Geology MSci (Hons)

From unravelling the disappearance of the dinosaurs to finding acceptable ways to dispose of nuclear waste, this programme will give you a broad-based knowledge of earth sciences.

Our MSci Geology programme offers the opportunity for you to follow your interest in the area more fully, and to develop key skills for career development.


Study at Birmingham and you may choose to go on to work in the mining or oil industry; hydrogeology, waste disposal, pollution control or environmental protection; or your could opt to become a geologist, engineer, work for the British Geological Survey, carry out research or go into teaching. There are endless possibilities should you choose to join us.

The Geological Society accredited degree programme logoOur Earth Sciences degree programmes are accredited by the Geological Society of London, highlighting that they offer sound training for a professional career in the geosciences, and satisfy the academic requirements of Fellowship and Chartered Geologist status.

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This single honours degree course is designed to allow you to develop your own particular interests in the core subject of Earth Sciences and in its applications to the Earth's resources.

The first year of the course will provide you with a strong foundation in the Earth sciences from a range of exciting core modules. A second-year core component is taken by all students, and as a third or fourth-year student you will be able to choose from a wider range of modules.

Earth Sciences involves varied practical work and, in addition to a typical timetabled lecture programme of six to eight hours a week, you will undertake a similar amount of practical work in all aspects of the subject. Fieldwork, in the UK and abroad, is clearly a crucial part of each year of your degree programme.

colette lyle quote image

“The course provided me with the skills and knowledge needed to work within the petroleum industry”

Colette Lyle - MSci Geology 


Our MSci Geology programme offers the opportunity for you to follow your interest in the area more fully, and to develop key skills for career development. If you choose the four-year MSci degree option, in addition to lectures you undertake a research project of your choice. This work may be published or presented at conferences and you may use the research training gained during this fourth year to undertake a doctoral research degree.

The fourth year of an MSci includes a major research project (worth half the year) undertaken as part of active research in the school (for more information about research visit the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences research pages). Your research project, along with associated research-focused modules including a fieldtrip to Tenerife, will train you in academic research skills for either postgraduate study, a research degree (PhD), or employment.

Why study this course

Earth Sciences at Birmingham combines a proud history with an exciting future. Founded in 1881 by Professor Charles Lapworth, one of the pioneers of geological science, we immediately established a reputation for teaching and research excellence.

The Geological Society accredited degree programme logoOur Earth Sciences degree programmes are accredited by the Geological Society of London, highlighting that they offer sound training for a professional career in the geosciences, and satisfy the academic requirements of Fellowship and Chartered Geologist status.


Our portfolio of modules across our degree programmes is incredibly varied and intellectually stimulating – which is why we give you the opportunity to choose what you want to study and specialise in the areas that most interest you. Modules cover areas including an introduction to palaeontology (the study of fossils), geological structures and tectonics, applied geophysics and magmatic processes.

Skills for future employment

Our graduates have exciting and varied career paths. Our Geology degrees are designed with employers in mind and you will acquire sought-after skills that will enable you to forge a career in a range of geology and geology-related industries, from mining to engineering, as well as a host of generic transferable skills. From data analysis and problem solving to communication and team–working, these transferable skills are highly valued by employers and will enhance your employability in the competitive job market.

Research-led teaching

At Birmingham you are taught by academics who are world-leading experts in their fields. The School undertakes research of international significance in a broad range of topics from Palaeoclimate modelling through Magma Emplacement Mechanisms to Hydrogeology and Palaeobiology. In these fields and others Birmingham academics are making a major contribution to our understanding of the planet’s environment, both past and present. This research influences the teaching that takes place and means that the content of our courses reflect the very latest advances and are at the cutting edge of Earth Science.


Year 1

Compulsory modules

Year 2

Compulsory modules

Year 3

Compulsory modules

Optional modules

Year 4

Compulsory modules

Optional modules


The modules listed on our website may occasionally be subject to change. For example, as you will appreciate, key members of staff may leave the University and this might necessitate a review of the modules that are offered. Where a module is no longer available, we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.

Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this course are for students starting in 2017. Modules for 2018 starters will be available from 1 September 2017.

