MGeol Engineering Geology and Geotechnics

UCAS codeF615
Duration4 Years
Typical offerAAA; IB: 36; BTEC: DDD
  • Engineering
  • Geology
LocationTaught in Cornwall Campus Cornwall (Penryn Campus)


Our MGeol Engineering Geology and Geotechnics programme will provide you with an advanced 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 MGeol programmes are distinct as they deliver an integrated Master’s degree pathway, allowing you to completely personalise your final year to the topics that interest you most and fine-tune skills which can be applied to both industry and academia.

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

The first year is common to both 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 Years 2 and 3. Field work skills, critical for all geologists, are developed both locally and nationally.

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 in Cornwall, that is assessed under CSM2184.

Year 2

Your studies continue in key aspects of pure geology and their applications and include a substantial amount of practical work. Students of both programmes continue to follow the same modules in Year 2. You will develop your skills in geological data collection and analysis during field classes in the UK.

Core geological skills are developed in sedimentology, igneous and metamorphic geology and structural geology. The inter-relationship between geology and the engineering behaviour of rocks is developed through the geotechnics module. 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. Alternatively you can carry out a group mapping project or individual research project in the field or laboratory.

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 that is focussed on geological mapping skills takes place in either the Easter Vacation or after the Term 3 exams (CSM2184).

Year 3

In Year 3, you will specialise according to your programme of study. The overall focus of the year is applied geology and advanced options in related scientific, engineering or environmental applications. You will report on your vacation project and also carry out a research project focusing on your area of special interest. The applied field geology module takes the form of a residential field class in either Spain or Cyprus and provides a practical synthesis of many of the modules covered in Years 2 and 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.

Year 4

You will undertake an applied research project that runs throughout the year, working in collaboration with one of the research groups in the department, on a topic that is of interest to you. In addition to this, you will take an advanced overseas field class and a module in research frontiers that will introduce you to cutting edge of active research across a variety of applicable topics.

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 A or AL Geology at grade A; IB two sciences HL6. 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 A or AL Geology grade A.

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, ensuring 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 total ranging from fieldwork in Cornwall to Rum in Scotland. The third and fourth year include overseas applied geological field classes comprising a feasibility study, geological mapping, a geotechnical exercise and an environmental impact assessment.

Students receive extensive support throughout their fieldwork. These 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.


Engineering Geology and Geotechnics 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 geology 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.

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 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