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Geology with a Year of Study Abroad (BSc)

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Why study this course

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Year abroad

Learn while you travel and experience the landscapes or coastlines, education and culture of a different country with the opportunity to complete a year studying at a university abroad.

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Fieldwork opportunities

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.

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Flexible course

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.

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No prior knowledge needed

You don’t need to have studied Geology to take this course. We start with the basics to bring everyone to the same level.

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Professionally accredited

Accredited by the Geological Society, the professional body for geosciences in the UK.

To find solutions to some of the biggest problems facing our planet today, we need to understand the Earth’s history and processes. Geologists 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 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 go on overseas field trips, in the past we’ve been to Spain and Cyprus.

On this four-year programme, you can spend one academic year studying at one of our partner universities abroad. Studying abroad is a fantastic opportunity to experience other cultures and viewpoints, learning the different styles and approaches to your subject in another country and exploring new physical environments, landscapes and coastlines. You will get the chance to make new friends and contacts from around the world. Plus, you will have the opportunity to develop a wealth of life skills and strengths that will help you to compete in an increasingly global workplace, such as adaptability, resourcefulness, and resilience.

Our Regrow Borneo project allows you to offset your flight’s carbon emissions by making an affordable donation to support our tree-planting project in the Lower Kinabatangan rainforest, Sabah, Borneo.

Subject area: Earth and environmental sciences

Subject area: Geology and geoscience

Entry requirements

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:

A level

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 A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.


This grade range reflects our typical standard and contextual offers. We carefully consider your contextual data (the circumstances in which you've been studying) upon application. Eligible students applying for this course will be given an offer at the lower end of the advertised grade range.

International Baccalaureate

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.

Baccalaureate Wales

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

BTEC

DDM-DMM in a BTEC Extended Diploma in Animal Science, Applied Science, Health Science, ICT, or Sports and Exercise Science.

T level

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.

Qualifications from outside the UK

See our qualification equivalences guide

Additional entry requirements

GCSE

Grade C or grade 4 in GCSE English Language.

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each subskill.

TOEFL iBT

At least 90 overall with minimum scores of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking.

PTE Academic

At least 62 overall with a minimum of 59 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 must have or be working towards:
- English language or Welsh language at GCSE grade C/4 or an equivalent (such as A-levels). If you require a Tier 4 visa, you must ensure your language qualification complies with UKVI requirements.
- GCSE Maths grade C/4 or equivalent qualification (subject and grade). If you are taking A-level Maths (or equivalent), GCSE Maths is not required. Core Maths may also be accepted in place of GCSE Maths.

We do not accept Critical Thinking, General Studies, Citizenship Studies, or other similar equivalent subjects.
We will accept a combination of BTEC subjects, A-levels, and other qualifications, subject to the course specific grade and subject requirements.

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course. If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

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.

Learn how we decide your fee status

Fees for home status

We are currently awaiting confirmation on tuition fees for the 2023/24 academic year. Fees for the previous year were £9,000.

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

We are currently awaiting confirmation on tuition fees for the 2023/24 academic year.

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

We are currently awaiting confirmation on tuition fees for the 2023/24 academic year.

Costs for sandwich years

During a sandwich year (e.g. year in industry, placement year or year abroad) a lower fee will apply. Full details can be found on our fees pages.

Additional costs

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.

You will pay 15% of the usual Cardiff University fees during your year of study abroad. You will also need to pay for your living costs while abroad, which may include health insurance costs. Further additional costs include travel and visa application fees. Financial support is available. Under the present system, students remain eligible for Student Finance for overseas placements. The Global Opportunities Centre also currently provides a bursary to assist with some of the costs associated with an overseas placement.  Full details will be confirmed when you are considering your year of study abroad options.

Accommodation

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

Living costs

We're based in one of the UK's most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.

Course structure

This is a four-year full-time degree. In your first year you will study core modules and get a strong foundation in geology. In year two 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 three is spent studying at one of our partner institutions in another country.

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.

Year one

Module titleModule codeCredits
World of Dynamic EnvironmentsEA130020 credits
Exploring Planet EarthEA130120 credits
GIS, Maps and Analytical SkillsEA130320 credits
Earth Science FieldworkEA130420 credits
Earth MaterialsEA130620 credits
Life and Earth HistoryEA130720 credits

Year two

Year three: Sandwich year

Module titleModule codeCredits
Year of Study AbroadEA3300120 credits

Year four

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.

