Job type


£20k - £50k

Typical salary

37 – 42

Hours per week

Seismologists study shock waves created by earthquakes and volcanic activity. They also work in oil, gas and minerals exploration.

More info

  • Study shock waves created by earthquakes and volcanic activity
  • You'll need analytical thinking skills & excellent verbal communication skills
  • You could become a senior research fellow or professor

As a seismologist, you may use sophisticated tools such as seismographs, which measure the intensity of an earthquake. You may also use computers to help generate graphical models of the vibrations of the Earth.


  • Monitoring and analysing data from seismic sensors around the world
  • Mapping seismic regions and fault lines in the Earth's surface
  • Developing early warning systems for earthquake zones
  • Investigating target sites for new seismic stations
  • Searching for oil and gas deposits under land and sea
  • Producing survey reports for mining and energy companies
  • Attending conferences and publishing research findings
  • Taking students on field trips to study earthquake and volcano hot spots and teaching


You could work at a research facility, at a university or in a laboratory. Your working environment may be physically active and you may spend nights away from home. You may also need to wear safety clothing.

You'll need

This role would be ideal for someone with analytical thinking skills, excellent verbal communication skills, who is thorough and pays attention to detail.

You'll usually need a degree or postgraduate qualification in geology, geography, Earth science, geophysics, environmental science or computer science. You'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English, maths and a science and 2 or 3 A levels, including a science, for a degree.

Many employers will also expect you to have, or be working towards, a PhD in a relevant subject.

You could start as a PhD research assistant, for example in a university Earth sciences or geophysics engineering department and with further training and experience you could become a seismologist.


With experience, you could become a project co-ordinator or manager with a seismic research organisation, university or energy company. In a university post, once you've got experience and published original research, you could become a senior research fellow or professor.