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Department of Earth Sciences

Freshers Welcome

Congratulations and Welcome

Congratulations on securing your place to read Earth Sciences at Durham University! We very much look forward to welcoming you in October and to working with you over the coming three or four years.

We pride ourselves on our excellence in research and teaching and we are all looking forward to you joining us. The Durham Earth Sciences community is a lively, friendly group of people including undergraduates, postgraduates, postdocs and staff, committed to the pursuit of Earth Science knowledge. You will be an integral part of life in the Department.

Online Enrolment

The Student Enrolment System opens eight weeks before the start of your programme. You will receive two emails (24 hours apart - please check the account you supplied at the point of application) with your username and password for accessing University IT. The emails are sent out after your acceptance of your place at Durham has been processed. You will use these throughout your studies, but the first thing you should do is complete your online enrolment. This secure area is accessed by logging into Durham University Online (DUO), the University's networked learning environment. You can access DUO via - click on the "Banner Self Service" link once you have logged in successfully. You complete online enrolment by confirming or updating your personal details and agreeing to the University's rules and regulations.

Completing Enrolment will give you access to your personal email address and access to view information from your department and college in DUO.

If you enrol early enough, you will also have the opportunity to upload a photograph for your campus card (student ID card) which means you won't have to queue for a card upon arrival.

Module Enrolment

Module registration is a two stage process which includes:

• Selection of modules

• Approval of modules

The first stage is where you confirm your programme of study and choose your optional modules. The second stage of the process is where department(s) approve your choice of modules.

More information on module registration can be found at:

Department of Earth Sciences – Induction Events 2013 

Your first week in Durham – Induction Timetable

We have put together a package of induction activities which will take place between from Wednesday 25th September for International students and from Monday 30th September to Friday 4th October for home undergraduates.

Attendance of all of department-based activities is compulsory and we have tried to plan the week’s activities so that wherever possible they do not clash with any other college, university or sport commitment, many of which are repeated to allow you several opportunities to take part.

Date and Time

Student Meetings and Location

Staff Details

Monday 30th September 14:00-16:00

Earth Sciences Students - Introductory Lecture Room ES228/229, Earth Sciences department, Science Site. Including Library talk. 

Dr James Baldini, Director of Undergraduate studies

Tuesday 1st October 9:00 – 10:00 Natural Sciences Students - Introductory Lecture Room ES231, Earth Sciences Department, Science Site Dr James Baldini, Director of Undergraduate Studies
Tuesday 1st October 9:00 – 5:00 Registration and Module approval for all Earth Sciences and Natural Sciences students. Room ES228/229, Earth Sciences Department, Science Site  Mrs Janice Oakes, Departmental Administrator
Thursday 3rd October 9:00 – 12:00 Field Trip Introduction. Allocation of Departmental Advisers and Group meetings. Earth Sciences & Natural Sciences students, other students choosing one optional module. ES228/229, Earth Sciences Department, Science Site  Prof Richard Davies, Field Trip Co-Ordinator
Friday 4th October 9:00 – 5:00 One Day Field Trip to Cullercoates and Hartley Steps. Earth Sciences and Natural Sciences students. The bus will collect at the top of the hill on the Science Site outside the Mountjoy building  Prof Richard Davies, Field Trip Co-Ordinator

Earth Science Students” includes all students who have been accepted for the following degrees F600 Geology, F630 Environmental Geoscience, F641 Earth Sciences, F642 Geoscience and F662 Geophysics with Geology.

Pre-arrival Checklist

You should have received the following information prior to your arrival:

  • IT log-in details for DUO, so that you can regularly keep up to date with staff communication and select modules.
  • Freshers welcome pack: Welcome letter from Head of Department, Prof Jon Gluyas
  • Email from our Departmental Administrator, Janice Oakes on the module selection and allocation process
  • Reading lists

 If you have not received any of this information, then please contact Janice Oakes, Departmental Administrator, 0191 334 2310,

Level 1 Reading Lists

Arthur Holmes Geological Society 

The Arthur Holmes Geological Society is named after the first professor of Geology at Durham, who was a pioneer of radiometric dating. It is one of the largest departmental societies in Durham and is an integral part of every Earth Scientists' time at the University. The AHGS, as it is often known, is a long established student run body at Durham University involving undergraduates, postgraduates and staff. 

The society organises guest lectures, field trips and a range of other events to benefit members and enhance their experience at University. The guest lectures, which are held regularly throughout the year, are given by both those who work in academia and in industry. The events also allow chances for socialising. The society also tends to organise a much anticipated ball in second term.

You may join the society at any time of year but there will be a talk during the departmental induction at the start of term and we will be present at the DSU freshers fair. 

Additional Information

Meet your Departmental Advisor – Thursday 3th October, 09:00 - 12:00

In addition to your subject tutorials you will be allocated a Departmental Advisor. Your advisor will meet with you each term and be responsible for providing academic progress reviews and study advice throughout your degree. It is important that you meet regularly with your advisor so they are in a position to write references for you during and after your time in Durham.

Induction fieldtrip – Friday 4th October 9:00 - 17:00

Coastal Northumberland provides some of the best geological exposures in Britain. The rocks are Carboniferous sedimentary strata laid down in deltaic environments and include examples of the coal seams for which the NE of England is famous. We will visit some of these rocks in the cliffs at Hartley Steps, just north of St Mary’s Island (pictured). Younger Permian strata, in the form of dune-bedded desert sandstones and marine carbonates are also preserved in the coastal exposures at Cullercoats and record some of the earliest stages in the evolution of the oil- and gas-bearing North Sea Basin which lies offshore and to the east. We will introduce you here to the purpose and processes of fieldwork in the geosciences, showing you spectacular examples of various types of sedimentary rocks, geological faults and a discussion of some of the key processes involved in the formation and trapping of coal, mineral deposits and oil/gas in the sub-surface.

Photograph of St Mary’s Lighthouse

For more information about the Earth Sciences degree programmes, please contact:

Mrs Janice Oakes

Departmental Administrator & Registration Coordinator

Department of Earth Sciences
Science Laboratories
Durham University

Tel: 0191 334 2310
Fax: 0191 334 2301


Dr James Baldini
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Department of Earth Sciences
Science Laboratories
Durham University

Tel: 0191 334 2334
Fax: 0191 334 2301