BSc Geology

UCAS codeF600
Duration3 Years
Typical offerAAB-ABB; IB: 34-32; BTEC DDD-DDM
Location Cornwall (Penryn Campus)


The BSc Geology programme provides a detailed understanding of the earth, its history, processes and resources, and fundamental training for students interested in a career as a professional geoscientist.

The mixture of pure and applied earth science and engineering modules, and associated transferable skills, is appropriate for subsequent employment in many sectors or study towards a postgraduate degree (MSc/PhD).

Emphasis is placed on practical training in field-based skills, including geological mapping (surface and underground), core logging and surveying. Residential field courses take place in the UK and abroad, along with one-day courses based on Cornwall’s spectacular geology and its extractive industry and associated environmental case studies.

The programme is taught by the University’s Camborne School of Mines (CSM), which has an exceptional international and national reputation for providing geoscientists for industry. CSM has research strengths in geological and climatic changes through deep time, volcanology, economic geology, ore deposits, igneous processes and more.


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

The first year is common to all the Geology programmes and gives you a foundation in geology, together with an overview of crystallography and mineralogy, stratigraphy, palaeontology, geological maps and surveying. Modules in mathematics and chemistry provide the basis for more advanced geological and applied modules in the second and third years. As in other years of the programmes, particular emphasis is placed on the development of field data collection skills that are essential for all geologists. 

Year 2

The second year is also common to all the programmes and your studies continue in key areas of fundamental geology and their applications and include a substantial amount of practical work. You will develop your skills in geological data collection and analysis during field classes in the UK that includes training in geological mapping. Core geological skills are developed in sedimentology, igneous and metamorphic petrology and structural geology and tectonics. The inter-relationship between geology and the engineering behaviour of rocks is developed through the geotechnics module.

In the summer vacation between the second and third year you will undertake a four-week project that involves the collection and analysis of geological or related data. Some of our students carry out their project as part of a work placement. Alternatively you can carry out a group mapping project or individual research project in the field or laboratory. 

Year 3

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.

Work placement

In the summer vacation between Years 2 and 3 you will undertake a four-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