Mapping training
Students undertake training in geological mapping on one of our overseas field trips

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 you will be taught during your year of study abroad will depend on the host institution.  All our overseas partners are of at least a comparable standard to Cardiff University and the partnership goes through a rigorous approval process. You will look in detail at teaching methods in your host institution and discuss these with the School Director of International as part of your application process and Study Abroad learning agreement.

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 four. Your Personal Tutor can offer advice on academic and personal matters. In year four you will also be allocated a supervisor for your dissertation project.

Academic support for the year of study abroad will be provided to you during your second year by the Director of International for the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and planning advice by colleagues at the Global Opportunities Centre. Advice regarding choice of university, aims of the year, academic regulations and module choice will be given by the Director of International, who will be available to discuss ideas, concerns and issues with you..

The School Director of International works closely with the Global Opportunities Centre to support you  in applying to the host university, provide advice on finances, visas and all the practical arrangements involved in studying abroad. Global Opportunities  will organise a pre-departure session and provide you with a pre-departure pack which will includes an informative guide. Members of staff from the Global Opportunities Centre will happily answer any questions you may have.

The School Director of International will meet with you to review and agree your courses abroad as part of signing off your Study Abroad Learning Agreement.  This will give you the opportunity to review the teaching, learning outcomes and assessment methods at the partner university and we will ensure these are appropriate for you as a Cardiff University student. If there are assessment methods that are new to you, we will support you in being prepared for this.

A requirement of the Year of Study Abroad module is that you complete an online reflective journal and meet to discuss this monthly with your Personal Tutor.  This provides a structured and required monthly meeting with your Cardiff University Personal Tutor to allow you to review your study progress and for any concerns or needs to be raised and addressed. You can also contact your Personal Tutor or the Director of International as and when needed.  You will have access to the full Cardiff University online resources and Student Support Services while abroad.  The comprehensive support services of the Students’ Union are also available to you throughout. 

The School Director of International will work with you and with their contact at the Partner Institution to resolve any issues with the partner Institution itself, drawing on support from Global Opportunities where there are University-wide partnerships, as appropriate.

All partner universities are of similar standing to the Cardiff School Earth and Environmental Sciences, and have mechanisms for academic and pastoral support, so you will be additionally supported through the academic and pastoral care arrangements of your host university.

Facilities

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.

Support services

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.

Diversity

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-environmental-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 disability or extenuating circumstances.

How you will be assessed during your year of study abroad will depend on the host institution.  All our overseas partners are of at least comparable standard to Cardiff University and the partnership goes through a rigorous approval process.  The marks gained from all your credits at your host institution will be reviewed by the Chair of the Exam Board and the Director of International in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences.  The marks are collated and converted into one equivalent Cardiff University mark for the 120 credit Year of study abroad module.  This will be calculated using the University mark conversion tool. This mark will count 10% weighting in the calculation of your degree average.  You will discuss the grade conversion methodology with the Director of International to ensure you understand it thoroughly before you sign your Year of Study Abroad learning agreement, as you will not be able to challenge it at a later date.

You will be required to complete a reflective journal during your Year of Study Abroad and to discuss this monthly with your Personal Tutor.  This is to ensure you meet the study abroad learning objectives of evaluating your own experience, noting the challenges and benefits of your year abroad and comparing and contrasting the study of your subject in your host institution with that in Cardiff University.  There will be no mark for this work and it will not count towards your module or degree outcome.  Discussing your reflective journal with your Personal Tutor every month will also ensure that you remain connected to Cardiff University and supported by the School, and will allow you the opportunity to raise any concerns or needs within a required activity.

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.

Intellectual Skills:

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.  This will include particular focus on the research of another institution and country during your time abroad.

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.

Transferable/Key Skills:

On successful completion of the entire Programme students will be able to demonstrate the following:

  • The flexibility, resilience open-mindedness and ability to approach a subject from different perspectives, that can be gained in the year of study abroad.
  • 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.
Students studying maps
Lectures and practical work complement extensive fieldwork opportunities on our Geology degree programme

Careers and placements

Career prospects

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.

Placements

Yes.  The opportunity to undertake a study placement in year three at a partner institution in another country.  In recent years, study has been available at universities in the USA, Canada, Australia, Sweden and the Netherlands.

Studying in Welsh

Up to 35% of this course is available through the medium of Welsh. Please contact the Admissions tutor for more information.

Next steps

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Get in touch

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How to apply

Find out how to apply for this course


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.