Introduction

By combining our expertise in the disciplines of geology and physical geography, the BSc Geoscience is designed to give you a broad, multidisciplinary, understanding of the major environmental challenges we face today, including climate change, natural hazards, population, energy and natural resources, and the impact of humans on the environment.

This programme is studied on campus.

Through lectures, coursework, field study and access to geographical information systems, this programme covers the fundamentals of geoscience, from the origin and formation of the Earth to the causes of climate change, to equip the next generation of experts with a deep appreciation of the science behind the way the Earth works.

You will acquire a deep understanding of the formation of the Earth along with an understanding of the major issues associated with environmental change, resources and prospects for development (sustainable or otherwise). In addition, students also acquire practical field skills in the main geosciences techniques including mapping, field geology, remote sensing and GIS, to apply to your research and future career.

This programme emphasises the multidisciplinary nature of earth sciences, offering you the opportunity to specialise in the areas that interest you the most, through your choice of optional courses and your final year research project.

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Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
BSc
Duration
48 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
UCAS Code
F610

What You'll Study

Year 1

Year 1

Compulsory Courses

Global Worlds, Global Challenges (GG1008) - 15 Credit Points

The course explores major, global-scale issues associated with environmental change, world resources and prospects for development (sustainable or otherwise). Example topics include climate change, natural hazards, population growth, deforestation, water resources and global food supply. The course is designed to appeal to all students interested in the relationships between people and the natural environment, irrespective of their academic background or degree intention. The course combines aspects of the earth, environmental and social sciences. No prior knowledge is assumed.

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The Earth Through Geological Time (GL1005) - 15 Credit Points

For 4,500 million years the Earth has been, and still is, a continually evolving Dynamic Planet. The record is held in the rocks and fossils of the present continental landmasses and ocean basins. To deduce the history of the planet geologists must apply a large range of scientific principles and disciplines. These disciplines encompass the biological, chemical and physical sciences. The course provides a basic understanding of how the structure and evolution of the planet are deduced and how this information can be used to discover and extract natural resources such as fossil fuels and ores.

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Global Worlds, Local Challenges (GG1510) - 15 Credit Points

This course considers the geographical patterns that characterise the Earth’s physical and human environments and landscapes, and the processes that operate within and lead to changes in these. It is also concerned with the ways in which people occupy the Earth’s surface, their movements and settlements, and their perceptions and use of landscapes, resources and space. Lecture material is presented in study blocks covering: glaciology and palaeoclimates; biogeography and soils; and economic, social and transport geographies. Key concepts and skills are reinforced through small group teaching (PC-classes and tutorials).

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Earth's Materials (GL1505) - 15 Credit Points

Following on from GL1005 this course is an introduction to the petrogenesis of three major rock groups; igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary. Practical classes will centre around the use of polarizing microscope in the identification of the common rock-forming minerals. The relationship between plate tectonics and the petrogenesis of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, including types and styles of volcanic eruptions will be addressed.

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Professional Skills Part 1 (PD1001)

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year.

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students and above, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year.

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Optional Courses

In addition to the above, students take 60 credit points from other courses of choice.

Year 2

Year 2

Compulsory Courses

Physical Environments (GG2013) - 15 Credit Points

This course provides an understanding of environmental processes and landscape change through time and space. The course places Physical Geography as an integral component of Earth System Science. The first half of the course explores physical environmental processes, whilst the second focuses on evidence of environmental change across a range of temporal and spatial scales. Three themes of glaciology, hydrology and palaeoecology will be explored to illustrate the linkages and interactions between process and form over a range of temporal and spatial scales. The course is team-taught by staff with an emphasis on using examples from recent research projects.

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Stratigraphical Principles (GL2014) - 15 Credit Points

This course is concerned with absolute and relative time-scales as used by geologists to date geological events and processes. Absolute dating using isotopic techniques, including the treatment of raw data, forms the cornerstone of the course. The use of the fossil record in relative and absolute dating is integrated with geological maps and absolute dating techniques to give a broad overview of the methods used by geologists to determine sequences of events in Earth’s history.

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Petrology & Mineralogy (GL2015) - 15 Credit Points

Petrology and mineralogy is a compulsory course for geology students. It covers igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary petrology. The course has a strong practical component and involves the preparation of workbooks based on individual study and practical exercises that use hand specimens, microscope work and chemical data.

