BSc Engineering Geology and Geotechnics

UCAS codeF644
Duration3 Years
Typical offerAAB–ABB; IB: 34–32; BTEC: DDD–DDM
LocationTaught in Cornwall Campus Cornwall (Penryn Campus)


Our BSc Engineering Geology and Geotechnics programme will provide you with a detailed understanding of the Earth, its processes, systems and resources. You will be ready to tackle many of the world’s important environmental and infrastructure challenges from an engineering perspective, with a focus on the safe and sustainable supply of critical raw materials and resources.

The mixture of pure and applied Earth science modules we offer, and the transferable skills you gain, provide you with the ideal mix of skills and experience for employment in many geology-facing sectors and beyond.

We pride ourselves on field teaching delivered by experts specialising in field-based research. You will benefit from the unique opportunity to participate in over sixteen one-day field classes in Cornwall that take advantage of our location’s spectacular geology and its mining heritage, as well as overseas residential trips.

Whilst studying geology with us, you will be part of the Camborne School of Mines (CSM) department on the Penryn campus in Cornwall. CSM has an exceptional international reputation for research-inspired teaching and a proven track-record of providing geoscientists for industry.

Our geology degree programmes are highly flexible; you can switch between certain strands during your studies if your interests change.


Our programmes are accredited by The Geological Society which is the first step on the ladder to Chartered Geologist status after graduation.

£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

During your first year, which is shared with all Geology students, you will gain a solid foundation in geology and the geosciences. You will undertake nine one-day field classes to iconic locations across Cornwall during terms 1 and 2, and attend a one-week residential field class in Pembrokeshire during early May.

Year 2

You will begin to specialise in year two, learning about the structural properties of soils and rocks in the ‘Geotechnics’ module. You will also develop core geological and transferable skills that build on Year 1 knowledge. Your ability to collect and analyse geological data will be further developed through seven one-day field classes, a residential field course in Devon and Dorset, and training in geological mapping on the Isle of Skye.

The Summer Vacation Project is a third-year module that starts in the summer after your second year and involves you carrying out four to five weeks of independent field-based research. Most of our students choose a geological mapping project, which they may do anywhere in the world. Recent examples of destinations include Iceland, Canada, Spain, Norway and the Scottish Highlands. Every year, some of our students choose to carry out their project as part of an industrial work placement embedded in a geosciences-related company. It is also possible for you to do a field-based research project working with one of our world-class research groups.

Year 3

A key aspect of year three teaching is its flexibility: in addition to the core modules you get to tailor your geological development to the topics which interest you most. The optional modules you’ll be choosing from cover a selection of continually-evolving subjects tackling a variety of global environmental challenges. The ‘Engineering Geology field course’ provides an opportunity to examine an outstanding area of geology famous for its tectonic and mining history, and typically cycles between Spain and Cyprus.

Essential course books are available through the library, either in physical or electronic format. In addition to the course tuition fees, students are, however, expected to purchase geological field equipment and pay for printing of coursework. 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 £1000 - £1500 for a mapping project depending on location and accommodation choices) incurred whilst undertaking field work for the Summer Vacation Project (between the 2nd and 3rd year of study).

If you have mobility or health disabilities that prevent you from undertaking field work, reasonable adjustments and/or alternative assessment is possible. This could include replacing a field work module with an alternative learning experience.

Entry requirements 2020

Typical offer

A Levels: AAB-ABB;

IB: 34-32;


Required subjects

A level

GCE AL in two science subjects at grade B or AL Geology at grade B. 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.


Two sciences HL5

BTEC Extended Diploma (2016)

Applicants studying one of the following new BTEC Extended Diplomas will be considered without GCE AL requirements: Applied Science, Engineering.

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

Your course delivered through a combination of lectures, ‘hands on’ practical classes, seminars, tutorials, field-based teaching, and independent study. Laboratory practical classes will develop your understanding of a range of geological topics and help put theory into practice, including the use of specialist microscopes and industry-leading computer software.

On average you will have 18 teaching hours per week in Years 1-3, and will need to undertake additional independent study (e.g., directed reading, assignments, and project work). In Year 4, the majority of your time will be spent on your research project, using state-of-the-art analytical and computational facilities and communicating project results. You should expect your total workload to average about 40 hours per week during term time for all years of study.

Research-led culture

You will benefit from being taught by experts active in internationally-relevant research. In doing so, 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. You will also be taught by leading industry practitioners.


Assessment methods vary between modules and may include individual or group reports, essays, presentations, practical write-ups and exams. More innovative assessment techniques are also used, and may include the use of websites, social media, videos, science communication, and dragons-den style presentations.


  • Personal Tutor: You will have a Personal Tutor available for advice and support throughout your studies.
  • Study skills: Help with essay writing, research skills, time management, presentations and more.
  • Modern language courses
  • Health, wellbeing and general support
  • Fieldwork

    Our Geology degree programmes provide a wealth of practical experience of working in the field. High-quality graduates with strong field-based skills can benefit from excellent graduate employment rates in degree-related and other areas, or an easy transition into further study.

    Students must undertake a compulsory* field-based module in each year of study to ensure they are confident using geology field skills.

    Year one

    Six-day residential field course in Pembrokeshire Nine one-day field-classes in Cornwall

    Year two

    34 days of field work in locations that including Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and the Isle of Skye in Scotland

    Year three

    Geological field course in Tenerife, Italy, or southern Spain.

    Field work is assessed through field notebooks, technical reports, and practical field-based assignments.

    For more information on field work please see the module descriptions within each degree programme and our field work pages.

    *If you have mobility or health disabilities that prevent you from undertaking field work, reasonable adjustments and/or alternative assessment is possible. This could include replacing a field work module with an alternative learning experience.


    Our graduates enjoy excellent career opportunities in a range of geoscience subjects, including hydrogeology, geophysics, mineral and petroleum exploration, geotechnics, engineering geology and environment-related industries, in the UK, Europe and internationally. Every year, a number of graduates also go on to roles outside of geology and geoscience, utilising the array of transferable skills they have developed. All our graduates are recognised as being articulate, resourceful and diligent, and claim great job satisfaction and excellent salaries. Recent graduates of ours now work in fields as diverse as the UK civil service, Arup Geotechnics, the National Trust, the Ministry of Defence and Geomarine Ltd.

    You can find out more about where our graduates have been employed on our student profile page.

    Careers Service

    We have a dedicated, award-winning Careers Service ensuring you have access to careers advisors, mentors and the tools you need to succeed in finding employment in your chosen field on graduation.

    Work placement

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

    Contact us

    Penryn Campus, Cornwall

    WebEnquire online
    Phone: +44 (0)1326 371801

    Website: Visit the Geology website