Skip to content

Exploration and Resource Geology (BSc)

Entry year


This practical three year degree programme will enable you to specialise in the exploration and management of our natural resources.

Book an Open Day

Mineralisation in a Cyprus quarry

Course overview

Globally there is an ever-increasing need for oil, gas, metals and construction materials in a world where resources are finite. Even renewable technologies depend on minerals, metals and other resources.

An exploration geologist needs a broad range of skills including an aptitude for fieldwork, good IT skills and the ability to make key decisions from limited information. These are the traits we aim to develop in our students through this applied degree programme.

This BSc degree will give you a solid grounding in the fundamentals of geology. You will learn about the processes that lead to the formation of a natural resource, be it a hydrocarbon or a metalliferous deposit. We will focus on understanding the Earth’s natural resources and apply this to discovering and managing them. Between years two and three you will be able to apply your knowledge and skills in depth during either an industrial placement or an applied geological mapping project.

Distinctive features

Study with the only UK university to offer undergraduate courses specifically in Exploration and Resource Geology.

Ranked 3rd in the UK for mineral and mining engineering according to the QS World Rankings 2019.

Experience all aspects of Earth Sciences and Geography in the first term before deciding which degree you wish to pursue.

Two overseas fieldtrips with travel and accommodation paid for by the School, as well as plenty of fieldwork in South Wales and the UK.

Spend approximately 63 days on fieldwork during this programme.

Benefit from our established links with local consultancy companies and exploration companies worldwide and our thriving Society of Economic Geologists (SEG) chapter.

Accreditations

UCAS codeF621
Next intakeSeptember 2020
Duration3 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe School typically has approx 150 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives approx 740 applications.

Connect with exploration geologists, consultancies and employers across the world through our thriving Society of Economic Geologists (SEG) chapter.

Entry requirements

ABB - BBB including one of the following STEM subjects: Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Geology, Biology, Geography, Computer Science, Environmental Science OR BBB - BBC including two of the following STEM subjects: Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Geology, Biology, Geography, Computer Science, Environmental Science. Please note that General Studies are not accepted for entry.  

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 BTEC Applied Science, Sports and Exercise Science, Health Science, Animal Science or ICT.

34-32 points or 665 in Higher Level subjects to include one STEM Science subject (Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Geology, Biology, Geography, Computer Science, Environmental Science) OR 32-30 points or 655 in Higher Level subjects to include two STEM Science subjects (Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Geology, Biology, Geography, Computer Science, Environmental 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 Grade B/5 and GCSE English Language Grade C/4. 

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2020/21)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Students from outside the EU (2020/21)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Additional costs

Course specific equipment

On our fieldtrips we go out in all weathers and sometimes access rough terrain. You will need to bring warm clothing, all-over waterproofs and proper walking boots (with ankle supports and strong, grippy soles). We will provide you with specialist equipment for working in the field, such as high-visibility jackets, hard hats and compasses.

Accommodation

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

Course structure

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 2020 and this page will be updated by end of October 2020 to reflect the changes.

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 2020/21 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2020.

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 and skills that you could apply to any job within this broad field. We build on this base with more specialist knowledge in your chosen subject area. 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.

In total you will earn 120 credits for the year, through a mixture of 10-credit and 20-credit modules.

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

Our year two modules are aimed at providing the basic tools for understanding exploration geology and field study. In total you will earn 120 credits for the year, through a mixture of 10-credit and 20-credit modules.

You will complete extensive field training, where you will learn a wide range of practical skills that are essential for exploration geologists.

In the 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
Exploration Case StudiesEA220120 credits
Field MappingEA220320 credits
Solid EarthEA220420 credits
Geological ResourcesEA220510 credits
GeophysicsEA220610 credits
Structural GeologyEA220710 credits
Sedimentology and StratigraphyEA220820 credits
Geoscience Data AnalysisEA220910 credits

Year three

In your third year, you will write up a research report on your placement or mapping project. You will also take core modules in both mineral and hydrocarbon resources with associated fieldwork and take part in an overseas field course. You will have the opportunity to meet visiting lecturers and learn to design a professional exploration project.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Isotope GeoscienceEA321410 credits
Dynamic EarthEA321510 credits
Volcanological processesEA321610 credits
Applied MineralogyEA321710 credits
Applied Structural GeologyEA321810 credits
Advanced Sedimentology and StratigraphyEA321910 credits
Engineering GeologyEA322010 credits
GeohazardsEA322110 credits
Environmental LawEA322210 credits
Principles of HydrogeologyEA324110 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.
Pembrokeshire coast fieldwork
Our Exploration and Resource Geology programme is highly practical and incorporates specialist fieldwork and IT skills necessary to become a professional exploration geologist.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

The School of Earth and Ocean Sciences has an excellent tradition of teaching, delivered by lecturers who are 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.