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Skills and Techniques in Geosciences (GG2508) - 15 Credit Points

This course introduces students to a range of scientific and social scientific skills and techniques used in Geography. The course involves a residential field trip in the Easter vacation, past venues have included: the Isle of Skye; the Isle of Arran, Inverness and the Cairngorms National Park. The trips enable students to employ skills and techniques learned in lectures and workgroup sessions to conduct original research into issues covered elsewhere.

Only available to students registered for programme year 2 of a Geography study aim or to students also taking at least 3 of GG2013, GG2014, GG2509 & GG2510

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Mapping and Monitoring the Environment (GG2510) - 15 Credit Points

In a digital era of GPS navigators and many online map tools (e.g. Google Maps), there is an increase demand for professionals able to understand and manipulate geographical data and use these to monitor processes at various scales. The course provides a solid background in the acquisition of geographical data, both onshore and offshore with classic field-based and remote sensing techniques. It covers the creation and interpretation of maps and looks at the history of remote sensing and its science as well as providing the essential basis to understanding what a Geographical Information System is.

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Introduction to Field Geology (GL2510) - 15 Credit Points

Field-based observation is an essential skill for understanding the origin of rocks, and is a vital reality-check for understanding how Geological Science is practised and developed. This course gives students experience with techniques for investigating rocks in their natural habitat, studying the crucial relationships between different units, and developing good habits for observing and recording data in the field. Students learn how to perceive geology in 3D, and to develop working hypotheses from incomplete evidence. This is achieved through a five-day residential field trip (takes place in the Easter break) which is preceded by wide-ranging practical classes and explanatory lectures.

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Optional Courses

In addition to the above, students take 30 credit points from other courses of choice

Year 3

Year 3

Compulsory Courses

Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems (GG3069) - 15 Credit Points

This course covers the practical aspects of remote sensing and GIS. It is entirely hands on, and students learn through a series of exercises that becomes progressively more challenging and more specific to different geographical disciplines. By the end of the course students will be familiar with key remote sensing and GIS software and will have learned their fundamental tools. These are highly demanded skills in the job market at present, so this course is strategic for those students potentially interested in a job where these types of tools are employed.

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Field and Mapping Techniques (GL3026) - 15 Credit Points

This course is based on a residential field programme that enables students to directly study geological phenomena and relationships in the field. it provides hands-on experience and develops 3-D approaches to thinking and problem solving. The learning environment is remote from the university, and encourages students to learn individually and in small group settings. The course covers a range of techniques typically, geological field mapping, sedimentary logging, and examination of detailed field relationships to enable broader scale conclusions to be drawn. Assessments are undertaken during the actual field course. The field course is paid for directly by participants.

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Volcanology (GL3030) - 15 Credit Points

Volcanology is the study of the physical processes that drive volcanic eruptions, and the products of those eruptions, in relationship to both present-day eruptions and the signatures of those preserved in geological record. Present-day volcanism is a major natural hazard that can cause catastrophic effects on the environment and humankind. Understanding of the physical processes which lead to volcanic eruptions and the dispersion of the products of volcanism are the key to monitoring, mitigation and management of volcanic hazards globally. This course will build on basic geological and geographical principles and knowledge to provide a detailed insight into recent developments in our understanding of volcanism on Earth. Geophysical and other remote sensing methods of volcano monitoring will form an integral part of the course. The mitigation and management of volcanic hazards requires communication between scientists and the general public who are at risk, and consequently emphasis will be placed on providing technical and non-technical reports to guide the population at large.

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Techniques in Physical Geography (GG3575) - 15 Credit Points

This course provides an introduction to and training in multiple techniques which are used in Physical Geography. These are directly related to our research strengths in glaciology, hydrology and palaeoecology. This develops skills across a range of techniques which can be subsequently applied to dissertation projects, for advanced 4th year courses, for higher level education. These techniques all represent transferable skills with may be used applied in the workplace. There are three field days where data are collected with subsequent lab classes providing instruction on how to analyse and interpret the data.

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Research Design (GG3574) - 15 Credit Points

This core course builds on GG2508 to provide an introduction to the conduct of research in the Geosciences at an advanced level. It is intended to familiarise students with the skills necessary to design, implement and write up effective research. These skills will support work on undergraduate dissertations and other project work. The course also introduces careers research skills, and explores how you can best make use of your degree in the 'real world' after graduation: workshops run in partnership with the University's Career Service provide practical advice and training on how best to develop your career.

