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.
From the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner shaping your own intellectual development with us. The research-led teaching on our flexible degree courses ensures an inspirational and enquiry-based learning environment in the classroom, lab and field.
The world-leading research we do feeds directly into our undergraduate programmes, which means you will be learning from academics who are experts in their fields. For example, Dr James Bendle, has uncovered direct evidence that palm trees grew in Antarctica about 50 million years ago, and leads a module in palaeoclimates. Dr Steve Jones draws on his research expertise in his newly developed module “Exploring the Energy Transition”. Dr Seb Watt is shedding new light on the mechanisms of large scale volcanic landslides and their hazards, such as the devastating tsunami that occurred during the 2018 eruption of Anak Krakatau, Indonesia – topics covered in the Geological Natural Hazards module. Prof. Tim Reston is rewriting our understanding of how seafloor spreading works, and draws on this in his Tectonic and Volcanic Processes module. Our research is truly global taking us to all corners of the Earth from remote Antarctica to sprawling metropolises.
You will have access to a comprehensive support system to help you make the transition to Higher Education.
- Personal tutors - 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.
- Wellbeing officers - We have dedicated wellbeing officers 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.
- Academic Skills Centre - The centre aims to help you become a more effective and independent learner through a range of high-quality support services. The centre offers workshops on a range of topics, such as note-taking, reading, academic writing and presentation skills.
- Student experience - Our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They will offer research opportunities, study skills support and help you prepare for your post-university careers. They will also organise social events, such as field trips, to help you meet fellow students from your course.
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
Contact hours on this programme are similar to those on other Earth Sciences programmes. These vary from week to week, depending on modules that you are studying. An average of 12 hours per week from lectures, tutorials and practical classes would be typical in early stages of your degree, with more intensive work during field courses. At later stages, independent project work and placements will involve more varied timetables. Outside of these times, staff are available for individual meetings; and further resources are provided to help students with independent study in support of all their modules.
In addition to lectures, our degrees 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. Some modules only have an exam, others only project work. We place strong emphasis on individual project work/the research dissertation in Years 2 and 3.
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 assessments within 15 working days, so that you can learn from and build on what you have done as well as gain from opportunities for formative assessment.
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.