Geophysics – University of Copenhagen

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Physics > Specialisations > Geophysics


Geophysics is a specialisation at the Master of Science Programme (MSc) in Physics.

A geophysicist uses scientific methodology in conjunction with data from field work, laboratory experiments and satellite-based measurements to describe problems that will lead us to a better understanding of Earth and its climate.

Geophysics students are required to choose courses and thesis topics in areas including:

  • the physical, chemical and dynamic processes in the atmosphere, oceans, ice caps and the climate system in general, as well as their history and mutual interactions.
  • analysis of ice cores in order to understand the history of the Earth's climate and its change.
  • the Earth's internal structure and gravitational field.
  • the development of mathematical methods for analysing geophysical data.
  • surface processes, mineralogy, and the climate on Mars.
  • studies of moons and other terrestrial planets in the solar system.

Geophysicists often gain international experience during their MSc programme or thesis, either directly by studying abroad or by participating in the department's international networks. Geophysics research is very international, and the department is part of several international projects, including deep-drilling projects in Greenland and Antarctica, Earth-orbit satellites, and space missions to Mars.

In order to promote interdisciplinary working methods and approaches, the demands placed on the specialisation in geophysics are flexible. The specialisation forms the basis for a variety of jobs in research, teaching and communications.

Study Track

It is a good idea to use your elective and restricted elective courses to design a study track that allows you to study a subject area in depth during the specialisation. You can target your specialisation in the following direction:

However, you can also customise your programme with a mixture of courses and projects which are relevant to you.


As a graduate with the specialisation in geophysics you acquire special skills in: 

  • organising quantification for studies of geophysical systems and running prolonged experiments.
  • setting up relevant analytical or numerical models for a geophysical system based on the laws of physics, and using observed data for analyses and for verification of the models.
  • working independently on geophysical subjects.
  • explaining and communicating your specialised knowledge of general geophysical principles, both orally and in writing.


You will also possess specialist knowledge of: 

  • the basic principles and laws of physics in one or more areas of geophysics, i.e. studies of the atmosphere, the oceans, the ice caps, the landmasses and the Earth's climate system in general.
  • the structure of geophysical systems on different scales and the fundamental principles and processes that operate on each scale.
  • methods of quantification for the study of geophysical systems.
  • mathematical methods for solving a wide range of problems, using both linear and non-linear numerical methods for data processing and solving mathematical models.
  • the application and relevance of geophysical research results in a professional and social context.

Programme structure

The Geophysics specialisation can be structured in two different ways, depending on when you begin your thesis.

Course of study 1 – starting your thesis in the first year of the programme:

Block 1 Block 2 Block 3 Block 4
Year 1 Earth and Climate Physics Inverse Problems
Year 2 Thesis

One block equals nine weeks and 15 ECTS

Course of study 2 – starting your thesis in the second year of the programme:

Block 1 Block 2 Block 3 Block 4
Year 1 Earth and Climate Physics Inverse Problems
Year 2 Thesis

One block equals nine weeks and 15 ECTS

     Compulsory course
     Restricted elective course
     Elective course

Restricted elective courses

Choose your restricted elective courses from the lists below. Click on each course for a detailed description.

* The course is only offered in even years (next time in 2018).