Introduction

New Programme - Commencing September 2021!

Geology - studying the Earth beneath our feet and it’s fascinating 4.5 billion years of history, from volcanoes and earthquakes to dinosaurs and ancient rivers - is central to our transition to a sustainable future.

The BSc Geology programme provides you with the skills you need to explore the processes that have shaped the Earth and its surface and subsurface environments through time, equipping you with powers to address the major modern world challenges, from climate change to sustainable energy, and from water security to natural disasters.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
BSc
Duration
48 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
Location of Study
Aberdeen
UCAS Code
F601
Pathway Programme Available
Undergraduate Foundation Programme
Degree marketing image

The BSc Geology is aimed at students who are interested in the physical processes that have shaped our planet and its near neighbours over the last 4.5 billion years, and who want to use our understanding to anticipate and protect the earth's future.

This programme teaches and utilises the latest fieldwork, digital and technological skills and techniques to show you how to extract valuable information recorded in Earth’s rocks, minerals and fossils: an archive that holds the keys to many of the issues we face today such as climate change, water management, natural hazards and transition from fossils fuels to geothermal energy and other sources of renewable energy.

During your first two years, you will study the main geological principles that underpin our understanding of the structure and evolution of the Earth. You will examine the origin, structure and composition of the three major rock groups; igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary, learning about the most fascinating and important geological events and how we date them, and developing the professional geological skills needed to gather and interpret data in the field.

In the final two years, you will specialise more in the topics that interest you, for example, climate change through deep time, planetary geology and the effects of life, geology for society, and imaging and interpreting the Earth.

Fieldwork is fundamental to geology, and at Aberdeen, we enjoy easy access to numerous word-class sites, such as Arran, Skye, the North West Highlands of Scotland. The School of Geosciences is also a world-leader in the application of virtual technology, which means our students can learn how to combine the latest digital tools with our unrivalled field study locations.

What You'll Study

Subject to confirmation

Year 1

Year 1

Two core courses: Earth Through Geological Time, which looks at the evolution of the Earth over the past 4,500 million years, and Earth's Materials, looks at the origin, physical and characteristics of the rocks and minerals that make up the Earth.


Compulsory Courses
The Nature of The Environment 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.

View detailed information about this course
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.

View detailed information about this course
Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen (PD1002)

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 undergraduate students (and articulating students who are in their first year at the University), is studied entirely online, takes approximately 5-6 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks.

Topics include orientation overview, equality and diversity, health, safety and cyber security and how to make the most of your time at university in relation to careers and employability.

Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’.

View detailed information about this course

Optional Courses

Select a further 90 credit points from courses of choice.

Year 2

Year 2

Four courses all of which are taken for Single and Joint Honours programmes. These include Stratigraphical Principles, Petrology & Mineralogy, Geophysics and Introduction to Field Geology, which is a six-day residential course on the Isle of Arran.


Compulsory Courses
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.

View detailed information about this course
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.

View detailed information about this course
An 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.

View detailed information about this course
Geophysics (GL2511)

15 Credit Points

This course establishes the fundamental principles underlying the main methods of geophysical exploration data and their interpretation as applied to Earth Sciences. This includes some basic principles of continuum mechanics and stress and strain as used in structural geology as well some basic principles of geophysical fluid dynamics as relevant to sediment transport and deposition in sedimentology.

View detailed information about this course
Year 3

Year 3

Year 3 is the start of the Honours degree and all but one course option in each semester is geology focused. At year 3 there are two main residential field courses as well as day field trips.

Year 4

Year 4

One of the main components of the BSc final year is the 5 week independent field project. You undertake your independent research over the summer between years 3 and 4, and much of the autumn term is focused on working up the report.

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

  • E-learning
  • Field Trips
  • Field Work
  • Group Projects
  • Individual Projects
  • Lab Work
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials

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 Geology?

  • You will learn the latest professional fieldwork skills and techniques including: recording sedimentary successions (“logging”); recording structural and spatial data; presenting geological data on maps; recognising the character of igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks at scales larger than hand specimen; and conducting fieldwork safely, effectively, and responsibly.
  • Geology students will be taught in the new Science Teaching Hub, which is the due to open in 20. This new teaching facility will transform laboratory-based teaching across the geosciences as each laboratory bench will have a big screen to enable students to see the geological specimens and processes they are learning about like never before. These modern facilities support the growing move towards more digital teaching across the geosciences curriculum, for example, by providing tablets for students to use to gather and analyse data from physical specimens in the lab.
  • You will also gain experience using specialist software, including that used for virtual modelling of geological features and processes, and for visualising and understanding the Earth on scales from hundreds of kilometres to smaller than a single grain of sand.
  • You will have access to the School of Geoscience’s world-class facilities and equipment and laboratories, including 3D Seismic Interpretation Facilities; ACEMAC Nano Scale Electron Microscopy and Analysis Facility; Dirty and Clean Sedimentary Laboratories; Geochemistry Laboratory; GIS Equipment; Hydrology Laboratory; Petrographic and Stereomicroscopes; Petrophysics Laboratory.
  • You will have the opportunity to join professional societies to expand your knowledge, skills and professional networks beyond the classroom.
  • The School of Geosciences is at the forefront of developing the latest digital technology. V3 Geo, for example, has been developed by Aberdeen geoscientists and is a bespoke public repository and viewer for 3D virtual geoscience models, with a focus on virtual geological outcrops.
  • Year 1 and Year 2 of the BSc Geology programme shares numerous courses the BSc Geology and Petroleum Geology programme, and it is possible to transfer between these two programmes. BSc Geology students also have the option of transferring onto the 5-year MGeol, providing they have achieved 2.1 level academic performance in the BSc honours years (3 and 4).

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

2020 Entry
2021 Entry

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.

Entry from College

Advanced entry to this degree may be possible from some HNC/HND qualifications, please see www.abdn.ac.uk/study/articulation for more details.

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, with two Mathematics/ Science subjects at HL.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3 including a minimum of H3 from two Science or Mathematics subjects.

Entry from College

Advanced entry to this degree may be possible from some HNC/HND qualifications, please see www.abdn.ac.uk/study/articulation for more details.

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.

International Applicants who do not meet the Entry Requirements

The University of Aberdeen International Study Centre offers preparation programmes for international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements for undergraduate study. Discover your foundation pathway here.

Fees and Funding

Please refer to our InfoHub Tuition Fees page for fee information for this programme, or contact study@abdn.ac.uk.

Scholarships and Funding

Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who pay tuition fees may be eligible for specific scholarships allowing them to receive additional funding. These are designed to provide assistance to help students support themselves during their time at Aberdeen.

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

Geology graduates can enter careers directly related to the earth sciences, including finding and maintaining water resources (hydrogeology), energy (including for example geothermal, moving us to a sustainable future), mining (including for the precious metals needed in all modern technology, and for noble gases needed for medical equipment), and environmental management.

As scientists equipped to cope with uncertainty and absence of data, Geologists are also sought for their transferable skills and knowledge, for example, in the financial sector.

Our Experts

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.

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Get in Touch

Contact Details

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