Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, and in addition to lectures this course involves extensive fieldwork, practical work and tutorials.
You will have access to a comprehensive support system throughout your time here that will assist and encourage you, including personal tutors and welfare tutors who can help with both academic and welfare issues.
The most recent assessment by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), who rate the standard of teaching in university departments, scored us here in Earth Sciences as ‘excellent’ – the highest possible grade, something which are proud of and continue to focus on each year.
We also offer excellent facilities for undergraduate study, with state-of-the-art equipment and specialist computer facilities. In Earth Sciences, as well as the renowned Lapworth Museum of Geology you can look forward to experiencing our state-of-the-art Earth Imaging Laboratory.
Fieldwork is an essential element of our degree programmes, and Earth Sciences at Birmingham has an outstanding reputation for providing its students with high quality field training.
Video transcript here
As a single honours student, you will spend approximately 80 days in the field during your degree. As a joint honours or Palaeobiology and Palaeoenvironments student you will spend approximately 40 days in the field.
Because it is such an important part of our programmes, fieldwork is arranged with the majority undertaken during term time. In each of the first two terms, a full week is dedicated to field studies and associated work. Many fieldtrips are residential, visiting a variety of locations such as Pembrokeshire, the Scottish Highlands and southern Spain.
During these courses you will receive rigorous training in field techniques, including both group and individual work, and your confidence, ability and experience in the subject will grow with each successive piece of fieldwork.
Field training at Birmingham culminates in a project which involves three weeks field mapping in an area of your choice. You will map areas adjacent to those of your classmates and share accommodation, usually in the UK, but may also find yourself working abroad. In recent years, our students have undertaken projects in countries as diverse as Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Romania and the USA. Part of this work takes place in term-time at the end of your second year. The maps and resulting report form a significant part of your final degree.
Our students find fieldwork particularly enjoyable. In addition to the obvious geological benefits, it provides you with an opportunity to get to know your fellow students and staff and so feel at home in our friendly department.
Find out more about fieldwork costs and funding.
Studying at degree-level is likely to be very different from your previous experience of learning and teaching at school or college. You will be expected to think, discuss and engage critically with your subject and find things out for yourself. We will support you in making this transition to a new style of learning, and the way that you are assessed during your studies will help you develop the essential skills you need to make a success of your time at Birmingham.
In addition to lectures, our degrees in Geology involve extensive fieldwork, practical work and tutorials. You’ll be assessed in a variety of ways, and these may be different with each module that you take. You can expect to take examinations, make oral presentations, as well as carry out regular project work, practical and field-based exercises.
During your first year you will undergo a formal transition review to see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you may need support. This is in addition to the personal tutor who is based in your school or department and can help with any academic issues you encounter.
At the beginning of each module, you’ll be given information on how and when you’ll be assessed for that particular programme of study. You’ll receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so that you can learn from and build on what you have done.