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Geology (BSc)

Entry year

The evolution of the Earth and the life it supports is a key subject of human enquiry.

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Course overview

Geology is the science of our planet the Earth, its oceans, atmosphere, lithosphere and biosphere. Geology encompasses the study of minerals and rocks that form the solid Earth, the processes that occur on and within the Earth, and the evolution of life that inhabits the Earth.

Our BSc in Geology gives you a broad view of the physical, chemical and biological processes that formed the Earth. You will learn how to observe this history within rock outcrops, and to infer the processes controlling Earth’s structure and environments.

A key component of this course is fieldwork. You will travel to classic localities both in the UK and abroad. On these excursions you will learn how to record observations, how to analyse and interpret a wide range of rocks and structures in the field, and be trained in making geological maps. Our field courses focus on themes such as the growth and collapse of mountain belts, the development of sedimentary basins and their oil and gas potential, and the origins of oceanic crust.

In year one you will visit a variety of areas near Cardiff, and we currently spend a week in Pembrokeshire. In year two we currently visit Dorset, Arran and northern Spain. In year three there is currently a field trip to Cyprus, where all that you have learned previously can be synthesised into a picture that reveals the nature of our dynamic Earth.

Geologists are much sought after in many professions because of their global view of natural processes, and their ability to interpret and synthesise data. You will learn these skills on the Geology BSc. .

Distinctive features

In this broad-based, accredited degree you will learn how to read the rocks, assess the processes involved in their formation, reconstruct past environments and interpret how life evolved.

A key component of this course in all three years is fieldwork in the UK and overseas. You  learn how to record observations, analyse and interpret rocks and structures in the field and make a geological map which culminates in a five-week independent mapping project between years 2 and 3.

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

You will be taught by world leading Earth scientists from a wide variety of disciplines, involved in national and international research programmes.


UCAS codeF600
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, 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.


Grade C or grade 4 in GCSE English Language.

IELTS (academic)

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


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

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

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

Fieldwork costs are covered apart from a contribution towards food if it is provided during the trip.

Course specific equipment

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


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; there are options in year 3

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

Year one is designed to give you a sound foundation in Geology upon which to build, starting from the basics. 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 switch to another one of our degrees e.g. Exploration and Resource Geology

Module titleModule codeCredits
Planet EarthEA120110 credits
Earth Surface ProcessesEA120220 credits
Dangerous EarthEA120310 credits
Geographical Information SystemsEA120410 credits
Earth Science Field SkillsEA120520 credits
Georesources and EnergyEA120810 credits
Earth MaterialsEA120920 credits
Geological Maps and StructuresEA121010 credits
History of LifeEA121110 credits

Year two

You take a suite of modules and fieldwork aimed at providing the basic tools for understanding the processes that formed the planet. 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, Arran and Spain. During these trips you will learn a wide range of practical skills that are an essential training for geologists.

In your summer between years two and three you will undertake a five-week independent mapping project in the UK or overseas. 

Module titleModule codeCredits
Formation of the British IslesEA220220 credits
Field MappingEA220320 credits
Solid EarthEA220420 credits
Geological ResourcesEA220510 credits
GeophysicsEA220610 credits
Structural GeologyEA220710 credits
Sedimentology and StratigraphyEA220820 credits
PalaeoecologyEA221010 credits

Year three

In your third year, you will write up your mapping project report. We currently visit Cyprus on a residential field course.

Optional modules will vary from year to year and there are sometimes restrictions in availability due to lack of demand, oversubscription, timetable clashes or the need for you to have taken certain other modules first.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Geological Mapping ProjectEA310430 credits
Geology FieldcourseEA312810 credits
Dynamic EarthEA313510 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Volcanic and Magmatic ProcessesEA310110 credits
Global GeomorphologyEA310310 credits
Water ResourcesEA311710 credits
Advanced Sedimentology and StratigraphyEA311810 credits
Petroleum Geology and Basin AnalysisEA311920 credits
Engineering GeologyEA312310 credits
PalaeobiologyEA312710 credits
Structural TechniquesEA313110 credits
Earth Science ProjectEA313810 credits
Hazards and RiskEA313910 credits
Applied MineralogyEA314410 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 a tradition of excellent teaching, delivered by lecturers at the cutting edge of international research. The School maintains a friendly and informal approach fostered by staff-student interactions in the field.

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

  • formal lectures
  • laboratory practical classes
  • fieldwork
  • tutorials
  • Independent study

Formal lectures, practical classes and tutorials emphasise that students should take ownership of their own learning programme and ‘learning how to learn’. Time for independent study reinforces this approach.

Fieldwork is a vital for understanding Geology and all students go on at least one residential field trip each academic year as well as numerous specialist day trips. 

Year 1

Scheduled learning and teaching activities


Guided independent study




Year 2

Scheduled learning and teaching activities


Guided independent study




Year 3

Scheduled learning and teaching activities


Guided independent study




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 a specialist in your degree course 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.

Where facilities exist your lectures will be recorded and videoed for you to further study in your own time.

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.


You will receive written feedback for written coursework assignments and oral feedback for assessed presentations.

How will I be assessed?

Modules will be assessed to test knowledge and understanding through:

  • practical assignments
  • essay assignments
  • fieldwork
  • oral presentations
  • mapping dissertation
  • 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


Practical exams




Year 2

Written exams


Practical exams




Year 3

Written exams


Practical exams




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 Geology and the need for integration of knowledge from cognate sciences
  • show knowledge and understanding, subject to a degree of student choice, on all aspects of earth system science

Intellectual Skills:

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

  • an ability to use knowledge and scientific, evidence-based methods in data assessment and problem solving

Professional Practical Skills:

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

  • practical geological skills, such as constructing a geological map and rock recognition, both in hand specimen and thin sections
  • practical skills in information technology, geographical information systems, digital geology applications, fieldwork, data and project management

Transferable/Key Skills:

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

  • collection, evaluation, synthesis and interpretation of qualitative and quantitative data in a variety of ways
  • 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 and companies and organisations such as the British Geological Survey, the Environment Agency, Digirock, Hummingbird Resources and BHP Billiton

Typical career destinations for graduates in Geology include engineering geologist, exploration geologist, reservoir geologist, survey geologist, mineralogist, mineral exploration, geological consultant, field mapping, oil geologist, mining software analyst, geophysical surveying and water industry.


  • Engineering Geologist
  • Exploration Geologist
  • Reservoir Geologist
  • Survey Geologist
  • Mineralogist
  • Mineral Exploration
  • Geological Consultant
  • Field Mapping
  • Oil Geologist
  • Mining Software Analyst




Next Undergraduate Open Day

Spring 2020




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