student in geology lab
UCAS Code
F600
Mode of Study
Full-time
Duration
3 years full-time, 4 years sandwich with work placement
Start Date
September 2020
Accredited
Yes

Overview

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.

Accredited by:

This course is accredited by the Geological Society.

100% Graduates in work or further study (DLHE, 2017)

TEF Gold Teaching Excellence Framework

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.

What can you do with a Geology degree?

Roles our graduates have taken on include:

  • mining geologist
  • well-site geologist
  • geotechnical engineer
  • teacher

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.

William Smith,

What you'll study on this BSc (Hons) Geology degree

Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 modules worth 20 credits and 1 module worth 40 credits.

Year 1

Core modules

What you'll do

You’ll explore these themes through case studies and practical and online activities for each of the differing aspects of engineering geology and geohazards.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Recognise the significance of the geosciences in engineering and construction practice
  • Describe a range of geological hazards in the natural and man-made world
  • List and summarise a portfolio of geological hazard and engineering geological case studies
  • Develop preliminary geological ground models for a variety of settings
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, practical classes and workshops.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 128 hours studying independently. This is around 8 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 1,500-word report (25% of final mark)
  • a 90-minute written exam (75% of final mark)

Before your final assessments, you'll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally through online quizzes.

What you'll do

You’ll learn about the mineral components and origins of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks and the various processes by which igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic and structurally deformed rocks are produced, particularly in the context of global plate tectonics. You’ll explore methods of measuring geological time, the main processes that characterise the major periods of Earth history, and you'll outline the role of various igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rock types in economic exploitation and subsequent environmental impact.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Demonstrate understanding of the nature of the Earth's interior and its major operational processes
  • Explain the origins of the Earth's atmosphere, oceans, continents, orogenic belts, volcanoes, earthquakes, and sedimentary basins
  • Read and interpret geological maps and show understanding of the concepts of scale and orientation
  • Use 3D thinking to aid the spatial and geometrical interpretation of geological structures portrayed on maps and cross-sections
  • Apply field techniques to the observation of sedimentary rock successions and their fossil content, and record lithostratigraphic and orientation data to develop a geological map
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, practical classes and workshops, and take part in fieldwork study. 

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 124 hours studying independently. This is around 7.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 60-minute exam (50% of final mark)
  • a 90-minute written exam (50% of final mark)

What you'll do

You'll learn how to identify and describe some of the more common rock-forming minerals in hand specimen and in thin section using the polarising microscope. You'll also get an introduction to igneous and metamorphic rocks looking at compositions, textures, classifications and crystallisation conditions, learning how to classify and describe some of the more common igneous and metamorphic rocks in hand specimen and using the microscope.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Recognise, identify and describe some of the more common rock-forming minerals according to their physical and optical properties in various rock types
  • Provide systematic, accurate, quantitative and illustrated descriptions of igneous and metamorphic rocks from observations in hand specimen and/or thin section, and to classify rocks appropriately
  • Explain the processes that control the generation of magmas within the Earth
  • Describe how the processes of contamination and fractional crystallisation can be used to help explain the wide range of igneous rock types
  • Explain how crystal processes operate to form metamorphic rocks and igneous and sedimentary protoliths
  • Use igneous and metamorphic rock characteristics to interpret and document their origins and crystallisation histories
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, practical classes and workshops.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 137 hours studying independently. This is around 8.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • 2 x 1-hour practical exercises (25% of final mark, each)
  • a 1-hour exam (50% of final mark)

What you'll do

The tutorial hours listed are optional drop-in sessions where you can receive additional assistance with mathematics or IT.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Interpret and apply a range of mathematical techniques with confidence
  • Identify appropriate statistical tests to use for a variety of situations
  • Identify the appropriate mathematical techniques to apply to various practical problems
  • Develop and broaden digital skills necessary to produce reports, analyse and display data, and locate and retrieve electronic information from a wide variety of sources
  • Use a range of specialist software to reinforce your studies
  • Code simple computer programmes in Python
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend tutorials, practical classes and workshops. 

