Master of Science in Geophysics

Master of Science in Geophysics

Offered in Block Release
  • 2 YearsCourse Duration
  • PostgraduateSkill level
  • $8553.00


The programme is designed to provide an overview of both the theoretical background and the applications of geophysical methods to young scientists intending to make geophysics their career in Zimbabwe and within the region. It is designed for students planning for employment in fields of Applied Geophysics such as, earthquake hazard analysis, mineral exploration, oil and gas exploration, environmental geosciences, and geotechnical investigations. It aims at producing theoretically grounded professional expert in Applied Geophysics.

Research, teaching and learning are professionally oriented and focused on real life problems.

Entry Requirements

The normal entry qualification shall be an Honours Degree with at least a 2.2 classification in Applied Physics, Earth Sciences or Geology.

Applicants with a BSc Degree with a minimum classification of 2.1 in Geology may be considered for admission by the Departmental Board subject to approval by the Senate, if they have a strong mathematical background, 

Any other equivalent qualifications obtained from recognised institutions in Zimbabwe or elsewhere may be considered for admission by the Departmental Board subject to approval by the Senate.

Teaching and Learning

Lectures, tutorials, field work and practicals, seminars, group work, industrial visits, industrial attachment, research project, individual independent study 

Assessment Methods
Written and oral examinations, tests, seminar presentations, industrial attachment report, final year research project report, continuous assessments 

Distinctive Features
Solving problems from many branches of applied Geophysics so as to develop new technologies and scientific based approaches that enable sustainable resource utilisation of natural resource and Application of several methods in geotechnical safety analysis.

Programme Competences 

Ability to use Geophysics principles to analyse and solve problems from multiple natural resource exploration disciplines. 
Quantitative and innovative reasoning
Capacity to design and carry out fieldwork, experiments and simulations that helps us to solve real life problems. 
Communication skills
Ability to communicate effectively and to present information orally and in writing and using available technology to both expert and non-expert audiences. 
Analysis and synthesis
Capacity for analysis using simulations and mathematical modelling and ability to synthesise the outcomes using logical arguments and proven facts. 
Ethical commitment
Professional integrity and awareness of impact Geophysics on society, economy and the environment. 
Entrepreneurial skills
Capability to identify key discoveries and develop them into bankable projects and create new business ventures based on knowledge and new thinking paradigms

Discipline specific
Deep knowledge: Ability to analyse data in terms of underlying principles and phenomena and use appropriate mathematical and field tools to explain and solve problems. 
Production skills: Ability to design and carry out field investigation to better understand the real world for sustainable development. 
Technology development skills: Ability to develop new technologies in Geophysics with a view to enhance production efficiencies and outputs in industry. 
Problem-solving skills: Ability to solve a wide range of problems in Geophysics by identifying their fundamental aspects and using both theoretical and practical methods 
Analytical and computational skills: Ability to use filed based and experimental results to analyse various phenomena and technological issues using appropriate computer packages 

Intended Learning Outcomes 
Ability to approach problems in an analytical and rigorous way, formulating theories and applying them to solve problems in business, engineering, the sciences, and other fields; 
Ability to analyse and interpret data, finding patterns and drawing conclusions to support and improve business decisions; 
Ability to analyse complex systems into simple and understandable components; 
Ability to use mathematical and statistical packages to model and solve problems in Geophysics disciplines. 
Ability to deal with abstract concepts and to think logically; 
Ability to present mathematical arguments and conclusions with accuracy and clarity; 
Ability to identify problems in industry and the community and develop appropriate solutions; Think in other terms 
Develop mathematical models to solve current practical problems; 
Communicate effectively and present information methodically and accurately using multi-media. 

The programme is offered on full-time and runs over a period of twenty-four (24) months comprising four semesters. 
When the programme is offered on part-time basis, it runs over thirty-six (36) months comprising six semesters.

Full-time Programme
Part I consists of module-work over two semesters.
Part II consists of elective modules and a research project work leading to a dissertation.
The research project may commence any time after the second semester examinations. It may be undertaken within the Department, at any industry or any other institution approved by the Departmental Board. The dissertation report shall normally be submitted to the Department at least one month before the end of the fourth semester (Part II) of the Degree programme. 

