BSc Applied Geology

UCAS codeF613
Duration3 Years
Typical offerAAB–ABB; IB: 34–32; BTEC: DDD–DDM
LocationTaught in Cornwall Campus Cornwall (Penryn Campus)


This programme provides knowledge and understanding of a wide range of applied geoscience disciplines. It provides students with the technical background for employment in exploration, production geology or geometallurgy, and is best suited to students who wish to develop as broad a portfolio of skills as possible.

It is possible to transfer onto the BSc Engineering Geology and Geotechnics programme at any point up until the end of the second year as both degree programmes have a common first and second year.

The first two years of study provide a thorough grounding in the major principles of geology, together with an overview of earth system science and the fundamentals of mineralogy, stratigraphy, geological maps, palaeontology and surveying. Core geological skills are developed in sedimentology, igneous and metamorphic geology and structural geology. You will undertake a substantial amount of laboratory-based practical work and will develop geological data collection skills and analysis during field classes in the UK.

In the summer vacation before your third year you will undertake a four-week project which involves the collection and analysis of geological or related data. This can be done through a company placement, group project or an individual project. The cost of this work varies according to the project chosen; students may be paid for a company placement, whereas if you choose a project you may have to pay for elements such as travel and subsistence.  

In Year 3, you will report on your vacation project and carry out a research project. You will also study specialist advanced modules and complete a residential field class in southern Spain.


Accredited by The Geological Society for the purpose of partially meeting the experience requirement for a Chartered Geologist.

£200,000 of scholarships available for 2019

The Camborne School of Mines Trust is awarding scholarships to exceptional applicants to Mining and Geology programmes. Read more »


Programme structure

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

Year 1

Students attend a one week residential field class in Pembrokeshire during Easter Vacation / Term 3 as part of Field Geology and Geological Maps. This module also includes ten, one-day, field classes at localities in Cornwall. At the end of the first stage students also attend a three week practical surveying course, based on the Penryn Campus, that is assessed under CSM2184.

Year 2

There are two periods of residential fieldwork. As part of CSM2182, there are six, one-day, field classes at localities in Cornwall. As part of CSM2183, a six day geological field class during Term 1 focuses on sedimentary rocks, stratigraphy and the tectonic development of the Wessex Basin (Devon/Dorset). An eight or nine day field class in Scotland (or possibly mainland Europe from 2013-14) that is focussed on geological mapping skills takes place in either the Easter Vacation or after the Term 3 exams (CSM2184).

During the summer vacation students carry out an independent study of at least 28 days duration (assessed under CSM3379). In some cases students obtain an industrial placement or work on a research project; the majority of students usually undertake a geological mapping exercise.

Year 3

During the Easter vacation students undertake a ten day residential field class in Cyprus or Spain (assessed under CSM3048). The fieldwork provides a synthesis of much of the programme’s syllabus, focusing on applied mapping, geotechnical engineering and environmental impact.

Assessment at Stage 1 is formative and does not contribute towards the overall mark for the degree programme, although an overall pass is necessary for progression to Stage 2. The overall mark for the degree is calculated from the marks for Stages 2 and 3, which are weighted in the ratio of 1:2 respectively.

All essential course books are available through the library, either in physical or electronic format. However, in addition to the course fees, students are expected to purchase geological field equipment and pay for printing of coursework including maps. While all compulsory field courses are included in the course fees, students will have to cover travel to and from the UK meeting point. Similar to other UK geology courses, students also have to pay for travel, accommodation and living expenses (typically £500 - £900 depending on location and accommodation choices) incurred whilst undertaking the data collection for the Summer Vacation Project (between the 2nd and 3rd year of study, module CSM3379)

Entry requirements 2020

Typical offer


Required subjects

GCE AL in two science subjects at grade B or AL Geology at grade B; IB two sciences HL5. GCSE Maths grade C or 4
GCE AL science includes: Biology/Human Biology*; Chemistry; Computing; Design and Technology; Electronics; Environmental Studies; Geography; Geology; Maths/Pure Maths/Further Maths*; Physical Education; Physics; Psychology; Science (applied); Statistics.

*If more than one of these is taken they would only count as one 'science' but could count as two A-levels towards our general requirements.

Applicants studying a BTEC Extended Diploma will also require GCE AL in two science subjects at grade B or AL Geology grade B.

