Why study this course
Based in the same building as the Welsh office of the British Geological Survey and next door to the National Museum of Wales.
We take regular field trips in the UK and overseas to help you develop strong fieldwork skills. The cost of compulsory field trips is included in the course fees.
In most cases, you may request a transfer to programmes with a professional placement year, with a year of study abroad, or to the MSci. You may also request a switch to another course in the School at the end of the first semester.
To find solutions to some of the biggest problems facing our planet today we need to understand the Earth’s history and processes. Geologists study the minerals and rocks that form the solid Earth, the processes that occur on and within our planet, and the evolution of life on its surface. They use their knowledge of past climates and hazards to understand and address the challenges we face from issues like climate change and natural disasters.
On our Geology course you will explore how rocks and minerals are formed, how animals evolve over geological time, what causes earthquakes and volcanoes and how the science of Geology impacts our lives today. You will develop skills in fieldwork, data capture, analysis and confident decision making.
We’ve worked with industry to design our degree so you graduate with the specialist skills needed to be a professional geologist.
We make the most of our location and take regular field trips in South Wales to explore how geology impacts the landscapes and the industry of the region. There will also be opportunities to do overseas trips, in the past we’ve been to Spain and Cyprus.
We accept a combination of A-levels and other qualifications, as well as equivalent international qualifications subject to entry requirements. If you are applying to study this course via Clearing, entry grade requirements may be higher than those advertised. Typical offers are as follows:
ABB-BBB (with 1 science subject) or BBB-BBC (with 2 science subjects). Acceptable science subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology, Maths, Physics.
Extended/International Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ/IPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.
Our grade range covers our standard offer and contextual offer. We carefully consider the circumstances in which you've been studying (your contextual data) upon application.
- Eligible students will be given an offer at the lower end of the advertised grade range.
- Where there is no grade range advertised and/or where there are selection processes in place (like an interview) you may receive additional points in the selection process or be guaranteed interview/consideration.
32-31 overall or 665 in 3 HL subjects (with 1 HL science subject) or 31-30 overall or 665-655 in 3 HL subjects (with 2 HL science subjects). Acceptable science subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology, Maths, Physics.
From September 2023, there will be a new qualification called the Advanced Skills Baccalaureate Wales (level 3). This qualification will replace the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate (Welsh Baccalaureate). The qualification will continue to be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.
Other qualifications from inside the UK
DDM-DMM in a BTEC Extended Diploma in Animal Science, Applied Science, Health Science, ICT, or Sports and Exercise Science.
Acceptance of T Levels for this programme will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Academic School. Consideration will be given to the T Level grade/subject and grades/subjects achieved at GCSE/Level 2.
Please see our admissions policies for more information about the application process.
Tuition fees for 2023 entry
Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.
Fees for home status
Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland
If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2023/24 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.
Fees for island status
Learn more about the undergraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.
Fees for overseas status
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.
The fieldwork costs for your core modules are included but you will need to make a contribution towards food if it is provided during the trip. You will need to pay for any optional fieldwork modules. The cost of these trips will be capped at an amount determined by the school. Students facing financial hardship may be eligible to apply to the Cardiff Financial Assistance Programme for help with these costs.
Course specific equipment
You will need suitable clothing including warm weather, wind and storm-proof jackets and walking boots. The school will provide all health and safety equipment as well as specialised field equipment.
We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.
We're based in one of the UK's most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.
This is a three-year full-time degree. In your first year you will study core modules and get a strong foundation in geology. In year two and three there are core and optional modules so you have some flexibility to choose to study the areas that you’re interested in.
The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2023/2024 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2023.
In your first year, you will study core modules designed to give you a solid foundation in the science of Geology. We start with the basic principles, and cover topics like Earth’s surface plates and internal structure, the minerals that make our planet and the evolution of life through billions of years of geological time. You will develop essential skills like mapping and surveying, microscopy and, representing data in geographical information systems (GIS).
We will go on local field trips across South Wales and a week-long residential field trip to Pembrokeshire in West Wales to build on your learning from lectures and practical classes.
All of the degrees at the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences study the same first semester. After semester one you can decide whether you want to continue with your original choice or switch to one of the other degrees (e.g. Exploration Geology or Environmental Geoscience).
You earn 120 credits for the year with each core module worth 20 credits.
In your second year, you will build on the knowledge from year one and start exploring more advanced concepts like sedimentary processes, the origins of igneous and metamorphic rocks, and the structures resulting from earthquakes and mountain building.
You can select from optional modules that open pathways to environmental or mineral resource geology, or to the study of landscapes and surface features. During this year you will gain skills and experience in sampling, data collection and analysis ready for your dissertation in year three.
We will go on residential field trips to Central and West Wales, Dorset and overseas as well as regular day trips to sites across South Wales.
In the summer between year two and three, you will do a five-week independent mapping project to prepare for your dissertation in year three. You can choose to do this in the UK or overseas. In the past students have chosen to study areas in North Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Northern Spain, Southern France or the French Alps.
You earn 120 credits for the year. This is made up of 40 and 20 credit core modules and a choice of 20 credit optional modules.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Geological Fieldwork, Data Analysis and Professional Skills||EA2301||40 credits|
|Sedimentary facies and environments||EA2303||20 credits|
|Petrology and Volcanology||EA2304||20 credits|
|Structural Geology and Geophysical Investigation||EA2305||20 credits|
You earn 120 credits for the year. The core modules include your dissertation and Geodynamics. For your optional modules, you can choose from a range of specialist modules covering subjects like advanced fieldwork, natural hazards and resilience, environmental and engineering geology, ancient climates, and much more.
