BSc (Hons)


Understanding the development of our planet

F600UCAS code 3yrsfull time

Star Course Overview

Why take this course?

Climate change, global catastrophes, declining energy sources – all these connect everyday life with the world of the working geologist.

This is a highly practical, hands-on course, and located close to the ‘Jurassic Coast’, Portsmouth is the ideal place to study geology.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Use our state-of-the-art geological and geochemical labs for practical work
  • Venture overseas for field-based learning and project work (e.g. Brittany, Cyprus)
  • Visit local geological sites on the Isle of Wight and the Jurassic Coast


What opportunities might it lead to?

This course is fully accredited by the Geological Society of London, the professional body that oversees geoscience in the UK. It is the first stage of professional development leading to the award of Chartered Geologist status after a period in industry.

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:

  • mineral and petroleum exploration
  • oilfield services
  • mining
  • quarrying
  • geoscience information analysis

The fieldwork aspect of the course was fantastic, it was both educational and social, as well as a great opportunity to see some geologically and aesthetically beautiful places.

William Smith, BSc (Hons) Geology graduate

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Key Facts

UCAS Course Code:
3 years full time
The UCAS tariff for 2017 entry has changed. See how this affects your tariff score A LEVELS
104-120 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent, with 40 points from a single Science subject, or 64 points from 2 Science subjects. See full entry requirements

We accept UCAS points from other qualifications. See full details and English Language qualifications

104-120 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent, with 40 points from a single Science subject, or 64 points from 2 Science subjects. See full entry requirements

We accept UCAS points from other qualifications. See full details and English Language qualifications


UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
2017/18 entry: full time: £9,250 p/a*

International students
2017/18 entry: full time: £14,400 p/a**

*Tuition fee may be subject to annual increase.
**Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.

View tuition fee terms and conditions
View additional course costs

+44 (0)23 9284 5566
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Programme specification
Accreditations & Endorsements



Find out what our students say about studying at Portsmouth, including:

  • Fieldtrips in the UK and abroad providing invaluable practical skills
  • The open-door approach of the lecturers, many of whom have industry experience
  • Superb careers advice and support that is part of your course

Browse all courses in Earth and Environmental Sciences

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Light bulb Structure & Teaching

Year one

You will receive a comprehensive introduction to all aspects of geoscience.

Core units in this year are:

  • How the Earth Works
  • Mineralogy and Petrology 
  • Sedimentology and Palaeontology 
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Science for Earth Systems
  • Engineering Geology and Geohazards

Year two

Develop your knowledge and benefit from UK and overseas field work that is a vital component of any geoscience degree.

Core units in this year are:

  • Petrology
  • Professional Skills for Geoscientists
  • Sedimentary Processes and Facies Analysis
  • Structural Geology
  • Volcanology and Seisemology
  • Geological Remote Sensing and GIS

Year three

Customise and consolidate your studies. In this year you will also undertake an independent project and an overseas field course.

Core units in this year are:

  • Geodynamics
  • Geology Project
  • Mineral Resources and Exploration

Options to choose from in this year include:

  • Basin Analysis and Petroleum Geology
  • Petrogenesis and Geochronology
  • Oceans, Climates and Environments
  • Taphonomy and Biostratigraphy

Teaching and Assessment

The course provides a balanced structure of lectures, tutorials and laboratory work. You will generally be taught in small classes, providing an informal, friendly and supportive atmosphere for your studies.

How are you assessed?

Assessment is a mix of coursework and exams, roughly 50:50. However, your coursework can take a variety of forms including:

  • laboratory reports
  • oral and poster presentations
  • reports on field-based projects
  • computer-based assessment
Professor Rob Strachan

Tutor's view

Professor Rob Strachan
Earth and Environmental Sciences

A practical-based course aimed at producing graduates ready for employment in mineral and petroleum exploration and other industries.

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Monitor Facilities & Features


You will have access to modern, petrology and palaeontology teaching laboratories stocked with a wide range of hand specimens of rocks, minerals and fossils. There are also transmitted light binocular microscopes and polarizing petrological microscopes for detailed analyses of rocks, minerals and some fossils in thin section. We offer a fully equipped petrology lab with binocular and polarizing microscopes.

See more of the school's facilities here.

Field Trips

Fieldwork is an important part of our courses. We aim to show you as wide a range of field geology as possible. Current fieldtrips involve:

  • introductory field skills on the Isle of Wight and the Jurassic Coast
  • geological mapping in Scotland
  • advanced fieldwork in Brittany
  • regional fieldwork in Cyprus

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

Other costs to consider

The cost of travel or accommodation for compulsory fieldwork is included in the course fee. But travel costs will be incurred on the Mapping Training Field Course, which takes place at locations within the UK in the summer between course years 1 and 2 of study. This will be around £100. You will be expected to pay for meals and other subsistence costs associated with compulsory fieldwork.

For compulsory project work, normally in the UK or Europe, costs for travel and accommodation can be from £0 - £1000.

For optional fieldwork, costs of travel, accommodation, meals and other subsistence are around £1200.


In addition, you will be expected to buy field equipment, (e.g. compass, clinometers, hammer, hand lens, notebook) at the start of your first year. These costs are £130.

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Mortarboard Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Where next?
Where next?

You are eminently employable and as a leading provider of applied geoscience graduates to industry we have an enviable employment record. Many career opportunities exist in petroleum and water resource exploration and development, mining, civil engineering, geographical and environmental consultancies, geographical surveys, museums and conservation, as well as research.

The communication, numeric and IT skills you will gain also make you a good candidate for business, commerce or education-oriented careers. A significant proportion of graduates also go on to postgraduate study.

Roles our graduates have taken on include:

  • mining geologist
  • well-side geologist
  • geotechnical engineer
  • engineering geologist
  • geology teacher
  • researcher in volcanic hazards

Work experience

Employment boosting opportunities
Employment boosting opportunities

We feel it’s very important for you to gain first-hand experience of the variety of geological techniques you will be learning throughout your course. Although field-based learning is intensive, needing you to draw on a wide range of theoretical and practical knowledge, it is immensely rewarding and, above all, fun.

Current destinations include the Isle of Wight, the Wessex basin, Scotland, Brittany and Cyprus. The opportunity exists to undertake your final-year project at a location of your choice, either in the UK or overseas.

Career planning

Career planning
Career planning
6.04 minutes

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

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Our next Open Day is Wednesday 5 July 2017

Register your interest

Application, Fees and Funding — find out more