Geology BSc (Hons)
BSc Hons Geology
Could you develop the skills needed to tackle climate change, understand global catastrophes and solve declining energy sources while understanding how the earth is formed?
On this professionally accredited BSc (Hons) Geology degree course, you’ll examine the complex formation of our planet and how it has changed through time. You’ll study rocks, minerals and fossils as well as geological map work. You'll spend plenty of time out of the classroom in the field using the latest techniques.
With the skills to become a professional geologist, you’ll be set for a career in areas such as mining, the petroleum industry, geotechnical engineering and teaching.
This course is accredited by the Geological Society of London. This shows the teaching on this course is of the highest quality and has been approved by an independent body of academics and industrialists.
This accreditation also reduces the amount of experience you need to apply for Chartered Status with the Society after the course.
100% Graduates in work or further study (DLHE, 2017)
What you'll experience
On this degree course you’ll:
- Develop skills to become a professional geologist, on a course that’s accredited by the Geological Society of London
- Go on field trips to locations such as the Bristol Channel, Isle of Wight, Northwest Scotland, the Jurassic Coast in Dorset, Brittany in France and Cyprus
- Learn hands-on in our freshly refurbished petrology lab with binocular and polarizing microscopes
- Have access to modern petrology and palaeontology teaching laboratories stocked with many hand specimens and thin sections of rocks, minerals and fossils
- Tailor your studies to focus on areas of geology that interest you most and support your career ambitions
- Undertake a final year project in a location of your choice, in the UK or overseas
Careers and opportunities
With this degree you could go on to work in the extractive minerals industry, mining, oil and gas sectors, geological engineering or do further study at Master's or PhD level. You'll also have transferable communication and IT skills suitable for a career in business, commerce or education.
Roles our graduates have taken on include:
- mining geologist
- well-site geologist
- geotechnical engineer
When you finish the course, our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills to work. After you leave the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years as you advance in your career.
You can also join the Portsmouth Geology Alumni Group to get careers advice from former students.
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.
What you'll study
Each unit on this course is worth a certain number of credits.
In each year, you need to study units worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 units worth 20 credits and 1 unit worth 40 credits.
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
There are no optional units in this year.
Core units in this year are:
- Sedimentology and Facies Analysis
- Structural Geology
- Professional Skills for Geoscientist
Options to choose from in this year currently include:
- Volcanology and Seismology
- Geological Remote Sensing and GIS
- Hydrology and Flood Hazard Assessment
Core units in this year are:
- Geology Project
- Mineral Resources and Exploration
Options to choose from in this year currently include:
- Applied Sedimentology & Petroleum Geology
- Petrogenesis & Geochronology
- Oceans, Climates & Environments
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 units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.
Work experience and career planning
To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course.
We can help you identify placements, internships and voluntary roles to build your links in the industry.
As well as support by faculty teaching staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).
ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:
- academic writing
- note taking
- time management
- critical thinking
- presentation skills
- working in groups
- revision, memory and exam techniques
If you have a mental or physical disability, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) can give you help, support and advice so you can reach your potential.
Teaching methods on this course include:
- laboratory work
Teaching staff profiles
These are some of the expert staff who’ll teach you on this course.
Dean is an igneous petrologist and mineralogist with 13 years’ experience at the University. He obtained both his BSc and PhD with us, and today, he teaches environmental science subjects, and pure and applied geoscience, at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
His professional experience includes projects, with colleagues at home and abroad, on anthropogenic mine waste, hydrothermally-produced toxic minerals, magmatism and plate tectonics, and meteorites.
Mike is a geochemist with more than 25 years teaching experience. He has particular expertise in elemental and stable isotope analysis of silicate rocks and minerals, as well as waters, soils, dusts, and other environmental matrices.
Mike's principle research interests are in granite petrogenesis and the environmental geochemistry of metals, and more recently he has explored chemical methods for source attribution of industrial fugitive dusts, and environmental mineralogy.
Nic is a Senior Lecturer in Geoscience, who specialises in studying co-evolution between life and the planet. His research explores the interface between palaeontology, sedimentology and behavioural ecology, and focuses on organism-substrate interactions and what they can tell us about ecosystems through time, and their responses to major events in the Earth's history. He also investigates how sedimentary processes and fossil preservation mechanisms may be biasing our views on the history of life. His teaching responsibilities include Earth surface process and materials, and analytical palaeontology.
Rob specialises in unravelling the geological history of ancient mountain belts, using fieldwork, detailed mapping, petrology and geochronology. His research areas include Scotland, East Greenland, and northwest France, and he has participated in the regional mapping projects of the Greenland and British geological surveys.
Rob has written numerous scientific papers based on his research, and co-authored a leading student textbook on the geology of the British Isles and Ireland.
Craig is an expert in metamorphic petrology and geochemistry, and held research positions at the Natural History Museum, Open University and Bristol University before joining us in 2009.
He teaches metamorphic petrology, geodynamics, analytical techniques and field geology, and is head of the Crustal Evolution Research Group, which researches the evolution of the continental crust; the onset of plate tectonics; planetary processes via meteorites; regional tectonics of the Caledonides, Alps and Himalayas; and the formation of ore deposits such as nickel, platinum-group elements, gold and copper.
Catherine is a geologist interested in geochronology; structural geology and tectonics; metamorphic petrology; geochemistry; and in combining these tools to decipher the complex deformational processes that have shaped our planet over geological time.
Catherine was a US-UK Fulbright scholar in 2014 and has worked in the USA and Canada. Her work has taken her all over the world, from the Himalaya to Arctic Canadian Cordilleras, and today, she teaches structural geology, mapping techniques and field geology.
How you'll spend your time
Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:
- September to December – teaching block 1
- January – assessment period 1
- January to mid-May – teaching block 2 (includes Easter break)
- Mid-May to early June – assessment period 2
Most teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.
There’s usually no teaching on Wednesday afternoons.
How you're assessed
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.
The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:
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.
- Applied Science
- Environmental Science/Studies
English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.
Tuition fees (2019 start)
- UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £15,900 per year (subject to annual increase)
Additional course costs
These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.
Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.
You’ll study up to 6 units a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.
You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.
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.
Your travel and accommodation costs for compulsory fieldwork are included in the course fee, with the exception of the Mapping Training Field Course, which takes place around the UK in the summer between the first and second year of study. Travel and accommodation for the Mapping Training Field Course costs around £100. You’ll also need to pay for meals and other living costs on compulsory fieldwork trips.
You’ll need to cover the cost of travel, accommodation, meals and other living costs for any optional fieldwork you do. These costs are normally around £1200.
You’ll need to pay for travel and accommodation for compulsory project work, normally in the UK or Europe, which can cost up to £1000.
We supply field kit but you need to make sure you have suitable clothing for fieldwork such as appropriate footwear (walking boots) and a waterproof jacket and trousers.
To start in 2019 you need to apply through UCAS. You’ll need:
- the UCAS course code – F600
- our institution code – P80
You can start your application now and submit it later if you want.
Not quite ready to apply?
Come to an Open Day to explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.
If you’re new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.
If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply for this course through UCAS (see the 'How to apply' section above for details). You can also apply directly to us or you can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.
To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.