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Environmental Geoscience (BSc)

Entry year


It is an applied degree that will challenge you to think holistically about subjects ranging from water quality to landscape evolution, from the evolution of the biosphere to climate change and from contaminated land to sustainability.

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Course overview

Environmental Geoscience is a degree programme that sits between the subjects of Geology and Physical Geography, having components of each. The programme focusses on the themes of Earth surface processes and materials, geochemistry, pollution and geohazards, evolution and geoecology. It will appeal to anyone interested in the way geology interacts with the natural environment.

South Wales offers study sites in an outstanding natural landscape with a long (and heavily polluting) industrial history. It includes not only upland geomorphology and coastal environments but also landfills, heavy metal contamination, acid mine drainage, derelict land and mining subsidence, making Cardiff an excellent place to study Environmental Geoscience.

This is a degree with a strongly applied perspective that will challenge you to think holistically about subjects ranging from water quality to geological hazards, from the evolution of the biosphere to climate change and from contaminated land to sustainability.

Fieldwork is an integral part of Earth science degrees at Cardiff University, giving our students hands-on experience in real field situations. The fieldwork programme has been designed to give students the widest range of field experiences linked to classroom-based teaching.

As well as fieldwork in South Wales, this programme currently also has residential trips to Portugal (for geological mapping training and geoecology) and to the volcanic island of Tenerife (to study ‘the whole island concept’ linking geomorphology, hazards, soils, vegetation climate and hydrology).

NOTE: As well as the conventional BSc course, an optional one-year industrial placement is available for Environmental Geoscience. Such a placement provides an opportunity for you to gain in-depth experience in a range of relevant industries. Students are supervised and visited by University staff while enjoying the experience and career enhancement that results from a ‘year out’. Furthermore, any graduate of the BSc programme with a first or upper-second degree, will be offered a place on our highly regarded vocational MSc in Applied Environmental Geology, from which employment prospects are excellent.

There are also four-year MESci and MESci (International) schemes. These focus on research training and critical analysis, making students who take these programmes very employable in a range of professions. Both feature a master’s research dissertation in year four and the international MESci includes a year studying at a university overseas.

Distinctive features

  • A common first term allows you to experience the wider aspects of Earth sciences and geography before finally deciding upon an honours degree programme
  • Overseas residential field courses in year two and three strongly emphasise the acquisition and utilisation of field skills as well as linking with classroom-based knowledge
  • We currently offer two overseas fieldtrips on each programme with travel and accommodation costs covered by your tuition fees
  • You’ll undertake a major summer project between years two and three which builds on training throughout the programme – as an Environmental Geoscientist you will either do an independent field-based project or an independent placement project with a company
  • The broad subject base (encompassing Geology and aspects of Environmental Science) emphasises a diversity of training and provides a wide range of transferable skills applicable to many potential careers

Accreditations

UCAS codeF642
Next intakeSeptember 2018
Duration3 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe School typically has approx 150 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives approx 740 applications.

Entry requirements

BBB, including two sciences (from Chemistry, Physics, Biology,Geography, Geology, Mathematics, Applied Science, Environmental Studies, Archaeology, Computing, ICT, Physical Education (PE), Psychology, or Sports Science) and, where applicable, a pass in the practical element of the science A level. Please note, General Studies will not be accepted. 

Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

30 points, including two sciences at HL from Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Geography, Geology, Mathematics, Applied Science, Environmental Studies, Archaeology, Computing, ICT, Psychology, Physical Education (PE), or Sports Science

Alternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Earth & Ocean Sciences admissions criteria pages.

If you are an overseas applicant and your first language is not English, please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our accepted qualifications.

Specific GCSE requirements (other than standard Grade C in English): Grade B in Maths. BTEC Extended Diploma offer: DDM from the BTEC Extended Diploma in Applied Sciences or a in a science related subject. Access to HE Diploma offer: 60 credits, including at least 45 at level 3, in a science or maths based QAA-recognised Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 15 credits at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit. Offers for other qualifications (inc Scottish Highers, Irish Leaving Certificate, Cambridge Pre-U, etc.): We are prepared to consider other suitable national and international qualifications. Please contact us for specific entry requirements. IELTS offer: Applicants, whose first language is not English or Welsh, are required to have obtained a score of at least 6.5 in the British Council IELTS Exam or equivalent with at least 5.5 in each component, i.e., speaking, reading, writing and listening.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2018/19)

Tuition feeDeposit
£9,000None

Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Students from outside the EU (2018/19)

Tuition feeDeposit
£19,950None

Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Additional costs

Course specific equipment

Specialist equipment for working in the field and any other equipment appropriate for your degree will be provided by the School.

