Master's degree programme in Geophysics
I work with developing new calculation methods for a software tool used in wind energy. Lots of different aspects have to be calculated in a wind turbine project. The wind field in the area needs to be modelled in space and time so we can place the turbines in the right location for optimal energy production. We also calculate their noise level and the shadows they cast on neighbours.
MSc and PhD in Geophysics
Wind Energy Consultant, EMD International
Earthquakes, groundwater and hydrocarbons are not only concerns for us all, but also primary focal areas for a geophysicist. The two-year MSc in Geophysics programme at Aarhus University is taught at the Department of Geoscience and is open to students from higher education institutions both in Denmark and abroad. A BSc degree in geology or in physics, with geophysics as a major study area or with a similar background, gives access to the MSc programme on the basis of an individual assessment. English skills corresponding to a B-level are required. The degree programme is both practical and research-oriented and reflects the interests of the business community, research institutions and the public sector. As an MSc student on the programme, you will have excellent opportunities for working with researchers in the laboratory or in the field, and you also have the opportunity of completing a project in collaboration with a private company.
The MSc in Geophysics counts as 120 ECTS credits and consists mainly of subjects within the geophysical field of study, such as field methods (including seismics, electromagnetics, geoelectrics and borehole logging); structure and dynamics of the lithosphere; development of sedimentary basins (including hydrocarbon and geothermal reservoirs); and modelling of geodata (including deformation and groundwater flows).
The MSc thesis, written during the last year of the degree programme, carries considerable weight, and in this context students benefit from the down-to-earth, informal atmosphere between staff and students. Students writing their thesis have the opportunity to specialise in a subject within a broad area, including one of the areas of geophysics in which Aarhus University is particularly strong: hydrogeophysics, lithosphere geophysics, oil and geothermal energy-related geophysics, and geodynamics and inverse modelling.
Teaching at the university focuses on independence, critical thinking and collaboration, and includes theoretical and practical exercises. The degree programme also includes a number of field trips to key geological locations in Denmark and abroad. As a geophysics student, you will quickly enter into the team spirit at the Department of Geoscience. A strong sense of solidarity is fostered by relatively low student numbers in your year group and an active programme of departmental field trips.
Geophysics graduates from Aarhus University find jobs in a wide range of areas, and over the last five years all graduates have found work. Northwestern Europe (including Denmark) is fortunate enough to be one of the few oil-exporting regions in Europe, and there are therefore a number of positions in the oil industry within exploration and production. Geophysicists are also employed within firms of worldwide consulting engineers as well as within national governmental and municipal institutions, where they work with groundwater research, environmental assessments, and ensuring clean drinking water and the re-establishment of watercourses.
After completing just one year of the MSc in Geophysics programme, you may apply for admission to a four-year PhD programme. Alternatively, a three-year PhD programme can be initiated after completion of the MSc studies. A PhD in geophysics opens up even wider job opportunities, typically within research and development.
The following Bachelor’s degrees qualify students for admission to the Master’s degree programme in Geophysics:
- A Bachelor of Science degree in Geology with the special study area Geophysics from Aarhus University or the University of Copenhagen.
- A Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Aarhus University, with an elective subject equalling at least 30 ECTS credits in Geophysics.
The following other degrees can provide admission to the Master’s degree programme in Geophysics:
- A Bachelor’s degree amounting to at least 60 ECTS credits in Geophysics can qualify the student for admission.
Other qualifications can provide admission to the Master’s degree programme, provided the university assesses that their level, extent and content correspond to the degrees mentioned above.
In connection with possible admission, further requirements can be stipulated regarding the composition of the degree programme.
Since English is the language of instruction in all subjects, all applicants are required to provide evidence of their English language proficiency.
Please see the page on language requirements for more information.
Please see the general admission requirements.
The Master’s degree in geophysics counts as 120 ECTS credits and mainly consists of subjects within the geophysics field of study. You specialise by participating in course activities and projects and by writing a thesis. During your very first week, you structure your own individual study programme with the help of a teacher from the Department of Earth Sciences by choosing courses from a course catalogue. Your programme is based on your academic qualifications and interests and the subjects you studied for your Bachelor’s degree. The plan must be approved by the Board of Studies before you can enrol for examinations.
For more information about the individual courses, click here.
If you would like information about options regarding a Master’s thesis in geophysics, go to the department’s web site.
Forms of teaching
At the University of Aarhus, you are in close contact with researchers in a way that you rarely experience at other universities. The door to the professor’s office is always open if you need clarification of the study material, and you are encouraged to ask questions at lectures and during exercises. We make heavy demands on your academic skills and independence. In return, you gain considerable benefits in the form of academic challenges and scientific knowledge, in addition to broad competences.
