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Geology (MESci)

Entry year


The four year MESci course at Cardiff involves hypothesis testing, critical analysis and problem solving whilst learning about the process and outcomes of research.

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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 Geology degree 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.

The MESci builds upon the equivalent BSc course by means of a fourth year that provides specialist training in hypothesis testing, critical analysis and problem solving, whilst learning about the process and outcomes of research. You will undertake a specialist research project in a subject area of your choice, working with a member of staff in their area of expertise, and undertake research in the field during the MESci field course. The MESci is designed for students who might aim to pursue a research career in academia, government or industry.

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 we currently visit 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. For students interested in professional research careers in Geology, the four-year MESci provides a strong basis for investigation and research in this subject.  

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 four 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.

In year four you will complete a master's research dissertation, working on a topic of your choice, which provides a range of skills beyond that provided by the BSc, and can widen your career opportunities.

Accreditations

UCAS codeF601
Next intakeSeptember 2019
Duration4 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe School typically has approx 150 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives approx 740 applications.

Entry requirements

ABB, 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.

DDD - DDM to include one of the applied science subjects. (Applied Science, Sports & Exercise Science, Health Science, Animal Science, ICT).

32 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

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.

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 full-time four-year programme which follows the BSc route with the equivalent title for the first three years, but with additional small-group teaching on the methodology and philosophy of research. In year four you will undertake a major research project as well as taking specialised modules.

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
Solid EarthEA220420 credits
Geological ResourcesEA220510 credits
GeophysicsEA220610 credits
Structural GeologyEA220710 credits
Sedimentology and StratigraphyEA220820 credits
PalaeoecologyEA221010 credits
Field Mapping and Research TutorialEA222320 credits

Year three

In your third year, you will write up your mapping project report. You will take the core modules Dynamic Earth and we currently also take a field course to Cyprus.

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
Research SkillsEA323710 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
Hazards and RiskEA313910 credits
Applied MineralogyEA314410 credits
GlaciologyEA314610 credits
PaleoclimateEA314710 credits
Evolving BiosphereEA314810 credits
Isotope GeoscienceEA321410 credits
Marine MicrofossilsEA322710 credits

Year four

You will complete a master's research dissertation in any Geology related topic that can be supervised in the School. You will work one-to-one with a research supervisor and may interact with a research group.

Since the School is large and of international research standard, this means you have a wide choice of dissertation topic. Many students develop their own topics and contact a researcher to see if they can supervise it. Alternatively a list of projects is published each year for you to choose from.

In consultation with staff, you may seek to publish the principal results of your research project in the scientific literature.

In addition the Research Project module, you will take the year four field course, where you design and carry out a field study, learn how computer modelling can be used in Earth sciences, and participate in a student-led module on the evolution of planet Earth.

Module titleModule codeCredits
MESci Research ProjectEA420170 credits
MESci FieldcourseEA420220 credits
Numerical Modelling in Earth and Ocean SciencesEA420310 credits
Building Planet EarthEA420420 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

37%

Guided independent study

63%

Placements

0%

Year 2

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

41%

Guided independent study

59%

Placements

0%

Year 3

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

49%

Guided independent study

51%

Placements

0%

Year 4

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

14%

Guided independent study

86%

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 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.

Feedback

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

59%

Practical exams

19%

Coursework

22%

Year 2

Written exams

50%

Practical exams

17%

Coursework

33%

Year 3

Written exams

42%

Practical exams

2%

Coursework

57%

Year 4

Written exams

18%

Practical exams

8%

Coursework

74%

What skills will I practise and develop?

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme describe what you will be able to do as a result of your study at Cardiff University. They will help you to understand what is expected of you. 

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme can be found below:

Knowledge & Understanding:

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

  • A rigorous understanding of the scientific process, including the design and testing of hypotheses, and the formulation of new concepts
  • A comprehensive understanding of the laboratory, field, and/or computational methodologies relevant to geology
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the field of geology and an appreciation of its wider context within Earth system science
  • Systematic understanding of the multi-disciplinary nature of geology and the need for integration of knowledge from cognate sciences

Intellectual Skills:

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

  • The ability to critically analyse the scientific literature, and synthesise current knowledge and understanding of geological topics
  • The ability to design appropriate methodology to tackle a research question
  • The ability to critically analyse and interpret data, and to use the data to support the development of new concepts
  • The ability to solve complex scientific problems both creatively and independently
  • The 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:

  • An ability to independently plan complex projects
  • The ability to rigorously and effectively communicate scientific results in both oral and written formats
  • 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 the following key transferable skills:

  • Collection, evaluation, synthesis and interpretation of qualitative and quantitative data
  • The ability to work effectively in a team and as an individual
  • Effective time management and organisational skills
  • Independent learning and research skills through your major research project and other modules
  • A commitment to lifelong learning through engaging in the process of personal development planning and ownership of your own learning
  • Personal and professional attributes consistent with a research career in academia, industry or government.

Careers

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.

Jobs

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