School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

BSc (Hons) Geology with Foundation Year

Earth Scientists use their knowledge of the earth’s evolution and the physical, chemical and biological process that shape our planet, to pioneer sustainable futures. If you are interested in geology and earth sciences but don’t have the qualifications to apply for a degree, this could be the pathway for you.

This four-year degree route incorporates a foundation year, successful completion of which will enable you to progress onto one of our exciting Earth science degrees, which we have recently updated to reflect the changing demands on Earth sciences and its role in society.

Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2022*

The University of Plymouth has been named among the top 5% of universities globally in 2022 for its contribution to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals*, in particular, work on marine issues and on climate change. In the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, sustainability is at the heart of our research and teaching. From sustainable cities, affordable and clean energy, to climate policy, biodiversity, and natural hazards, our academic staff work with partners locally and overseas to help understand, communicate and solve fundamental and pressing sustainability challenges.

Find out more in our press release

Innovative Earth Science courses

Our Earth Science courses are designed around a core which provides students with the skills and expertise that are critical to tackle today’s challenges of global environmental change. Ranging from locating and extracting the raw materials needed for a green energy transition to understanding climate history through time, the Earth Sciences play an active role and provide crucial perspectives on our planet's future. 

Call our Clearing hotline: 0333 241 6929

Contact us today to discuss your options and secure your place on one of our courses with vacancies this September.

Find out more about Clearing

Careers with this subject

Our Earth science students have tremendous opportunities to gain the knowledge and skills necessary for employment in a variety of work settings. Our hands-on approach to teaching and learning throughout the course will provide you with the topical skills and experience that you can apply to the wide range of career options as graduates.

What can you do with an Earth science degree?

Key features

  • Progress onto BSc (Hons) Environmental Geoscience, Geology, Geology and Ocean Science, Physical Geography and Geology, Geography on successful completion of foundation year.
  • Our innovative course provides modules that address critical sustainability challenges: reducing risk from natural hazards, harnessing cleaner energy sources and how to combat climate and environmental change.
  • Our approachable staff share their cutting-edge research and expertise through varied teaching practices in lectures, tutorials, practical classes and field courses.
  • Learn to apply the latest techniques in the field and laboratory. Our substantial fieldwork programme provides opportunities in a variety of UK and overseas locations including Death Valley USA, Spain and Sicily.
  • Improve your skills in our open access laboratory, LABplus.
  • Develop your confidence with your personal tutor, providing you with regular guidance throughout degree.
  • Get support from students in the year ahead via our PALS mentoring scheme.
  • Live and study close to the sea, Dartmoor and two geological UNESCO World Heritage sites.
  • Receive free essential field safety equipment as part of your welcome package.
  • Work towards becoming a Chartered Geologist, our accreditation by the Geological Society, the world’s oldest and most prestigious national learned society for geology, helps you to gain the required experience.
  • Take the opportunity to spend your second year studying abroad in Europe, Canada, Australia, USA or elsewhere through our bilateral and ISEP exchange programmes.
  • You also have the option to later transfer from the suite of Earth science degrees to our masters level MGeol degree.
  • The foundation year is an integral part of the extended degree. Completion of the foundation year will not lead to a separate award or qualification its own right but will provide access to Year 1 of your degree.

Course details
  • Foundation Year

  • Below you find information about our geology with foundation year. After the foundation year you can progress onto one of our updated Earth science or geography courses. 

    We provide you with a sound foundation across the sciences which will support your aspirations in geology and Earth sciences. We will help you develop your skills for independent, reflective and self-managed approaches to study, learning, scientific writing, time management and mathematical skills for the study of science.  Optional modules include biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics and statistics for science.

    Core modules

    • Biology 1 (BIO012)

      This module introduces students to the study of biology and its fundamental importance as a cornerstone of modern science. No prior knowledge is required or assumed. The emphasis is on understanding some of the core principles of biology, and applying these across the breadth of the subject. To ensure that key practical skills are developed, the module will incorporate many hands-on learning experiences.

    • Chemistry 1 (CHM009)

      This module introduces students into the world of chemistry and its fundamental importance as a cornerstone of science. No prior knowledge of science is required and the emphasis is on applying the principals of chemistry across a wide subject area, with many hands-on learning experiences.

    • Study and Mathematical Skills for Science (GEES001)

      This module is designed to enable learners to adapt to the Higher Education Learning Environment by the development of a more independent, reflective and self-managed approach to study, learning, scientific writing, time management and mathematical skills for the study of science.

    • Fundamentals of Geoscience (GLY007)

      This module provides a broad introduction to the Earth and its dynamic systems together with field and laboratory skills appropriate as background to other scientific disciplines or to serious progression in geoscience.

    Optional modules

    • Biology 2 (BIO013)

      This module builds on the core ideas introduced in BIO012, introducing a range of additional biological concepts. There will be a strong emphasis on applying scientific principles to a wide range of topics in biology, including many hands-on learning experiences to ensure that key practical skills are developed.

    • Chemistry 2 (CHM010)

      This module is designed to build on the knowledge, understanding and skills inculcated in CHM009 and to provide an introduction to the fundamentals of organic Chemistry at a level sufficient for entry to the degree programmes offered by the Faculty of Science and Engineering, including the Chemistry Degree programmes.

    • Mathematics and Statistics for Science (MATH019)

      This module provides the basic mathematical background to enable learners to progress to honours degree programmes in science.

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 (Hons) Geology with Foundation Year programme specification_6587

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.

In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the changeable nature of the situation and any updates to government guidance, we may need to make further, last minute adjustments to how we deliver our teaching and learning on some or all of our programmes, at any time during the academic year. We want to reassure you that even if we do have to adjust the way in which we teach our programmes, we will be working to maintain the quality of the student learning experience and learning outcomes at all times.
Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

32 - 48

A level: from a minimum of 2 A levels, including at least one pass in a science subject (mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, geology, use of mathematics, environmental science/studies, applied science, geography, geology). Excluding general studies.

BTEC: 18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma PPP in a science related subject (mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, geology, use of mathematics, environmental science/studies, applied science, geography, geology). 12 Unit BTEC National Certificate/QCF Diploma MP from a in a science related subject subject as above.

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 Access course (preferably from a science/combined studies/natural sciences/nursing subject) (including GCSE English and mathematics grade C/4 or above or equivalent). For candidates that do not have a science, electrical or technology background please contact: admissions@plymouth.ac.uk for further advice.

T level: Pass. Any pathways related to Science/Engineering/Health.

International Baccalaureate: 24 overall to include 1 subject from science – English and mathematics must be included.

GCSE: English and mathematics at grade C/4 or above.

Applications from students with non-standard qualifications, including those without science qualifications at level 3, are welcomed and are assessed on an individual basis. This programme is also suitable for those returning to study who can offer work or other related experience in place of formal qualifications and who have the equivalent of basic mathematical, English and science skills (i.e. the equivalent of a grade C/4 at GCSE level).

English language requirements.

We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

The UK is no longer part of the European Union. EU applicants should refer to our Brexit information to understand the implications.

New Student 2021-2022 2022-2023
Home £9,250 £9,250
International £14,200 £14,600
Part time (Home) £770 £770
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 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. More information about fees and funding.

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 admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

<p>Death Valley field trip<br></p>

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
Aerial shot of an active volcano.

Academic staff

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