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Course summary

This four-year Master’s degree has been designed to provide a comprehensive and rigorous education in all aspects of Earth Sciences along with the opportunity to interact with staff at the cutting-edge of scientific research. It provides you with the opportunity to follow the Geology, Environmental Geosciences, Geophysics with Geology or Geoscience pathway for the first three years and undertake a detailed independent research project in the area of your choice in the fourth year. Ideally suited to students with a strong interest in research, the course incorporates a substantial amount of independent (and group) project work which will involve you in high-level quantitative investigations, in addition to advanced key skills training. If you have been accepted onto Geology, Geoscience, Environmental Geosciences, or Geophysics with Geology you may be able to transfer to the four-year MSci degree in Earth Sciences at the end of your second year. The fourth year combines a bespoke research project in your specialism, with advanced modules designed to integrate your Earth Science knowledge for vocational and/or research applications. This course prepares you for employment or PhD research. Graduates have secured positions with high-profile employers and PhD research positions at prestigious universities worldwide.


Year 1 Core modules: 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. Introduction to Climate Change introduces you to contemporary climate change, incorporating the physical science underpinning our understanding of past, present and future climate change. It also explores some of the most serious impacts and competing perspectives around major climate change controversies. Examples of optional modules: Mathematical Methods in Geosciences Further Mathematics Geoinformatics Understanding Earth Sciences Planet under Pressure. Year 2 Core modules: Isotopes and Climate covers how isotopes can be used in understanding the environment and climate systems as well as identifying major events in the Earth's climate evolution. The module covers the human impact on the global climate and how to understand and analyse future climate change predictions. Examples of optional modules: Modelling Earth Processes Ancient Life and its Environments Carbon and Biogeochemical Cycles Climate Change: Geographical Perspectives Glaciers and Glaciation Reconstructing Environmental Change. Year 3 Core modules: Worth one-third of your final-year marks, you will produce an independent research Dissertation based on a computing, field or laboratory project chosen to suit your interests. In the Earth Systems and Climate module you will learn about the interconnections between different components of the Earth System and their relevance to climate.

Assessment method

You will be assessed through a combination of coursework, class tests and end-of-year examinations. A significant proportion of your final assessment will be through your research dissertation in the final year. The dissertation is worth one-third of your final-year marks.

How to apply

Application codes

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Durham City
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Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1

Entry requirements

Qualification requirements

Our contextual offer for this programme is A level BBB (or equivalent). To find out if you’re eligible, please visit:

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

Unistats information

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Fees and funding

Tuition fees

Republic of Ireland £9250* Year 1
Channel Islands £9250* Year 1
EU £29500* Year 1
England £9250* Year 1
Northern Ireland £9250* Year 1
Scotland £9250* Year 1
Wales £9250* Year 1
International £29500* Year 1

*This is a provisional fee and subject to change.

Additional fee information

The tuition fees for 2024/25 academic year have not yet been finalised, they will be displayed here once approved.
Earth Sciences at Durham University - UCAS