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 Year 1 of your Geology degree you can expect an average of about 11 hours of contact time per week over the two teaching terms (autumn and spring). This will be made up of lectures, practical laboratories, and small group teaching. On top of this there will be approximately 14 days of contact on field courses.
In Year 2, you can expect an average of about 10 hours of contact time per week over the two teaching terms (autumn and spring). This will be made up of lectures, practical laboratories, and small group teaching. On top of this there will be approximately 19 days of contact on field courses.
In Year 3, you can expect an average of about 8 hours of contact per week over the two teaching terms (autumn and spring) depending on optional modules chosen. On top of this there will be approximately 6 days of contact on a field course.
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.