Introduction

Providing a knowledge of the way the Earth works and is vital to the understanding of the nature and origin of Earth Resources.

This programme is studied on campus.

You will start your studies by ensuring a good grounding in Geology and geological principals. In the final two years (Honours) the degree specialises to focus on geology relevant to the petroleum industry, but with a focus on skills applicable to any geoscience problem. You are therefore well placed to pursue careers across the breadth of geoscience sub-disciplines, or careers that involve problem-solving and decision-making skills.

Our flexible range of courses offers both general and specialised degree qualifications. You can graduate with:

  • BSc Geology and Petroleum Geology
  • MGeol Geology (5 year option)

Options are available for students to graduate with a ‘sustained study’ in languages or other disciplines. We also have options for study abroad and Erasmus exchanges at year 2.

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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
F602

What You'll Study

The courses of study are made up of a range of core courses and choices. In years 1-4, the core courses you study are the same regardless of whether you are aiming for the BSc or the MGeol.

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 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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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

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.

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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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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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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.

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Optional Courses

  • Select a further 60 credit points from courses of choice
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.

Compulsory Courses

Principles of Petroleum Geology (GL3018) - 15 Credit Points

This course introduces students to the key issues surrounding being a geologist in the petroleum industry. With the changing nature of hydrocarbon exploration and production, both conventional and unconventional hydrocarbons are considered. The key concepts of the origin and generation of hydrocarbons, reservoir rocks and subsurface reservoir structures (traps) are introduced, together with some of the key techniques used within the industry (e.g. reservoir geology, petrophysics and formation evaluation). Practical issues such as how hydrocarbon wells are drilled and how rocks are sampled in the subsurface are also considered.

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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 fieldcourse. The field course is paid for directly by participants.

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Structural Geology & Tectonics (GL3027) - 15 Credit Points

This course covers all main aspects of structural geology and tectonics and entails 1 hour lectures and 3 hour practicals each week, together with a field excursion to relatively local geology. The significant practical component allows 'hands on' learning with worked examples being provided by staff. The field excursion allows students to directly apply skills and techniques that have been covered in preceding lectures and practicals. with worked examples then provided in follow-up sessions. The course covers a spectrum of brittle and ductile structures that are developed across a range of scales from microscopic to mountain belt.

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Igneous & Metamorphic Petrology (GL3520) - 15 Credit Points

This course is in 2 parts. In part 1, the students explore the links between tectonic setting and magmagenesis, with particular reference to geochemical signatures recorded in the rocks. In part 2, students look at how different bulk protolith compositions control the metamorphic mineral paragenesis, with an emphasis on observing and recording evidence from textures in thin sections. In a world of post-peak oil, exploration for new reserves is now moving to igneous and metamorphic rocks, and a thorough understanding of these rocks is essential for the practising geologist.

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Sedimentology (GL3521) - 15 Credit Points

Sedimentology is fundamental to interpreting past climate and geography from the evidence in the rock record of the environment in which sediment was deposited. This course develops the skills needed to make such interpretations by cultivating proficiency at description and process-based interpretation of sedimentary successions, and showing how study of modern environments is used to decipher sedimentary processes. We review the controls on the preservation of sediments to make the rock record, including an introduction to the concepts of genetic (sequence) stratigraphy, and see how this can improve discovery and recovery of water and hydrocarbon resources in the subsurface.

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Optional Courses

One of the following options:

Junior Honours

  • Field and Mapping Techniques 2 (GL3525)
  • Select a further 15 credit points from from courses of choice

Designated Degree:

  • EITHER Project/Dissertation (GL3508) OR Field and Mapping Techniques 2 (GL3525)
  • Select a further 15 or 30 credit points from courses of choice to reach 120 credit points
Field and Mapping Techniques 2 (GL3525) - 30 Credit Points

This course teaches the advanced field skills necessary for all practising geologists, and serves as preparation for the summer mapping project (GL4023). The material builds on that covered in GL3026 (Field & Mapping Techniques 1). Preliminary laboratory classes in Semester 2 are used to prepare students for the field exercises on the 10-day field trip. The students will learn how to systematically collect, analyse and present their own field data as part of wider scientific studies.