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 131 hours studying independently. This is around 8 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 1-hour exam (50% of final mark)
  • a 2,000-word coursework report (50% of final mark)

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Explain the atomic nature of matter and the chemical properties of the elements
  • Describe quantitatively the fundamental forces that shape the Earth and environmental systems
  • Perform simple calculations using mathematical expressions of physics and chemistry
  • Describe and explain the behaviour of a variety of Earth and environmental systems in terms of underlying physics and chemistry
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, practical classes and workshops.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 146 hours studying independently. This is around 9 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • 2 x 1-hour exams (50% of final mark, each)

What you'll do

You’ll explore the geological history of the British Isles, including evidence for its changing environments and how these are evidenced by the palaeontological and stratigraphic record.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

 

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the origin and evolution of life on planet Earth
  • Understand the basic principles governing biological classification of living and extinct organisms, and explain how fossils were formed and preserved
  • Illustrate and describe examples of selected fossils, understand types of extinct organisms, and understand the varied applications of fossils
  • Use a hand lens and polarising microscope to provide descriptions and classifications of sedimentary rocks
  • Explain the sedimentary rock cycle, and use the characteristics of sedimentary rocks to make first-order interpretations about their processes of formation
  • Outline and provide evidence for the geological history of the British Isles
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, practical classes and workshops.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 136 hours studying independently. This is around 8 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • an 8-week portfolio project (25% of final mark)
  • a 1-hour practical exercise (25% of final mark)
  • a 1-hour exam (50% of final mark)

Year 2

Core modules

What you'll do

You’ll learn advanced geological map interpretation and field analysis techniques that are the prerequisite of a professional geoscientist.

What you’ll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Devise a field-based project of independent geological investigation, containing elements of mapping and problem solving
  • Apply 3D thinking to aid the advanced spatial and geometrical interpretation of geological structures on maps and cross-sections
  • Observe and record complex geological data
  • Prepare and execute individual and group investigations of complex geological problems
  • Present complex data and interpretations in an effective manner in written and graphical form such as geological maps, cross-sections, short summary reports
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend practical classes and workshops, and take part in fieldwork study.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 108 hours studying independently. This is around 6.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 1,000-word report (20% of final mark)
  • a 1,000-word report (30% of final mark)
  • a 2,000-word portfolio project (50% of final mark)

What you'll do

Through lectures and practical classes, you’ll explore the mineralogy, textures, fabrics and formation of the most important igneous and metamorphic rocks.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Explain how igneous rocks are created from parental magmas in the Earth's crust and upper mantle
  • Describe the global and tectonic context in which igneous rocks are generated and the links between the products and processes
  • Recognise and make a reasoned classification of all the important igneous rocks and their textures
  • Explain the causes and effects of metamorphism within different parts of the Earth's crust
  • Recognise and make a reasoned classification of all the important metamorphic rocks and their textures
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, practical classes and workshops.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 140 hours studying independently. This is around 8.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 90-minute practical exercise (50% of final mark)
  • a 90-minute written exam (50% of final mark)

What you'll do

You’ll explore the needs of employers and the skills required to enhance your employability prospects. You’ll be trained in the field techniques and methods required of professional geoscientists.

What you’ll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Observe and record geological data
  • Prepare and execute individual and team-based investigations of geological problems
  • Present data and interpretations in an effective manner in written and graphical form (including a report, geological map and cross-section)
  • Interpret published geological survey maps
  • Apply transferable skills to a variety of new situations
  • Demonstrate career management skills to ensure a successful move into employment or further study, and the development of your career
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend practical classes and workshops, and take part in fieldwork study.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 88 hours studying independently. This is around 5.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • 2 x 1,000-word portfolio projects (20% of final mark, each)
  • a 2,000-word portfolio project (60% of final mark)

What you'll do

You’ll develop your skills in practical analysis of sedimentary structures, fabrics and compositions for the deduction of transport and depositional processes. You’ll study a variety of modern and ancient continental and marine environments to examine sedimentary processes including analytical approaches for documenting trace fossils, their significance in a palaeoenvironmental context and trace fossil assemblages in sedimentary rocks.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

 

