Physics of the Earth (Master)

 Why study ... Physics of the Earth?

Building on bachelor's programmes in Physics/Geophysics, the joint master’s programme taught in English offers students a broad and in-depth scientific education in the field of physics of the earth. This fundamental education enables students to understand not only the basic mechanisms of our planet, but also some of the challenges humanity faces due to its dependence on the physical environment. These topics include natural resources and risks as well as the impact of humans on nature and their immediate surroundings.

The master's programme in Physics of the Earth targets the functioning of the Earth, and how to explore its structure; it thus approaches some of the major challenges facing humanity that arise through our dependence on natural resources, and our need for environmental and societal safety.

The joint master's study is a two-year programme offered by the major universities of Austria and Slovakia: the University of Vienna and the Comenius University in Bratislava, building on the strength and complementary expertise. Physics of the Earth refers to our physical environment, and what we can learn about it through the application of principles from physics. The focus of the study programme is on furthering the exposure to mathematics and physics as relevant in the Physics of the Earth, and the quantitative methods used in the field. Students learn how to observe and mathematically describe phenomena occurring in the Earth interior.

Students obtain a strong knowledge of seismology and elastic wave propagation as well as of the gravity and magnetic field of the Earth. The fundamental education advances analytical thinking, independence, and develops problem-solving competence that can be applied to questions of basic research as well as industrial application.

Master of Science

Degree Programme Code: 066 680

4 semesters / 120 ECTS credits

Language: English

Entrance exam procedure


Physics of the Earth website

Study Programme

Five compulsory modules develop the students’ basic knowledge of mathematical and numerical tools and of the main principles of the physics of the Earth:

  • Basic mathematical and numerical methods applied in modelling, time series analysis and in solving inversion problems
  • Continuum mechanics and basics in rheology
  • Basics of seismology
  • Physical properties and structure of the Earth and tectonophysics
  • Dynamic processes of the Earth's interior
  • Magnetic field and gravity field of the Earth
  • Instrumentation in earthquake seismology as well as in gravity and magnetic field observation

Students deepen their knowledge and focus on specialisation topics within two compulsory elective modules.

Five Concepts

which you will deal with during your studies:

  • Digital filtering
  • Physics of earthquakes
  • Gravity field
  • Tectonophysics
  • Anisotropy

...and many more.

Map of Europe.

 Overview of the programme structure & topics

Here you find the current offer of courses for this programme to gain better insight into the topics and structure. For more information please click on the respective level.

Teacher's opinion

Portrait Prof. Dr. Bruno Meurers.

"Geophysics connects working in the field and in observatories, making use of advanced instrumental technology. It explores the physical properties of the inaccessible Earth’s interior and the dynamical processes within this restless planet by field experiments and observations on and above the Earth’s surface. All this makes Geophysics a fascinating subject."

Prof. Dr. Bruno Meurers - director of studies

After Graduation

Photo shows surveyor with equipment.

Based on their basic education in the area of physics of the earth, graduates of this master’s programme can pursue a wide range of career paths, both in basic research as well as in technology-oriented companies, particularly in the areas of energy, natural hazards and risks, safety, raw materials, groundwater and the environment. Graduates have the opportunity to conduct research at national research institutions, universities, national and international organisations (e.g. CTBTO, IAEA), companies dealing with oil, gas or other raw materials, as well as in the private business sector and the insurance industry. Students of this joint master’s programme acquire competences in information technology, data processing and physical measurements and are qualified to work in public administration, counselling, engineering offices, etc.

Graduates' Perspective on the Degree Programme


For further information see the Physics of the Earth-Website.

University of Vienna:
ao. Univ. Prof. Dr. Bruno Meurers
Department of Meteorology and Geophysics,
UZA II, Althanstraße 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria; Room: 2D504
Phone: +43/1/4277 - 53724 

Comenius University Bratislava:
Prof. RNDr. Peter Moczo, DrSc.
Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Informatics
Mlynska dolina F1, 84248 Bratislava, Slovak Republic
Phone: +421/2/654 290 25