Environmental Geoscience with Professional Placement (BSc)

Entry year

2018/19 2019/20

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.

Environmental geoscience study in South Wales

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.

This four-year programme includes a placement year in industry so that you can gain valuable experience working in a relevant company or organisation as well as completing your academic studies.

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: 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.

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
  • A major summer project between years two and three 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
  • A broad subject base (encompassing geology and aspects of environmental science) which emphasises a diversity of training and provides a wide range of transferable skills applicable to many potential careers
  • You will also have the opportunity to have a year working with an appropriate company.

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I found the course in Cardiff great fun and learned absolutely loads. It was brilliant value for money when you think about how much teaching and lab work we did. Perhaps most importantly the field trips were unbelievable!

Paddy Staunton, Mesci Environmental Geoscience 2011

Key facts

UCAS CodeF644
Next intakeSeptember 2018
Duration4 years
ModeFull time with sandwich year
AccreditationsGeological Society
Typical places availableThe School typically has approx 150 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives approx 740 applications.
Contact

Entry requirements

Typical A level offerBBB, 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. 
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerThe Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer30 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 qualificationsAlternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Earth & Ocean Sciences admissions criteria pages.
English Language requirementsIf 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.
Other requirementsYou will require GCSE Maths at grade C or grade 4 and GCSE English or Welsh Language at grade C or grade 4. 

We are currently working with our students to update and improve the content of this course. The information shown below reflects the current curriculum and is likely to change. The review of the course is expected to be completed by August 2018 and this page will be updated by end of October 2018 to reflect the changes.

This is a four-year full-time degree. Years one and two contain compulsory modules and there are some options in year four. For year three you may work with a suitable industrial company which may provide data for the final-year dissertation..

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. You are advised to check the final module descriptions when they are available to ensure that the programme meets your needs.

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 will 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 major 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.

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: Sandwich year

Your third year will be spent as a placement year working in industry. Some of the work you undertake during this year can be used as a basis for your project which you will complete in year four.

Although we will do our best to secure you a placement, we must stress that in the current economic climate many companies are unwilling, or unable to commit to year-long placements we therefore cannot guarantee that you will obtain a placement.

If you do not have a placement you will progress directly to the third and final year of the Environmental Geoscience degree.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Earth Science Sandwich PlacementEA3122120 credits

Year four

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.

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 (currently 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 either undertake a five-week individual project, training for which has been undertaken throughout the year or start on their placement year. 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 also  take a residential trip to Tenerife to study the ‘whole island concept’ linking geomorphology, hazards, soils, vegetation climate and hydrology.

How will I spend my time? (2017/18 data)

Year 1

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

38%

Guided independent study

62%

Placements

0%

Year 2

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

null%

Guided independent study

null%

Placements

null%

Year 3

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

0%

Guided independent study

0%

Placements

100%

Year 4

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

null%

Guided independent study

null%

Placements

null%

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

null%

Practical exams

null%

Coursework

null%

Year 3

Written exams

0%

Practical exams

0%

Coursework

100%

Year 4

Written exams

null%

Practical exams

null%

Coursework

null%

What skills will I practise and develop?

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
  • employability in an industrial setting

What are the learning outcomes of this course/programme?

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

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 Advisor
  • Construction Industry
  • Software Analyst
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Pollution Monitoring

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2018/19)

Tuition feeDepositNotes
£9,000None

The University reserves the right to increase tuition fees in the second and subsequent years of a course as permitted by law or Welsh Government policy. Where applicable we will notify you of any change in tuition fee by the end of June in the academic year before the one in which the fee will increase.

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 feeDepositNotes
£19,950None

Tuition fees for international students are fixed for the majority of three year undergraduate courses. This means the price you pay in year one will be the same in years two and three. Some courses are exempt, including four and five year programmes and Medical and Dental courses. Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

Costs for sandwich years

During a sandwich year (e.g. year in industry, placement year or year abroad) a lower fee will apply. Full details can be found on our fees pages.

Additional costs

Although fieldwork is free you may be asked to make a small contribution to costs if food is provided.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

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

Accomodation

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

Yes

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