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Major: Geophysics



Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Faculty of Science and Engineering

This major must be completed as part of an award. The general requirements for the award must be satisfied in order to graduate.

Requirements for the Major:

Completion of a minimum of 24 credit points including the following prescribed units:

Credit points

100 level

3cp from
GEOS units at 100 level
3cp from
PHYS units at 100 level

200 level

Introduction to Geophysics (3)
3cp from
GEOS units at 200 level
MATH units at 200 level
PHYS units at 200 level

300 level

Exploration and Environmental Geophysics II (3)
Exploration and Environmental Geophysics I (3)
Exploring the Earth's Interior: An introduction to Solid Earth Geophysics (3)
Global Tectonics (3)


Units marked with a C are Capstone units.
Overview and Aims of the Program Geophysics is the branch of Earth science concerned with exploring, modelling and analysing the Earth through physical methods. The geophysics major at Macquarie University includes resource exploration, environmental and groundwater geophysics, earth dynamics, and tectonics. The major provides a solid foundation in the essentials of geophysics and geology. Advanced course work in geophysics provides the in-depth knowledge for students to pursue professional careers in the private sector, government or to undertake advanced postgraduate study.
Graduate Capabilities

The Graduate Capabilities Framework articulates the fundamentals that underpin all of Macquarie’s academic programs. It expresses these as follows:

Cognitive capabilities
(K) discipline specific knowledge and skills
(T) critical, analytical and integrative thinking
(P) problem solving and research capability
(I) creative and innovative

Interpersonal or social capabilities
(C) effective communication
(E) engaged and ethical local and global citizens
(A) socially and environmentally active and responsible

Personal capabilities
(J) capable of professional and personal judgement and initiative
(L) commitment to continuous learning

Program Learning Outcomes By the end of this program it is anticipated you should be able to:

1. explain the basic physics and geology that form the scientific background for geophysical observation and measurement (K, L)
2. demonstrate an understanding of Earth and planetary structure and evolution (K, L)
3. identify the physical processes governing the behaviour of common geophysical methods and planetary systems (K, L)
4. demonstrate competence in acquiring, modelling and interpreting geophysical data (T, P, I, A, J, L)
5. explain and apply geophysical techniques to solve geological, exploration, environmental and tectonic problems (T, P, C, E, A, J, L).

6. acquire, reduce, model, and interpret geophysical data (T, P, A, J, L)
7. effectively communicate their scientific knowledge through written and oral presentations (C, E, A)
8. critically and effectively integrate information gathered from a variety of primary and secondary sources (T, P, J, L)
9. make their own field and laboratory observations with a variety of geophysical instruments (K, P, L)
10. apply suitable theoretical concepts and scientific methodology to address geophysical and geological questions (T, P, I, L)
11. employ a range of computational methods, both commercial and freeware, to solve geophysical, geological and environmental problems (K, T, P, L).
Learning and Teaching Methods Students are encouraged throughout this program to acquire the relevant subject skills, methods, knowledge and understanding through a variety of independent and collaborative activities. Primarily students will attend a series of lectures and closely related practical classes that over the length of the program build up their basic knowledge of the discipline. Towards the middle and the end of the program students will learn how to acquire data in the field, how to analyse data and how to interpret data and produce scientific reports. Towards the end of the program, students will gain skills in communicating their results, as well as being able to understand the works of others and communicate those results to their colleagues. The program is structured to promote and steadily encourage independent learning.
Assessment The assessment methods are mostly based on the submission of individual coursework. This can range from undertaking numerical and descriptive assignments; to oral presentations; to the production of scientific reports; and to the examination of learnt knowledge.

The program incorporates formative and summative feedback. Formative feedback is that which is received whilst students are working on a task. Summative feedback is that received once students have completed a task. Both forms of feedback are extremely important and provide students with information and guidance on their development and progress. Feedback may be provided in written form or simply in discussion with peers and teachers.

One important aspect of the program is the emphasis on students communicating their own findings as well as understanding and dissecting the work of others. This comes to the fore in the later part of the program where students give presentations and produce reports on the works of others and themselves.

Toward the end of the program there is one substantial assessment event that requires students to integrate and exhibit their skills, knowledge and application. This event involves the acquisition of a large data-set by students, who then interpret that data and produce a scientific report.
Recognition of Prior Learning

Macquarie University may recognise prior formal, informal and non-formal learning for the purpose of granting credit towards, or admission into, a program. The recognition of these forms of learning is enabled by the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy (see and its associated Procedures and Guidelines. The RPL pages contain information on how to apply, links to registers, and the approval processes for recognising prior learning for entry or credit.

Information can be found at:

Support for Learning

Macquarie University aspires to be an inclusive and supportive community of learners where all students are given the opportunity to meet their academic and personal goals. The University offers a comprehensive range of free and accessible student support services which include academic advice, counselling and psychological services, advocacy services and welfare advice, careers and employment, disability services and academic skills workshops amongst others. There is also a bulk billing medical service located on campus.

Further information can be found at

Campus Wellbeing contact details:
Phone: +61 2 9850 7497

Program Standards and Quality

The program is subject to an ongoing comprehensive process of quality review in accordance with a pre-determined schedule that complies with the Higher Education Standards Framework. The review is overseen by Macquarie University's peak academic governance body, the Academic Senate and takes into account feedback received from students, staff and external stakeholders.

Graduate Destinations and Employability Students are able to work in the following areas:
• exploration and resource industries
• government research organisations and universities
• environmental and engineering companies.
Assessment Regulations

This program is subject to Macquarie University regulations, including but not limited to those specified in the Assessment Policy, Academic Honesty Policy, the Final Examination Policy and relevant University Rules. For all approved University policies, procedures, guidelines and schedules visit

Inherent requirements are the essential components of a course or program necessary for a student to successfully achieve the core learning outcomes of a course or program. Students must meet the inherent requirements to complete their Macquarie University course or program.

Inherent requirements for Macquarie University programs fall under the following categories:

Physical: The physical inherent requirement is to have the physical capabilities to safely and effectively perform the activities necessary to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

Cognition: The inherent requirement for cognition is possessing the intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative capabilities to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

Communication: The inherent requirement for communication is the capacity to communicate information, thoughts and ideas through a variety of mediums and with a range of audiences.

Behavioural: The behavioural inherent requirement is the capacity to sustain appropriate behaviour over the duration of units of study to engage in activities necessary to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

For more information see

2019 Unit Information

When offered:
S1 Day
Permission of Executive Dean of Faculty
HSC Chinese, CHN113, CHN148