School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

BSc (Hons) Applied Geology

Do you have a passion for the Earth’s materials and processes, and the ambition to find and manage our planet’s precious resources in the future? Study applied geology in one of the most geologically interesting areas of the UK. Learn the theory, get practical with a range of opportunities for fieldwork and develop a deep understanding of geological processes. With expert guidance and industry experience from our teaching team, you’ll be primed for success in the geosciences industries.

You will take part in the substantial fieldwork offered in a variety of UK and overseas locations. You'll become an experienced field-worker, able to apply the knowledge and skills acquired in the classroom to existing Earth science problems. You will work towards becoming a Chartered Geologist, our accreditation by the Geological Society of London helps you to gain the required experience.

It’s not too late to apply for September 2019

If you haven’t applied to the University of Plymouth for September 2019 entry, prior to the UCAS deadline, there may still be vacancies on your chosen course.

It’s not too late to apply

Key features

  • We’re very proud of our National Student Survey (NSS) 2018 return showing 95 per cent of students found the course intellectually stimulating.*
  • Develop your knowledge and skills on a course designed around the needs of the geosciences industries, and draw on the extensive industrial consultancy experience of our staff.
  • Deepen your understanding with training in the safe conduct of Earth science fieldwork.
  • Develop your confidence with a personal tutor, providing you with weekly guidance throughout your first year.
  • Progress your skills in our open access laboratory, LABplus.
  • Take part in the substantial fieldwork offered in a variety of UK and overseas locations. You'll become an experienced field-worker, able to apply the knowledge and skills acquired in the classroom to existing Earth science problems.
  • Benefit from essential field equipment and e-books, free as part of your welcome package.
  • Hone your abilities through the close links University staff maintain with the Earth science sector. Our involvement in these areas ensures your experience at Plymouth will be focused towards the current needs of industry and society while giving you access to the latest industry-standard geological software.
  • Work towards becoming a Chartered Geologist, our accreditation by the Geological Society of London helps you to gain the required experience. 
  • Take the opportunity to spend your second year studying abroad in Canada, Australia, USA or elsewhere through our direct exchange, Erasmus or ISEP programmes. Plymouth is currently the only UK institution to offer exchanges through ISEP, giving our students the greatest range of Earth science exchange opportunities available.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • Laying the foundations of geological knowledge, your first year provides you with an introduction to laboratory and field skills. You'll learn about key Earth processes including plate tectonics and natural hazards and take a practical approach to the study of minerals, rocks, fossils and geological structures. You'll develop effective study techniques and computing skills, and undertake safe fieldwork, including residential classes across the South West. Develop your confidence with a personal tutor, providing you with weekly guidance throughout your first year.

    Core modules
    • GEOL1001 The Dynamic Earth

      This module introduces a dynamic view of how the Earth operates as a series of inter-related systems and provides students with the factual and conceptual basis required to begin to understand these systems. It integrates different geological sub-disciplines via an introductory field excursion, where the basics of mineralogy, petrology, structural geology, stratigraphy and geological map-work will be put into practice.

    • GEOL1002 Earth Materials

      This module provides an introduction to the origins and properties of Earth materials including the common rock forming minerals, and the igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rock groups.

    • GEOL1003 Geosystems

      This module introduces how the Earth operates as a series of inter-related, dynamic systems. It provides students with the factual and conceptual knowledge base required to understand these systems, and the linkages between them. The module also aims to build confidence in using mathematical and experimental methods within an Earth Sciences context.

    • GEOL1004 Palaeontology and Stratigraphy

      This module provides an introduction to: (a) stratigraphic principles and methods; (b) palaeontology and the fossil record, including the processes of fossilisation and the morphology, ecology, stratigraphic ranges and uses of different groups of fossil organisms.

    • GEOL1005 Geological Maps and Structural Geology

      This module will introduce the use of topographic and geologic maps and remotely sensed data, such as aerial photographs, in the Earth Sciences. The module will also introduce key concepts in structural geology. These and related techniques will be used to describe and analyse the geological history of a region.

    • GEOL1006 Fieldwork and Key Skills

      This module introduces Earth Science students to geological fieldwork and will instruct students how to take field notes, make geological sketches. It will also instruct students in a range of key skills necessary, such as, using learning resources to communicate effectively, citing sources of academic literature, avoiding plagiarism, using digital geospatial data and personal development skills for future careers.

  • Year 2
  • Year 2 consolidates the knowledge and skills developed so far, with an emphasis on the practical side of geology. You'll develop observational, analytical and interpretive skills and the ability to apply these skills to real-life geological problems within geological professions. You'll also learn to make geological maps and explore the nature and distribution of geological resources and geohazards through fieldwork in both the UK and overseas. You can also take the opportunity to spend your second year studying abroad in Canada, Australia, USA or elsewhere through our direct exchange, Erasmus or ISEP programmes.

