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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences

Student Life

Students and staff in the Department of Earth Sciences are always getting involved in activities outside of academia. Some of these fun activities are oultined below.


Cycling Club

A large group of postgraduates and staff in the department take advantage of County Durham's beautiful countryside, quiet country lanes and abundant local pubs with weekly group road rides after work of between 10-40miles. On a more irregular basis, members of bike club also go on mountain biking days out, longer bicycle tours across the country, compete in furiously fought fantasy cycling leagues and participate in local events such as the Durham Big Ride ensuring that there are activities for all types of cyclists.

Departmental Basketball

During summer, when colleges’ and University sports facilities are not in demand by undergraduates, a number of postgraduates and staff get together to play basketball one lunchtime per week. This is non-competitive and a great way to break up a long day in the office. If it’s sunny, we usually play on a nearby outdoor court at Grey and if not then we play in Hild & Bede’s sports hall, which is only a 10-15 minute walk away.


Durham Earth Sciences Football

A five-a-side league is open to departments and institutes across the University. League fixtures are played at lunchtimes and are competitive, but open to all abilities. As well as this league, there is an annual Knockout Cup and a few friendlies scheduled to fill up the weeks during Michaelmas and Epiphany Terms. Currently, Durham Earth Sciences Football is made up of postgraduates, a few staff members and one or two staff from Geospatial Research Limited. We’ve won a few, enjoyed some memorably tight matches in recent years and are still trying to forget one or two thrashings. When we can, we also meet in a pub to watch big Premiership and international matches.


Demonstrating and Other Opportunities

Most postgraduate students have the opportunity to undertake paid demonstrating duties, which typically involve small group or one-to-one teaching in undergraduate laboratory classes. In addition, postgraduates play a key role in helping to deliver the Department's undergraduate field programme and, in many cases, have direct responsibility for leading and teaching small groups of students in the field. Postgraduates wishing to be considered for laboratory or field-based demonstrating are required to participate in the Graduate School's "Preparing to Teach" training course.

Postgraduate students play an active role in the Department's social activities and traditionally organise our Christmas Dinner. Postgraduates are also involved with the Arthur Holmes Geological Society, the first UK student society to be recognised by the Geological Society of London.