  • Evaluate the significance of sedimentary structures in terms of sedimentary processes
  • Describe, analyse and interpret trace fossils and trace fossil communities in relation to the producer, sediment consistency, oxygen levels, salinity and water depth
  • Produce detailed graphic sedimentary logs and facies analysis in the field, and formulate simple 2D or 3D facies models from such information
  • Explain the concepts of sedimentary facies and facies associations with reference to physical, chemical, and/or biological characteristics of depositional environments
  • Compare and contrast the sedimentary processes and products of different depositional systems, illustrate how characteristic facies successions are produced in a variety of continental and marine settings, and demonstrate the ability to account for vertical and lateral facies variations
  • Assess the environmental context of complex trace fossil assemblages by integrating ichnological and sedimentological data
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, practical classes and workshops, and take part in fieldwork study.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 135 hours studying independently. This is around 8 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 2-hour practical exercise (50% of final mark)
  • a 2-hour written exam (50% of final mark)

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Evaluate image processing techniques and apply them to enhance and interpret remote sensing data
  • Appraise the concepts of spatial analysis and apply them using GIS tools
  • Compare and contrast the spatial data sets available and their application
  • Collate, integrate and analyse a range of spatial data to solve different types of scenarios and spatial problems
  • Develop bespoke data analytics tools using programming and scripting languages
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, practical classes and workshops.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 152 hours studying independently. This is around 9 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 2,000-word report (50% of final mark)
  • a 12-minute oral assessment and presentation (50% of final mark)

What you'll do

You’ll develop an understanding of the forces acting on rocks (stress), and how different types of rocks respond to stress at different depths in the earth’s crust. You’ll be introduced to techniques for recording and analysing structural data and learn how to map rock sequences in lab and field exercises.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Critically visualise, interpret and correlate geological structures in three dimensions
  • Recognise, describe, measure, analyse and synthesise the geometrical elements of a range of geological structures
  • Analyse, critically assess, and present three dimensional structural data using graphical projection techniques (such as stereograms)
  • Evaluate the mechanisms involved in the formation of geological structures in terms of the stress and strain and rock material properties
  • Interpret deformational features on a small-scale and use these to confidently infer, evaluate, and predict the controlling crustal-scale tectonic processes
  • Demonstrate a professional, systematic and interactive approach to a geological investigation
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, practical classes and workshops, and take part in a 4-day fieldtrip.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 140 hours studying independently. This is around 8.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 1,000-word report  (25% of final mark)
  • a field exercises assessment (25% of final mark)
  • a 90-minute written exam (50% of final mark)

Year 3

Core modules

What you'll do

Through lectures and advanced fieldwork, you’ll learn to use specialist knowledge to address core geological problems.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Identify and apply appropriate techniques to the analysis of lithological suites, structures and mineral assemblages in geodynamic settings
  • Relate specific geological case studies to their broader geodynamic context
  • Evaluate competing hypotheses for the development of the major geotectonic features of the Earth through geological time
  • Obtain data in the advanced study area using a variety of field skills, and analyse in a broad geodynamical context
  • Demonstrate a professional, systematic and interactive approach to field investigation in the advanced study area, involving teamwork and communication skills
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures and take part in fieldwork study.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 106 hours studying independently. This is around 6.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 1,500-word written assignment (40% of final mark)
  • a 90-minute exam (60% of final mark)

What you’ll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Systematically collect, record and interpret field data in the project area
  • Critically evaluate geological literature relating to the project area
  • Deduce the geological history of the project area
  • Prepare a concise dissertation/report in 'house style' in a constrained time framework
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend project supervision meetings, practical classes and workshops, and take part in fieldwork study.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 380 hours studying independently. This is around 11.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 1,000-word coursework portfolio (40% of final mark)
  • an 8,000-word dissertation (60% of final mark)

Optional modules

What you'll do

In this module, you’ll gain practical experience in the University's geological and environmental labs.

