleum exploration, or mineral exploration. Those who are interested in becoming research scientists continue their studies as graduate and postgraduate students.

Program details

Those who wish to pursue a professional career in geophysics are encouraged to enroll in the honours program. The required sequence of mathematics, physics and geophysics courses is designed to provide a basic structure on which to build a program with science electives normally selected from geophysics, geology, astronomy, oceanography, mathematics, physics and chemistry courses.


Over the course of a four-year degree, this program could help you build the following skills:

  • Application of knowledge regarding environmental issues and impact to solve practical problems affecting the society and the world
  • Observations, development of models, generation of questions and precise conclusions about the history, structure, and processes of the earth and its environment
  • Application of physics, mathematics, and chemistry to theoretical approaches of how various factors shape and impact data
  • Ability to see environmental problems and factors in a unique way when straightforward answers are not obvious
  • Critical analysis and synthesis of scientific research and literature in order to make safety recommendations
  • Mapping, surveying, and field sampling of physical properties of the earth
  • Quantitative skills and computing methods to analyze Earth’s density, seismic velocity, gravity, magnetism, resistivity, and radioactivity
  • Usage of MATLAB and Python

Programs offered

  • Major or Honours, Geophysics
  • Combined Honours, Geophysics and another subject
  • Co-op


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Involvement and Career Resources

Career options in Geophysics

With an undergraduate degree

  • Environmental geophysicist
  • Geological/geophysics consultant
  • Geophysicist or field seismologist
  • Mining geophysicist

With additional study

  • Drilling engineer
  • Exploration geophysicist
  • Geochemist
  • Geological engineer
  • Petroleum engineering technician
  • Well site geologist

UBC Science Geophysics Graduates Work As

  • Geophysicist-in-Training (GIT), DMT Geosciences
  • Principal Geophysicist, Teck Resources Limited
  • Offshore Field Geophysicist, Schlumberger
  • Principal Geophysicis, Mira Geoscience
  • MSc Candidate in Geophysic, California Institute of Technology
  • Geophysicist, HDR

Related Professional Groups

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