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Geophysics

The Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences offers majors, honours, combined honours, and minor specializations in Geophysics. For information on graduate degrees see Geophysics.

Geophysics is an interdisciplinary physical science of the Earth, the planets and their environments. Geophysics applies the knowledge and techniques of physics, mathematics, computing and chemistry to understand planetary structure, climate and surface processes, and their evolution through time. The specialization provides the rigorous foundation in physical sciences and mathematics necessary for studying or addressing challenges related to Earth and planetary systems, natural hazards, and the stewardship of energy, material resources and the natural environment.

Those who wish to undertake graduate studies or apply for professional registration as a geophysicist in industry are encouraged to enrol in Major or Honours Geophysics specializations, or combine the minor with another science discipline. Students who desire to register as Professional Geoscientists (P.Geo.) should contact Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia (EGBC) to ascertain course and other requirements.

For details of other undergraduate Science specializations available in the department, see Atmospheric Science, Earth and Ocean Sciences , Environmental Sciences, Geological Sciences, and Oceanography. The department also offers Geological Engineering as part of the B.A.Sc. program.

Co-operative Education Option

This option integrates academic study and supervised work experience. Enrolment is limited. Admissibility to any Geophysics specialization is prerequisite for admission. Detailed information is available from Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences or the Science Co-operative Education Office.

Specializations

Major (0001): Geophysics

First Year
Communication Requirement1 3
CHEM 121 (or 111)2 4
CHEM 1232 4
MATH 100 or 102 or 104 (or 120 or 180 or 184)3 3
MATH 101 or 103 or 105 (or 121)3 3
PHYS 106 or 107 or 117 (or 101 or 131)4 3
PHYS 108 (or 118)4 3
PHYS 119 (or 109) 1
DSCI 1005 3
Electives5,6 3
Total Credits 30
Second Year
Communication Requirement1 3
EOSC 212 or (EOSC 111 and one of EOSC 110, 112, 114, 116, 118) 3
EOSC 211, 250 6
MATH 200, 215, 221 9
CHEM 205 or PHYS 2037 3
Electives6 6
Total Credits 30
Third and Fourth Years
EOSC 352, 354 6
EOSC 4108, 453 6
MATH 316 (or PHYS 312) 3
MATH 3179 3
Three of EOSC 329, 353, 450, 429, ATSC 404 or (two of EOSC 329, 353, 450, 429, ATSC 404 and one of EOSC 350, PHYS 301, MATH 345)10 9
Electives6 33
Total Credits 60
Minimum Credits for Degree 120
1 For a full list of acceptable courses see Communication Requirement.
2 Students who do not have B.C. High School Chemistry 12 (or its equivalent) must write the UBC Chemistry Basic Skills Test and may be required to take CHEM 100. CHEM 110 and 115 may substitute for CHEM 111, CHEM 120 and 115 may substitute for CHEM 121, CHEM 130 and 135 may substitute for CHEM 123.
3 MATH 110 may substitute for the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 3 credits. For each 4 credit MATH 100-level course chosen, electives credits must be decreased by 1.
4 Students without Physics 12 must take PHYS 100 before any other PHYS 100-level course. PHYS 100 will count as an elective. Qualified students are encouraged to take PHYS 106/108 or PHYS 117/108.
5 DSCI 100 may be taken in second year. With the approval of the geophysics program adviser, a 200-level or higher course in statistics or data analysis may substitute for DSCI 100.
6 Elective credits together with required courses must fulfill the Faculty of Science’s:
a) Foundational Requirement;
b) Laboratory Science Requirement;
c) Science Breadth Requirement;
d) Science and Arts Requirements;
e) Upper-level Requirement;
f) General Degree Requirements.
7 A 300-level or higher course in thermodynamics, electromagnetism, or mechanics (solid or fluid), offered by the Faculty of Science or the Faculty of Applied Science, may satisfy this requirement. See the geophysics undergraduate advisor for course approval. If PHYS 203 is selected, the number of elective credits is decreased by 1.
8 Students are recommended to check the prerequisites for EOSC 410, and aim to satisfy these in third year. Alternate courses may be acceptable. See an advisor for information.
9 A course in numerical analysis at the third-year level or higher, and offered by the Faculty of Science or the Faculty of Applied Science, will also satisfy this requirement. See the geophysics undergraduate advisor for course approval.
10 Students interested in a career in exploration geophysics are encouraged to take EOSC 350 or PHYS 301

Specialization Objectives

Mastery of the curriculum will provide a thorough background in a wide range of geophysics:

  1. that will qualify students for a wide range of careers in, or involving, the quantitative natural and applied sciences and the analysis of data;
  2. that students may use towards registration as a Professional Geoscientist (P.Geo.) with Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia (EGBC);
  3. that will qualify students for graduate school in geophysics.

