Geology and Geophysics

Geology and Geophysics

Students studying for a BSc degree in Geology and Geophysics, start their studies by ensuring a good grounding in geology and geological prinicpals. In the final two years (honours) the course specializes to focus on geology relevant to the petroleum industry, but with a focus on skills applicable to any geoscience problem. Our graduates are therefore well placed to pursue careers across the breadth of geoscience sub-disciplines, or careers that involve problem solve and decision-making. Most geology students progressing on to professional careers in any geoscience sector will generally undertake a vocational masters in their area of interest, before joining industry.

Fieldwork is an important element of any geology degree, we make the best use of our location in Scotland – close to many great areas for fieldwork.

In years 1 and 2 of study, the four year Scottish degree allows students to chose from a breadth of subjects and disciplines. Options are available for students to graduate with a ‘sustained study’ in languages or other disciplines. We also have options for study abroad and Euramus exchanges at level 2.

Level 1 & 2

At Level 1 and 2 students study a mix of geology and other subjects, with a geology module taken in each half session. Most students match these geology modules with options in Physical Geography, Coastal resources and management, amongst other options. Choosing options in Geography and Archaeology allows students to keep their options open for changing degree course, or deciding to opt for Joint Honours study.

In first year the students study "The Earth through geological time" and "Earth Materials".

In level 2 geology students take courses in: "Stratigraphy" and "Mineralogy and Petrology" and have their first residential field class to Arran.

Arran is a one-week trip run in the Easter period and introduces students to the nuts and bolts of fieldwork, reinforcing basic note-taking, measurement and interpretation. Arran is classic ground with an unrivalled variety of geology on one island!

Level 3

Level 3 is the start of the honours degree course and all but one course option in each semester is geology focused.

Students take courses in:

  • "Petroleum Geology"
  • "Field and Mapping Techniques"
  • "Structural Geology and Tectonics"
  • "Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology"
  • "Sedimentology"

At level 3 there are two main residential field courses as well as day field trips. Honours year starts with a 9 day field trip to Skye, mapping at looking at world class igneous and sedimentary outcrops. This is a great way of beginning the academic year. Towards the end of the academic year there is a 2 week trip to Inchnadamph in NW Scotland, with a focus on mapping skills training and 3D visualization.

Level 4

One of the main components of the BSc final year is the 5 week independent field project and write-up.

Students undertake their independent field research over the summer recess between levels 3 and 4, and much of the autumn term is focused on working up the data, creating maps, cross-sections and writing a report.

Options are provided for independent field research areas form across the UK, and there are normally a couple of options for working further a field. Level 4 students take options in "Petroleum Geology" and "Interpreting the surface and sub-surface", these involve a residential field class in Caithness, and introduction to industry software such as Petrel and Move.

Level 5 - MGeol

Students with good 2:1 degrees may go on to study a fifth year and graduate with an MGeol – for more information on this option check out the MGeol page.

For more information, check out the course prospectus.