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Geophysics

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

Geophysics is an interdisciplinary physical science of the planets and their environments, in particular the Earth. Geophysics applies the knowledge and techniques of physics, mathematics, and chemistry to understand planetary structure, dynamic behavior and evolution through time.

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. Students who desire to register as Professional Geoscientists (P.Geo.) should contact the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia to ascertain course and other requirements. The Major Earth and Ocean Sciences specialization is available for students who have a broad interest in the Earth Sciences as it relates to geophysics.

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 6
CHEM 121 (or 111)2 4
CHEM 123 (or 113) 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 107 (or 117) (or 101)4 3
PHYS 108, 109 (or 118, 119) (or 102)4 4
Electives5,6 3
Total Credits 30
Second Year
EOSC 212 or (EOSC 111 and one of EOSC 110, 112, 114, 116, 118)6 3
EOSC 211, 222, 250 9
MATH 200, 215, 221 9
PHYS 2037 4
Electives5,6 5
Total Credits 30
Third and Fourth Years
EOSC 352, 353, 354 9
EOSC 4108, 450, 453 9
MATH 316 (or PHYS 312) 3
MATH 3179 3
PHYS 3017 3
Electives5,6,8 33
Total Credits 60
Minimum Credits for Degree 120
1 For a full list of acceptable courses see Communication Requirement. ENGL 112 is recommended.
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.
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 107/108/109 or PHYS 117/118/119. Students who chose PHYS 102 must increase electives credits by 1.
5 Students who find the specific number of electives within a given year awkward to fulfill are permitted to move elective credit between years.
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 Two 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 these course requirements. See the geophysics undergraduate advisor for course approval.
8 Students are recommended to check the prerequisites for EOSC 410, and aim to satisfy these in third year.
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.

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 natural sciences;
  2. that students may use towards registration as a Professional Geoscientist (P.Geo.) with the Association of Professional Geoscientists of British Columbia (APEGBC);
  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 modeling;
  4. illustrate the distinctions between data, experiment, theory, and model;
  5. integrate theory, observations, and/or numerics to solve geophysics problems;
  6. apply geophysical approaches to understand the structure and dynamics of Earth and other planetary bodies;
  7. write reports and communicate through oral presentations.

Honours (0380): Geophysics (GEOP)1

First Year
Communication Requirement2 6
CHEM 121 (or 111)3 4
CHEM 123 (or 113) 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 107 (or 117) (or 101)5 3
PHYS 108, 109 (or 118, 119) (or 102)5 4
Electives6,7 6
Total Credits 33
Second Year
EOSC 212 (or EOSC 111 and one of EOSC 110, 112, 114, 116, 118)6 3
EOSC 211, 222, 250 9
MATH 200, 215 6
MATH 223 (or 221) 3
PHYS 2038 4
Electives6,7 8
Total Credits 33
Third and Fourth Years
EOSC 352, 353, 354 9
EOSC 4109, 450, 453 9
EOSC 449 6
MATH 316 (or PHYS 312) 3
MATH 31710 3
PHYS 3018 3
Electives6,7,9 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.
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 107/108/109 or PHYS 117/118/119. Students who chose PHYS 102 must increase elective credits by 1.
6 Students who find the specific number of electives within a given year awkward to fulfill are permitted to move elective credit between years.
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 Two 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 these course requirements. See the geophysics undergraduate advisor for course approval.
9 Students are recommended to check the prerequisites for EOSC 410, and aim to satisfy these in third year.
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.

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;
  2. that students may use towards registration as a Professional Geoscientist (P.Geo.) with the Association of Professional Geoscientists of British Columbia (APEGBC);
  3. that will qualify students for a wide range of careers in, or involving, the natural sciences.

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 modeling;
  4. illustrate the distinctions between data, experiment, theory, and model;
  5. integrate theory, observations, and/or numerics to solve geophysics problems;
  6. apply geophysical approaches to understand the structure and dynamics of Earth and other planetary bodies;
  7. define, conduct, and present the results of an individual research project;
  8. write reports and communicate through oral presentations.

Combined Honours: Geophysics and Another Science Subject1

First Year
Communication Requirement2 6
CHEM 121 (or 111)3 4
CHEM 123 (or 113) 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 107 (or 117) (or 101)5 3
PHYS 108, 109 (or 118, 119) (or 102)5 4
Electives6,7 6
Total Credits 33
Second Year
EOSC 211, 222, 250 9
EOSC 212 (or EOSC 111 and one of EOSC 110, 112, 114, 116, 118)6 3
MATH 200, 215 6
MATH 221 (or 223) 3
Electives6,7 12
Total Credits 33
Third and Fourth Years
EOSC 352, 353, 354 9
EOSC 4108, 450, 453 9
MATH 316 or PHYS 312 3
MATH 3179 3
PHYS 30110 3
EOSC 449 (or thesis in other discipline) 6
Electives5,8 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.
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 107/108/109 or PHYS 117/118/119. Students who chose PHYS 102 must increase elective credits by 1.
6 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.
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 Students are recommended to check the prerequisites for EOSC 410, and aim to satisfy these in third year.
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 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.

Page last updated: May 21, 2019

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