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  • Study Type

    Full time available

  • Subject Areas


  • Start Date


  • Course Duration

    12 months full time

  • Course Type


  • Course Fees


  • Last Updated

    17 October 2017

Course content

Join us at our Masters Open Day to find out more about our courses.

Geophysics is the remote study of the Earth's interior through physical techniques – principally analysing seismic data, but also applying gravity, magnetic, electrical and electromagnetic methods.

It is a key element of oil, gas and mineral exploration, environmental and archaeological assessment, and engineering site investigation.

This course prepares you to embark on a career in resource exploration, environmental and engineering geophysics.

Running continuously for over 50 years it is very firmly established and has strong links to industry. It provides you with a broad range of practical skills, underpinned by a theoretical understanding that equips you to become a professional in your chosen field.

You will also undertake a four-month individual project, mostly in association with an external company or institute and often in their offices.

Demand for geophysicists continues to be high and this well-established course has an exceptionally good record of job placement for both UK/EU and overseas students.

Course highlights:

  • Network with energy, geophysical acquisition, processing and software companies, who visit regularly to engage and recruit our students.
  • Complete a 4 month individual project, mostly in association with an external company or institute and often in their offices.
  • Access our state-of-the-art computer suite that runs a comprehensive range of industry-standard software on hi-spec twin-screen workstations.
  • Develop your field skills with our sector-leading portfolio of field geophysical equipment.
  • Apply for a scholarship – we have a large number of School and dedicated external (industry) scholarships for UK/EU applicants.

Course content

You will study 8 taught modules and an individual project.

Taught modules cover a broad range of geophysical disciplines as applied to resource, environmental and engineering industries.

The individual project is the most challenging and exciting part of the course. It runs from May to September and tests your skills in applying the experiences acquired over the year to a specific problem.

Most projects have an association with an exploration company or other external organisation and you could work alongside geoscience professionals in the offices of industrial partners.

Projects typically include investigations of specific geological prospects, comparisons of novel seismic processing algorithms and integrated geophysical investigations from basin to quarry scale.

Course structure

Compulsory modules

  • Exploration Geophysics: Project and Dissertation 60 credits
  • Computational Inverse Theory 15 credits
  • Petrophysics and Petroleum Geology 15 credits
  • Seismic Reservoir Evaluation and Recent Developments 15 credits
  • Geophysical and Geological Field Methods and Geological Interpretation 15 credits
  • Gravity and Magnetic Methods 15 credits
  • Seismic Fundamentals and Acquisition 15 credits
  • Seismic Data Processing 15 credits
  • Seismic Reflection Interpretation and Sequence Stratigraphy 15 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Exploration Geophysics MSc in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

Be taught by leading academic geoscientists, with input from industry experts throughout the course.

Learn through field-based and practical-based (individual and group) training, while your lectures and seminars are supplemented by desk-based and workstation-based practicals and fieldwork.


The School's £23m building gives you access to world-class research, teaching and laboratory facilities.

As a Masters student you will have access to specific facilities as well as the general facilities available through the School and the University.

Ongoing investment in leading geophysical survey equipment means that you can effectively demonstrate and practise a range of techniques in the field including shooting seismic reflection surveys.

Equipment includes seismic, gravity, magnetics, GPR, resistivity/IP, EM, GPS/positioning. These datasets are subsequently used in your classroom/computer exercises to establish a practical link between field practice and data quality and interpretability.

A dedicated computer lab containing a suite of high-powered computers enhances your learning experience by providing you with access to a comprehensive range of industry-standard geophysical processing and interpretation software packages, e.g. MESA, SeisSpace/ProMAX®, KINGDOM, Petrel™, Geosoft and RokDoc.

You can use these for individual projects, or in workstation-based teaching sessions. The software will also facilitate your individual and team-based exercises designed to simulate industry practice, e.g. processing a reflection seismic line, assessing a hydrocarbon prospect for a drilling/ license bid.


You will be assessed on your written exams, coursework (both in-class and independently completed), project report writing and group presentations.

Strong links with industry reinforce this vocational Masters degree, helping you to develop a grounded perspective, as well as providing you with recruitment possibilities.

In addition to the industrial experience of many School staff and contributions from University of Leeds geoscience spin-out companies, you will have numerous contacts with industry representatives throughout the year.

We have many visits from energy, geophysical acquisition, processing and software companies, primarily to engage with you and recruit Masters students throughout their degree. These visits include recruitment information, technical showcases and case studies of integrated geoscience in practice, as well as opportunities for you to network with geoscience professionals.

You will have the opportunity to attend the EAGE (European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers) annual meeting in May/June. This provides you with a chance to find out about the latest technological developments and to meet industry experts, including potential employers.

Your summer project is mostly carried out either with collaborating companies or institutes. These projects are linked to current activities, representing actual problems for which a research or business outcome is sought. Some are field-based: with placements often overseas, while others result in journal publications or conference presentations. The projects finish with an Open Day where you will present your work to a range of industry visitors.

Career opportunities

Demand for geophysicists has always been high. A Masters is generally considered an appropriate level to embark on a career in resource exploration and the course at Leeds has an exceptionally good record of job placement for both UK/EU and overseas students.

Many energy, and service-sector companies target the course directly for recruitment with numerous company visits through the year. Other opportunities arise from project placements, the EAGE, or the September Open Day of project seminars and presentations, with which the programme closes.

Visit the Exploration Geophysics MSc page on the University of Leeds website for more details!






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