Geology (Earth Sciences) Course Subject Degree GuideSee All Subject Degree Guides
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 subjects 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.
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.
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 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.
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).
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 field work, 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.
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 career in mind, such as to become an environmental lawyer.
Will it help me get a job?
Geology degree courses 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.
What types of jobs can I get from studying Earth Science and Environmental Science?
Particular job 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, engineering geology, applied environmental geology, geoinformation technology and environmental monitoring and analysis.
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