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Course summary

This degree is for you if you want to learn more about how our planet works, tackle the greatest challenges facing society and the natural world, and help protect the planet and find out how we can live sustainably on it. Why Earth sciences? The world needs Earth scientists now more than ever before to help address the climate crisis, adapt to environmental changes, secure the energy and materials society needs, and learn how to live more safely and sustainably. You will study our Earth's past to forecast and safeguard its future, learn about the structure and composition of the Earth, develop a deep understanding of the many processes that shape the Earth and life on it, and learn how these processes interact and depend on each other. Our degree will help you play a valuable role in our transition to a fair and sustainable society. What will I learn? This is a new cutting-edge degree that prepares you for advanced careers in the Earth sciences and beyond. It balances data science, programming, and computing skills with traditional field and laboratory skills, along with a knowledge of Earth sciences. We will train you in the skills needed to answer important questions in the Earth sciences, including:

  • how we can mitigate the effects of global change
  • what tools we can use to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • why our planet is able to sustain life
  • how the Earth's interior works, and how these processes affect the surface
  • how we can sustainably manage the Earth's resources to meet our energy, mineral, and water needs
  • how we can improve our understanding of natural hazards such as earthquakes and volcanoes to reduce their risk and save lives
We embrace a hands-on approach to learning, so you can develop in-demand practical skills. Many of your activities simulate those that professionals perform in the real world. You will also learn sought-after computational analysis and quantitative skills that are in demand across a range of employment sectors such as:
  • acquiring, analysing, assessing and presenting a wide range of data
  • computing skills including programming and use of specialist software
  • computer modelling and mapping
  • Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
You will learn from leading national and international Earth scientists across a diverse range of fields. We help ensure your degree has real-world relevance and make you highly sought after by employers. Our links provide you with valuable networking and potential employment opportunities and you will be able to meet and interact with professionals from various sectors. This will provide you with opportunities to gain insights into real working environments, where Earth scientists make real contributions to our everyday lives. This degree offers you flexibility to build your degree around topics you are curious or passionate about. Our staff can also help you design an interdisciplinary curriculum by choosing option courses from other disciplines. Open to a world of possibilities We are one of the largest and most successful groups of Earth and environmental scientists and geographers in the UK. Many are world experts in their field. Our staff incorporate the latest research in your teaching, and share discoveries with you.
  • We have pioneered research proving human-caused greenhouse gasses are warming our planet, helping to underpin the 2015 Paris Agreement.
  • We are working with major space agencies to monitor the environment using satellite data.
  • We are 16th in the world in the QS World University Rankings 2022.
  • We are in the world's top 50 and the UK's top 10 universities for natural sciences, environmental sciences, geology, geophysics, earth and marine sciences (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021).
  • Get advice and guidance with our dedicated Careers Service.

How to apply

You can no longer submit a new application for courses starting in 2023.

If you already have a 2023 application and are in Clearing, you can add this course as a Clearing choice – contact the university or college first to check they have places.

Application codes

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Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1

Entry requirements

Standard Qualification Requirements

Direct entry to second year is available. Detailed entry requirements, including typical offer levels, and information about other qualifications we accept, are available on the University of Edinburgh’s website. You’ll also find important information on how to apply. You must submit a fully completed UCAS application that includes details of the qualifications you are taking, including full predicted grades for qualifications not yet completed, your personal statement and your reference.

Please click the following link to find out more about qualification requirements for this course

Minimum Qualification Requirements

Please click the following link to find out more about minimum qualification requirements for this course

English language requirements

TestGradeAdditional details
IELTS (Academic)6.5Total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.
TOEFL (iBT)92Total 92 with at least 20 in each component (including Home Edition). We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
Cambridge English AdvancedTotal 176 with at least 162 in each component.
Cambridge English ProficiencyTotal 176 with at least 162 in each component.
Trinity ISEISE II with distinctions in all four components.
PTE Academic62Total 62 with at least 54 in each component.

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence. For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher: SQA National 5 at C; SQA Standard Grade at 3; GCSE at C or 4; Level 2 Certificate at C or IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry). We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests. English language qualifications must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the degree you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE, or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Full details of our English language requirements can be found on our website:

Unistats information

Operated by the Office for Students
Student satisfaction
Employment after 15 months (Most common jobs)
Go onto work and study

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

Tuition fees

Channel Islands £9250* Year 1
Republic of Ireland £9250* Year 1
Scotland £1820* Year 1
England £9250* Year 1
Northern Ireland £9250* Year 1
Wales £9250* Year 1
EU £32200* Year 1
International £32200* Year 1

*This is a provisional fee and subject to change.

Additional fee information

Scotland (to be confirmed) In 2022-23 the fee level set by the Scottish Government was £1,820. The 2023-24 fee rate is expected to be confirmed by the Scottish Government in early 2023. Students must apply to the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) for payment of their tuition fees. England/Wales/Nothern Ireland - The Rest of UK (RUK) rate is yet to be confirmed and was £9,250 for 2022 entry. For 2023 entry this may increase in line with inflation and will be subject to government limits. Full time international and EU students will pay a fixed annual fee rate for the duration of their programme. The amount for 2023 entry will be confirmed in Summer 2022.
Earth Sciences at The University of Edinburgh - UCAS