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Optional Courses

In addition to the above, students take 45 credit points from other courses of choice. Students are required to gain at least 210 credits from Honours courses in Geography/Geosciences across years 3 and 4.

Year 4

Year 4

Compulsory Courses

  • Project (GX4001) - 30 Credits
  • Laboratory data acquisition and analysis (GX4002) - 15 Credits
  • Project (GX4501) - 30 Credits

Optional Courses

In addition to the above, students take a further 45 credits including 30 credits from Geography/Geosciences courses. Students are required to gain at least 210 credits from Honours courses in Geography/Geosciences across years 3 and 4.

Course Availability

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Field Trips
  • Field Work
  • Group Projects
  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops

Assessment Methods

Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:

  • coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course;
  • practical assessments of the skills and competencies they learn on the course; and
  • written examinations at the end of each course.

The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, years of study and individual courses.

Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.

Why Study Geoscience?

  • You will be well equipped to pursue careers across the breadth of Geoscience and Geography disciplines.
  • Fieldwork is an important element of this degree, we make the best use of our location in Scotland – close to many great areas for fieldwork.
  • Fieldwork locations include - Arran, Skye, NW Highlands and other areas throughout the UK.
  • Aberdeen is geographically perfect for the study of Geoscience, having some world-class field sites close at hand which can be conveniently visited on day courses. Many of the UK's top 100 Geological sites are within easy reach from Aberdeen and are visited by our students and staff alike.
  • Many past graduates continue to work in the city. Links with industry are, therefore, very strong with high levels of employability from our graduates.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.


General Entry Requirements

2019 Entry
2020 Entry

SQA Highers

Standard offer: AABB - BBB*
Applicants who have achieved between AABB - BBB are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers / Advanced Highers may be required in order to receive an offer of admission.

Adjusted / Access Threshold: BB* (or below)
Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one or more Widening Participation criteria, are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers / Advanced Highers will be required in order to receive an offer of admission.

* Including good performance in at least two Mathematics/ Science subjects by the end of your senior phase of education.

More information on our definition of Standard, Adjusted and Access Threshold entry qualifications.

A LEVELS

Standard offer: BBB*

Adjusted / Access Threshold: BB* (or below)

* Including good performance in at least two Mathematics / Science subjects by the end of your senior phase of education.

More information on our definition of Standard, Adjusted and Access Threshold entry qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL*

* Including good performance in at least two Mathematics / Science subjects by the end of your senior phase of education.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3 OR AAABB*, obtained in a single sitting. (B must be at B2 or above)

* Including good performance in at least two Mathematics / Science subjects by the end of your senior phase of education.

SQA Highers

Standard: AABB*

Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

Minimum: BBB*

Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

Adjusted: BB*

Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

* Including good performance in at least two Mathematics/ Science subjects by the end of your senior phase of education.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

A LEVELS

Standard: BBB*

Minimum: BBC*

Adjusted: CCC*

* Including good performance in at least two Mathematics/ Science subjects by the end of your senior phase of education.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL*.

* Including good performance in at least two Mathematics/ Science subjects by the end of your senior phase of education.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3 OR AAABB*, obtained in a single sitting. (B must be at B2 or above)

* Including good performance in at least two Mathematics/ Science subjects by the end of your senior phase of education.

The information displayed in this section shows a shortened summary of our entry requirements. For more information, or for full entry requirements for Sciences degrees, see our detailed entry requirements section.


English Language Requirements

To study for an Undergraduate degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.0 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

OVERALL - 78 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 54 with: Listening - 51; Reading - 51; Speaking - 51; Writing - 54

Cambridge English Advanced & Proficiency:

OVERALL - 169 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee Waiver

Most RUK students (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) on a four year honours degree will be eligible for a full-fees waiver in their final year. Scholarships and other sources of funding are also available.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU £1,820
All Students
RUK £9,250
Students Admitted in 2019/20
International Students £19,300
Students Admitted in 2019/20

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Careers

The study of geoscience provides access to a wide variety of careers, including:

Career Opportunities

  • Cartographer
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Analyst
  • Geologist
  • Geophysicist
  • Planning Analyst
  • Seismologist
  • Surveyor

Rank 1 Physical Geography Teaching

The University of Aberdeen is ranked first in the UK for teaching quality - National Student Survey 2017

Our Experts

Programme Coordinator
Dr Malcolm Hole

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Unistats

Unistats draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. You can compare these and other data for different degree programmes in which you are interested.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX