palaeontology student works with fossils
UCAS Code
F641
Mode of Study
Full-time
Duration
3 years full-time, 4 years sandwich with work placement
Start Date
September 2019, September 2020
Accredited
Yes

Apply through Clearing

To start this course in 2019 call us on +44 (0)23 9284 8090 or go to our Clearing section to chat with us online.

Entry requirements for this course may be more flexible during Clearing.

We're available to chat from 9.00am–5.00pm (Monday to Thursday) and 9.00am–4.00pm (Friday) with extended hours from A level results day on 15 August 2019.

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. You’ll learn the theory and methodology of palaeontology and get a solid foundation in geology. By using our comprehensively equipped labs and journeying to the past on field trips, you’ll graduate with skills to apply your knowledge in a range of scientific roles in areas from oil exploration to museum curation.

Accredited by:

This degree course is accredited by The Geological Society, which means teaching is of the highest quality, and has been approved by an independent body of academics and industrialists. This gives you an edge over students who didn’t do an accredited course when you’re applying for jobs.

This accreditation also allows you to become a Chartered Geologist or Chartered Scientist more quickly once you've completed the course.

What you'll experience

On this course you'll:

  • Become a skilled palaeontologist (you don't need any previous experience in palaeontology or geology)
  • Expand your understanding of the evolution of life and geological processes
  • Do fieldwork in locations such as the Isle of Wight, Lulworth Cove, Lyme Regis (and other parts of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site), the Welsh Borders and Germany
  • Work alongside our active academic research team on the latest theories and models
  • Stay up to date with the latest theories in palaeontology, as our team of active researchers integrate new ideas and data into teaching
  • Use our newly refurbished facilities, with specialist petrology and palaeontology laboratories, stocked with rock, mineral and fossil specimens
  • Learn how to use our specialist kit, such as transmitted light, polarising and scanning electron microscopes

Careers and opportunities

When you finish the course, our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills to work in the industry. If you want to continue your studies we can also help you identify relevant courses or research opportunities.

What can you do with a Palaeontology degree?

Previous students on this course have gone on to work and study in areas such as:

  • oil exploration
  • museum curation
  • teaching
  • academic research

After you leave the University, you'll get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.

The lecturers are helpful and enthusiastic, and there is a lot of new lab equipment as well as extensive fossil collections. There are also fantastic opportunities for fieldtrips.

Lucy Hicks,

What you'll study on this BSc (Hons) Palaeontology 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.

Modules

Core modules in this year include:

  • Biodiversity & Vertebrate Anatomy
  • How the Earth Works
  • Mineralogy and Petrology
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Science for Earth Systems
  • Sedimentology and Palaeontology

There are no optional modules in this year.

Core modules in this year include:

  • Early Vertebrate Evolution
  • Invertebrate and Analytical Palaeontology
  • Micropalaeontology, Palaeobotany, and Palaeoenvironments
  • Palaeontological Techniques
  • Professional Skills for Palaeontologists
  • Sedimentary Processes and Facies Analysis

There are no optional modules in this year.

On this course, you can do an optional work placement year between your 2nd and 3rd years to get valuable experience working in industry.

We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your situation and ambitions. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

Core modules in this year include:

  • Palaeontology Project and Study Tour

Optional modules in this year currently include:

  • Applied Sedimentology & Petroleum Geology
  • Dinosaurs and Mammals
  • Industrial Applications of Palaeontology
  • Introduction to Teaching
  • Oceans, Climates and Environments
  • The Fossil Record

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.

Placement year

After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in the broad earth sciences sector.
 
Previous students from the School have enjoyed placements at organisations such as civil engineering, mining and quarrying companies and the Dinosaur Isle museum on the Isle of Wight.

We can helyou look for a work placement that fits your aspirations. If you do a placement youll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

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 that will complement your studies and build your CV.

Learning support

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
  • referencing
  • 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.

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.

Teaching

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • laboratory work
  • fieldwork

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 May – teaching block 2 (includes Easter break)
  • May to 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 modules you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year 1 students: 55% by written exams, 13% by practical exams and 32% by coursework
  • Year 2 students: 29% by written exams, 8% by practical exams and 63% by coursework
  • Year 3 students: 39% by written exams, 9% by practical exams and 52% by coursework

Entry requirements​

Entry requirements for this course may be more flexible during Clearing.
BSc (Hons) Palaeontology 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

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

​Course costs

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.

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 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 £1,200.

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

Apply

How to apply

To start this course in 2019, call our Clearing hotline on +44 (0)23 9284 8090 or go to our Clearing section to chat with us online.

You can also find out how Clearing works, sign up for Clearing news and vacancy updates and book a call back on results day.

To start in 2020 you need to apply through UCAS. You can start your application now and submit it from 4 September 2019.

In the meantime, sign up 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.

When you apply, you'll need:

  • the UCAS course code – F641
  • our institution code – P80

How to apply from outside the UK

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. 

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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