Guide to Studying Geology

What is Geology?

  • Geology is a branch of scientific study, focusing on the composition of solid earth, and how their make-up changes over time, and in certain combinations.
  • It gives insight into the history of the Earth, through studying plate tectonics and past climates. Geology also involves the investigation of how minerals can be discovered and utilised.

Why study Geology?

  • If you were a fan of history and geography at school, then geology combines the best of both worlds. The origin of our modern landscape is explored, as is how we discover, use and manage natural resources.
  • Geology is a subject for curious people. If you are keen to discover more about the dynamics of Earth, its resources and economics - things not everyone knows - then this is a strong choice.
  • Students who enjoy working outdoors will find this field of earth sciences a rewarding area of study. Field trips are commonplace, rather than a rare luxury.
  • Geology is not a narrow subject, there is lots to learn. Geologists study a broad range of topics including plate tectonics, glaciers, floods, groundwater flow – even dinosaur evolution.
  • Some of the biggest problems facing the world today can be solved by geologists. They are in constant demand for advice and study of natural hazards, dwindling resources and climate change.

Coursework, assessment and exams

  • Geology involves a mix of practical and written work, in addition to a typical timetabled lecture programme of six to eight hours a week. Fieldwork, in the UK and abroad, is a crucial part of each year of many degree programmes. End of year exams and final year dissertations are common.

What degree can I get? 

  • BA Natural Sciences
  • BA Biology and Geology
  • BA Chemistry and Geology
  • BA Geography and Geology

What qualifications do I need?

  • A Levels in Maths, Sciences and Geography are preferred, but requirements depend on the institution.
  • Always confirm the entry requirements for the particular university/course you are interested in.

Use the CUG Course Chooser to search through Geology courses.

What are the postgraduate opportunities

  • There is an exciting range of taught MAs and research degrees at postgraduate level.
  • Examples include a straight MA in Geology, as well as masters in Applied Environmental Geology, Marine Geoscience, Engineering Geology, Environmental Monitoring and Analysis, and Geoinfomation Technology.

Graduate job prospects



*Professional employment refers to a job or occupation which normally requires a degree.
**Non-professional employment refers to a job or occupation which doesn't normally require a degree.

What are the job opportunities?

  • Geology degrees teach students valuable transferable skills, such as presentation, research and communication, as well as a range of geographical and scientific skills applicable to specialist jobs.
  • Particular job areas include engineering, geochemistry and geophysics, hydrology, mudlogging, drilling and mechanical engineering, consultancy and analysis, data processing and surveyancing.
  • Numerous companies offer graduate schemes in this subject, such as Amey.