Part-time Programme
Students on Part-time shall normally take two modules per semester over a period of six semesters (3 years). 
The research project may commence at any time after the fourth semester examinations. It may be undertaken either in or at any industry or any other institution approved by the Departmental Board. The dissertation report shall normally be submitted to the Department at least one month before the end of the sixth semester Think in other terms
Full-time students must complete and pass a minimum of ten (10) modules. Students shall be required to choose a minimum of two modules from the list of elective modules subject to the availability of expertise and equipment in the Department. 
Part-time students shall propose their project titles at the end of the fourth semester and start working on their projects by the beginning of the fifth semester (third year of the programme). 
Projects are compulsory and shall be chosen in the area of geophysics. All students shall be required to actively participate in field-trips / excursions and camp-outs which shall be organised during the module-work duration. Participation in the field-trips (etc.), shall count towards the continuous module-work assessment for the students in the particular module(s).

A taught module shall be assessed normally by a three-hour examination at the end of the semester. The final grade in the module-work shall normally be based on 25% of continuous assessment and 75% of final examination.

To pass a module a student must obtain an overall mark of 50% and must obtain at least 45% in the final examination. A student shall be expected to obtain a minimum mark of 50% in the Masters project assessment. The dissertation shall contribute 40% of the mark for the degree classification.
MAPH 5131 Seismic Theory And Fundamentals 25 Credits
The module explores the time series, Z-transform, 1D Fourier Transform, Properties, FFT, Design of digital filters, stability and accuracy, Linear systems and convolution, Design of deconvolution operators for 1D time series, Casuality and stability, Deconvolution in the time and in the frequency domain, Deconvolution of noisy data, determination of trade-off parameters Predictive de- convolution and FX SNR enhancement filters. It also looks at Non-Parametric spectral analysis, The autocorrelation function, the periodogram, tapering, variance versus bias, Parametric spectral analysis: MA, AR and ARMA models and their spectral representation, Maximum Entropy Spectral Analysis, Multichannel analysis: para- metric and nonparametric. The module also covers the2D discrete Fourier Transform, properties, symmetries, 2D deconvolution and filtering Deconvolution with positivity constraints; Other transformations: The Hartley transform, Eigen images and the KL transform, The Radon transform, Eigen-structure based coherence measures, Spectral estimators based on eigen-coherence measures, The Pisarenko estimator, Wave-number estimation in sonar and seismic data; Time-frequency analysis and the wavelet transform, Continuous and discrete wavelet trans- form, The Gabor transform, Matching pursuit techniques; Introduction to higher order statistics, Third and fourth order cumulants, The bispectrum and trispectrum.

MAPH 5133 Structural Geology 25 Credits
This module examines the measurement of altitude and location, interpretation and construction of contour maps, geometric methods: Altitude calculations, dimension calculations normal, thrust and strike- slip faults; Introduction to stereographic projections, stereographic poles and rotations, structural analysis; Interpretation of geologic maps, stress; analysis of data from rock-deformations; Description of mesoscopic structures and fold mechanisms. This module also has an analysis of fracture array geometry, faults, shear zones and unconformities, folds in cross- sections, Primary and Secondary geological structures, rock types - sedimentary, igneous, metamorphic rocks, rock forming minerals; Introduction to cross-section balancing; Two-dimensional finite strain analysis; Scale modelling of structures; Regional geology and geology of Zimbabwe.

MAPH 5134 Global Tectonics 25 Credits
The module outlines the continental drift theory, continental reconstructions, palaeoclimatology and palaeontological evidence of continental drift; Palaeomagnetism, seafloor spreading, oceans, ridges and continental rifts, the geosynclinal theory and impact of tectonics; Transform and transcurrent faults; Divergent, convergent and transform boundaries; Subduction zones, mountain ranges, mechanism of plate tectonics and implications of plate tectonics; The nature and origin of large sedimentary basins and Think in other terms igneous provinces; Earthquake seismology, seismic waves, earthquake location, earthquake mechanisms and sources, seismic tomography, velocity structures and composition of the earth; The crust, ophiolitites, differences between continental and oceanic crusts, the mantle, the core, deformation in the crust and mantle; Isostasy, lithosphere and asthenosphere and terrestrial heat flow.

