Subject Guide

Geology Degree

Uni Compare  · Oct 28th 2020

Earth science is a broad term regarding a group of subjects that are concerned with all aspects of the Earth. From Geology which focuses on the Earth’s structure and materials.


After completing your geology degree, you’ll have a range of career opportunities to consider. So if you’re wondering, ‘What can you do with a geology degree?’ then read on, because we’re going to go through some of your options (and hopefully give you the best chance to find a real gem of a job).

So is geology a good degree for you to study?

Geology Degree

What to do with a geology degree

One of the major categories of geology degree jobs is the geoscientist. This title includes roles such as geologists, geophysicists, geochemists, sedimentologists and hydrogeologists - essentially, any job that focuses on the earth’s systems and natural resources.

In this section, we look at some of the individual job descriptions under the geoscientist umbrella, and in the next section (‘What can you do with a geology degree?’). We explore some of the other avenues available to geology degree UK graduates.

A geochemist measures the quantity and movements of chemical elements in mineral and rock, as well as investigating fossil fuel deposits. The nature of this job means you can find employment in a range of industries, from research agencies to environmental consultancy departments and private oil companies.

Geophysicists may also work in oil or gas companies, studying seismic waves to deduce information about resources below the surface of the earth. They also collect information using data on gravity, electricity and magnetism, as you would do in a petroleum geology online degree as well.

Another great geoscientist role for a graduate with a degree in geology is to become a hydrogeologist. Studying the quality and movement of groundwater, you’ll take samples, model systems and collect data from a variety of sources to analyse and predict groundwater patterns for the future.

Those are just some of the geoscientist roles available, but read on to find out about engineering, mudlogger roles, and even more geology degree jobs, even with an online geology degree.

Students who are fascinated by how the planet works and how to preserve it will be well-suited to this degree.

What can you do with a geology degree?

So you’ll probably be asking yourself, what can I do with a geology degree? Well, check out more below!

A mudlogger (also known as a logging geologist, mud logging technician or mudlogging geologist) logs mud: they record information about mud in the ground using lab analysis to establish well status during drilling. Similarly, well site geologists study the rock from well sites. Both jobs can involve extensive travel, as they require on-site sampling.

An engineering geologist assesses the conditions of a site before construction, factoring soil, groundwater and rock data into their analysis. It is similar in name and job description to the role of geotechnical engineer, also ideal for someone with a geology degree.

This job involves risk assessment based on natural hazards (earthquakes, volcanos, landslides etc.) before construction takes place. Minerals surveyors follow a similar risk assessment process but for mining, rather than construction sites: for cement works, recycling centres, gas installations, and so on.

Environmentally conscious jobseekers might consider a role in pollution control, or glacial geology (studying the changes to ice sheets and glaciers as indicators of climate change). Alternatively, an environmental consultant or sustainability consultant role could be well-suited to geology degree UK professionals.

Besides from a geology undergraduate degree, you might want to study for a Bachelors degree in geology, Master’s or a PhD: we have further information on postgraduate study later down the page, so if you meet the post-grad geology degree entry requirements, you could also consider a career in academic research and lecturing, keep an eye out though, as the geology degree requirements change all the time.

Earth science is a broad term regarding a group of subjects that are concerned with all aspects of the Earth. From Geology which focuses on the Earth’s structure and materials; oceanography which is concerned with the science of the sea and a variety of conservation subjects that centre on the preservation of the Earth, it’s raw materials and the environment.

Regarding Earth Sciences, Biology and Geography do play a vital role as do the other core sciences; however, all of the above geology degree programs are all interested in the Earth.

Geology is a branch of science which focuses on the composition of solid Earth and gives an understanding of the history of the world, through the study of past climates and plate tectonics.

Geology Degree

What A Levels do I need?

Earth science courses will favour students who have science-based A-Levels and interests, and most courses require at least one A-Level for entry.

Some universities may ask for AAB and two sciences, or at least 300 UCAS tariff points. However, students are advised to check with their chosen universities and courses regarding their entry requirements to ensure they know what is expected of them for admission.

Geology is in effect a multi-disciplinary subject and due to this, the first year of study is broad, covering many areas.

What are my study options?

