Applied Geophysics

Applied Geophysics

What is Applied Geophysics

Applied geophysics is an interdisciplinary field which utilises the basic principles of physics to interpret subsurface phenomena. Applied geophysics mainly focuses on gathering and interpreting of data obtained on subsurface phenomena. These data are interpreted and the results are used for various practical purposes like gas and oil exploration, groundwater exploration, mineral exploration, geothermal exploration, archaeological interest and so on. This branch of geology is often referred to as "quantitative geology". An easier definition claims geophysics to be a course where pupils learn physics of the earth and its atmosphere. This includes studying oceanography, seismology, geomagnetism and volcanology.

Since humans cannot locate the mineral deposits under the surface with simple methods, we need fields like geophysics which helps in locating underground resources. Thanks to the rapid development in recent years, all geoscientists including geophysicists are in high demand. The energy industry is facing the greatest challenge in this respect. Hence, they are in need of efficient geophysicists.

Due to the importance of this course, applied geophysics is offered as a specialisation in a number of colleges across India. Applied geophysics is taught as a course which is a part of the wider course of geology. So the colleges also provide degrees with specialisation in applied geophysics. In this article, we shall discuss in detail the course of applied geophysics including the available courses, the job profiles and upcoming trends in the field of geophysics.

Degrees and Levels of Applied Geophysics

Postgraduate level (M. Tech): Candidates who have completed B. Sc in Physics or geology can opt for a 2-year M. Tech course in applied geophysics. 

Integrated B. Tech + M. Sc. Tech course: IIT (ISM) Dhanbad offers this 5 years’ course. It gives off an aspirant the undergraduate degree. 

Dual degree (M. Sc- PhD): This dual degree is provided to aspirants who already have a bachelor degree in applied geophysics or other relevant topics. The dual degree programme is available in the IITs across the country. 

Applied Geophysics- Minimum and Maximum Duration

M.Tech in applied geophysics takes up a minimum duration of 2 years or 24 months. During this time the candidates are required to cover all the stipulated credits without backlog. For candidates who fail to clear backlogs universities often provide extended time periods in which they can clear the backlogs. In special cases, the time span is 3 to 4 years or 36 to 48 months at the most. The exact extent of elongation depends on the specific university.

Eligibility Criteria (UG & PG) of Applied Geophysics

To be eligible for admission into the master's programme of applied geophysics the candidates must meet a few criteria as set by the institution they are applying for. The eligibility criteria for the two PG courses are discussed below.

M. Sc in Geophysics:

  • The candidate must have a bachelor’s degree in physics along with a minor subject of maths/ chemistry/ electronic science/geology.
  • The candidate must secure a minimum aggregate of 60% all through the graduation course.
  • The candidate must secure their graduation degree from a recognised university.
  • The candidate must additionally qualify entrance examinations for the specific state and national university that they are applying for.

The eligibility criteria for applying in applied geophysics M. Tech degree course are:

  • The candidate must complete a 4 year BE/B. Tech course in relevant field like geophysics, instrumentation/electronics/instrumentation and control/electronics and instrumentation/electronics and control engineering etc
  • Must qualify entrance examinations with required cutoff.

Admission Criteria for Applied Geology Course

For admission into M. Tech in applied geophysics, the aspiring candidates must successfully complete a 4-year B. Tech degree course with a minimum score of 50-60% in the entire curriculum. Additionally, they must qualify the specified entrance examination to be eligible for admission into the M. Tech course. A valid GATE, TANCET or other CET exam score is only considered for the admission process.

The B. Tech degree secured by the candidate must be in physics or geology or any other related subject. The degree must be awarded by a recognised university. The courses from which candidates can opt for an M. Tech in applied geophysics are:

Entrance Examinations for Applied Geophysics

For admission into M. Tech in applied geophysics, it is mandatory for a candidate to qualify entrance examinations such as GATE, CET and TANCET. Here we discuss briefly the various entrance examinations.