MAPH 5238 Gravity And Magnetic Exploration 25 Credits
This module highlights the relative costs of geophysical data acquisition, Role of gravity and magnetics in exploration; Conservative forces, Central force fields, Value of a scalar potential, Divergence theorem, Poisson's and Laplace's equations, Spherical Harmonic Analysis: general solution, solution for rotating Earth, significance of terms, International Gravity Formula, History of the gravity method, Absolute and relative gravity measurements, Gravity instruments, Data acquisition, land gravity data, marine gravity data, airborne gravity data, satellite methods, Reduction of gravity data, instrument, tidal and drift corrections, free air correction, Bouguer correction, borehole gravity, isostasy: free air vs; Bouguer anomalies, Eotvos effect, terrain (topographic) correction as well as FAA, BA, CBA and IA. The module also looks at anomaly separation and filtering: smoothing, gridding, least squares, Fourier filtering, Interpretation of gravity data, uniqueness problem, direct approach, indirect methods, rock densities, gravity due to simple bodies, solid angle method, line-integral method, chart methods, computer-aided interpretation; History of magnetism, similarities and differences with gravity, basic definitions, the Earth's magnetic field: the main field, source, distribution, secular variations, external field, Inter- national Geomagnetic Reference Field; Rock magnetism, susceptibility, remanance: TRM, CRM, DRM, paleomagnetism and effect on present-day field. The module also covers acquisition of magnetic data: measuring susceptibility and magnetism, land magnetic data, marine magnetic data, airborne magnetic data, Reduction of magnetic data: diurnal correction, drift correction, regional correction; Anomaly separation and filtering: filtering, reduction to pole, downward and upward continuation; Interpretation of magnetic anomalies: Poisson's formula, magnetic field due to simple bodies, solid angle method, basement depth determinations and computer-aided interpretation.

MAPH 5236 Geophysical Inverse Theory 25 Credits
This module looks at the Ill-posed and well-posed problems, Dealing with nonuniqueness, Physically feasible and non-feasible solutions, Data space, Model space and observational noise, Review of Linear Algebra: Linear vector spaces, Matrices, Matrix inverses, Eigen-values and Eigen-vectors, Singular value decomposition, Generalized inverse, Null Space, Model and data resolution matrices. It also looks at Linear Inverse Problems with accurate data: Minimum norm construction, Weighting functions in model space, Smoothing with derivatives; Linear Inverse Problems with inaccurate data: Gaussian errors and least-squares methods, Damped least-squares, Trade-off curves, SVD solution, truncation of singular values; Numerical solutions of large linear inverse problems: Iterative and semi-iterative solutions, Conjugate gradients, LSQR, Lanczos bidiagonalization; Inversion with the Lp norm: Robust inversion, Iterative re-weighting least-squares, L1 solution; Bayesian methods: A priori and A posteriori probabilities, Non-informative priors, Maximum entropy principles, Frequentist vs Bayesian analysis; Think in other terms Non-linear inverse problems: Multi-modality, Linearized inversion, Gauss methods, steepest descent and conjugate gradients; Global optimization: Simulated annealing as well as genetic algorithms.

MAPH 5237 Geoelectric And EM Methods 25 Credits
This module looks at the factors affecting current flow - resistivity, permittivity, permeability, isotropic and anisotropic media; Self-potential method; Mechanisms of producing natural ground potentials; Fixed and moving source resistivity methods; Apparent resistivity, field layouts, Data interpretation/curve matching; Electrical tomography; Quantitative solutions for layered media; Induced Polarisation -physical basis of the electro-magnetic (EM) technique, Frequency and time domain induced polarisation; The pseudo-sections; Case studies; Generation of Induced EM fields; Propagation of EM waves in the ground; Time domain and frequency domain techniques; Dip angle measurement, AFMAG/Audio-frequency, HLEM, VLF, Airborne EM systems; Telluric and magnetotelluric methods of surveying and a number of case studies.

MAPH 5239 Refraction And Reflection Seismology 25 Credits
This module explores the head wave, refraction profiles; use of seismic reflection and refraction methods for petroleum and mineral exploration and environmental monitoring; introduction to seismic imaging, instruments for seismic data acquisition; interpretation of seismic data, Static and dynamic corrections; Velocity analysis and CMP Stacking, Elimination of multiples, Residual static corrections, Time to depth conversion, Seismic Imaging and Migration; Seismic reflection methods in engineering and environmental applications; Tomography, Inversion of velocity anomalies, Cross-hole tomography, Mapping shallow reflectors, Interpretation of seismic data, Attributes as well as coherence analysis in 3D data sets.

