Career Options and Employability
The Earth Sciences (geology, geophysics, geochemistry and environmental science) lie at the heart of every society worldwide providing materials and energy for society to develop and prosper.
The nationally accredited undergraduate and postgraduate courses provided by the Department of Earth Sciences in Durham offer the perfect start to a career in the earth and environmental sciences. Our courses are tailored to suit both academic and industry career progression. Our degrees are also widely recognised as an excellent general degree qualification by a broad range of employers in the financial services and education sectors.
The pre-eminent position of Durham Earth Sciences in the UK coupled to our close links to industry, especially at a postgraduate level really give our graduates the edge they need when competing for jobs. The UK and indeed the world in the 21st century needs Earth Scientists more than ever and a degree at Durham will ensure that you are able to maximise this opportunity and develop a successful career and play your part in society.
The exposure to both academic and industry circles during my time at Durham was invaluable, which was greatly helped by the CeREES Geo-Energy Scholarship Programme offered by the department of Earth Sciences. The department of Earth Sciences is a highly regarded department both in terms of research and the calibre of teaching.Dr Jon Long
Of those students that left in 2011:
- 28.6% are in full time paid employment
Of those in employment:
- 85% are in graduate level employment
- Median salary £22,000
Of those in further study:
- 100% are in graduate level study
A significant number of students progress onto higher level study following their degree in Earth Sciences. Many remain within their academic field of interest and pursue a Masters or PhD, both at Durham and other prestigious institutions including Aberdeen, Oxford, Cambridge and University College London. Others take a different route and pursue professional postgraduate programmes in primary and secondary teaching, finance and conservation to name but a few.
Durham Earth Sciences graduates progress into successful and challenging careers in a range of sectors including oil and gas, environment, engineering, marketing, armed forces, healthcare and business and finance. Course related employers include BP, Wardell Armstrong, Halliburton, Sirius, Atkins and the National Oceanography Centre where graduates have taken roles as geophysicists, exploration geologists, geotechnical engineers, data scientists and mineral surveyors. Those interested in a different career route need not worry as our Earth Science graduates have also secured positions with renowned employers in other sectors. These include Deloitte, Royal Air Force, University of Edinburgh, RIPA International and Fairfax IS PLC where they work as accountants, research associates, trainee investment bankers, warfare officers and programme coordinators.
Employment development opportunities
1) Final Year projects: Undertaken by all students on our accredited degree programmes. The project counts for 40% of their 3rd year mark. The majority of students undertake a field mapping project at level 3 as required by our accrediting organisation (see below), however member of Department academic staff.
2) Earth Science into Society - This 4th year research module uses undergraduate teams of 3 or 4 to work on specific problems in situations where earth sciences directly impacts on or is impacted by society. Teams work with industrial and government and NGO organisations as appropriate. Recent projects have included the design of geowalks for the National Railway Museum and an assessment of copper mine development in rural Afghanistan with the British Geological Survey.
3) Earth Science into Schools - This 3rd year module has been designed to encourage Earth science undergraduates to consider teaching as a career, whilst providing valuable transferable skills developed in a classroom that would be of use in whatever career path is followed after leaving university. At the same time, the module provides teachers with a knowledgeable and enthusiastic assistant who is able to offer practical help and engage pupils in Earth sciences.
The Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre works closely with the Department of Earth Sciences. The link Careers Adviser delivers joint presentations with Professor Robert Holdsworth to each year group on topics relevant to that stage of their academic career. These cover career decision making, successful applications and interviews, and advice for those considering further study.
BP has enjoyed a productive relationship with Durham's Department of Earth Sciences, recruiting many geologists and geophysicists over the years and working collaboratively on a number of research projects. In recent years the establishment of CeREES has seen the quantity and quality of applicants increase. The 'industry-savy' aspects of the programme equip graduate students with a wider and deeper grasp of the challenges and opportunities the energy industry affords, adding value that clearly manifests itself in the students' applications and at interview. With the recent establishment of the Durham Energy Institute I look forward to this trend strengthening. In our current intake I've been particularly pleased to see a Durham undergraduate competing successfully against those with MScs and PhDs from other leading universities.BP
All but one of our degree programmes are accredited by our professional body (The Geological Society of London - GSL), demonstrating that our undergraduate programmes cover the range of skills expected of a trained geoscientist at this level. The Earth Science degree programme (F641) was designed not to be an accredited programme in order to provide a more flexible route for some of our students who are unable to carry out the substantial amount of fieldwork required by the GSL for accreditation.
"The 'industry-savy' aspects of the programme equip graduate students with a wider and deeper grasp of the challenges and opportunities the energy industry affords, adding value that clearly manifests itself in the students' applications and at interview. "
"As soon as I graduated from Durham University, I was able to make a shift from being a student to becoming a professional geologist"
Saudi Aramco Company