Environmental Geoscience at Durham University - UCAS

Course summary

Environmental Geoscience is a topical and growing area of study as society increasingly acknowledges the risks of deteriorating environmental conditions to the planet and navigates solutions to protect its future. This BSc connects Earth’s resources with humanity’s response to some of today’s global challenges such as climate change, sustainability and pollution. 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. Combining academic excellence, cutting-edge research and links to industry, the course will equip you with the tools needed for employment in a range of sectors, including environmental management, water management, energy, mining and geotechnics, or for further study or research. The course has a special emphasis on employability and benefits from consultations with experts from the industry, including Amec, Atkins, the Environment Agency, English Nature and Mott MacDonald. In the first year, you will develop a fundamental understanding of Earth sciences, mapping skills, remote sensing and data analysis. Year 2 specialises more in environmental aspects, during which you will develop your knowledge of laboratory techniques, sedimentology and climate. In Year 3, you will undertake a research dissertation and also experience working in small groups on an environmental management project of your choice. 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. You can also apply to add a placement year or a year abroad 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 explores 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 examines formation, distribution and extraction of the Earth's resources and energy, along with the water cycle. 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 your own results. Examples of optional modules: Mathematical Methods in Geosciences Further Mathematics for Geoscientists. Year 2 Core modules: 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. Isotopes and Climate examines how stable isotopes can be used in understanding modern environment and climate systems, and in describing major events in the Earth's climate evolution. The module covers human impact on the global climate and how to understand and analyse future climate change predictions. Field work (Environmental) introduces the principles of laboratory and field investigations to prepare you for further research in your final-year dissertation. Examples of optional modules: Structural Geology and Tectonics Geophysical Methods for Geoscientists (essential for Geological Society accreditation) Igneous and Metamorphic Geochemistry and Petrology Modelling Earth Processes Ancient Life and its Environment. Year 3 (Year 4 if undertaking placement or year abroad) 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. Environmental Geochemistry introduces a range of pollutants and their behaviour in the environment. It covers a range of common pollution problems and solutions for controlling pollutant movement in the environment, as well as waste and water management. Environmental Management covers environmental economics and impact assessment through a range of UK case studies on water quality management practices and treatment technologies, flood risk and management, and air quality control. Examples of optional modules: Petrology, Geochemistry and Global Tectonics (Field work) Volcanology and Magmatism Deformation Processes in the Lithosphere Earth Structure and Dynamics Hazardous Geophysical Flows Earth System and Climate Earth Sciences into Schools.

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 environmental geoscience research dissertation in Year 3.

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: 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


Student Outcomes

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

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

Republic of Ireland £9250 Year 1
EU £31250 Year 1
Channel Islands £9250 Year 1
England £9250 Year 1
Northern Ireland £9250 Year 1
Scotland £9250 Year 1
Wales £9250 Year 1
International £31250 Year 1

Additional fee information

There may also be additional course costs for things like books (if you want to purchase them), field trips etc.
Environmental Geoscience at Durham University - UCAS