MAPH 6121 Hydrology And Contaminant Processes 25 Credits
This module deals with basic concepts in soil genesis, land degradation and water contamination; Water cycle, aquifers, Darcy's law, hydraulic conductivity, transmissivity, storativity, methods of permeability, measurement; fluid potential and Bernoulli equation; Flow nets and maps; Deriving transmissivity and storativity from well pumping tests; Aquifer properties, heterogeneous systems and representative volumes, dual porosity systems, groundwater sampling; Well hydraulics, practical interpretation of well pumping tests and log test data, failing head test, packer tests; Groundwater modelling - water balance methods, flow models; Aquifer assessment; uniform and non-uniform flow; radical flow to a well; aquifer pumping test analysis; image well theory, multiple well fields, salt water encroachment; Using Aquifer software package; Groundwater chemistry; inorganic reactions, pH buffers, mineral dissolution, ion exchange; bacterially mediated reactions, electron acceptors; seawater intrusion, Ghyben-Herzberg relation, remediation of marine incursion; Water quality and use, water balance, water resource management, conjuctive use; artificial recharge, case histories; Introduction to Think in other terms contaminated land, threshold values, source-pathway-target framework, remediation; Investigation of contaminated land; desk study; sampling design and methods; analytical strategy, qualitative risk assessment; Landfills; waste degradation, dilute and disperse, modern landfills, barriers, site selection, monitoring; Contaminant process; introduction to ground- water contamination, historical incidents, advection, dispersion, diffusion, biodegradation of groundwater contamination; Infiltration, run off as well as evapotranspiration.

MAPH 6140 Seismic Hazard Assessment 25 Credits
This module examines the seismic hazard analysis - hazard versus risk, the law and regulations, instrumental seismicity, importance of historical data, seismotectonic sources, maximum earthquakes, ground motion and site effects; Soil liquefaction and liquefaction potential, reliability of liquefaction analysis potential, reliability of liquefaction analysis potential evaluation, groundwater and its damaging effects, landslides and slope stability under seismic action; Probabilistic seismic hazard analysis, The deterministic approach to hazard analysis; Strong motion measurement and characteristics, measurement of strength of ground motion using peak parameters, spectral methods, response spectra, Fourier spectra, energy methods, statistical models of strong ground motion; Effects of magnitude, distance and local site conditions; The engineering design problem-elements of structural dynamics SDOF systems, materials and elements under seismic loads; Determination of seismic loads together with probability - theory methods in problems of seismic resistance.

MAPH 6122 Remote Sensing I 25 Credits
This module is on definition and Applications of Remote Sensing, Basic Remote Sensing Elements and Systems; Types of sensors: Visible, Near-Infrared, Thermal Infrared, Microwave (Radar), Imagers (Aerial Photo Cameras, Multispectral Scanners), Spectrometers, Radiometers, Profilers, Sensor Calibration, Comparison of Sensor Performance, Aerial Photography: Vertical, Oblique, Stereo Photography, Camera, Lens, Film and Filter Selection, System Trade-Offs: Resolution vs; Coverage, Exposure, Image Motion Compensation, Sun Angle, Scene Contrast, Resolution Limits, etc; Satellites and data sources: Remote Sensing Satellite, Orbits, Sensors, Landsat, SPOT, NOAA/ AVHRR, etc; Hyperspectral, High Resolution Systems, Satellite Data Products and Sources; Image pre-processing and enhancement: Image Statistics and Histograms, Image Rectification and Restoration, Image enhancement (Colour Density Slicing, etc;), Contrast Manipulation (Edge Enhancement etc;), Image Transforms (Principal Component Analysis, etc;) Multispectral analysis and classification: Multi-Image Manipulation (Spectral Pattern Recognition), Image Classification (Maximum Likelihood, etc;) Supervised and Unsupervised Classification (Training) and the Classification Accuracy Assessment (Errors of Omission and Commission).

