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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

This BSc degree will provide you with the opportunity to learn in a School which has a strong research focus with sophisticated analytical equipment routinely used on site.

Research active staff are involved in programme design and delivery and there are a variety of modules on offer based on academic research as well as applied studies including placement opportunities.

This programme involves a common first term allowing you to experience aspects of Earth sciences and geography before finally deciding upon which honours degree course you wish to pursue.

The generic nature of the course will provide you with professional skills appropriate for a range of career pathways or advanced training options.

We currently offer two overseas fieldtrips on each programme with travel and accommodation costs covered by your tuition fees

The School has links with local consultancy companies and exploration companies worldwide and we have a thriving Society of Economic Geologists (SEG) chapter that links us to this international society and lets us attract specialist visiting lecturers and arrange field visits to working quarries and mines such as in Ireland and Scandanavia

Accreditations

UCAS codeF642
Next intakeSeptember 2019
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, and 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.

DDM - DMM in one of the following subjects: Applied Science, Sports and Exercise Science, Health Science, Animal Science or ICT.

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), and Sports Science

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

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-score.

TOEFL iBT

At least 90 with minimum scores of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking.

PTE Academic

62 with a minimum of 51 in all communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

II: at least two Distinctions and two Merits.
III: at least a Pass in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.

You will require GCSE Maths at grade B or grade 6 and GCSE English Language at grade C or grade 4. 

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2019/20)

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 (2019/20)

Tuition feeDeposit
£20,950None

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 options in year three.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2019/20 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2019.

Year one

 All of our Earth and ocean science 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 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

You take a suite of modules aimed at providing the basic tools for understanding exploration geology and for fieldwork. In total you will earn 120 credits for the year, through a mixture of 10-credit and 20-credit modules.

Extensive field training during this year currently includes residential trips to Dorset, Cornwall and Spain. During these trips you will learn a wide range of practical skills that are an essential training for exploration geologists.

In your summer between years two and three you are encouraged to undertake an industrial placement project with an exploration company in the UK or overseas. Alternatively, you can complete an exploration project or geological mapping topic under our academic supervision.

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 your third year, you will write up a research report on your placement or mapping project. You will also follow core modules in both mineral and hydrocarbon resources, visit ore deposits in North Wales and take part in an overseas field course - currently to Cyprus.

You will meet visiting guest lecturers and learn to design a professional exploration project.

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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Saturday 26 October

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