F643 Geoscience BSc Undergraduate 2021
Please note: 2020-21 courses may be affected by Covid-19 and are therefore subject to change due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19. Summaries of course-specific changes resulting from the impact of Covid-19 will be provided to applicants during August 2020.
For the latest information on our plans for teaching in academic year 2020/21 in light of Covid-19, please see www.durham.ac.uk/coronavirus
|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 Geoscience course provides you with maximum flexibility in module choices and is suitable if you have a wide-ranging interest across the Earth Science subjects. This means that assuming pre-requisite module criteria are met, all modules are optional, bar the compulsory Level 3 dissertation module. Because of the high degree of flexibility, this degree is not accredited by the Geological Society of London.
After completing this course Geoscience graduates gain 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. The numeracy, critical thinking and problem solving skills that you will develop on the course are highly valued in a wide range of non-geoscience careers, including teaching, business management, insurance and accounting, banking and finance.
Examples of optional modules:
- Earth Materials
- Understanding Earth Sciences
- Environment and Resources
- Field Studies
- Mathematical Methods in Geosciences
- Further Mathematics for Geoscientists
- Up to two modules from another academic department.
Examples of optional modules:
- Structural Geology and Tectonics
- Igneous and Metamorphic Geochemistry and Petrology
- Sedimentary Environments and Paleoecology
- Hydrology and Climate
- Geophysical Data Applications
- Geophysical Methods for Geoscientists
- Modelling Earth Processes
- One module from another academic department.
Examples of optional modules:
- Earth System and Climate
- Earth Structure and Dynamics
- Advanced Geophysics
- Geological Evolution and Petroleum Systems of the British Isles
- Tectonics and Deformation Processes
- Environmental Geochemistry
- Earth Sciences into Schools
- Environmental Management.
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 2021 entry from September 2020.
You may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.
Course Learning and Teaching
This course is mainly delivered through a mixture of lectures, practical classes 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 Earth Science. Tutorials then provide the opportunity for smaller groups to discuss and debate particular issues or areas, based on the knowledge that you have gained through your lectures and independent study outside the courses formal contact hours.
The balance of these types of activities changes over the course of the degree, as you develop your knowledge and your abilities as an independent learner. This is one of the key attributes 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 may opt to participate in a one-week field trip to the Lake District during the Easter vacation of your first year.
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. There are no compulsory field courses within this degree route, however, they are optional.
This move towards greater emphasis on independent learning continues in the final year. You have the option to carry out a dissertation. You will be assigned a tutor appropriate for your dissertation. Support for your 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 Earth Science 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 independent study and research skills that you developed in earlier years is continued through the dissertation that you will undertake. Under the supervision of a member of academic staff 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 have the option 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 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 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 the list above.
IB Diploma score – 36 with 665 in higher level subjects, including two science subjects from the 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
Full Time Fees
|EU Student||£27,350.00 per year|
|Home Student||£9,250.00 per year|
|Island Student||£9,250.00 per year|
|International non-EU Student||£27,350.00 per year|
Please be advised that there is an additional fee of £130 to cover first-year fieldwork. Fieldwork costs for subsequent years are dependent on degree route and modules chosen.
The tuition fees shown for home and EU students are for one complete academic year of full time study and are set according to the academic year of entry. Fees for subsequent years of your course may rise in line with an inflationary uplift as determined by the government.
The tuition fees shown for overseas students are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).
Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.
Scholarships and funding
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 2020.
- 4th in The Complete University Guide 2020.
- 4th in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020.
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.