Understanding the processes involved in shaping the Earth’s surface through the study of minerals and rocks can inform us about the impact of past and present changes in environmental conditions. This knowledge will allow us to develop solutions to protect society and the planet from today’s challenges, from climate change and natural disasters to resource shortages and sustainability. Our flexible degree puts you in control, giving you both the fundamentals and increased specialisation as you progress through the degree, allowing you to choose a pathway of most interest to you. The BSc Geology is accredited by the Geological Society of London. Combining academic excellence and cutting-edge research, the course will equip you with the tools needed for employment in a range of sectors, including mineral exploration and petroleum geology, engineering geology, environmental and hydrogeology consultancies, GIS, geological surveys, or for further study or research. Numeracy, critical thinking and problem-solving skills developed on the course are highly valued in a wide range of non-geology careers, including teaching, business management, insurance and accounting, banking and finance. In the first year, you will develop a fundamental understanding of Earth Sciences and build on the practical skills required to study rocks and fossils in the field, including a field trip to the Lake District. Year 2 specialises more in geological aspects, during which you will develop your knowledge of core geological disciplines associated with igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary and tectonic processes and includes three one-week field courses, to Assynt, Almeria and Arran. In Year 3, you will undertake a research geological mapping dissertation and develop advanced knowledge in specialist geological topics of your choice with multiple residential field work opportunities, including one week in Cyprus. You may be able to transfer to the four-year MSci degree in Earth Sciences at the end of your second year.
Year 1 Core modules: Earth Materials introduces you to Earth minerals and rocks and teaches you techniques for identifying them. Field Studies identifies techniques for description and interpretation of natural geological features. This module also covers mapping skills, and the observation, recording and processing techniques needed for fieldwork and imagery. Understanding Earth Sciences covers an introduction to the areas of petrology, sedimentology, structural geology and palaeontology and relates the processes to the plate tectonic cycle. Environment and Resources covers the key concepts in environmental chemistry and the processes involved in shaping the Earth. From fossil fuels and ores to the water cycle, it introduces you to the formation, distribution and extraction of the Earth's resources and energy. Geoinformatics introduces the fundamentals of Earth observation and remote sensing. You will learn how to apply geospatial and digital cartography skills to plot and interpret you own results Examples of optional modules: Mathematical Methods in Geosciences Further Mathematics for Geoscientists. Year 2 Structural Geology and Tectonics describes and analyses deformation structures, processes and systems in the Earth, providing you with an understanding of the relationship between tectonics and surface processes. Sedimentary Environments covers the processes involved in the formation of sedimentary rocks and application of the techniques used to analyse these processes and a variety of environments. Field work (Environmental) introduces the principles of laboratory and field investigations to prepare you for further research in your final-year dissertation. Igneous and Metamorphic Geochemistry and Petrology explores geochemical and petrological methods to understand how igneous and metamorphic rocks form. You will also learn about identifying and interpreting the geological significance of a range of these rocks in the context of geological evolution. Examples of optional modules: Geophysical Methods for Geoscientists Isotopes and Climate Modelling Earth Processes Ancient Life and its Environment. Year 3 (Year 4 if undertaking a year abroad) Worth one-third of your final year credits, you will produce an independent research Dissertation based on a geological mapping exercise chosen to suit your interests. Examples of optional modules: Petrology, Geochemistry and Global Tectonics (Field work) Environmental Geochemistry Volcanology and Magmatism Deformation Processes in the Lithosphere Earth Structure and Dynamics Hazardous Geophysical Flows Earth System and Climate Environmental Management Petrology, Geochemistry and Global Tectonics Earth Sciences into Schools. Additional pathways You may be able to study abroad for a year. Places on these pathways are in high demand and if you are chosen your studies will extend from three years to four. Placement You may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.
How to apply
This is the deadline for applications to be completed and sent for this course. If the university or college still has places available you can apply after this date, but your application is not guaranteed to be considered.
- Course code:
- Institution code:
- Campus name:
- Durham City
- Campus code:
Points of entry
The following entry points are available for this course:
- Year 1
Our contextual offer for this programme is A level BBB/ABC (or equivalent, to include 2 science subjects at grade B or above). To find out if you’re eligible, please visit: https://www.durham.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/how-to-apply/what-happens-to-your-application/contextual-offers/
Please click the following link to find out more about qualification requirements for this course
English language requirements
Durham University welcomes applications from all students irrespective of background. We encourage the recruitment of academically well-qualified and highly motivated students, who are non-native speakers of English, whose full potential can be realised with a limited amount of English Language training either prior to entry or through pre-sessional and/or in-sessional courses. It is the normal expectation that candidates for admission should be able to demonstrate satisfactory English proficiency before the start of a programme of study, whether via the submission of an appropriate English language qualification or by attendance on an appropriate pre-sessional course. Acceptable evidence and levels required can be viewed by following the link provided.
English language requirements
The student satisfaction data is from students surveyed during the Covid-19 pandemic. The number of student respondents and response rates can be important in interpreting the data – it is important to note your experience may be different from theirs. This data will be based on the subject area rather than the specific course. Read more about this data on the Discover Uni website.
Fees and funding
|Republic of Ireland||£9250*||Year 1|
|Channel Islands||£9250*||Year 1|
|Northern Ireland||£9250*||Year 1|
*This is a provisional fee and subject to change.