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Course summary

Understanding the processes involved in shaping the Earth’s surface, our natural resources, natural hazards, water supplies and renewable energy can inform us about the impact of past and present changes in environmental conditions. This knowledge will allow us to predict behaviour and develop solutions to protect society and the planet’s future from today’s global challenges. Our flexible Geoscience degree, puts you in control, giving you both the fundamentals and increased specialisation as you progress, allowing you to choose a pathway of most interest to you. 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. Year 2 specialises more in the geological aspects, during which you will develop your knowledge of core geological disciplines associated with igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary and tectonic processes. In Year 3, you will undertake a geological research dissertation and increase your understanding of specialist geological topics of your choice with optional residential fieldwork opportunities. You may be able to transfer to the four-year MSci degree in Earth Sciences at the end of your second year. You can also apply to add a placement year to your degree, increasing the course from three years to four.


Year 1 Core modules: Earth Materials introduces you to Earth minerals and rocks and teaches you techniques for identifying them. Field Studies introduces 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. Examples of optional modules: Mathematical Methods in Geosciences Further Mathematics for Geoscientists Environment and Resources Geoinformatics. Year 2 Examples of optional modules: Structural Geology and Tectonics Sedimentary Environments Geophysical Methods for Geoscientists Isotopes and Climate Fieldwork Igneous and Metamorphic Geochemistry and Petrology Modelling Earth Processes Geophysical Data Applications Ancient Life and its Environment. Year 3 (Year 4 if undertaking a placement) Core module: You will produce an independent research Dissertation based upon field, laboratory or computer datasets chosen to suit your degree and 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 Students on the Geoscience BSc can apply to be transferred onto the ‘with Placement’ pathway during the second 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

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/ABC (or equivalent, to include 2 science subjects at grade B or above). 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.
Geoscience at Durham University - UCAS