Accommodation

We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

Course structure

This is a three-year full-time degree. Years one and two contain compulsory modules and there are some optional modules in year three.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2018/19 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2018.

Year one

The course structure is very flexible. All of our degree programmes share a common first semester. This is designed to give you a sound foundation in Earth sciences upon which to build. In total you will earn 120 credits for the year, through a mixture of 10-credit and 20-credit (double) modules.

At the end of your first semester you may decide whether to continue with your original degree choice or choose another of our Earth science degrees.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Planet EarthEA120110 credits
Earth Surface ProcessesEA120220 credits
Dangerous EarthEA120310 credits
Geographical Information SystemsEA120410 credits
Earth Science Field SkillsEA120520 credits
Earth MaterialsEA120920 credits
Geological Maps and StructuresEA121010 credits
History of LifeEA121110 credits
Chemistry of the EnvironmentEA121210 credits

Year two

In year two the modules you will take provide a wide knowledge base and transferable skills base to make you as employable as possible in a competitive job market. In total you will earn 120 credits for the year, through a portfolio of 10-credit and 20-credit modules.

The modules studied in year two range from highly applied modules that will facilitate your understanding of site-specific geo-environmental issues, such as contaminated land, rock engineering and geo-technics to modules that address wider geo-environmental issues. This provides a base for studies on subjects like environmental pollution and sea level rise, or specialism in biological interaction with past and present environments.

In year 2, you will begin planning your  degree project. The School offers a range of potential projects. Students may alternatively devise projects that relate to geoenvironmental issues close to their homes or that have impacted on their lives in the past. Projects may be undertaken with help and advice from local authorities or an environmental agency.

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Module titleModule codeCredits
GeophysicsEA220610 credits
Structural GeologyEA220710 credits
Sedimentology and StratigraphyEA220820 credits
Geoscience Data AnalysisEA220910 credits
PalaeoecologyEA221010 credits
Environmental Field SkillsEA221120 credits
Pedology and GeoecologyEA221210 credits
Process GeomorphologyEA221310 credits
BiogeochemistryEA221410 credits
Environmental PollutionEA221510 credits

Year three

In the final year you will complete your project work, presenting it in the form of a professional report.

There are a few ‘core’ modules, but half are optional, allowing you to target your own geoenvironmental interests and aspirations. As with the previous years, the final year consists of a mixture of taught knowledge and skills. However, in this final part of your degree, the emphasis is much more on synthesis, tying together the separate strands to give a more complete and holistic understanding of the subject.

Optional final-year modules may vary from year to year and there are sometimes restrictions in availability due to lack of demand.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Environmental Case StudiesEA310810 credits
Environmental Geoscience FieldcourseEA310910 credits
Engineering GeologyEA312310 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Global GeomorphologyEA310310 credits
Environmental Management, Science and PolicyEA311010 credits
Integrated Coastal ManagementEA311410 credits
Water ResourcesEA311710 credits
Advanced Sedimentology and StratigraphyEA311810 credits
PalaeobiologyEA312710 credits
Environmental Geoscience ProjectEA313030 credits
Environmental Geoscience Placement ProjectEA313330 credits
Environmental LawEA313410 credits
Hazards and RiskEA313910 credits
Coral Reef SystemsEA314510 credits
GlaciologyEA314610 credits
PaleoclimateEA314710 credits
Evolving BiosphereEA314810 credits
Isotope GeoscienceEA321410 credits
Marine MicrofossilsEA322710 credits
The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

The School of Earth and Ocean Sciences has an excellent tradition of teaching, delivered by lecturers at the cutting edge of international research. In addition, the School is able to maintain a friendly and informal approach brought about by staff-student interactions during fieldwork and classroom teaching.

The modular course structure enables the School to offer an exciting and relevant spectrum of vocational degree courses. These cover a wide range of modern geosciences from the traditional geology approach to the more industry-focused exploration and resource geology through to the equally applied environmental geoscience, environmental geography and water-borne marine geography.

The first semester is common to all degree programmes and you then confirm your chosen course in January of your first year. Thus, there is a chance to sample university teaching styles before committing to a particular degree or pathway.