GATE: Stands for Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering. It is an exam that is designed to test the comprehensive understanding of various subjects taught through the B. Tech level. It is an annual exam which takes place once a year and in online mode. The questions asked are all MCQs.

CET: Common Entrance Test or CET is another exam which can provide entry into M. Tech applied geophysics. The CET exams are held annually and consist of aptitude questions.

TANCET: Tamil Nadu Common Entrance Test can be attempted by B. Tech, B. Sc or BCA graduates who want to pursue M. Tech/MBA/MCA. It is a pen and paper-based exam which takes place annually. A number of colleges across Tamilnadu accept TANCET scores for admission.

Fees and Expenses of Applied Geophysics Course

The exact fee of the courses depends on the college from which the course will be pursued. The fee can range from Rs.60, 000- Rs.10, 00, 000.  Banaras Hindu University (BHU) has a course fee of Rs.60, 000 for 2 years. The esteemed B. R. Ambedkar National Institute of Technology has a course fee of Rs.10, 00,000 for the entire course.

Scope of Applied Geophysics in India and Abroad

Applied geophysics is one of the most high-demand fields in the world. In developing and developed countries alike the value of mineral resources is undeniable. Even when global trends are shifting to renewable resources the importance of minerals has not depreciated. While countries rich in natural minerals like Canada, Russia, Brazil and Venezuela have high demands of geophysicists.

India is one of the countries rich in minerals. With the advancement of time and technology, India is also moving toward being a developed country from a developing country. Thus the industrialisation is also on the rise which means high demand for fuels and natural resources. The need for applying physics to interpret the subsurface resources is also on the rise. 

Course Subjects

The subjects that a candidate can expect to cover through the course of the 2-year degree are mentioned below.

Semester I: Theory

Section A: near-surface geophysics

Introduction to seismology/soil engineering

Strong motion seismology and structural responses

Section B: seismic microzonation

Earthquake forecasting and prediction

Natural disasters, mitigation and management

Near-surface geophysics and seismic microzonation


Section A: near-surface geophysics

Introduction to seismology/soil engineering

Strong motion seismology and structural responses

Near-surface geophysics and seismic microzonation

Section B: seismic microzonation.

Semester II: Theory

Near-surface drilling

Geotechnical modelling

Earthquake hazard, exposure, vulnerability and risk

Computational seismology

Earthquake building codes and safety seismic design


Near-surface drilling

Earthquake hazard, exposure, vulnerability and risk

Computational seismology

Semester III

Industrial training / minor project

Comprehensive viva-voce

Seminar and viva-voce on industrial training / minor project

Dissertation (interim) fieldwork/lab work

Teaching assignment evaluation/ laboratory development work etc

Seminar and Viva-voce on interim dissertation

Semester IV


Viva-voce on dissertation

Seminar on dissertation

Teaching assignment evaluation/ laboratory development work etc

It is to be mentioned here that the exact subject list may be different from that of the course list offered at various colleges/ universities. The final course list depends on the institution and one or more of the subjects of the list may be removed or replaced. Courses may also be added to the course list.

Careers in Applied Geophysics

There is a wide range of jobs that can be opted for after successful completion of an M. Tech in applied geophysics. Below mentioned are a few of the available jobs in the sector:

  • Geophysicists

  • Volcanologists

  • Petroleum geologists 

  • Environmental geologists

  • Earth science teachers

  • Glacial or Quaternary geologists

  • Structural geologists

  • Hydrogeologists 

  • Geoscience engineer

  • Seismic data collection engineer, etc.

Job Profiles and Top Recruiters

There are various jobs that one can opt for after pursuing M. Tech in applied geophysics. In this article, we list out the major job branches and provide detailed information on it.

Geo-scientist: The job of a geoscientist involves planning and conducting field studies. As a part of their job, they have to visit various locations of interest, collect samples as well as to conduct surveys. The job of a geoscientist includes studying the physical characteristics of the earth such as its composition, structure and so on. From these studies, they estimate the past, present and the probable future of the land/region.    