Learning Goals

Students completing this specialization will be able to:

  1. demonstrate basic knowledge of the physics of the Earth and other planets;
  2. use analytical problem solving and mathematical techniques for model development;
  3. use numerical problem solving, computer programming skills, statistical approaches and inverse theory for data analysis and modelling;
  4. illustrate the distinctions between data, experiment, theory, and model;
  5. integrate theory, observations, and/or numerics to solve geophysics and related geoscience or technical problems;
  6. apply geophysical approaches to understand the structure and dynamics of Earth and other planetary bodies, including their climates, surface evolution and internal composition;
  7. use relevant scientific and technical literature, write reports and communicate through oral presentations.

Honours (0380): Geophysics (GEOP)1

First Year
Communication Requirement2 3
CHEM 121 (or 111)3 4
CHEM 1233 4
MATH 100 or 102 or 104 (or 120 or 180 or 184)4 3
MATH 101 or 103 or 105 (or 121)4 3
PHYS 106 or 107 or 117 (or 101 or 131)5 3
PHYS 108 (or 118)5 3
PHYS 119 (or 109) 1
DSCI 1006 3
Electives7 6
Total Credits 33
Second Year
Communication Requirement2 3
EOSC 212 (or EOSC 111 and one of EOSC 110, 112, 114, 116, 118) 3
EOSC 211, 250 6
MATH 200, 215 6
MATH 223 (or 221) 3
CHEM 205 or PHYS 2038 3
Electives7 9
Total Credits 33
Third and Fourth Years
EOSC 352, 354 6
EOSC 4109, 453 6
EOSC 449 6
MATH 316 (or PHYS 312) 3
MATH 31710 3
Three of EOSC 329, 353, 450, 429, ATSC 404 or (two of EOSC 329, 353, 450, 429, ATSC 404 and one of EOSC 350, PHYS 301, MATH 345)11 9
Electives7 33
Total Credits 66
Minimum Credits for Degree 132
1 Students transferring from the Faculty of Applied Science should contact the geophysics undergraduate advisor for appropriate counting of Faculty of Applied Science course credit toward the GEOP degree.
2 For a full list of acceptable courses see Communication Requirement.
3 Students who do not have B.C. High School Chemistry 12 (or its equivalent) must write the UBC Chemistry Basic Skills Test and may be required to take CHEM 100. CHEM 110 and 115 may substitute for CHEM 111, CHEM 120 and 115 may substitute for CHEM 121, CHEM 130 and 135 may substitute for CHEM 123.
4 MATH 110 may substitute for the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 3 credits. For each 4 credit MATH 100-level course chosen, electives credits must be decreased by 1.
5 Students without Physics 12 must take PHYS 100 before any other PHYS 100-level course. PHYS 100 will count as an elective. Qualified students are encouraged to take PHYS 106/108 or PHYS 117/108.
6 DSCI 100 may be taken in second year. With the approval of the geophysics program adviser, a 200-level or higher course in statistics or data analysis may substitute for DSCI 100.
7 Elective credits together with required courses must fulfill the Faculty of Science’s:
a) Foundational Requirement;
b) Laboratory Science Requirement;
c) Science Breadth Requirement;
d) Science and Arts Requirements;
e) Upper-level Requirement;
f) General Degree Requirements.
8 A 300-level or higher courses in thermodynamics, electromagnetism, or mechanics (solid or fluid), offered by the Faculty of Science or the Faculty of Applied Science, may satisfy this requirement. See the geophysics undergraduate advisor for course approval. If PHYS 203 is selected, the number of elective credits is decreased by 1.
9 Students are recommended to check the prerequisites for EOSC 410, and aim to satisfy these in third year. Alternate courses may be acceptable. See an advisor for information.
10 A course in numerical analysis at the third-year level or higher, and offered by the Faculty of Science or the Faculty of Applied Science, will also satisfy this requirement. See the geophysics undergraduate advisor for course approval.
11 Students interested in a career in exploration geophysics are encouraged to take EOSC 350 or PHYS 301

Specialization Objectives

Honours will provide more depth than the Major. Mastery of the curriculum will provide a thorough background in a wide range of geophysics:

  1. that will qualify students for graduate school in geophysics and other quantitative Earth Sciences;
  2. that students may use towards registration as a Professional Geoscientist (P.Geo.) with Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia (EGBC);
  3. that will qualify students for a wide range of careers in, or involving, the quantitative natural and applied sciences and the analysis of data.