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Project / Dissertation (GL3508) - 15 Credit Points

A dissertation not exceeding 5,000 words based upon an original geological investigation or a literature review. Or, where appropriate, the submission of a piece of independently executed fieldwork, in the form of a map and brief accompanying memoir, may be permitted at the discretion of the Course Coordinator.

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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.

Compulsory Courses

Geological Mapping Project (GL4023) - 45 Credit Points

35 days of individual geological field mapping. During the exercise the student will devise and carry out a research project based on an aspect of the area mapped and submit a final map and report.

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Geological Synthesis (GL4530) - 15 Credit Points

Students will take a number of approaches to synthesizing information, especially directed to petroleum geology. Six case studies in petroleum exploration topics will be presented, based on the special expertise of staff. Students will write up a synthesis of one study, using sources provided by staff. In groups, students will address topics to be researched, co-ordinated and written up in 7 hours, simulating rapid response to management in an oil company office. There will also be 2 one-day field excursions, each followed by data synthesis and submission of a report.

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Surface and Subsurface Digital Imaging (GL4529) - 15 Credit Points

The subsurface course module will cover the input, storage, management, mapping and image process of seismic dataset. The module will be taught through laboratory practicals supported by short introductory lectures to the seismic acquisition, processing and interpretation and that will cover general theories, methodologies and applications. The laboratory exercises will be based on using and implementing Petrel and Midland Valley’s Move software to solve a range of issues and to highlight their use for seismic interpretation and test.

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Petroleum Geology: Geochemistry and Geofluids (GL4028) - 30 Credit Points

The course will train students in techniques that can be employed especially in petroleum geology, but also in other branches of geology. The techniques focus on the manipulation and interpretation of geochemical data. A 4-day field excursion is embedded within the course, to illustrate petroleum systems, including work in the evenings on organic biomarker data related to the trip, and collection of samples for subsequent laboratory work. Two portfolios of work will be prepared, on unconventional hydrocarbon sources and basin burial histories. This course is excellent preparation for further training in petroleum geology.

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Optional Courses

  • Select a further 15 credit points from courses of choice

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
  • Lab Work
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • 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 learnt on the course; and
  • written examinations at the end of each course.

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

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

Why Study Geology and Petroleum Geology?

  • You will be well equipped to pursue careers across the breadth of Geoscience sub-disciplines.
  • The flexible range of courses means you can graduate with either BSc Geology and Petroleum Geology or MGeol Geology.
  • Aberdeen is the oil and gas capital of Europe making it the most relevant place in the UK to study Geology and Petroleum Geology.
  • Understanding Geology is fundamental to the exploration for hydrocarbon resources and this is why we offer a Petroleum Geology degree at Aberdeen. However, we also ensure you have a basic knowledge of the way the Earth works as this is vital to the understanding of the nature and origin of Earth Resources.
  • Fieldwork is an important element of our Geology 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. The MGeol programme includes a trip to Italy.
  • Aberdeen is geographically perfect for the study of Geology, 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 and links with industry are therefore very strong with employability being second to none.
  • You will have the chance to join the Geology and Petroleum Geology Student Chapter. This is an active and very social Student Chapter which will give you the opportunity to expand your knowledge, skills and networks beyond the classroom.
  • To expand skills, knowledge and networks even further, many of our students join the Aberdeen Geology Society.
  • 2015 Complete University, Geology at Aberdeen was ranked 6th in the whole of the UK.
  • Our BSc degrees are fully accredited by the Geological Society for London.

Entry Requirements

You will find all the information you require about entry requirements on our dedicated 'Entry Requirements' page. You can also find out about the different types of degrees, offers, advanced entry, and changing your subject.