What you’ll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of modern analytical methods and their application in Earth sciences
  • Demonstrate an understanding of sample preparation, standardisation and data analysis requirements for these techniques
  • Collect and process data produced from professional lab instruments
  • Demonstrate new and existing knowledge to address challenges in Earth science
  • Apply safe and effective working practice in laboratory environments
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend practical classes and workshops.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 160 hours studying independently. This is around 9.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 4,000-word coursework report (100% of final mark)

What you'll do

You’ll explore industrial applications of sedimentology and petroleum geology and examine fundamental research questions, current advances, and debates in sedimentary geoscience.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Explain the processes of basin formation and methods for predicting oil and gas source rocks, seals and reservoir intervals
  • Critically discuss the origin and characteristics of economically viable petroleum resources, with respect to the underlying geological processes and commercial considerations
  • Assess the contributions of sedimentary fabric, diagenesis, bioturbation, and structural deformation to reservoir quality and compartmentalisation
  • Interpret outputs from different formation evaluation analysis tools, and summarise the fundamental principles underlying them
  • Critically evaluate current applied research questions in sedimentology
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend practical classes and workshops and take part in fieldwork study. 

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 150 hours studying independently. This is around 9 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 1,500-word coursework project (40% of final mark)
  • a 90-minute written exam (60% of final mark)

What you'll do

You'll develop fundamental skills needed to be a teacher, and the capability to structure and deliver a short lesson.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Analyse the expectations of a professional teacher in terms of skills, knowledge and conduct
  • Discuss the importance of safeguarding students
  • Apply fundamental concepts of teaching and learning theory to plan an effective, peer-assessed lesson
  • Deliver lesson plans with clear objectives, student-centred learning and assessment of learning
  • Reflect on the use of active learning methods within subject specialism
Teaching activities
  • 10 x 2-hour seminars
  • 2 x 1-hour tutorials
  • 10 x 1-hour lectures
  • 4 x 1-hour practical classes and workshops
Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 164 hours studying independently. This is around 10 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a practical skills assessment (50% of final mark)
  • a written assignment including essay (50% of final mark)

What you'll do

You’ll develop your knowledge of mineral resource types and their importance, exploration methods, mining methods, the environmental consequences associated with mining, and the geology of ore deposits. This module gives you the skills and knowledge to contribute to the resource problems facing society such supplying metals needed by sustainable future technologies and new resources to supply a rapidly growing, technologically enabled, population.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of economic and societal factors that influence the mineral resource industry
  • Demonstrate knowledge of geological, geophysical and geochemical survey techniques for mineral exploration
  • Recognise potential environmental impacts associated with mineral extraction
  • Explain the modes of formation and characteristics of major bulk mineral and metalliferous mineral resource types
  • Discuss the distribution of mineral resources in the context of plate tectonics and the geodynamic evolution of the Earth
  • Identify major groups of economic Earth materials in hand specimen and in the context of a geological map setting
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend seminars, practical classes and workshops.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 164 hours studying independently. This is around 10 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 20-minute oral assessment and presentation (40% of final mark)
  • a 90-minute practical coursework exercise (60% of final mark)

What you'll do

Through lectures, you’ll critically evaluate marine and terrestrial climate archives and use multidisciplinary approaches to interpret climates of the past.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Assess climate and environmental change in deep time
  • Assess the use of geochemical, sedimentological and palaeontological proxies in palaeoclimate and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction
  • Describe and critically evaluate marine and terrestrial climate archives
  • Critically discuss the nature of geological evidence for past climates/environments and climate/environmental change
  • Search, synthesise and critically evaluate published sources of information, and summarise your findings in the form of a literature review
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 152 hours studying independently. This is around 9 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 2,000-word coursework project (100% of final mark)

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Critically evaluate the significance of the Quaternary period to engineering geology
  • Categorise Quaternary ground models
  • Categorise landslide types and landslide trigger mechanisms
  • Predict areas of potential landslide hazard
  • Assess and evaluate a terrain for slope instability and discriminate between different landslide types
  • Categorise and describe problematic ground
Teaching activities
  • 16 x 2-hour lectures
  • 16 hours of fieldwork
Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 152 hours studying independently. This is around 9 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 120-minute written exam (100% of final mark)

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.

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.

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.

Teaching

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • laboratory work

You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.

