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 2015 academic year unless otherwise specified.

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


Geophysics offers the chance to combine a love of the outdoors with expertise in maths and physics to explore 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 a Bachelor of Science (BSc) major 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

BSc major requirements

The Geophysics major gives a broad introduction to fundamental concepts in Physics, Mathematics and Earth Sciences that are later developed in the postgraduate Geophysics programme. Most students choose between Solid Earth Geophysics or Meteorology, 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 243 or 244; MATH 251, PHYS 209, 223
  3. MATH 322, 323; 30 further approved 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 243 or 244; MATH 251, PHYS 209, 223
  3. ESCI 305, 344, MATH 323; 15 further approved 300-level MATH or PHYS points 

Postgraduate information

Please visit our postgraduate study pages for information about postgraduate qualifications in Geophysics.

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How to find out more

You can order more information on this subject by registering on our Request for Study Material database.

Victoria's Student Recruitment, Admission and Orientation Office  offers advice on courses and help with planning your degree.

Contact the Science Faculty Office for information on Admission, qualifications and courses, course advice and selection criteria, exemptions and prerequisites and your Application to Study.

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
Operations Research

Crown Research Institutes
Energy industry
Mineral exploration
Weather forecaster