Qualifications

SQA Highers - AABB*
A Levels - BBB*
IB - 32 points, 5 at HL*
ILC - 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.

Advanced Entry - Advanced Highers ABB, A Levels ABB or IB 34 points (6 at HL), including Geology.

Further detailed entry requirements for Sciences degrees.

English Language Requirements

To study for a degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Fees and Funding

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

Fee Waiver

For international students (all non-EU students) entering in 2017/18, the 2017/18 tuition fee rate will apply to all years of study; however, most international students will be eligible for a fee waiver in their final year via the International Undergraduate Scholarship.

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 2018/19 Academic Year
International Students £18,900
Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year

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.

Undergraduate Open Day

Our next Open Day will be on

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Careers

Each year, over 91% of our Geology graduates are in employment or further study 6 months after graduating.

Our degree(s) in Geology open up career opportunities with the global oil and gas industry, as well as other key sectors. Our degrees are highly respected by the oil and gas industry and our graduates are in high demand.

Geology is also a subject that opens up tremendous opportunities for further study, either at an MSc level or PhD.

The vast majority of Aberdeen Geology & Petroleum Geology graduates find employment within the hydrocarbon or mineral exploration and exploitation sectors. Additionally, postgraduate specialised study is a popular pathway toward careers in the oil industry.

Career Opportunities

  • Associate Technical Professional
  • Borehole Geologist
  • Data Manager
  • Field Engineer
  • Logging Geologist
  • Mudlogger
  • Site Engineering Geologist
  • Well Planning Engineer

Accreditation

This degree holds accreditation from

What our Alumni Say

  • Joselia Ferreira
    Joselia Ferreira, Earth Scientist at Chevron

    Joselia Ferreira

    Job Details
    Earth Scientist, Chevron
    Graduated
    I enjoyed the fact that the university is very international and has top quality Professors with good knowledge and reputation that are known within the Oil and Gas Industry. The subjects I had targeted the oil industry.
  • Becky Wain
    Becky Wain, Graduate Geologist at

    Becky Wain

    Job Details
    Graduate Geologist
    Graduated
    The links with many different industries allows the university to be among the best for research and development so you will know that you are learning the most up to date and relevant information during your studies.
  • Don Duncan
    Don Duncan, Independent Consultant at

    Don Duncan

    Job Details
    Independent Consultant
    Graduated
    The Department of Geology and Mineralogy had a very good reputation, as far as I could ascertain, in those pre-internet days, for turning out geologists who could fit into almost any speciality.
  • Roneta Holland
    Roneta Holland, PhD Student at

    Roneta Holland

    Job Details
    PhD Student
    Graduated
    Aberdeen is the European Oil capital and this university is the best place to study petroleum industry-related subjects. The University is well connected - some of the lecturers are former industry workers.

Our Experts

You will be taught by research active academic staff, each with vast knowledge and experience of working in and/or with industry. Some of our staff are truly leading and renowned Geology academics. Each one is passionate about the subject and fully supportive.

Other Experts
Dr Malcolm Hole
Programme Coordinator
Dr David Muirhead

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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1st for Research Impact - Earth Sciences

1st in Scotland for research impact (REF 2014) 

Features

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SPE Student Chapter

SPE Student Chapter

Society of Petroleum Engineers, Student Chapter is one of the 230 student chapters around the world. Currently, our chapter is managed by 6 elected committee members and is advised by Dr. Akisanya. We have more than 150 members.

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Aberdeen University Geological Society

Aberdeen University Geological Society

Student-led social and professional events and networking.

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Geology Field Trips

Geology Field Trips

Scotland can claim to be the birthplace of geology and many fundamental ideas and concepts have been inspired by its wonderful field locations. We make full use of this natural resource, running our field training in world-famous locations.

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Successful careers

We have a history of producing graduates that industry want to employ and hundreds of Alumni who have carved out successful careers for themselves. 

Key Information Set (KIS)

Unistats draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. The core information it contains is called the Key Information Set.

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