Teaching staff profiles

These are some of the expert staff who’ll teach you on this degree course. 

Dean Bullen

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 Fowler

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 Minter

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 Strachan

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 Storey

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 Mottram

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

One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.

At university, as well as spending time in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and tutorials, you’ll do lots of independent study with support from our staff when you need it.

A typical week

We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your Law and Business degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and workshops for about 15 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.

A typical week

We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your Geology degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, practical classes and workshops and fieldwork for about 16.5 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.

Most timetabled 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.

Term times

The academic year runs from September to early June with breaks at Christmas and Easter. It's divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:

  • September to December – teaching block 1
  • January – assessment period 1
  • January to May – teaching block 2 (includes Easter break)
  • May to June – assessment period 2

Extra learning support

One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.

At university, as well as spending time in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and tutorials, you’ll do lots of independent study with support from our staff when you need it.

A typical week

We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your Law and Business degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and workshops for about 15 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.

Personal tutor

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.

Learning support tutors

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning support tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • understanding and using assignment feedback
  • managing your time and workload
  • revision and exam techniques

Academic skills support

As well as support from faculty 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
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.

Library support

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from the faculty librarian for science.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

Support with English

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free English for Academic Purposes programme to improve your English further.

Entry requirements​

BSc (Hons) Geology degree entry requirements

Qualifications or experience
  • 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, Archaeology, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science/Studies, Geography, Geology, Mathematics or Physics).

See the other qualifications we accept

English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

What skills and qualities do I need for this Geology degree course?

You don't need prior knowledge of geology for this course, but you need to be motivated and enthusiastic about the subject. Good literacy, numeracy and IT skills are also useful.

The ability to analyse and interpret your observations and present your findings in reports and other forms of presentation is useful too. You'll learn how to do this effectively on the course.

How can I prepare for a Geology degree?

You can prepare for this degree by studying at least 1 science subject at sixth form or college.

If you don't have a geology background, you can prepare by doing some general background reading through books or online before you start the course.

​Course costs

Tuition fees  (2020 start)

  • UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £16,400 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.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.

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 £1,200.

For compulsory project work, normally in the UK or Europe, costs for travel and accommodation will range from £0–£1,000.

Common questions about this subject

Can't find the answer to your questions about this course or anything else about undergraduate life? Contact us

Common geology questions

Geology is the science of the Earth. It looks at the Earth's origins in the solar system and how it has evolved through time. As geologists, we use what we learn about the Earth to understand the formation of other planets and asteroids.

Geologists are an integral part of modern society for locating and managing natural resources.

Areas of geology include:

  • mineralogy
  • petrology
  • sedimentology
  • structural geology
  • geological mapping
  • exploration geology
  • planetary geology

The world needs geologists to explore for raw materials that underpin the modern way of life. Therefore, there will likely always be demand for geologists.

Geologists are employed in diverse areas including research, teaching and exploration of resources such as aggregates, metal ores, gas and oil. Organisations including the Ministry of Defence, local councils and construction companies all employ geologists.

 

There are many reasons to work in geology.

Some geologists are fascinated by the natural world and want to learn more about it. Some study geology for the fun of working in wonderful landscapes. Some like having access to expensive analytical equipment. Some like designing and building this equipment. Some simply like to collect minerals and crystals and learn how and why they formed.

Some geologists have an interest in the new science of planetary geology driven by the exploration of Mars over the last decade. Planetary geology helps us understand how other planets formed.

Geology is a broad subject, so the skills you need depend on what area of geology you specialise in.

All areas of geology need observational, analytical and interpretational skills, from working on an outcrop to looking through a microscope. Compiling findings into illustrated reports is also a common task for geologists.

Apply

How to apply

To start this course in 2020, apply through UCAS. You’ll need:

  • the UCAS course code – F600
  • our institution code – P80

If you’d prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.

You can start your application now and submit it later if you want.

You can also sign up to an Open Day to:

  • tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
  • speak with lecturers and chat with our students 
  • get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join

If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

How to apply from outside the UK

If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply for this course through UCAS or apply directly to us (see the 'How to apply' section above for details). You can also 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. 

If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

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