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Geology

Geology, also known as geoscience and Earth science, is the study of the structure, evolution and dynamics of the Earth and its natural mineral and energy resources. Geologists investigate how earth processes, such as landslides, earthquakes, floods and volcanic eruptions, change the world around us.

Live sessions

Ask our staff and students questions in a live chat and find out what the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences has to offer.

Why study with us

Geologists examine land formations, earlier climates and fossils to unravel the history of our planet and its life forms. Understanding Earth’s past helps scientists to explain current events and predict what might happen in the future. Geologists are making a positive contribution to a more sustainable future by finding innovative ways to extract, use and recycle our natural resources. Exploration geologists learn to explore for water, oil, natural gas, minerals and metals like lithium, which is used to create clean batteries. Environmental geoscientists use 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.

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Placement options

We offer year-long placement and study abroad opportunities on our geology courses, which are all accredited by the Geological Society, the professional body for geosciences in the UK.

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Fieldwork opportunities

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 trips.

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Skills society needs

Energy and sustainability, climate change, water management, mineral resources and natural hazards are at the forefront of many global challenges, creating an ever-increasing demand for geological skills.

Studying geology at Cardiff University was great, especially being able to tailor modules to your preference. This flexibility gave me an advantage in applying for jobs as the modules and my research were related to my preferred field of work. After graduating, I joined Bibby HydroMap as a graduate geophysicist.
Sarah Newnes, MSci Geology with a Year Abroad

Courses

Environmental Geoscience (BSc)

Full time, 3 years

Environmental geoscientists explore human-made and natural geoenvironmental issues, such as geohazards, engineering geology, pollution, sustainability, climate change and sea-level rise.

Environmental Geoscience (MSci)

Full time, 4 years

This four year degree combines components of Geology and Physical Geography, with a focus on learning how to conduct your own research project.

Environmental Geoscience with a Year of Study Abroad (BSc)

Full time with year abroad, 4 years

Environmental geoscientists explore human-made and natural geoenvironmental issues, such as geohazards, engineering geology, pollution, sustainability, climate change and sea-level rise.

Exploration Geology (BSc)

Full time, 3 years

Exploration geologists are responsible for identifying and assessing the location, quantity and quality of mineral deposits.

Exploration Geology (MSci)

Full time, 4 years

Specialise in the exploration of our natural resources and gain valuable research skills on this four-year degree.

Exploration Geology with a Year of Study Abroad (BSc)

Full time with year abroad, 4 years

Exploration geologists are responsible for identifying and assessing the location, quantity and quality of mineral deposits.

Geology (MSci)

Full time, 4 years

This accredited four-year Master's degree investigates the formation of Earth and its constant evolution with a focus on learning how to conduct research.

Geology (BSc)

Full time, 3 years

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.

Geology with a Year of Study Abroad (BSc)

Full time with year abroad, 4 years

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.

Facilities and location

Our talks

Dr Jenny Pike, Deputy Head of School, explains our broad subject areas and gives you a flavour of the degree programmes we offer.

Our School and subject areas

Dr Jenny Pike, Deputy Head of School, explains our broad subject areas and gives you a flavour of the degree programmes we offer.

Dr Jenny Pike describes the structure of our degree programmes including our teaching methods, contact hours and our wide module selection.

Our degree programmes

Dr Jenny Pike describes the structure of our degree programmes including our teaching methods, contact hours and our wide module selection.

Dr Andrew Kerr provides general guidance on entry requirements. Specific course entry requirements can be found on the course pages.

Entry requirements

Dr Andrew Kerr provides general guidance on entry requirements. Specific course entry requirements can be found on the course pages.

There have been some important updates since filming the videos on this page. Our BSc with a Year Abroad programmes have been approved and will be available to applicants from September 2021. Our School name has changed to the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

A taste of studying geology

Watch our taster lecture or sign up for our free online short course to get a taste of our approach to teaching, as well as some of the exciting topics you might study.

Fieldwork

Geology is a hands-on and practical subject that is best experienced out in the field. Seeing something for yourself brings theory to life, whether it is fossils in a cliff face or mineral deposits in a river. We offer our students a fun fusion of lectures, seminars, laboratory and fieldwork. If you like to travel and spend time outdoors, then our field trips will give you the perfect opportunity to explore. We complete local fieldwork in South Wales and around the UK, as well as residential field trips in locations across Europe. Discover the field trip destinations we have visited in the past.

Fieldwork for geologists

Dr Iain McDonald explores the field trip opportunities available to students studying our geology and geoscience degrees.

I liked Cardiff so much that I stayed, and now work for a local geophysical company. My job involves travelling all over the UK and occasionally abroad, conducting geophysical investigations. We use a variety of techniques to enable us to solve problems.
Roger Stevens, MSci Exploration Geology

Careers

There are many careers available to geologists, and if you decide to change your career path, the skills that you learn in your degree will still be useful in a wide range of unrelated areas. 95% of our graduates were in employment and/or further study, due to start a new job or course, or doing other activities such as travelling 15 months after the end of their course (HESA data). Read stories from our recent graduates.

Graduate career opportunities

Dr Andrew Kerr reviews some of the possible careers that can be pursued after studying with us, including case examples from former students.

Subject guide

Read our subject guide to find out more about studying geology, exploration geology and environmental geoscience with us, including topics you might study and potential careers.

Explore Cardiff University

Your campus experience for 2021/22

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, we've worked hard to ensure students have a safe and enjoyable time with us. Find out what we've been doing and what you might expect when you join us.

Guaranteed accommodation

If you arrive in September, you're guaranteed a single occupancy room, allocated with other first-year students.

Student support

Get free, impartial and confidential advice on disability and dyslexia, money, careers, counselling and more.

Student life

Learn more about sport and recreation, free language programmes, living costs, learning support and the Students' Union.

Next steps

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View courses

Explore our undergraduate courses and admission criteria for 2021.

Download brochure

Learn more about our School in our subject brochure.

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Contact us

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How to apply

Everything you need to know about our application process.

Other subjects you may be interested in

Geography (Physical)

Geography seeks to understand where things are found, why they are there, and how they develop and change over time. Physical geographers explore the climate, natural landscapes and surface processes of the Earth, from glaciation to desertification.

Earth and environmental sciences

Learn to preserve our planet for generations to come. Whether you choose to study geography, geology or environmental sustainability science, you will gain scientific knowledge and skills to impact key environmental developments and decisions.

Geography (Human) and Planning

Passionate about tackling global social, political, economic and development challenges to improve where and how we live? Our Human Geography and Planning programmes are the choice for you.


HESA data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2020. 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 2017/18, published by HESA in June 2020.