    Core modules
    • APIE217 Preparation for a Year Long Work Placement in Earth Sciences

      This module is designed to assist students in their search and preparation for a year long work placement. It is aimed at students who would like to undertake the placement to enhance both programme specific and employment-related skills during Stage 3.

    • GEOL2001 Sedimentology and Palaeontology

      This module examines the theory and techniques of paleontological and sedimentological analysis. A range of paleontological data will be investigated to analyse past environments. Modern and ancient sedimentary systems will be evaluated in terms of the processes operating at the time of deposition.

    • GEOL2003 Geospatial Techniques

      The module develops professional approaches to the collection, analysis and presentation of geospatial data (e.g. geological/geomorphological maps and related Earth imagery) within the Earth Sciences.

    • GEOL2004 Stratigraphy and Earth History

      This module provides learners with an understanding of the theory and concepts for of the elucidation of Earth History, including litho- bio- and chronostratigraphy, geochemical correlation and isotopic dating methods, sequence stratigraphy and basin evolution. It also provides training in the use and application of key techniques using real-life scenarios.

    • GEOL2006 Geological Fieldwork

      The module provides training in field data collection techniques, planning for fieldwork and conducting fieldwork in a professional, safe and ethical manner in preparation for students performing their summer field mapping camps. Techniques are to include geological material descriptions, mapping, logging, surveying, and related methods relevant to completing geological mapping projects.

    • GEOL2011 Petrology and Volcanology

      This module examines theory and techniques of igneous and metamorphic petrological analysis, with strong emphasis on rigorous observation and description of rocks. It will also provide a framework for the interpretation of igneous, volcanic and metamorphic rocks and will contribute to building professional competencies in the evaluation, assessment and interpretation of geological materials and their context.

    • GEOL2012 Structural Geology

      Processes and products of deformation are investigated using field and petrographic data. Case studies of deformed terrains are used to illustrate key principles. The knowledge and analytical techniques developed are applied to the understanding of tectonic and geodynamic processes.

  • Optional placement year
  • Take advantage of our optional placement year, giving you the opportunity to develop your geological skills in the workplace and gain valuable experience.  Find your perfect placement with the help of our employability service and benefit from specialist workshops and tutorials in your second year, helping you prepare for your year in industry. 

    Optional modules
    • APIE316 Placement in Earth Sciences

      This module aims to provide an opportunity for professional training of at least six months duration with an approved company or host organisation between stage 2 and 4. While on placement, students will gain experience of how Earth Science is used in the workplace, be able to apply their Earth Science knowledge and expertise, and learn further skills and relevant techniques.

  • Final year
  • Your final year gives you the opportunity to develop specialised applied geosciences knowledge and skills through optional modules from a specialist degree route. You may also take part in advanced fieldwork and you’ll complete an independent field-based mapping and research project, which will develop your professional skills and allow you to draw on the research and consultancy expertise of our staff. Our optional field courses visit exciting locations such as Sicily and Cyprus.

    Core modules
    • GEOL3001 Geological Mapping Research Project and Professional Skills

    • GEOL3003 Geophysics

      Introduces students to a range of techniques in exploration and solid Earth geophysics. Theoretical understanding will allow students to: (i) interpret geophysical data in a range of contexts, both manually and using modelling software; and (ii) undertake a geophysical field survey using a selection of appropriate methods.

    Optional modules
    • GEOL3006 Geological Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing

      Examines 1) the collection of digital datasets using a range of remote sensing techniques (e.g. satellite imagery, digital elevation models), and 2) the analysis of such remotely sensed data using computer based Geographical Information System software within the Earth Sciences for research and applied purposes.

    • GEOL3008 Advanced Geological Fieldwork

      A residential fieldtrip centred on the analysis of the geological evolution of a region, where students will integrate their own field observations with published work from a variety of locations in developing and understanding of the geological history of that region and its wider significance to the Earth Sciences.

    • GEOL3010 Engineering Geology

      This module examines the application of earth science techniques and knowledge to civil engineering. Includes desk studies, remote sensing interpretation, database analysis, UK and European Codes of Practice, site investigation design, ground model development, engineering geology in a range of construction situations, and technical reporting.

    • GEOL3011 Petroleum Geoscience

      This module provides a practical based training in the strategies, methodologies and techniques used in exploration for, and production of, conventional and unconventional petroleum reserves (oil, natural gas, shale gas, tar sands). The module also provides a theoretical background to how petroleum resources form and the scientific basis of the techniques used in their exploration and extraction.

