F600 Geology BSc Undergraduate 2020
|Professional accreditation||Geological Society of London|
|Mode of study||Full Time|
|Typical Offers||A Level|
|Please also check Requirements and Admissions.|
|Contextual Offers||You may be eligible for an offer which is one or two grades lower than our standard entry requirements. Find out more.|
|More information||Still have questions?|
The degree courses offered by the Department of Earth Sciences are intended to give you as much flexibility as possible while retaining the core Earth Science subjects. Individual degree courses are comprised of modules, and you will take a total of six modules (120 credits) in each academic year. This allows you to follow your own interests, as they develop.
In the first year, you will be introduced to major topics in Earth Sciences, developing the practical skills required to study rocks and fossils in the field. In Year 2 you will deepen your understanding of these topics. A key part of this year is to gain the knowledge and skills required to undertake your Dissertation. In Year 3 a mix of compulsory and elective modules allow you to specialise and study topics at the cutting-edge of Earth Sciences. The MSci Earth Sciences course allows those with an aptitude to make the first steps to a research career. The majority of our degrees are accredited by the Geological Society of London, this gives you the assurance our teaching is of the highest quality, has been approved by an independent body of academics and industrialists and provides a fast track to Chartered Geologist status.
Our graduates secure employment in the fields of mineral exploration and petroleum geology, engineering geology, environmental and hydrogeology consultancies, GIS companies, geological surveys, as well as securing places on Masters and PhD courses. Numeracy, critical thinking and problem solving skills developed on the course are highly valued in a wide range of non-geoscience careers, including teaching, business management, insurance and accounting, banking and finance.
- Earth Materials
- Understanding Earth Sciences
- Field Studies
- Environment and Resources
- Mathematical Methods in Geosciences
- Further Mathematics for Geoscientists
- Up to two modules from another academic department.
- Fieldwork (Geological)
- Structural Geology and Tectonics
- Sedimentary Environments and Paleoecology
- Igneous and Metamorphic Geochemistry and Petrology.
- Geophysical Methods for Geoscientists
- Hydrology and Climate
- Modelling Earth Processes
- One module from another academic department.
- Petrology, Geochemistry and Global Tectonics
- Earth System and Climate
- Earth Structure and Dynamics
- Advanced Geophysics
- Geological Evolution and Petroleum Systems of the British Isles
- Volcanology and Magmatism
- Deformation Processes of the Lithosphere
- Environmental Geochemistry
- Earth Sciences into Schools.
We review course structures and core content (in light of e.g. external and student feedback) every year, and will publish finalised core requirements for 2020 entry from September 2019.
You may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.
Course Learning and Teaching
The course is mainly delivered through a mixture of lectures, practical classes, tutorials and fieldwork. Typically lectures provide key information on a particular area, and identify the main areas for discussion and debate. Practical classes and fieldwork allows you to gain direct experience of practical and interpretative skills in Geology while tutorials address specific transferrable skills and allows you to raise particular problems.
The balance of these types of activities changes over the course of the degree, as you develop your knowledge and your abilities as independent learners. This is one of the key attributes that you will develop (thereby preparing you for work or further study once you have completed the course). In the first year you will typically attend six hours a week of lectures, and 12 hours of practical classes. You are also required to attend six tutorial sessions during the academic year. Outside timetabled contact hours, you are also expected to undertake your own independent study to prepare for your classes and broaden your subject knowledge. You are expected to attend a one-week field course in the Lake District during the Easter vacation.
The balance starts to shift in the second year, as you develop your abilities as an independent learner. Lectures still play an important role in supporting you in developing your knowledge and skills, with an average of six hours a week, and you will participate in six two-hour practical classes per week across the academic year that both introduce you to, and give you the chance to practice, geological research methods. You are required to attend three one-week field courses, to Assynt, Almeria and Arran.
This move towards greater emphasis on independent learning continues in the final year. You are required to carry out a six-week mapping dissertation during the summer. You will be assigned a tutor appropriate for your dissertation. Support for the dissertation will take the form of one-to-one tutorial sessions. This provides you with the opportunity to engage with academic issues at the forefront of geological research, in a learning environment that is very much focused on discussion and debate of these issues. This places a premium on preparing effectively for classes. This emphasis on using the independent study and research skills developed in earlier years is continued through the dissertation that you will undertake. Under the supervision of a member of academic staff with whom you will typically have three or four one-to-one supervisory meetings, you will undertake a detailed study of a particular area resulting in a significant piece of independent research. At Level 3 you are required to attend a one-week field trip to Cyprus, and there is the optional module which requires you to attend a field trip to Tenerife.