Learning Goals

Students completing this specialization will be able to:

  1. demonstrate basic knowledge of the physics of the Earth and other planets;
  2. use analytical problem solving and mathematical techniques for model development;
  3. use numerical problem solving, computer programming skills, statistical approaches and inverse theory for data analysis and modelling;
  4. illustrate the distinctions between data, experiment, theory, and model;
  5. integrate theory, observations, and/or numerics to solve geophysics and related geoscience or technical problems;
  6. apply geophysical approaches to understand the structure and dynamics of Earth and other planetary bodies including their climates, surface evolution and internal composition;
  7. define, conduct, and present the results of an individual research project;
  8. use relevant scientific and technical literature, write reports and communicate through oral presentations.

Combined Honours: Geophysics and Another Science Subject1

First Year
Communication Requirement2 3
CHEM 121 (or 111)3 4
CHEM 1233 4
MATH 100 or 102 or 104 (or 120 or 180 or 184)4 3
MATH 101 or 103 or 105 (or 121)4 3
PHYS 106 or 107 or 117 (or 101 or 131)5 3
PHYS 108 (or 118)5 3
PHYS 119 (or 109) 1
DSCI 1006 3
Electives7,8 6
Total Credits 33
Second Year
Communication Requirement2 3
EOSC 211, 250 6
EOSC 212 (or EOSC 111 and one of EOSC 110, 112, 114, 116, 118) 3
MATH 200, 215 6
MATH 221 (or 223) 3
Electives7,8 12
Total Credits 33
Third and Fourth Years
EOSC 352, 354 6
EOSC 4109, 453 6
MATH 316 or PHYS 312 3
MATH 31710 3
Three of EOSC 329, 353, 450, 429, ATSC 404 or (two of EOSC 329, 353, 450, 429, ATSC 404 and one of EOSC 350, PHYS 301, MATH 345)Z11 9
EOSC 449 (or thesis in other discipline) 6
Electives7,8 33
Total Credits 66
Minimum Credits for Degree 132
1 Combined honours must be approved by advisors from both disciplines at the time that the specialization is declared. Not all disciplines offer combined honours. For examples of Combined Honours Geophysics specializations, see a Geophysics advisor.
2 For a full list of acceptable courses see Communication Requirement.
3 Students who do not have B.C. High School Chemistry 12 (or its equivalent) must write the UBC Chemistry Basic Skills Test and may be required to take CHEM 100. CHEM 110 and 115 may substitute for CHEM 111, CHEM 120 and 115 may substitute for CHEM 121, CHEM 130 and 135 may substitute for CHEM 123.
4 MATH 110 may substitute for the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 3 credits. For each 4 credit MATH 100-level course chosen, electives credits must be decreased by 1.
5 Students without Physics 12 must take PHYS 100 before any other PHYS 100-level course. PHYS 100 will count as an elective. Qualified students are encouraged to take PHYS 106/108 or PHYS 117/108.
6 DSCI 100 may be taken in second year. With the approval of the geophysics program adviser, a 200-level or higher course in statistics or data analysis may substitute for DSCI 100.
7 Elective credits together with required courses must fulfill the Faculty of Science’s:
a) Foundational Requirement;
b) Laboratory Science Requirement;
c) Science Breadth Requirement;
d) Science and Arts Requirements;
e) Upper-level Requirement;
f) General Degree Requirements.
8 Within the specified electives all students must meet the requirements of the other specialization. The available elective credit in each year may be adjusted to allow for alternative courses and specific specialization combinations.
9 Students are recommended to check the prerequisites for EOSC 410, and aim to satisfy these in third year. Alternate courses may be acceptable. See an advisor for information. Alternate courses may be acceptable. See an advisor for information.
10 A course in numerical analysis at the third-year level or higher, and offered by the Faculty of Science or the Faculty of Applied Science, will also satisfy this requirement. See the geophysics undergraduate advisor for course approval.
11 A 300-level or higher course in thermodynamics, electromagnetism, or mechanics (solid or fluid), offered by the Faculty of Science or the Faculty of Applied Science, may satisfy this requirement. See the geophysics undergraduate advisor for course approval. Students interested in a career in exploration geophysics are encouraged to take EOSC 350 or PHYS 301.

Minor: Geophysics (GEOP)

The minor consists of 18 credits, including all of EOSC 352, EOSC 354, EOSC 410, EOSC 453, and two of EOSC 329, 353, 450, 429, ATSC 404. See Minor Options.

Page last updated: April 29, 2021

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