The teaching at the university focuses on independence, critical thinking and collaboration. Part of the teaching is in the form of lectures that introduce new angles to the material compared with the textbooks. The theoretical and practical exercises take place in small groups where you study relevant issues in depth. Most geophysics students also spend a certain amount of time on laboratory work and work related to field courses. The degree programme also includes a number of excursions to key geological locations in Denmark and abroad.
The varied forms of teaching, collaboration in groups and the opportunity for close scientific dialogue with the researchers provide you with general competences that are in great demand in the global job market. These competences include abstract, critical and independent thinking, analytical skills and strategic planning. You can use these skills in many contexts – even in jobs you didn’t know you were qualified for.
A year divided into four terms
The teaching is divided into terms with four terms per year. Each term consists of a block of seven weeks followed by an examination period of 2–4 weeks. For an example of a course calendar, click here.
If you have the necessary skills and interest, you have the option of applying for admission to the PhD programme. You can apply when you have completed your Bachelor’s degree and one year of your Master’s degree or when you have completed your Master’s degree. In the PhD programme, you start working on a research project and are gradually trained through courses and personal guidance to become a researcher. For more information click here or read examples of current geophysics research projects here.
As a geophysics student, you quickly enter into the team spirit at the Department of Earth Sciences in Aarhus. This strong sense of solidarity is largely because you are brought together by the relatively small number of students in your year group and on field excursions. As a Master’s degree student, you can enjoy the newly refurbished buildings – which recently became the home of the Department of Earth Sciences – in the south-eastern part of the campus, close to the Aarhus city centre. The new attractive premises have study areas, reading rooms, Internet access, computer rooms and a Friday bar. These new facilities are used for departmental activities and you quickly get to know the teachers and learn about their research activities. You are given access to an office where you can sit and work, read or just hang out with fellow students.
Campus – a unique place
The University of Aarhus is unique, especially because the buildings are grouped in one campus area close to the Aarhus city centre. The campus has many green areas and a beautiful park surrounding a small lake. Here you also find student accommodation and an underground system of corridors, which means that you don’t have to get your feet wet going from the canteen to your study area. There are also lecture theatres and a host of activities ranging from sports days to the regatta on the lake, interesting lectures, a film club, libraries and university celebrations. The campus ensures that you have easy access to the canteen, student counsellors, teachers, the bookshop, the State and University Library and the Friday bar.
Aarhus as a study centre
The university is not all Aarhus has to offer. As the second-largest city in Denmark, Aarhus has numerous cultural activities. The well-known Aarhus Festival is celebrated for a week at the beginning of September every year and the streets really come to life. During the rest of the year, you can visit different music venues and concert halls in the city or find entertainment at one of the many theatres in Aarhus. The city’s many museums include ARoS – the major international art museum, which is a spectacular place for visual experiences. If you have had enough of cultural activities, you can ride your bike to the beach in no time or go for walks in the Risskov woods or in the beautiful woods around Marselisborg. The forty thousand young students in Aarhus make up 17.5% of the population, which leaves its mark on city life. Aarhus is a young, dynamic city with plenty of opportunities.
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With a Master’s degree in geophysics, you have the following competences:
- You have general knowledge of geophysics and detailed knowledge of key disciplines, methodologies, theories and concepts within geophysics.
- You can independently plan, manage and implement projects and apply the results in scientifically relevant decision processes.
- You can assess the applicability and appropriateness of theoretical, experimental and practical methodologies for the analysis and solution of academic questions and issues.
- You can structure your own competence development independently and critically.
- You are able to systematically and critically familiarise yourself with new subject areas.
- You can communicate academic questions and issues to both a scientific and a general audience.
- You can collaborate constructively on a scientific basis to solve subject-related issues.
Geophysics graduates from the University of Aarhus get jobs in a wide range of areas, and in the last five years, it appears that all graduates have found work. Denmark is fortunate enough to be one of the few oil-exporting countries in Europe and there are therefore a number of positions in the oil industry within oil exploration and oil production – both within Denmark and in countries like Norway, the UK, Canada, Spain, Greenland and Germany, where the oil industry is facing a generational change among its geologists.
There are many other options, however. Geophysicists are employed in firms of consulting engineers and within governmental and municipal institutions, where they work with groundwater research, environmental assessments, ensuring clean drinking water and the reestablishment of watercourses. Geophysicists also participate in large building and construction assignments, where they carry out foundation analyses to determine whether the projects are at all feasible.
Another option is to become a researcher at a Danish or foreign research institution.