Most Earth science degrees and geology courses last for three years, although some universities offer students the chance to take a sandwich year where individuals will undertake a year on placement, and this tends to take place between the second and third year. If students choose to take a sandwich course, the degree length increases to four years in total.

There are many degrees for students to choose from regarding Earth sciences and geology. Institutions also offer geology as a combined subject degree allowing candidates to study two areas of interest, broadening their knowledge and opening more doors later in life.

Geology and Earth Sciences pair up nicely with geology degree courses that are also science-based or concerned with the environment and the Earth. For example, students can study Bachelor’s in; Natural Sciences, Biology and Geology, Biology and Geography, Chemistry and Geology and a Geography and Geology degree - or any other kind of bachelor's degree in geology.

Furthermore, certain universities offer an integrated degree which includes undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in one course. Students study their undergraduate qualification and then continue to their Master’s during the four-year course. Students will gain a Master’s of Science (MSci) or a Master’s of Environmental Science (MEnv).

Geology Degree

What should I expect from studying Earth Science and Environmental Science?

Geology is in effect a multi-disciplinary subject and due to this, the first year of study is broad, covering many areas, usually the principles of geochemistry, earth history, foundations of mineralogy, an overview of geological processes, palaeontology and field-based mapping.

After core modules, which are mandatory for students to take and pass to continue with the second, third or fourth years of study are completed, students can choose their modules later on and have the ability to tailor their degree to their interests.

How will I be assessed?

Studying geology involves a mix of written and practical work and assessment. Students will attend lectures, seminars and tutorials and conduct fieldwork in the UK and some studying abroad. Students may also sit exams at the end of the year and write a final year dissertation.

Individuals who prefer to take exams or have a preference to writing coursework should check their chosen degree courses and how they are assessed to ensure they choose a course suited to their needs.

Even courses with the same names that are at different universities will include various topics and modules and could be assessed differently. Conducting research is essential at the UCAS application stage and visiting university open days is a great way to find out more information face-to-face!

What skills will I learn from studying Geology and Earth Sciences?

Candidates will develop observable and interpretative skills while also taking part in individual thinking, reasoning and working situations. Students will also gain skills in scientific literacy, writing scientific reports, practical skills within fieldwork, and the ability to interpret numerical and chemical data.

Students who attend university gain skills that they can implement to other areas of life when they graduate, from organisation and time management to social skills from presentations and group work projects.

Geology Degree

Why study Earth Science and Environmental Science?

Students who are fascinated by how the planet works and how to preserve it will be well-suited to this degree. Also, candidates who are comfortable with working with science and mathematics will feel more comfortable during the course. The course is divided into lectures and practical work which will ensure the classes never get boring and offer students the chance to gain on-hands experience.

With catastrophic issues affecting the health of the Earth such as pollution, climate change and conservation there has never been a more interesting and significant time to study the earth and the changing environment.

What happens after I graduate?

Plenty of graduates will find work within energy companies, campaign organisations or branch out into agriculture, teaching and working for the government.

Students can also consider studying a postgraduate course to give themselves further specialism within the academic abilities or to ensure they are trained for a particular careers geology degree in mind, such as to become an environmental lawyer, which they can also explore further in an applied geology degree or even an online geology masters degree.

One of the major categories of geology degree jobs is the geoscientist.

Will it help me get a job?

Geology degree courses UK (and any online degree geology) teach candidates transferable skills which are valuable to themselves and their employers, from research, presentation, communication and a range of geographical and scientific skills which apply to specialist jobs with geology degree.

What jobs are available with a geology degree?

So what jobs can you do with a geology degree or with a geology part time degree?

Particular jobs with a geology degree and career areas include; geophysics, geochemistry, mud logging, drilling and mechanical engineering, hydrology, data processing, consultancy and analysis, as well as working for environmental campaigns or charities or organisations.

What can I study after Earth Science and Environmental Science?

Students who wish to continue their studies may complete an MA, MEnv or MSci degree in the following subjects: geology, marine geoscience, forensic geology degree, engineering geology, geology and geography degree, engineering geology degree, applied environmental geology, geoinformation technology, marine geology degree and environmental monitoring and analysis, or even going so far as an online petroleum geology degree or various other geology online degree programs or even a masters degree in geology online.

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