Why study this course
This four year degree combines components of Geology and Physical Geography, with a focus on learning how to conduct your own research project.
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.
An environmental geoscientist uses their understanding of the planet and its processes to predict hazards like floods and earthquakes, clean up dangerous waste, and help civil engineers plan the construction of new roads, tunnels or buildings.
On our Environmental Geoscience course, you will explore different processes that happen on our planet like acid rain and global warming and find solutions to geological problems in the UK and around the world. Our Master's degree involves a fourth year of study where you work on a research project with a leading scientist from the School and their research staff. You will develop advanced skills in mapping, research, analysis and problem-solving, which will be invaluable to employers in academia, government and industry.
South Wales has a rich geological history and is ideal for teaching how geology impacts landscapes and industry. We make the most of our location and take regular field trips to natural beauty spots and old industrial and mining sites, as well as overseas trips to locations such as Tenerife and Cyprus.
We’ve worked with industry to design our degree so you graduate with the specialist skills needed to be a professional environmental geoscientist.
We accept a combination of A-levels and other qualifications, as well as equivalent international qualifications subject to entry requirements. 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, Engineering, 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 2024 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 2024/25 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 contribute 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 four-year full-time course and you study for your Bachelors and Masters degree at the same time. The first three years are structured in the same way as the BSc course and then in year four you will complete your Masters qualification.
In your first year you will study core modules and get a strong foundation in environmental geoscience. In years three and four there are core and optional modules so you have some flexibility to choose to study the areas that you’re interested in. Year four is focussed on a major independent research dissertation.
The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2024/2025 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2024.
In your first year, you will study core modules designed to give you a strong foundation in Earth sciences and 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 in 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 (such as Geology or Exploration Geology).
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 geomorphology and hydrology, sedimentary processes, and the structures resulting from earthquakes and mountain building. 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 and Dorset. We’ll also go on day trips across South Wales to explore old mining centres and sites associated with geohazards such as landslides or metal contamination.
In the summer between year two and three, you will do a five-week independent project to prepare for your dissertation in year three. This will be focussed on an applied environmental problem such as the assessment of contaminated land or an analysis of stream or groundwater to find out whether it presents a hazard to human health. In the past students have carried out projects at sites in the UK, Ireland, France and Spain.
|Applied Geological Fieldwork, Data Analysis and Professional Skills
|Sedimentary facies and environments
|Structural Geology and Geophysical Investigation
|Applied Environmental and Resource Geology
|Process Geomorphology & Hydrology
In your third year, you will have more freedom to shape your degree and choose modules that fit with your career ambitions. You will also develop essential professional skills and knowledge that all employers are looking for.
You earn 120 credits for the year. The core modules include your 40-credit dissertation and the 20 credit modules in Advanced Environmental Geology and Hazards, Risk and Resilience. For your optional modules, you can choose advanced geoscience or advanced geography fieldwork plus a range of specialist subjects like petroleum geology, past climates, or geodynamics.
Year four is when you study for your Masters. Your core modules include your dissertation (60 credits) and a fieldwork module. For your optional modules, you can choose from topics like business and consultancy and advanced geoscience modelling.
You can choose to do your Masters dissertation on any topic related to environmental geoscience that we can supervise in the School. You can either choose from a list of potential projects circulated by the School or you can work with a supervisor to design a project in an area you’re particularly interested in.
You will work one-to-one with a research supervisor throughout the year and possibly with a wider group of research students. Some of our best Masters research projects have been published in the scientific literature.
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 logically and apply this to environmental problems. The skills you will gain are in demand in sectors like civil and environmental engineering, insurance, water supply and consulting.
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?
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 your chosen degree course and can offer advice on academic and personal matters. In year four 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).
With the planet facing increasing environmental threats and challenges, the knowledge and skills of an environmental geoscientist are in demand. Environmental geoscientists will play an important role in developing sustainable infrastructure, green energy projects and helping to manage and remove pollution left by former industries like mining and chemicals manufacturing.
You can choose to work in a variety of different industries and roles including conservation and environmental management, as an engineering geologist, a water engineer or an environmental consultant. You will also have essential employable skills that sectors like insurance, finance, education and planning are looking for.
The advanced research skills, innovation and initiative that you will gain during your degree will be invaluable to employers in academia, government and industry. Many senior positions in environmental geoscience-related careers ask for a minimum of a master's degree level qualification and it is often the entry-level qualification for PhD research programmes.
Some of our past students have gone on to work at the Environment Agency, BAM Construction, Atkins, Welsh Water, LCM Environmental Services, and Mott MacDonald.
South Wales is one of the best locations in the UK to study environmental geoscience, having a wealth of local natural and manmade geoenvironmental case studies on our doorstep. These natural locations range from the beautiful Welsh coastline up to the scenic mountains of the Brecon Beacons, including eroding sea cliffs, sand dunes, wetlands, valley slopes and past glacial erosion. With a long industrial history, South Wales also offers study sites that include landfills, heavy metal contamination, acid mine drainage, derelict land and mining subsidence.
We also travel abroad for residential fieldwork. For example, we currently visit Portugal to conduct geological mapping training and investigate its geoecology. We currently also travel to Tenerife, with its imposing volcano, to tie everything you have learnt together into a “whole island concept”, which links geomorphology, hazards, soils, vegetation, water and sustainability.
All of the travel and accommodation on our fieldtrips is paid for by the School. We will only ask you for a small contribution towards food and drink for each trip.
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.