MAPH 6141 Remote Sensing II 25 Credits
The module covers topics such as remote sensing of vegetation: Spectral Signatures of Plant Species, Plant Reflectance Models, Forest and Agricultural Crop Inventories, wetlands Mapping and Productivity Assessment, Detection of Plant Stress (Insects, Disease, Drought, etc;), Land use/Land cover mapping: Land Use Mapping with Landsat Think in other terms TM and SPOT, Land Cover Change in Coastal Watersheds, Environmental Impact Assessment (Coastal Erosion, etc;) Predictive Models for Archaeology and Highway Planning, Urban Applications of Remote Sensing; Geographic information systems (GIS): Introduction to GIS and Georeferenced Data, Data Input (Conversion from other records etc;) Data Output (Formatting, Hardcopy/Softcopy, etc;) Data Management (Data Base, Spatial Data Models, etc;) GIS Analysis Functions (Integrated Analysis of Spatial and Attribute Data); Geologic and hydrologic applications: Fault-line Analysis and Patter Recognition, Spectral Discrimination of Rocks and Soils, Geobotany and Mineral/Metal Exploration, Hydrologic Studies of Watersheds, Riparian Buffers in Coastal Watersheds; Detection of particulate/dissolved substances in water: Optical Properties of Water: Scattering and Absorption, Spectral Discrimination of Particulate and Dissolved Substances, Mapping Suspended Sediment and Chlorophyll Concentrations, Regression and Neural Network Models, Ocean Colour Sensors and Data Products (SeaWiFS). The module also covers water circulation-a pollutant dispersion: Data for Watershed Hydrology and Flood Analysis, Current Measurement with Dyes and Drogues (Langrangian Techniques), Coastal Current Circulation, Fronts and Upwelling, Predicting and Tracking Oil Slick Drift and Dispersion, Modelling and Monitoring Ocean Dumped Waste Dispersion; Thermal infrared techniques: Thermal Infrared Sensing (Theory, Sensors, Techniques, etc;), Mapping Sea Surface Temperature (Currents, Effluents, Fronts, etc;) Polar Meteorological Satellites (NOAA/AVHRR, etc;), Geosynchronous Satellites (GOES, etc;); Laser Applications: Laser Fundamentals, Ocean Depth Profiling (Bathymetry) Ocean Wave Profiling, Oil and Chlorophyll Fluorescence Mapping, Radar applications: Radar Satellites (RADARSAT, ERS-1, et;), Ocean Surface Observation, Spatial Filtering and Pattern Recognition, Analysis of Surface and Internal Wave Spectra.

MAPH 6123 Reservoir Geophysics 25 Credits
This module explores the basic concepts of energy, exploitation of thermal energy, geology of geothermal fields, hydrogeology of geothermal areas; Geochemical and geophysical methods for investigating geothermal reservoirs; Well logging methods; Resistivity; spontaneous potential (SP); porosity logs (sonic, whole-waveform, formation- density, neutron); Natural gamma-ray logs; determination of porosity and lithology; checkshot surveys and vertical seismic profiles (principles, wave types, acquisition, processing, modern developments); attenuation measurement and its uses; Reservoir engineering; Potential evaluation methods and some case studies.

MAPH 6142 Ground Investigation 25 Credits
This module highlights the classification and properties of soils; effective stress, pore pressure parameters, applications: soil testing: triaxial, shear box, ring shear, strength parameters; Earth pressures, active and passive; Soil stress; seepage and flow; earth dams and embankments; Stability analysis; flow slides, liquefaction; Bearing capacity; types of foundation; settlement of foundations; Earth retaining structures; sheet piling, reinforced earth; The importance of geology in engineering: Engineering properties of geomaterials, stresses and strains, engineering classification of soils and rocks; engineering classification of weathering, rock weathering time; Understanding the ground: Building a geotechnical model of the ground, desk study; Uncertainty and risk in engineering Think in other terms geology; Terrain analysis: Terrain Investigation, remote sensing and air photography interpretation, multispectral versus visible remote sensing methods, airborne and satellite remote sensing, choosing remote sensing data to suit ground conditions, characterising the ground conditions, geomorphological mapping and walk-over surveys, terrain evaluation and hazard mapping; Site Investigation: Site investigation and BS5930, invasive techniques for boreholes and coring, sampling, laboratory and in situ testing methods before, during and after construction, instrumentation and monitoring.

MAPH 6040 Research Project 150 Credits
Students shall be encouraged to come up with research topics of their choice for their research projects. Such projects shall be approved by the Department before they embark on them. Students are encouraged to select projects that can be done in collaboration with the industry and or for the direct benefit of the industry. Field trips, camp - outs and/or excursions that are a requirement of the degree programme are not necessarily a part of the Research project.
Our graduates can be employed as exploration geophysicists, geotechnical managers, hydro-geophysicists, mineral resource surveyors, meteorologists and climate scientists, research scientists, water resource managers, Seismic analysts and researchers.

Further Studies
Doctoral studies in Applied Geophysics related disciplines such as Exploration Geophysics, Reservoir Geophysics

Need Any help!

Mr Walter Magagula

Mr Walter Magagula

Senior Assistant Registrar