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Geology courses

Could you picture yourself studying earthquake zones to develop early warning systems, searching for energy resources or analysing fossils to further understand evolution? If so geology could be for you. Geology is the study of how the earth was formed and shaped over time and has applications in environmental research, oil and gas exploration, the water industries, mapping and remote sensing and engineering. This type of course is likely to include practical fieldwork, including abroad.

Studying geology at university

Example course modules

  • Environmental geoscience
  • Computing for earth scientists
  • Imaging and mapping the Earth
  • Sedimentology
  • Geochemistry
  • Digital geoscience
  • Structural geology
  • Geodynamics
  • Earth materials
  • Quantitative methologies

Teaching hours / week

Average for this subject


Average for all subjects

The time you'll spend in lectures and seminars each week will vary from university to university, so use this as a guide.

More on studying and contact hours at uni

Who studies this subject

  • Female : 41%
    Male : 59%
  • Mature : 12%
    School leaver : 88%
  • Full-time : 96%
    Part-time : 4%

What students say about geology

What you need to get on a course

Subjects you need

A-levels (or equivalent) usually required

  • Choose two from biology, chemistry, physics and maths

Useful to have

  • geography
  • Geology

Application checklist

Here's a guide to what to expect from the application process - also check individual university entry requirements, as these may differ.

  • January application
  • October application
  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio
  • Interview
  • Entry test
  • Work experience
  • Audition

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement is a core part of your university application, and getting it just right takes time. Before you start work on yours, take a look at our five quick tips on writing a personal statement. We'll help you past that writer's block!

Career prospects

Sources: HECSU & KIS
The UK is officially short of geologists of many different kinds, but we produced a few more than usual last year. We're not the only country in need of good geologists, which is why one in nine UK geology graduates left the country in 2012 to work – and the average starting salary for a UK geology graduate getting a job abroad was nearly £35,000 – rising to over £50,000 in Australia - which compares very favourably with other degrees. And with oil, gas and mining all very big business, and geologists vital to those industries, good geologists will be in demand for a while yet.
Professional and accrediting bodies:

Six months after graduating

Typical graduate job areas
  • Natural and social science professionals

Longer term career paths

Jobs where this degree is useful

  • Geophysicist
  • Geologist
  • Mudlogger

Other real-life job examples

  • Contaminated land engineer
  • Land surveyor
  • Quarry manager

What employers like about this subject

Geology students can expect to gain subject-specific skills including an understanding of earth evolution and current planetary processes; the scientific principles underlying earth processes and computing, physics, chemistry and field skills for earth sciences. Transferable skills you can develop will include communication, project management, IT skills, problem-solving, data investigation, high-level numeracy and good research skills. Geology graduates are in demand from a number of industries in the UK and overseas, particularly from the oil and gas industry, but also from mining and quarrying, construction, the water industry, engineering and consultancy, technical testing, government, higher education, museums and the finance industry.