Teaching in the School is conducted by a variety of methods:

  • formal lectures
  • laboratory practicals
  • IT practicals
  • fieldwork

Formal lectures and practical classes have the emphasis on students taking ownership of their own learning programme and ‘learning how to learn’.

Fieldwork is an integral part of Earth science degrees at Cardiff University, giving our students hands-on experience in real field situations. The fieldwork portfolio has been designed to give students the widest range of field experiences linked to classroom-based teaching.

You will be out in the field with us during the first week of teaching, taking part in a variety of induction events which will help embed you in Cardiff, meet other students on your programme in informal surroundings, meet some of your lectures away from the constrains of the classroom and see some of our local field areas.

As an Environmental Geoscience student you will take part in induction activities with all our new first-years but will also go as a cohort to see first-hand some of the environmental issues and meet students on your course.

Throughout year one you will undertake various local day trips as well as a residential field trip to Pembrokeshire, learning field skills such as sedimentary logging, mapping and environmental analysis.

Fieldwork is a major component of all degree schemes in year two. Environmental Geoscience students currently go on a residential trip to Portugal for geological mapping training and geoecology as well as undertaking an extensive fieldwork programme of day trips around South Wales focusing on geomorphology, geoecology, water and the impact of past industrialisation.

Between year two and year three all students undertake a five-week individual project, training for which has been undertaken throughout the year. As an Environmental Geoscientist you will either do an independent field-based project or an independent placement project with a company. Every student will have supervision from a member of staff and depending where you are based you may also have a visit in the field.

In your final year the fieldwork programme is more research-led, focusing on interpretative skills, field techniques, teamwork projects and independent study. Again you may undertake field day trips to local areas and we currently take a residential trip to Tenerife to study the ‘whole island concept’ linking geomorphology, hazards, soils, vegetation climate and hydrology.

Year 1

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

38%

Guided independent study

62%

Placements

0%

Year 2

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

39%

Guided independent study

61%

Placements

0%

Year 3

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

35%

Guided independent study

65%

Placements

0%

How will I be supported?

All students are assigned a personal tutor who will hold timetabled tutorials: fortnightly in year one and monthly during other years. Your tutor will be knowledgeable about your degree programme and will advise you on both academic and pastoral matters.

You will have a nominated supervisor for your major final year project.

You will have access through the Learning Central website to relevant multimedia material, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises and discussion circles. Opportunities for you to reflect on your abilities and performance are available through the Learning Central ‘Personal Development Planning’ module.

The University offers a range of services including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres

How will I be assessed?

Modules will be assessed to test knowledge and understanding through:

  • practical assignments
  • essay assignments
  • oral presentations
  • formal examinations
  • You will receive written feedback for written coursework assignments, oral feedback for assessed presentations.

NOTE: The University welcomes applications from students with disabilities and we may be able to offer alternative assessment methods.

Assessment methods (2017/18 data)

Year 1

Written exams

59%

Practical exams

28%

Coursework

13%

Year 2

Written exams

43%

Practical exams

14%

Coursework

43%

Year 3

Written exams

39%

Practical exams

11%

Coursework

50%

What skills will I practise and develop?

Knowledge & Understanding:

Knowledge & Understanding:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • systematic understanding of the multi-disciplinary nature of Environmental Geoscience and the need for integration of knowledge from cognate sciences

Intellectual Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • show knowledge and understanding, subject to student module choice, on all aspects of Earth system science
  • use knowledge and scientific, evidence-based methods in data analysis, interpretation and presentation

Professional Practical Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • show practical and applied field skills covering a range of environments and circumstances and be able to place these in a spatial and temporal context
  • show practical skills in information technology and geographical information system applications, fieldwork, data collection techniques and project management

Transferable/Key Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • collect, evaluate, synthesise and interpret qualitative and quantitative data in a variety of problem-solving situations
  • communication ideas, principles and theories effectively by oral and written means
  • the ability to work effectively in a team and as an individual
  • effective time management and organisational skills

Careers and placements

Career prospects

Based on responses from the 2016-17 Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey 90% of Earth science graduates were in employment or engaged in further study within six months of graduation, with others taking time out to travel.

Employers included local government plus companies and organisations such as the Environment Agency, BAM Construct UK, Airbus and Wales and West Utilities.

Career destinations included the water industry, local authority waste management, environmental adviser in the construction industry, software analyst in surveying, environmental consultant and pollution monitoring.

Jobs

  • Environmental Adviser
  • Software Analyst
  • Surveying
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Pollution Monitoring

Placements

No

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