Difference Between Geologist and Geophysicist

Geologist vs Geophysicist

Geology and geophysics are sciences related with earth and its structure. Both have many similarities with a geologist having to study much the same that a geophysicist does. This confuses many students as they remain in a dilemma as to whether they should take up geology or geophysics to brighten their prospects in terms of a career. This article attempts to highlight the differences between a geologist and a geophysicist in terms of their activities and what they specialize in.


Geologist is a professional who has had extensive study of the structure of the earth. He studies the rocks that make up the surface of the earth and also the rocks that lie beneath the surface of the earth. A geologist also studies the processes that take place underneath causing changes in the properties of these rocks. A geologist is an expert on evaluation of water resources and exploration of oil resources and he gets jobs in such companies quite easily. A geologist is also expert on climate changes and natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanoes because of his vast knowledge about the physical processes that go on underneath the surface of the earth. In present times, studying geology is a good prospect to land a decent and high paying job in both government as well as private sector companies.


Geophysics, as the name implies, is the physics of the earth. What this means is that a geophysicist gets a chance to study the structure and composition of the rocks that make up the surface of the earth. He also studies the natural physical processes that go on inside the surface of the earth. These physical processes such as tectonic movements, changes in the magnetic field and gravitational field of the earth, formation and weathering of rocks, seismic activities, magma formation and its flow, glacier activities and snow formation, and many other similar processes. The course of geophysics broadly includes meteorology, oceanography, and hydrology.

What is the difference between Geologist and Geophysicist?

• Geologists are mainly concerned with structure and composition of rocks that make up earth’s crust and thus play an important role in oil exploration and study of water resources.

• Geophysicists mainly study the physics of earth’s surface and beneath. They make use of physics and mathematical models to understand the quantitative and qualitative changes that take place underneath the surface of the earth.

• Thus, a geophysicist needs to be good at not only geology but also math and physics to make use of his knowledge.

• It is seen that geologists and geophysicists often work together.

• While a geologist provides a lot of information about the rocks and processes taking place inside, it is the geophysicist who can provide detailed analysis based upon application of physical and mathematical models.

• While entry-level jobs are available after obtaining bachelor’s level degrees in both geology as well as geophysics, one has to continue his studies and complete master’s level degrees to better his prospects in both sciences.