International students

International students should check details of our English language requirements

If your academic qualifications or English language skills do not meet our entry requirements our INTO University of Exeter centre offers a range of courses to help you reach the required language and academic standards.

International Foundation programmes

Preparation for entry to Year 1 of an undergraduate degree:

Further information

Please read the important information about our Typical offer.

For full and up-to-date information on applying to Exeter and entry requirements, including requirements for other types of qualification, please see the Applying section.

Learning and teaching

Teaching methods include a combination of formal lectures, ‘hands on’ practical classes and field-based teaching. Laboratory classes using our extensive teaching collections and petrographic microscopes develop your understanding of the major groups of rocks, minerals and fossils. Project work often involves use of our world-class analytical mineralogical facilities.

You’ll have on average 18 teaching hours per week and will need to undertake additional hours of private study (assignments, additional project work and associated reading). You should expect your total workload to average about 40 hours per week during term time.

During the second and third year of your programme, you will complete a major project, which forms an important component of the third year of the degree programme. This project may involve geological mapping, a research project or a company placement (sometimes paid). You'll have a personal tutor who is available for advice and support throughout your studies.

A research and practice led culture

We believe every student benefits from being taught by experts active in research and practice. You will discuss the very latest ideas, research discoveries and new technologies in seminars and in the field and you will become actively involved in a research project yourself. All our academic staff are active in internationally-recognised scientific research across a wide range of topics. You will also be taught by leading industry practitioners.


Assessment methods vary between modules and may include individual or group reports, essays, practical write-ups and more traditional exams. You have to pass the first year in order to progress to the second year but your first-year marks do not count towards your final degree classification.


The Geology degree programmes provide a great deal of practical experience of working in the field, aiming to produce high quality graduates who can enjoy high employment rates and easy transition into further study.  Emphasis remains on applied teaching and field visits and practical field-based assignments are used to emphasise key areas in each year of study.

Students must undertake a compulsory field-based module in each year of study to ensure they are confident using geology field skills, surveying, geological mapping and environmental impact assessments.

The first year includes six days residential fieldwork in Pembrokeshire along with eight days fieldwork in South West England. The second year includes 34 days of fieldwork, in locations that include Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and the Isle of Rum in Scotland. The final year includes an integrated applied geological field exercise in Cyprus or southern Spain comprising a feasibility study, geological mapping, a geotechnical exercise and an environmental impact assessment.

Students receive extensive support throughout their fieldwork. The fieldwork modules are assessed through a variety of field notebooks, technical reports and practical field-based tests.

For more information on fieldwork please see the module descriptions within each degree programme – as well as our Geology Field Work page.


Our Applied Geology graduates enjoy excellent career opportunities in mineral and petroleum exploration and production, geotechnics, engineering geology and environment-related industries, in the UK and overseas. The international gold and base metal mining industries have been particularly buoyant, mainly due to economic growth in South East Asia. Our graduates are recognised as being articulate, resourceful and well travelled, and claim great job satisfaction and excellent salaries. Camborne School of Mines has a global reputation for providing graduates with the skills that industry needs.

The programme is accredited by The Geological Society which is advantageous should you wish to proceed to Chartered Geologist status after graduation. A significant proportion of our graduates continue onto taught postgraduate (MSc) courses or research degrees (MPhil/PhD), with many choosing to remain at Camborne School of Mines.

You can find out more about where our graduates have been employed on the Camborne School of Mines website.

Work placements and industrial training

Thanks to our excellent links with industry, there are numerous opportunities to develop your CV by gaining work experience before you graduate.

Optional work placements

All our undergraduate students undertake a geological mapping, laboratory-based project or industrial project placement during the vacation before the third year of study. The industry placement opportunity, which may be UK or international, allows you to gain work experience and industry contacts. The placements are very often provided through our extensive network of industry contacts and former Camborne School of Mines graduates.

Step Scheme and Year in Industry

We work closely with schemes such as Step and The Year in Industry which help students to find placements and provide training during the placements.

Work placement

In the summer vacation between Years 2 and 3 you will undertake a five-week project that involves the collection and analysis of geological or related data. Many of our students take advantage of the Department’s exceptional links with industry and choose to carry out their project as part of a work placement.

Contact us

Penryn Campus, Cornwall

WebEnquire online
Phone: +44 (0)1326 371801

Website: Visit the Geology website