Guide to studying Geology
If you’re keen to discover more about the dynamics of the Earth, its resources and economics, then Geology could be the subject for you.
- What do graduates do and earn?
Geology is a branch of scientific study focusing on the composition of solid earth and how its make-up changes over time.
It gives insight into the history of the Earth by studying plate tectonics and past climates. Geology also involves the investigation of how minerals can be discovered and utilised.
Geology combines the best of natural history and geography. During your degree course, you'll explore the origins of our modern landscape, as well as the ways we discover, use and manage natural resources.
Geology is not a narrow subject; there is a lot to learn. Geologists study a broad range of topics, including plate tectonics, glaciers, floods, groundwater flow – even dinosaur evolution.
Read our six reasons to study Geology for more information on why you might choose this subject area.
The course is very diverse, covering lots of topics and doing so using a range of learning methods. I found that learning through lectures, practical classes and hands-on work (e.g. fieldwork, essays, practical sessions) made even the more difficult subjects easier to understand.
Rachel, Univerity of Aberdeen
Geology degrees teach 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 in engineering, geochemistry and geophysics, hydrology, mudlogging, drilling and mechanical engineering, consultancy and analysis, data processing and surveying.
Numerous companies, such as Amey, offer graduate schemes in this subject.
In the infographic below, the first table shows what graduates of Geology have gone on to do in the months after their graduation.
The second table shows the average salaries of undergraduate Geology students entering employment. The three skill levels – high, medium and low – reflect the UK's Standard Occupational Classification's major groups 1–3, 4–6 and 7–9 respectively.
Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18
For a Geology course, you will usually need A Levels (or equivalent) in two of the following subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Economics, Further Mathematics, Geography, Geology, Mathematics, Physics and Psychology.
Grades and other requirements are different at each institution. Always confirm with the particular university/course you're interested in.
- GO TO
- Choosing A Levels
- BA Natural Sciences
- BA Biology and Geology
- BA Chemistry and Geology
- BA Geography and Geology
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.
Examples of taught MAs and research degrees at postgraduate level include a straight MA in Geology, as well as master's courses in Applied Environmental Geology, Marine Geoscience, Engineering Geology, Environmental Monitoring and Analysis, and Geoinformation Technology.