Seismic data collection engineer: The role of seismic data collection engineer is the most vital aspect of the oil and gas industry. The tasks of such engineers include surveying, sending sound energy in the form of pulses through layers of rocks to depths under the earth's surface and recording their findings.    

Seismic data interpretation engineer: Seismic data interpretation Engineers work in conjunction with seismic data collection engineers. They use several technical, computational modelling techniques to analyse the seismic data. This analysis helps them infer the geophysical as well as the geological data of the region. This data can be used to analyse the hydrocarbon composition of the rock structure.

Mineral engineer: The central role of the job of a mineral Engineer is to ensure efficient extraction of underground resources. These resources include Fossil fuels and minerals. The responsibilities of this job include overlooking health and safety requirements of the workers involved in the extraction process, ensuring that only safe equipment is used and so on.

Survey geologist: Survey geologists mostly work for government agencies. The jobs for survey geologists are provided by the provincial or federal government. They work for service and collect data which helps in forming a proper framework of geological knowledge. This helps in promoting a better and improved understanding of mineral resources as well as energy resources in the region of interest.

Here are the major companies where the Geophysicists get employed in India:

1) Hindustan Petroleum Corporation

2)  Reliance Industries Limited (RIL)

3) Bharat Petroleum

4) Indian Oil Corporation


6) National Institute of Oceanography (NIO)

7) National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI), Hyderabad

8) Geological Survey of India.

9) Agricultural sectors

10) Educational institutions such as various colleges and universities.

11) CSIR & DRDO Laboratories  

12) Central Ground Water Board 

13) Coal India

14) Oil and Natural Gas Corporation

15) Mineral Exploration Authority

16) Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM)

17) Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)

18) Minerals and Metals Trading Corporation (MMTC)

19) Mineral Exploration Ltd.

20) Hindustan Zinc

21) Central Ground Water Board (CGWB)

The course of applied geophysics is a field that is growing by leaps and bounds in terms of opportunities and advances. This course offers lucrative jobs and is a good option for students willing to pursue M. Tech.

Required Skillset for Applied Geophysics

Observation: Observation is an important skill that is very useful for the fields of applied geophysics. Individuals are expected to be very careful and observe accurate data when collecting data and mapping areas from interesting regions. Any error in the observation of data can lead to massive damages.

Analysis: One of the biggest assets in the field of applied geophysics is the analytical skill of the candidate. What helps in the segregation of candidates into various levels of efficacy are the analytical skills possessed by the candidates. The data collected must be analysed by you without any mistakes and results must be accurate.

Teamwork: As a fresher, your initial jobs will require you to work as a part of a team. It is essential for all individuals to be well in tune with the members of the team. This will not only help in building rapport but will also help in improving the efficacy of the team and ultimately benefit the company. One must possess the ability to work as a part of the team without compromising on individual responsibilities. Working as a team can also help in improving leadership qualities and sharpen communication skills.

Instrument handling: Geophysics is a subject in which application of the theories is very much dependent on instruments which are used for the studies. To effectively observe data is imperative that the candidate must be familiar with the instruments in use. Candidates must possess adequate knowledge about working of the instrument and must know how to operate and collect data from these instruments.

Course Curriculum for Applied Geophysics

Applied geophysics can be pursued as a course or specialisation in the master's degree program. Aspirants willing to go for a PhD can also take up applied geophysics for research purposes. A degree of M. Tech in applied geophysics is a two-year-long course which is offered across a number of universities of India.

The course is a 2-year post-graduation course. The candidates are evaluated through semester exams. There are exams at the end of each of the 4 semesters that the candidate must qualify. A detailed list of course subjects is presented in the following section.

The question have been saved in answer later, you can access it from your profile anytime. Access now

Explore Science colleges in other popular locations

Download the Careers360 App on your Android phone

Regular exam updates, QnA, Predictors, College Applications & E-books now on your Mobile

Careers360 App
  • 150M+ Students
  • 24,000+ Colleges
  • 500+ Exams
  • 1500+ E-books
  • Economic Times
  • Financial Express
  • Firstpost
  • Livemint