With our Geology BSc you will study the science of our planet’s evolution – understanding how it has been shaped over billions of years and what it will be like in the future. It truly is a global science.
From monitoring volcanic eruptions and investigating climate change, through to unravelling the disappearance of the dinosaurs or finding acceptable ways to dispose of nuclear waste, a Geology degree at Birmingham will give you a broad-based knowledge of Earth sciences.
Our extensive fieldwork programme and flexible range of options allows you to specialise in the topics that interest you. You may go on to work in the mining or oil industry, hydrogeology, pollution control or environmental protection; or you could opt to become a geophysicist, geotechnical engineer, work for the British Geological Survey, carry out research or go into teaching. A Geology degree from Birmingham sets you up for a wide range of exciting careers.
Year 1 of our Geology BSc programme shares several modules with the Geology and Physical Geography programme, and it is possible to transfer between these courses in your first year. You also have the option of transferring onto the four-year Geology MSci or Geology with an International Year MSci programme, depending on performance. View our full range of Earth Sciences programmes
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“Working alongside an industry partner has allowed me to practise skills learned at university in the working world, to focus on a clear set of objectives for my project, and to develop my time management, teamwork and communication skills.”
This Geology BSc course gives you a broad and comprehensive training in geology and allows you to develop your own specialist interests.
A varied fieldwork programme builds on a variety of lecture and laboratory based teaching, providing you with a range of practical scientific skills.
The first year of the course provides you with a strong foundation in geology through a range of exciting core modules. You will build on this in the second year, before undertaking your dissertation fieldwork. In the third year you can choose from a wide range of modules, and also have the option of specialising further if you stay for the four-year Geology MSci programme (dependant upon performance).
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.
The field courses help you to develop as an observational Earth scientist. Each field course is part of a compulsory assessed module. Current residential field course destinations include South West Wales, the Scottish Highlands, Dorset and Cornwall, southern Spain and Tenerife (for four-year programmes). Year 1 field course in Northern Ireland.
The first two years of field training culminate in your dissertation (mapping) project, which involves up to six weeks fieldwork in an area of your choice, in the summer between Year 2 and 3. Many students stay in the UK for this, but students have also recently undertaken projects in Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, Romania, New Zealand and the USA. You will also have the option to undertake your fieldwork with an industrial partner, leading to an industry-linked project. Your project may focus on an aspect of resource or applied geology. Recent partners include Tarmac, Hope Cement, Hanson and the British Geological Survey.
The travel and accommodation costs of field courses are included within your fees, and we also offer support to all Geology students (currently £500) towards their mapping project. 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.
There are many reasons to study Geology BSc at Birmingham:
- Employability - Our Earth and Environmental Science graduates are highly employable with 100% in jobs or further study within six months of graduation (DLHE 2016/17) Find out more about graduate prospects and employability
- 4th for Earth and Marine Sciences in The Guardian University Guide 2019
- Fieldwork – Fieldwork is an essential element of our degree programmes, and we have an outstanding reputation for providing students with high quality field training. The costs of travel and accommodation on all compulsory field courses will be covered by the University.
- Research-led teaching – Our world-leading research feeds directly into our programmes, meaning you will learn from academics who are experts in their field.
- The Lapworth Museum of Geology – one of the oldest and finest specialist geological museums in the UK, housing more than 250,000 specimens. Reopen following a £2.7m redevelopment project, it is an invaluable study resource.
- Accreditation - Our 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.
The first year provides you with a broad training in topics across the subject, through several compulsory modules. We don’t assume any prior knowledge, and you don’t have to have studied geology before. The chemistry, physics and maths that you require is taught in the context of individual modules, and applied to the problems that you’re investigating. The Field Skills module includes one-day regional field trips and a residential trip to South West Wales, training you in key skills in geological observation, data recording and interpretation.
The year two content builds on the first year, covering a range of specialised geological topics. This content is compulsory, and ensures that your degree meets the accreditation requirements. The Year 2 field courses take you to North West Scotland, where you will focus on geological mapping skills, and to Dorset and Cornwall, where you will cover a wide range of exercises, from palaeontology to structural geology.
Compulsory modules in Year 3 include your dissertation – a mapping project in an area of your choice, where you will undertake fieldwork the previous summer – and the Basin Analysis module, which is a field-based module in South East Spain. This course introduces a variety of new geological environments and rock types.
You can specialise by choosing three modules from a wide variety of options, ranging from more applied and resource-based topics through to environmental and palaeontological modules. Example optional modules may include:
Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2019. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules after that date; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.
Standard Home/EU student fees 2019-20
For UK students beginning their studies in September 2019, 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 2019-20
Fee Band (Undergraduate)
Band 3a (Laboratory)
Learn more about fees and funding
Learn more about our scholarships and awards
- 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
BTEC Extended Diploma, Diploma and Subsidiary Diploma are accepted but subjects are considered on a case by case basis - contact us for further guidance.
Applicants may be eligible to be considered for the Unconditional Offer Scheme. For details see the
Unconditional Offer Scheme 2018.
International Baccalaureate Diploma: 6, 5, 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 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.
How you will learn
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.
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 use the Earth Imaging laboratory, where practical classes involve everything from microscope and map work to using specialist industry software. Our teaching is supported by the nationally important collections of the Lapworth Museum of Geology, an invaluable study resource.
Your personal tutor
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 academic 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 taking, reading, writing and presentation skills.
Lecturers and world leading researchers
You will be 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 to volcanology, and from marine geophysics to palaeontology. 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 feeds directly into our teaching, and means that the content of our courses reflects the very latest advances in the Earth sciences.
Find out more about staff in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences.
Resources and facilities
The learning experience extends way outside of the lecture theatre. Fieldwork, both in the UK and overseas, is an essential element of our degree programmes. As well as tutorials and practical classes you will have access to extensive educational facilities across the School and University including our brand new £60 million library resources, state-of-the-art laboratories and IT facilities.
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.
By choosing to study with us you will embark on an enriching journey building a strong foundation for your professional future. Your studies will take you many places; all the time giving you invaluable real-world experience.
Where could a degree in Earth Sciences take you?
Recent graduates have found employment in a wide range of fields. Our most recent student survey showed that many students from Earth Sciences were engaged in work or study directly related to their first degree, with the remainder choosing career paths in areas outside of the subject where the transferable skills gained on the programme prove invaluable.
Geology careers are extremely diverse, with students going into a wide range of professions. Increasing numbers of our graduates are employed in environmental planning, land remediation hydrogeology and pollution control. Opportunities in some fields, notably the oil and minerals industries, vary from year to year. Other employers include the British Geological Survey (BGS), local authorities, museums, government organisations and engineering and construction companies. Other graduates decide on a career in teaching either from primary or right through to further education. Many students also go on to careers around the world in locations including Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Increasingly, a successful career in geology is helped by having a higher qualification. Nearly half of our graduates go on to further study before taking a job, either by completing a one-year MSc course or researching for a PhD.
See examples of what our graduates go on to do
“The course provided me with the skills and knowledge needed to work within the petroleum industry.”
Colette - MSci Geology
Hear more graduate stories
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.
Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our
Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.
Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area. Our team source exclusive
work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with
global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CV's and job applications will help give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed award-winning
Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.