How to become a Geophysicist

Geophysicists study the structure and composition of zones below the surface of the earth by taking measurements using seismic, gravity, magnetic and electrical data collection methods. The two main divisions of geophysics are exploration geophysics, which deals with the search for Earth's resources, and global geophysics, which uses the same techniques to study Earth as a whole and study earthquakes, magnetic fields and other phenomena. Geophysicists often specialise in areas such as seismology and seismic interpretation, borehole geophysics, mineral exploration, engineering geophysics, environmental or groundwater geophysics, or computer processing and software development.

Personal requirements of a Geophysicist

  • Enjoy technical and engineering work
  • Alert and analytical mind
  • Enjoy applying physics and mathematics in practical ways
  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Able to work independently or as part of a team
  • Willing to work in remote areas

Education & Training for a Geophysicist

To become a geophysicist you usually have to complete a degree in science with a major in geophysics, geoscience or a combination of geology and physics, preferably at honours level. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, chemistry, physics and biology are normally required. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For further details, visit

Additional Information

The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM) website has a range of geoscience career and education information, including a list of recognised courses. After a qualifying period, graduates may be eligible for membership with the Australian Institute of Geoscientists, the Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists and AusIMM. Student memberships are available with the Australian Institute of Geoscientists and AusIMM.

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