GEOPHYS 399 : Capstone: Geophysics


2023 Semester Two (1235) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Students will employ core methodologies (experimental, observational, computational, numerical) to investigate some aspect of a key geophysical phenomenon, and relate their findings to contemporary research in the field, considering wider societal aspects and issues. Students will develop their skills in communication, critical thinking, teaching and creative problem solving.

Course Overview

This course is the capstone to undergraduate study in geophysics at the University of Auckland. This course solidifies and further develops skills for postgraduate study or working in this field that may range from atmospheric, oceanic or solid earth geophysics. All students in this course will undertake tasks to develop transferable skills and societal consciousness producing both written and oral reports. Students in groups will then be paired with staff in a subdiscipline of interest to undertake experimental, observational, computational or numerical investigations of key geophysical phenomena in the form of a small project to put into practice the content and skills learnt throughout the degree program.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: 30 points from GEOPHYS 310, 311, 361 Restriction: EARTHSCI 399, PHYSICS 399

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Identify, describe and solve geophysical problems by using, developing, adapting or creating observational, experimental, analytic, numerical or computation methods to obtain either or both order-of-magnitude or precise numerical solutions. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  2. Practice collaboration and communication with other students, working as a team, to solve geophysical problems. Students will describe their individual and group work to diverse audiences using a variety of media including written and oral presentations. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  3. Demonstrate leadership and accountability by clearly documenting their work and communicating regularly with team mates and mentors. (Capability 4, 5 and 6)
  4. Develop and demonstrate a good understanding of the relevant ethical considerations of their work, and the wider implications of their work in the community. (Capability 4, 5 and 6)
  5. Synthesise new scientific results and their relationship to accepted theory, by analysing published results and critically assessing to what extent they support existing or new theories or hypotheses. (Capability 1, 2, 4 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Reports 10% Group & Individual Coursework
Presentation 10% Group & Individual Coursework
Project 80% Group & Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5


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Special Requirements

Lab/fieldwork by negotiation

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.
For this course, you can expect weekly meetings of variable length and independent work.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including labs and tutorials to complete components of the course. These activites are unlikely to be available as recordings. The activities for the course, particularly once paired with a staff member for project work, may be negotiated seperately from the published timetable as required. 

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Peer reviewed literature will be used as required.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Project based work means each year group or even individual student may have a unique Geophysics 399 experience. 

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 31/10/2022 09:30 a.m.