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 traditional geology to the more industry-focused exploration and resource geology, through to the equally applied environmental geoscience 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. This offers you 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 an emphasis on students taking ownership of their own learning programme and ‘learning how to learn’.

Fieldwork is a vital format for understanding the Earth sciences and all students go on  one residential field trip during Year 1 and two residential trips during each of Years 2 and 3 as well as numerous specialist day trips.

Year 1

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

38%

Guided independent study

62%

Placements

0%

Year 2

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

42%

Guided independent study

58%

Placements

0%

Year 3

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

41%

Guided independent study

59%

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 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.

Where facilities exist your lectures will be 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.

Modern exploration geology has a heavy focus on GIS prospectivity evaluation, so there is space for professionals that are essentially desk bound. For disabled students we can offer a 3D modelling project instead of field mapping.

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
  • Geological reports, technical data representation, geological map interpretation
  • oral presentations
  • dissertation
  • formal examinations

 

Assessment methods (2017/18 data)

Year 1

Written exams

59%

Practical exams

28%

Coursework

13%

Year 2

Written exams

44%

Practical exams

17%

Coursework

39%

Year 3

Written exams

40%

Practical exams

8%

Coursework

52%

What skills will I practise and develop?

Knowledge & Understanding:

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

  •  understanding of the multi-disciplinary nature of Exploration and Resource Geology
  • critically evaluate knowledge of the core principles of Exploration and Resource Geology including basic themes such as igneous, metamorphic, structural and sedimentary geology, petrology, geochemistry and geophysics and therefore processes that concentrate ores, oil and industrial minerals
  • show a systematic knowledge of terminology, nomenclature and classification of earth materials, structures and resources

Intellectual Skills:

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

  • originality and creativity in research, frame a cogent argument, orally and in writing and solve problems
  • The ability to use knowledge and scientific evidence-based methods in the assessment and solution of challenges in the field of exploration and resource geology

Professional Practical Skills:

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

  • The ability to collect, evaluate, synthesise and interpret qualitative and quantitative data in a variety of ways, especially using spatial data representation methods and GIS
  •  an appropriate level of practical and technical skills in the recognition and description of rocks, ore deposits
  • the ability to go out into the field and explore for natural resources using all the techniques listed above, including geological mapping

Transferable/Key Skills:

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

  • 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
Exploration Geology fieldwork in Dolaucothi Gold Mine
On this programme you will learn about the mining legacy in the UK and how to manage existing natural resources.

Careers and placements

Career prospects

This applied and vocationally orientated course will prepare you for a potentially exciting professional career as a geologist working in the global hydrocarbon, metalliferous or bulk mineral industries. Our graduates are in great demand in the mineral and hydrocarbon exploration industry, because they are trained in specialist fieldwork and the IT skills needed by a professional exploration geologist. 92% of our graduates were in employment or further study within six months of graduation according to the latest data, with others taking time out to travel (DLHE 2016/17).

Typical career destinations for graduates in Exploration Geology include engineering geologist, geological consultant, exploration geologist, field geologist, mineralogist, mineral exploration, geological consultant, field mapping, oil geologist, mining software analyst, geophysical surveying and the water industry. Employers included local government and companies and organisations such as Gemcom Software, SRK Exploration, Kuwait Oil Company and Anglo American.

Jobs

  • Engineering Geologist
  • Geological Consultant
  • Field Mapping
  • Oil Geologist
  • Mining Software Analyst
  • Geophysical Surveying
  • Water Industry

Placements

No

Fieldwork

Within the UK, we currently visit north Wales to investigate mineral deposits, southwest England to study sedimentary basins and the tin mining legacy, and Pembrokeshire, where you will learn to draw detailed geological maps using geological and geophysical techniques.

Further afield we usually visit Spain where rock exposure is completely different from the UK, and Cyprus, where you will be able to gain a broader view of the formation and exploitation of ore and hydrocarbon deposits and apply all the essential practical skills needed to become a professional exploration geologist.

All of the travel and accommodation on our fieldtrips is currently already included in your tuition fees. We will only ask you for a small contribution towards food and drink for each trip.

Cyprus exploration geology fieldwork
Cyrpus is a favourite location for exploration and resource geology fieldwork.
icon-academic

Next Undergraduate Open Day

Saturday 26 October

icon-international

International

icon-contact

Get in touch

icon-pen

How to apply