Throughout the course, you will also have access to an academic tutor who will provide you with academic support and guidance. Typically you will meet with your tutor six times a year, in addition to which all members of teaching staff have an open door policy and are available to meet with you on a ‘drop-in’ basis. The Department also has an exciting programme of weekly one-hour research seminars which you are strongly encouraged to attend, and there is a seminar programme run throughout the year by the student-led Arthur Holmes Society.
Subject requirements, level and grade
A level offer – AAB including two sciences from Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Geology, Geography, Economics, and Biology or Psychology.
BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma – DDD plus two science A levels from list above.
IB Diploma score – 36 with 665 in higher level subjects, including two science subjects from list above.
In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:
- We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study.
- If you do not satisfy our general entry requirements, the Foundation Programme offers multidisciplinary degrees to prepare you for a range of specified degree courses.
- If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take an International Foundation Year pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.
- We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry.
Science A levels
Applicants taking Science A levels that include a practical component will be required to take and pass this as a condition of entry. This applies only to applicants sitting A levels with an English examination board.
English Language requirements
Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.
How to apply
Information relevant to your country
Fees and Funding
The tuition fees for 2020/21 academic year have not yet been finalised, they will be displayed here once approved.
Note: Fees are subject to review and change in-line with inflation.
Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.
Scholarships and funding
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.
Of those students that left in 2017:
- 95% are in employment or further study
Of those in employment:
- 90% are in graduate level employment
- Median salary £20,000
(Source: Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey of 2016/17 graduates. The DLHE survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing six months after graduation. Full definitions for the DLHE Record can be found here:www.hesa.ac.uk/support/definitions/destinations)
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.1
Durham Earth Sciences graduates progress into successful and challenging careers in a range of sectors including oil and gas, environment, engineering, marketing, business, armed forces, healthcare 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.
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.
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 Geoscience 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.
Open days and visits
Pre-application open day
Pre-application open days are the best way to discover all you need to know about Durham University. With representatives from all relevant academic and support service departments, and opportunities to explore college options, the open days provide our prospective undergraduates with the full experience of Durham University.
Please see the following page for further details and information on how to book a place: www.durham.ac.uk/opendays
Discover Durham Tours
Discover Durham tours offer a brief introduction to the University. The tour begins at one of our undergraduate colleges, where you will receive an introductory talk from a member of college staff, followed by a tour of the college by current students.
Overseas Visit Schedule
Earth Science draws upon elements of physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology and physical geography. You will study the present state of the Earth to develop an understanding of the geological past. You will look at climate change, the formation of the oceans, mass extinctions, the nature of rocks and minerals, and the structure and chemistry of the Earth. Earth Science embraces the entire planet from the surface to the core and also contributes to our understanding of other planets in our solar system and beyond.
The Department is very proud of its high-quality teaching, underpinned by internationally renowned research. We are based in a purpose-built, modern building with state-of-the-art facilities for teaching and research. We welcome hard-working, motivated applicants and take pride in our graduates, who go on to a wide range of highly successful careers in the Earth Sciences, both in industry and research.
- World Top 50 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2019.
- 5th in The Complete University Guide 2019.
- 7th in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019.
The Department has premises on the Mountjoy Site very close to the University’s IT facilities and Bill Bryson Library. We have excellent equipment including: extensive computing facilities (including multimedia PCs and UNIX workstations); microscopes; TV/microscope projection facilities; four lecture/practical laboratories with comprehensive A/V facilities; extensive state-of-the-art geochemical research laboratories; a micropaleontology laboratory; a geophysics seismic research facility; extensive rock sample and thin section teaching and research collections. Our Department is designated as a mainstream centre for teaching and research covering the broad spectrum of Earth Sciences. We are a friendly, social and informal community of about 80 staff and 300 students, more than 70 of whom are working for MSc and PhD degrees. In the recent HEFCE teaching quality review, the Department was graded Excellent.