Faculty of Science



Photo: Emily Warren-Smith. PhD candidate Jesse Dimech and seismometer, Central Otago Seismic Array (COSA), Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

Please note: Information on this page relates to the 2016 academic year unless otherwise specified.

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This subject is taught by the School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences.


Geophysics brings together expertise in maths and physics with a love of the outdoors to understand the atmosphere around us and the ground beneath our feet. Geophysicists work at understanding some of the biggest and most exciting physical phenomena we know, earthquakes, volcanoes, mountain building, the Earth's magnetism, gravity, and the deep structure of our land, New Zealand.

You can go in two directions at Victoria: up in the sky with Meteorology, the science of weather, or down inside the Earth studying Solid Earth Geophysics. You will investigate the structure and properties of the Earth, earthquakes, the Earth's magnetism and gravity, volcanic and geothermal activity, and mineral and energy resources, the Earth as a planet, the structure of the Earth's interior, and dynamical and physical meteorology.

Geophysics is offered as a major in the Bachelor of Science (BSc) where you will use mathematical techniques to understand natural forces and to probe the Earth's interior and atmosphere.

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Undergraduate information

Geophysics major requirements

The Geophysics major gives a broad introduction to fundamental concepts in Earth Sciences, Mathematics and Physics, that are later developed in the postgraduate Geophysics programme. Most students choose between Meteorology or Solid Earth Geophysics, although you may pursue both streams if you wish.


  1. ESCI 111 or 112; MATH 142, 151, PHYS 114, 115
  2. COMP 102 or 112, MATH 251; MATH 243 or 244; PHYS 209, 223
  3. MATH 322, 323; 30 further 300-level approved points from (MATH, OPRE, PHYS)

Geophysics—Solid Earth

  1. ESCI 111 or 112; MATH 142, 151, PHYS 114, 115
  2. ESCI 203, MATH 251; MATH 243 or 244; PHYS 209, 223
  3. ESCI 305, 344, MATH 323; 15 further approved 300-level MATH or PHYS points

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Postgraduate information

Visit postgraduate study for information about postgraduate qualifications in Geophysics.

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How to find out more

Want to find out more about studying at Victoria? Register now to find out more about your study options and keep updated on application and enrolment information, open days and events.

If you need help deciding what degree might be right for you, or what courses to take, talk with a liaison officer or book a course planning session with us, call 0800 VICTORIA (842 867) or email course-advice@vuw.ac.nz.

If you’re a returning or transferring student, contact the Faculty Student and Academic Services Office, for help with degree planning and for information on admission requirements and transfer credit from other institutions.

Geophysics courses are taught within the School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences, Cotton Building.

Prof Tim Stern
Coordinator of the Undergraduate Major in Geophysics
Phone: +64 4 463 5112
Email: tim.stern@vuw.ac.nz

School Office
Phone: +64 4 463 5337
Email: geo-enquiries@vuw.ac.nz

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Related subjects and careers

Related subjects Careers

Environmental Studies

Crown Research Institutes
Energy industry
Mineral exploration
Weather forecaster