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
We are a friendly and informal school and you will be supported and taught by world-leading experts involved in cutting-edge international research.
Our teaching approach is a mix of theory and practical and includes: lectures, laboratory work, fieldwork, tutorials, workshops and seminars. You will also be encouraged to learn independently throughout the course. We encourage you to think creatively and to reach conclusions from incomplete data which is a skill valued highly in sectors such as insurance, civil engineering and consulting.
How will I be supported?
At the start of the course you will be allocated a personal tutor who you will meet with regularly for tutorials. Tutorials are fortnightly in the first year and then monthly in year two and three. Your personal tutor will be a specialist in geology and can offer advice on academic and personal matters. In year three you will also be allocated a supervisor for your dissertation project.
We have a Learning Central website where you can access videos, images, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, links to further reading, electronic exercises and discussion circles. Where possible, lectures will be recorded so you can watch and study in your own time.
The Learning Central website also has a ‘Personal Development Planning’ module that supports you in regularly assessing your progress and meeting your development needs.
The University offers a range of services including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, alongside excellent libraries and resource centres.
We aim to create an inclusive, supportive and welcoming environment that respects the dignity of staff and students of all ages, ethnicities, disabilities, family structures, genders, nationalities, sexual orientations, races, religious or other beliefs, and socio-economic backgrounds. Read about our commitment to the Athena SWAN principles and our Bronze status (https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/earth-ocean-sciences/about-us/equality-diversity-and-inclusivity).
How will I be assessed?
We will be assessing your level of knowledge and understanding in each module through a combination of assignments, presentations, fieldwork, examinations and a dissertation. You will receive written and oral feedback on your coursework and there are opportunities for informal feedback throughout the course.
NOTE: The University welcomes applications from students with disabilities and we endeavour to offer reasonable alternative assessment methods wherever possible. We have an Alternative Fieldwork Policy which is adopted in cases where a student cannot attend a scheduled, taught field course, or part(s) thereof, because of extenuating circumstances.
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 entire Programme students will be able to demonstrate the following:
- The ability to acquire, integrate and synthesise information to address complex problems in earth sciences.
- Knowledge and understanding of the structure of the Earth, its materials, lifeforms and resources and the processes that shape it at present and through geological time.
- Ability to explain the role and impact of earth science in solving 21st century environmental challenges such as climate change, geohazards and the sustainability of energy, water and other natural resources to meet the needs of the world’s population.
On successful completion of the entire Programme students will be able to demonstrate the following :
- Comprehension and critical evaluation of science-based evidence to assess and formulate solutions to complex multi-component problems in earth sciences.
- The ability to assemble and critically evaluate information on a variety of scales (from microscopic to planetary) and generate and interpret datasets in 2D, 3D and 4D.
- The capability to evaluate current research in the earth sciences, with commensurate appreciation of uncertainty and debate and limits to understanding.
Professional Practical Skills:
On successful completion of the entire Programme students will be able to demonstrate the following:
- Ability to recognise and interpret rocks, minerals and fossils to determine the geological relationships and reconstruct the history of any particular sample/outcrop/region under study.
- Understanding and application of the methods used to acquire geospatial data and represent such data in 2D and 3D using maps and digital platforms such as GIS.
- Analysis and portrayal of numerical data in earth sciences, including using appropriate software.
- Problem solving involving integration and analysis of diverse and often incomplete earth science data and using appropriate qualitative and quantitative methodologies.
- The ability to design, implement and safely carry out a programme of field- or laboratory-based research and report the findings effectively in writing.
In successful completion of the entire Programme students will be able to demonstrate the following:
- Ability to design, implement and manage a project through an independent dissertation.
- The ability to work independently and as part of a team.
- Application of the scientific method, numerical and spatial skills including visualization to the understanding of 3D (and 4D) data sets and their interpolation in space (and time).
- Ability to communicate information and concepts effectively through oral, written and visual means to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
- An understanding of the benefits of employment networking and continuing professional development.
- Problem solving, reliability, loyalty, social conduct, tact, attitude to learning and research, leadership, resilience, decision-making and reasoning.
Careers and placements
Geologists play a central role in society today. We need geology to locate sustainable sources of water, energy and minerals, to recognise and mitigate hazards, and to assess land for constructing roads or buildings.
With a geology degree, you can choose to work in a variety of different roles including an engineering geologist, a hydrogeologist, a mineralogist, and an environmental consultant. You will also have essential employable skills that sectors like insurance, finance, education and planning are looking for.
Some of our past students now work for the British Geological Survey, the Environment Agency, Digirock, Boliden Mining, Network Rail, Balfour Beatty and the engineering and mining consultancy Royal HaskoningDHV.
Any student who can secure a suitable placement with a company or organisation may transfer to our four-year programme and graduate with a BSc with a Professional Placement Year. We cannot guarantee placements as the recruitment and selection process depends on the company you are applying to. However, we will support you in finding and applying for a placement and the University’s careers service can help you with your applications, CV and interview skills. We have found that students who complete a professional placement year return to their studies with invaluable employability skills and industry experience.
Our Geology field trips focus on key themes, such as the origins of oceanic crust, the development of sedimentary basins and their oil and gas potential, and the growth and collapse of mountain belts.
We have visited classic localities in Pembrokeshire, Arran, southwest England, Cyprus and Spain, where our students have learned to record observations, analyse and interpret a wide range of rocks and structures in the field, and trained in making a geological map. In Cyprus, past students have studied an uplifted section of oceanic crust and its associated sediments during field trips.
HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.