Fees and funding

Standard Home/EU student fees 2017-18

For UK students beginning their studies in September 2017, the University of Birmingham will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year. The fees for your first year of study will therefore be £9,250. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.

Standard international student fees 2017-18

International fee
Fee Band (Undergraduate) Full-time
Band 3a (Laboratory) £19,710

Learn more about fees and funding

Learn more about our scholarships and awards 

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required:
Typical offer:
Required subjects and grades:
At least one science° A level subject

°Subjects considered to be sciences: Geology, Geography, Biology/Human Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Further Maths, Statistics, Electronics, Environmental Studies, Computing and Psychology.

Specified subjects excluded for entry: General Studies and Critical Thinking

Additional information:

BTEC Extended Diploma, Diploma and Subsidiary Diploma are accepted but subjects are considered on a case by case basis - contact us for further guidance.

Unconditional offers will be made to high-quality applicants who are predicted AAA or above at A level. For details see the Unconditional Offer Scheme 2017.

Unconditional offers are based on:

  • A Level predictions of AAA +
  • 7 GCSEs at grade A or A* including English, Maths and a science


  • International Baccalaureate Diploma: prediction of 32 overall with 6,6,6  plus GCSE requirements as above. Higher level subjects need to include the required subjects as defined for the A-level qualification.

International students:

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 6, 6, 5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall. Higher level subjects need to include the required subjects as defined for the A-level qualification, where applicable.

Standard English language requirements apply 
Learn more about international entry requirements

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS at
Learn more about applying 

Key Information Set (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.

All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.

The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.

The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.

How you learn is as important as what you learn. The learning experience at Birmingham combines a wide variety of study methods extending way beyond the lecture theatre, to include extensive fieldwork, practical work and tutorials.

You will be taught by a mixture of professors, doctors and doctoral researchers, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience.You can find out more about the members of staff in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences where you can read about their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest.

An inspirational and enquiry-based learning environment

Our cutting-edge teaching programme is built on a foundation of over one hundred years of research and teaching excellence. From the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner shaping your own intellectual development with us. You will learn from academic specialists at the top of their fields and the world-leading research they carry out feeds directly into our degree programmes. The research-led teaching on our flexible degree courses ensures an inspirational and enquiry-based learning environment in the classroom, lab and field.

Extensive facilities

student using a microscope As well as lectures, tutorials and practical classes you will have access to extensive educational facilities across the School and University including library resources, a well-equipped map room, state-of-the-art laboratory and IT facilities, and purpose-built learning spaces. You will also have a wealth of opportunities to go out into the field; gaining hands-on experience on residential courses across the UK and overseas.

We are also home to the nationally important  Lapworth Museum of Geology, one of the finest geological collections in the UK, and an invaluable study resource. Following a £2.7m redevelopment project, the Museum includes new galleries and innovative exhibits to showcase exceptional objects that have not previously been displayed.

Support during your studies

You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies. They will provide academic support and advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham. We also have dedicated welfare tutors who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond.

During your first year it is important that you have a smooth transition into University.  You will be able to talk to your tutors about this and discuss if there are particular areas where you need support. 

Our Academic Skills Centre also offers you support with your learning. The centre is a place where you can develop your mathematical, academic writing and general academic skills. It is the Centre's aim to help you to become a more effective and independent learner through the use of a range of high-quality and appropriate learning support services. These range from drop-in sessions with support with mathematics and statistics based problems provided by experienced mathematicians, to workshops on a range of topics including note talking, reading, writing and presentation skills.



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. On the Geology and Physical Geography or Palaeobiology and Palaeoenvironments programmes 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. We offer a range of local one-day field trips, as well as residential trips to Pembrokeshire, the Scottish Highlands, Dorset and Cornwall, southern Spain and Tenerife.

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 up to six weeks field work in an area of your choice. You will work in 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 data and resulting report form a significant part of your final degree.

Our students find fieldwork particularly enjoyable. Whether sampling, mapping or collecting data, the subject matter really comes alive.

We will make the necessary arrangements to accommodate students with disabilities for field courses throughout their time at Birmingham.

Find out more about  fieldwork costs and funding.

Assessment methods

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.

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.

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.

During your first year you will be given a formal transition review to see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you may need support. Your personal tutor who is based in the School can help with any academic issues you encounter.