Palaeontology at University of Portsmouth - UCAS

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Course summary

This is a Connected Degree Portsmouth is the only University in the UK with the flexibility to choose when to do an optional paid placement or self-employed year. Either take a placement in your third year, or finish your studies first and complete a placement in your fourth year. You can decide if and when to take a placement after you've started your course. Overview Are you interested in studying the processes of how life on Earth began, evolved and diversified? Do you enjoy getting your hands dirty as well as spending time in the lab? Get ready to dig up the past on our BSc (Hons) Palaeontology degree course, which is accredited by The Geological Society of London.

  • Reveal the secrets of ancient life in our petrology and palaeontology laboratories, stocked with rock, mineral and fossil specimens
  • Work alongside our active academic research team on the latest palaeontological theories and models, as they integrate new ideas and data into teaching
  • Unearth your own discoveries on field trips in locations such as the Isle of Wight, Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site locations Lulworth Cove and Lyme Regis, and other famous fossil localities
Accredited by: This course is accredited by the Geological Society of London. Careers and opportunities Palaeontology is the study of ancient life, from the earliest algae to the biggest dinosaurs and our first human ancestors. It seeks to uncover the ways in which life on Earth evolved through the ages, and in turn, how this can help us better understand the natural world today. Studying fossilised lifeforms can reveal facts about biology, ecology and evolution vital to many modern environmental issues, including climate change. When you graduate, you’ll have a strong set of transferable skills suitable for a range of scientific roles, in areas such as energy resources and exploration, environmental consultancy, teaching and museum curation. You could also continue your studies with our research master's programme in Palaeontology, which would enable you to spend a year working on a dedicated project in an paleontological area that interests you. Many of our MRes students publish papers in scientific journals by the time they complete the programme. What areas can you work in with a palaeontology degree? Previous students have gone on to work and study in areas such as:
  • energy resources and exploration
  • environmental consultancy
  • museum curation
  • teaching
  • academic research
What jobs can you do with a palaeontology degree? They've gone on to work in the following roles:
  • researcher of vertebrate palaeontology
  • geographic information systems (GIS) editor
  • science teacher
Placement opportunities After your second year, you can do an optional work placement to get valuable longer-term work experience in the industry. Placements give you the opportunity to apply what you've learnt so far in a real workplace, boosting your employability and making you attractive to employers after graduation. You can work for a company or organisation here in the UK or overseas, or you could go independent by setting up and running your own business with other students. Previous students have enjoyed placements at civil engineering, mining and quarrying companies and the Dinosaur Isle museum on the Isle of Wight. Whichever route you choose, you'll receive support and guidance. Our specialist team of Science and Health Careers advisors can help you with finding a work placement and improving your employability skills. They'll provide you with a database of placement vacancies, support with your job search – including help with applications and interviews – and support throughout your placement. Ongoing careers support After you graduate, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability Service as you advance in your career.


Year 1 Core modules in this year include:

  • Analysis of the Earth and Environment (20 credits)
  • Biodiversity & Vertebrate Anatomy (20 credits)
  • Earth Materials (20 credits)
  • Global Environmental Challenges (20 credits)
  • How the Earth Works (20 credits)
  • Sedimentology and Palaeontology (20 credits)
There are no optional modules in this year. Year 2 Core modules in this year include:
  • Early Vertebrate Evolution (20 credits)
  • Invertebrate and Analytical Palaeontology (20 credits)
  • Micropalaeontology, Palaeobotany, and Palaeoenvironments (20 credits)
  • Palaeontological Techniques (20 credits)
  • Professional Skills for Palaeontologists (20 credits)
  • Sedimentary Processes and Facies Analysis (20 credits)
There are no optional modules in this year. Placement year Boost your employability by taking an industry-based work placement year with a relevant organisation or immerse yourself in another culture by studying for a year at one of our partner universities worldwide. This is an amazing opportunity to either put everything you’ve learned so far into action in a real workplace or expand your horizons and set yourself up for your future career by studying abroad and becoming a student ambassador for our university." Depending on what you choose, we’ll help you find and secure an exciting placement opportunity within an appropriate company or organisation, or you’ll expand your global perspective and develop additional skills to boost your future career during a study abroad year. This is a Connected Degree We're the only university that gives you the flexibility to choose when to take a work placement. Take it after your 2nd year, before returning to finish your studies. Or after your final year, connecting you into the workplace. If you're not sure if or when to take your placement, don't worry. You'll have plenty of time to settle into your studies and explore your options before making your choice. Find out more about Connected Degrees Year 3 Core modules in this year include:
  • Research Project (40 credits)
Optional modules in this year include:
  • Analytical Methods for Earth and Environmental Sciences (20 credits)
  • Applications of Palaeontology & Sedimentology (20 credits)
  • Climate Change (20 credits)
  • Dinosaurs and Mammals (20 credits)
  • Evolution, Ecology and Environment (20 credits)
  • Hazardscapes (20 credits)
  • Introduction to Teaching (20 credits)
  • Palaeontology Study Tour (20 credits)
We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies. Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional modules may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

Assessment method

You’ll be assessed through laboratory reports, oral and poster presentations, reports on field-based projects, computer-based assessment. You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark. You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

Professional bodies

Professionally accredited courses provide industry-wide recognition of the quality of your qualification.

  • The Geological Society

How to apply

Application codes

Please select a course option – you will then see the application code you need to use to apply for the course.

Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1
  • Year 2
  • Year 3

Entry requirements for advanced entry (i.e. into Year 2 and beyond)

We welcome applications for advanced entry. If you’d like to apply for advanced entry, you need to select the required year when you complete your UCAS application.

Entry requirements

Qualification requirements

English language requirements

TestGradeAdditional details
IELTS (Academic)6English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.
PTE Academic54An overall score of 54 with a minimum of 51 in each skill.
TOEFL (iBT)7979 with a minimum of 18 in Reading, 17 in Listening, 20 in Speaking and 17 in Writing.
Cambridge English AdvancedCambridge English: Advanced (CAE) taken after January 2015. An overall score of 169 with no component score less than 162.
Cambridge English ProficiencyCambridge English: Proficiency (CPE) taken after January 2015. An overall score of 169 with no component score less than 162.
Trinity ISEPassTrinity College Integrated Skills in English (ISE) Level III with a Pass in all 4 components

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

EU £9250 Year 1
England £9250 Year 1
Northern Ireland £9250 Year 1
Scotland £9250 Year 1
Wales £9250 Year 1
Channel Islands £9250 Year 1
Republic of Ireland £9250 Year 1
International £19200 Year 1

Tuition fee status depends on a number of criteria and varies according to where in the UK you will study. For further guidance on the criteria for home or overseas tuition fees, please refer to the UKCISA website .

Additional fee information

Students who are resident in EU countries: please note that the net fee is inclusive of the Transition Scholarship Placement Year and Year abroad: UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £1,385 EU – £1,385 (including Transition Scholarship)| International (Non-EU) – £2,875. Fees are accurate at the time of publishing and are subject to change at any time without notice. Fees may also go up in later years, in line with inflation. For more information about fees, go to
Palaeontology at University of Portsmouth - UCAS