    • GEOL3012 Mineral Georesources

      Provides (i) a theoretical understanding of the geology and genesis of economic mineral resources and (ii) training in use and application of ore petrological methods and techniques.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BSc Applied Geology Programme Specification September 2019 5365

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

112-128

A Level
112-128 points range including a minimum of 2 A Levels, relevant subjects Biology, Mathematics/Use of Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Environmental Science/Studies, Applied Science, Geography, Geology, Design Technology. excluding General Studies.

BTEC QCF Extended Diploma/RQF National Extended Diploma: DMM to DDM – science related subject. You are encouraged to contact admissions@plymouth.ac.uk if you do not meet this criteria.

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

Access

Pass an Access to HE Diploma (science based) with at least 33 credits at merit. You are encouraged to contact admissions@plymouth.ac.uk if you do not meet this criteria.

IB
28 - 30 points overall to include science related subjects.

GCSE
Mathematics grade C required. English language grade C or above.

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

English language requirements

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2018 2019
Home/EU £9,250 £9,250
International £13,000 £13,400
Part time (Home/EU) To be confirmed To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.

Undergraduate scholarships for international students

To reward outstanding achievement the University of Plymouth offers scholarship schemes to help towards funding your studies.

Find out whether you are eligible and how you can apply

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the Faculty of Science and Engineering and more details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page: Additional fieldwork and equipment costs.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Peter Gough - BSc (Hons) Applied Geology graduate

Plymouth is a great place to study. The staff are very supportive, the material has a strong practical base, and there are a lot of field trips which will help you become a more confident geologist and ultimately help you get a job
Read more about Peter's career since graduating from Plymouth

Rowan Peters - BSc (Hons) Applied Geology graduate

The course was excellent and delivered to a high standard by enthusiastic and knowledgeable lecturers. While I already had a keen interest in geology, it was the enthusiasm of the lecturers who delivered the course that turned this interest into a passion
Read more about Rowan and his career since leaving Plymouth

Kat Hagger - BSc (Hons) Applied Geology graduate

If there is the option to carry on your studies and to do an MSc I would suggest that. It is very competitive in this industry, so anything to give you an edge is a bonus.

Kat Hagger talks to us about working on the Jubilee, Northern, and Piccadilly Lines and working on various multi-discipline projects worth over £1m.

Learn more about Kat's career

Mapping project

Develop project planning, logistics, and 3D visualisation skills through our independent mapping project.

As a geology undergraduate, your third year dissertation will see you undertake an independent mapping project.

Find out more about the geology dissertation

Field courses

The field is the best natural laboratory for developing a real understanding of all aspects of geology.

Fieldwork is central to geology, and at Plymouth you will experience a diverse range of locations and techniques.

Find out more about our field courses

Adam Matthews – BSc (Hons) Applied Geology graduate

My favourite memory has to be during fieldwork. Throughout the three years I went on fieldtrips to the Spanish Pyrenees, Arctic Norway, and Death Valley, California.

Adam shares his favourite memories from his time at Plymouth, including his dissertation research trip to Norway.

Learn more about Adam Matthews

Research

Our world-class research keeps staff at the cutting edge of recent scientific developments within the field.

Explore the interdisciplinary research carried out within Earth sciences.

Find out more about our research

Additional fieldwork and equipment costs

This course includes residential fieldwork. Typically, where the fieldwork is a compulsory part of the course, transport, accommodation and the majority of food costs are paid by the Faculty.

Some courses offer alternative or optional field courses with an additional cost.

Find out more information

Careers

Our graduates leave with a highly desirable suite of skills for all types of organisations and careers.

Find out about the career possibilities accessible with a geology degree.

Find out more about careers in geology

Updates and news from our students and staff

Gain insight into what's happening in earth sciences at the University of Plymouth. Enjoy reading about staff success, research, field trips, learning opportunities, placements and more.

Read our latest newsletter



Potential High Achievers Scheme

In the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences we recognise that our students are the future leaders in our subject disciplines and core to the development of a sustainable planet. We know that our applicants will thrive in the environment we can provide, and we want to ensure our best applicants become our future.

The scheme is now open for students who have applied to study, from September 2018, any full-time undergraduate course within the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, including chemistry. We will be contacting applicants who are not only on course to achieve top marks but who have an outstanding personal statement, in order to offer them a chance to receive an unconditional offer immediately.

Find out more about the scheme.

Professor Iain Stewart MBE

The overlapping diversity of disciplines here at Plymouth makes it a great place to study geology, and our fantastic geological ‘backyard’ is ideal for an outstanding range of fieldwork experiences.

Find out more about Professor Iain Stewart

People

* These are the latest results from the National Student Survey. Please note that the data published on Unistats is updated annually in September.