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 2021, September 2022
Accredited
Yes

See how you'll be taught in 2021/22 in our Covid information for applicants.

Apply through Clearing

To start this course in 2021 complete this short form, call us on +44 (0)23 9284 8074 or go to our Clearing section to chat with us online.

Our Clearing hotline is open 10.00am–4.30pm Monday to Thursday and 10.00am–4.00pm on Fridays.

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.

TEF Gold Teaching Excellence Framework

100% Overall student satisfaction (NSS, 2020)

90% Graduates in work or further study (HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey conducted in 2019)

The Geological Society

Accredited by:

This course is accredited by The Geological Society of London.

Entry requirements​

BSc (Hons) Palaeontology degree entry requirements

Typical offers
  • A levels – ABB–BBC
  • UCAS points – 112–128 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent, with 72 points from 2 Science subjects (Applied Science, Archaeology, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science/Studies, Geography, Geology, Mathematics or Physics) (calculate your UCAS points)
  • BTECs (Extended Diplomas) – DDM–DMM
  • International Baccalaureate – 28

See full entry requirements and 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

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

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.

Typical offers
  • A levels – ABB–BBC
  • UCAS points – 112–128 points, with 32 points from a Science subject (Applied Science, Archaeology, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science/Studies, Geography, Geology, Mathematics or Physics) (calculate your UCAS points)
  • BTECs (Extended Diplomas) – DDM–DMM

See full entry requirements and 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

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

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 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
Palaeontology facilities at the University of Portsmouth

Course leader Dr Anthony Butcher talks about the facilities on offer on the Palaeontology BSc (Hons) at the University of Portsmouth.

Dr Anthony Butcher: Palaeontology, the word itself means the study of ancient life. From the earliest algae right through to the biggest dinosaurs and even early human ancestors as well. It's satisfying seeing students come in with a real enthusiasm for dinosaurs and actually seeing their interests explode in some of these other areas.

We try and make our students as employable as possible by giving them access to some really excellent resources and expertise. Portsmouth's really well located for easy access to some famous fossil localities. We offer virtual alternatives to our field trips and those were approved by our accrediting body, the Geological Society of London. It's very rewarding to see our students go on to utilise those skills after graduation. 

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.

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 help you look for a work placement that fits your aspirations. If you do a placement you’ll 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.

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, BSc (Hons) Palaeontology

Palaeontology careers - University of Portsmouth

Course leader Dr Anthony Butcher talks about the careers that Palaeontology BSc (Hons) students at the University of Portsmouth can go on to do.

Dr Anthony Butcher: After graduation, our students have a really strong set of transferable skills and general scientific skills as well.

So even if they're not able to go into a palaeontological role, they can go into things such as environmental consultancy, public outreach and engagement, teaching and museum work.

At Portsmouth, we run an MRes, a research master's programme in Palaeontology. That can range everything from palaeobotany to vertebrate palaeontology, dinosaurs, pterosaurs. Students are able to work on a dedicated project for an entire year and a lot of our students, by the time they finish their MRes, have actually published papers in scientific journals. 

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, four modules worth 20 credits and one 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:

  • Applications of Palaeontology
  • Applied Sedimentology and Petroleum Geology
  • Dinosaurs and Mammals
  • 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.

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

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 In-Sessional English (ISE) 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:

  • Teaching block 1 – October to January
  • Assessment period 1 – late January to early February
  • Teaching block 2 – February to May
  • Assessment period 2 – May to June

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

​Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (2021 start)

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students - £9,250 a year (including Transition Scholarship – may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £17,600 per year (subject to annual increase)

Funding your studies

Find out how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.

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.

You will be provided with essential health and safety equipment free of charge, and loaned equipment such as a compass clinometer, hammer, etc. where appropriate (though you may use your own equipment, if it is up to standard). You will, however, need to purchase your own clothing appropriate for fieldwork (e.g. waterproofs, rucksack, sturdy walking boots, etc.).

Apply

How to apply

To start this course in 2021, apply through Clearing by completing this short application form, calling our Clearing hotline on +44 (0)23 9284 8074 or going to our Clearing section to chat with us online.

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

International and EU students

Clearing is open to all applicants. But if you'd prefer to apply without going through Clearing, use our online application form.

To start this course in 2022, apply through UCAS. You'll need:

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

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

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

See the 'How to apply' section above for details of how to apply. 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 abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.

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