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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences

Undergraduate Study

Welcome to our undergraduate study pages. We place research led teaching at the centre of our undergraduate programme because we want our undergraduates to be at the forefront of knowledge generation in the 21st century. Our undergraduates will lead the fight against the major geoscience problems we face as a society, and experience the excitement and satisfaction that comes from working at the edge of human knowledge.

On these pages you will find information on our degree courses, including our newly launched BSc in Climate Science, alongside information on fieldwork on our courses and on career destinations for Durham Earth Science graduates. We pride ourselves on the high quality of our teaching and on being a welcoming friendly department staffed by academics and support staff dedicated to your success at university. Click through the content below to find out more about our courses, go on a virtual tour of the department and hear from some of our current students. Let's start with a welcome from our Head of Department, Professor Andy Aplin.

Earth Sciences - A Welcome

Earth Sciences - A Welcome

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Additional Course and module information

For more info on our courses and some of our modules, download this pdf. (note it's 22Mb)
Earth Sciences - Virtual Tour

Earth Sciences - Virtual Tour

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To find out more visit durham.ac.uk/earth.sciences

Earth Science Research at Durham

Are you interested in the research we do at Durham? If so we have put together a series of story maps that take you through what some of our scientists are researching at the moment. You can browse them by clicking here, or the explore the links below:


Throughout their degrees, our undergraduates hone their research skills through practical work and assessments. This culminates in BSc dissertations and MSci research projects. Our students have a great track record of getting their undergraduate research published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and at winning prizes for their efforts. Come and join us and see your name in print!


Some recent contributions to science from our undergraduates

Edey Alex (4th year undergraduate), Allen MB, Nilfouroushan F. (2020) Kinematic variation within the Fars Arc, eastern Zagros, and the development of fold‐and‐thrust belt curvature. Tectonics. Aug;39(8):e2019TC005941.

Law Rob (3rd year undergraduate), Allen MB. (2020) Diachronous Tibetan Plateau landscape evolution derived from lava field geomorphology. Geology. Mar 1;48(3):263-7.

Bailes Imogen R (3rd year undergraduate), Gröcke DR. (2020) Isotopically‐labelled macroalgae: a new method for determining sources of excess nitrogen pollution. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry. Sep 19:e8951.

Killingback Zach (3rd year undergraduate), Holdsworth RE, Walker RJ, Nielsen S, Dempsey E, Hardman K. (2020) A bigger splat: The catastrophic geology of a 1.2-by-old terrestrial megaclast, northwest Scotland. Geology. Sep 18.

Haddock, David (4th year undergraduate), Manya, S, Brown, RJ, Jones, T, Wadsworth, F, Dobson, K and Gernon, T, (2020). Syn-eruptive agglutination of kimberlite volcanic ash. Volcanica, 3(1), pp.169-182.

Perera-Solis DD, Pimlott Matilda (3rd year undergraduate), Fidment E (3rd year Chemistry undergraduate), Whiting A, Greenwell HC. (2019) Adding Value to Waste Minerals in a Circular Economy Framework: Ochre-Derived Layered Double Hydroxide Catalysts in Fatty Acid Ketonisation. Minerals. Nov;9(11):681.

Ownsworth Emma (3rd year undergraduate), Selby D, Ottley CJ, Unsworth E, Raab A, Feldmann J, Sproson AD, Kuroda J, Faidutti C, Bücker P. (2019)Tracing the natural and anthropogenic influence on the trace elemental chemistry of estuarine macroalgae and the implications for human consumption. Science of the Total Environment. Oct 1;685:259-72.

Mathias , SA, Nielsen, S, & Ward, Rebecca L (4th year undergraduate) (2019). Storage Coefficients and Permeability Functions for Coal Bed Methane Production Under Uniaxial Strain Conditions. Transport in Porous Media, 130(2), 627 636.

Worrall F, Boothroyd IM, Gardner Rosie L (3rd year undergraduate), Howden NJ, Burt TP, Smith R, Mitchell L, Kohler T, Gregg R. (2019) The impact of peatland restoration on local climate: Restoration of a cool humid island. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences. Jun;124(6):1696-713.

Baldini, James UL, Rachel Bertram (3rd year undergraduate), and Harriet E. Ridley. (2018) Ground air: A first approximation of the Earth's second largest reservoir of carbon dioxide gas. Science of the Total Environment 616 1007-1013.

Boothroyd, I. M., Almond, S., Worrall, F., Rosemary Davies (4th year undergraduate), & Davies, R. J. (2018). Assessing fugitive emissions of CH4 from high-pressure gas pipelines in the UK. Science of the Total Environment, 631, 1638-1648.

Baldini, James UL, Richard J. Brown, and Natasha Mawdsley (3rd year undergraduate) (2018) Evaluating the link between the sulfur-rich Laacher See volcanic eruption and the Younger Dryas climate anomaly. Climate of the Past 14.7: 969-990.

Santha, Nipada, Pablo Cubillas, Adrian Saw (3rd year undergraduate), Harry Brooksbank (3rd year undergraduate), and Hugh Greenwell. (2017) Chemical Force Microscopy Study on the Interactions of COOH Functional Groups with Kaolinite Surfaces: Implications for Enhanced Oil Recovery." Minerals 7, no. 12: 250.

Marianne Brett (4th year undergraduate), James UL Baldini, and Darren R. Gröcke. (2014) Environmental controls on stable isotope ratios in New Zealand Podocarpaceae: Implications for palaeoclimate reconstruction." Global and Planetary Change 120 38-45.

Matthew Funnell (4th year undergraduate), Peirce, C., Stratford, W. R., Paulatto, M., Watts, A. B., & Grevemeyer, I. (2014). Structure and deformation of the Kermadec forearc in response to subduction of the Pacific oceanic plate. Geophysical journal international, 199(2), 1286-1302.

Imber, J., Armstrong, H., Sarah Clancy (2nd year undergraduate), Daniels, S., Herringshaw, L., McCaffrey, K., Rodrigues, J. (4th year undergraduate), Trabucho-Alexandre, J., Clare Warren (2nd year undergraduate) (2014). Natural Fractures in a UK Shale Reservoir Analogue, Cleveland Basin, NE England. AAPG Bulletin.

Adam Pacey (4th year undergraduate), Macpherson C.G., McCaffrey K.J.W., (2013). Linear volcanic segments in the central Sunda Arc, Indonesia, identified using Hough Transform analysis: Implications for arc lithosphere control upon volcano distribution Earth and Planetary Science Letters 369-370, 24-33.