Geophysicsts specialise in either the exploration of earth’s resources, or in seismic exploration of earthquakes, magnetic fields and related events.

Where geophysicists are employed

The majority of geophysicists are exploration geophysicists, employed by oil and mineral exploration companies. They also work for data processing centres, computer software development companies, environmental groups, state government geological survey teams, the Australian Geological Survey Organisation, the Australian Bureau of Mineral Resources, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and universities. There are some opportunities for self-employment as geophysical consultants.

Because the skills of geophysicists can be applied in other areas, alternative employment is available when activity in the mineral or petroleum industries declines.


Full-time geophysicists in South Australia generally earn more than $1,600 per week.

Graph of pay scales for Geophysicist

Job prospects

In 2011 there were 98 people employed full-time as geophysicists in South Australia compared with 95 in 2006.

How to become one

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 in to these courses you usually need to gain your South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE). Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, chemistry, physics and biology are normally required.  

For information on course admission requirements and how to apply to the universities and TAFE in South Australia visit the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC).

Check South Australian Universities at The University of Adelaide, Flinders University and University of South Australia.

For information about Australian universities visit Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT).

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Useful links


Career information has been sourced from government publications. See data sources for more information.
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