School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

BSc (Hons) Geology with Ocean Science

Broaden your geological horizons by exploring the connection between the Earth and its marine and nearshore environments on our joint honours degree. Geology with ocean science will arm you with the theoretical and practical aspects of geology, as well as enabling you to develop an understanding of oceanography and coastal processes. Gain an awareness of the interplay between the solid Earth and marine processes, and learn how these factors control the development of coastal regions.

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

Entry requirements may differ during Clearing, so please contact us on 0333 241 6929 to discuss an application.


More courses available for 2017 entry

Our 2017 Clearing course vacancies page shows which courses are still available for entry this year.

Clearing hotline 0 0333 241 6929

Clearing with Plymouth University

Call our friendly Clearing team on 0333 241 6929.

We will help you find the right course for you.

  • Clearing officially opens on results day, Thursday 17 August.
  • Clearing closes on Wednesday 20 September.

For opening times and further information, visit our Clearing page.

Key features

  • Gain a breadth of knowledge of the Earth and marine sciences not possible with a single honours degree.
  • Access a range of career options in coastal zone management, coastal heritage conservation, and environmental monitoring, surveying and planning.
  • Benefit from world-class teaching from our research-active staff, ensuring your learning is always current. The varied teaching practices range from seminars and tutorials to practical classes and workshops. 
  • 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 such as Morocco, Iceland, Sicily, Spain and Cyprus. You'll become an experienced field-worker, able to apply the knowledge and skills acquired in the classroom to existing Earth science problems. Your compulsory residential fieldwork costs are met from tuition fees, though some fieldwork options may require additional funding.
  • Deepen your understanding with training in the safe conduct of Earth science fieldwork.
  • Explore the natural geology of our rich surrounding area. Plymouth's location is of central importance to studying geology, with opportunities for fieldwork right on our doorstep.
  • 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 University 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 helps you to gain the required experience. The world’s oldest and most prestigious national learned society for geology.
  • 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 University 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 focus on learning about mineral rock forming processes, Earth history and the fossil record. Introductory fieldwork in the South West underpins your theoretical learning. You'll spend one third of your study time learning basic aspects of physical, chemical and biological oceanography and meteorology. You'll also 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.

    • 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.

    • OS102 Physical and Chemical Processes of the Ocean

      This module provides an introduction to the main physical and chemical processes occurring in the world's oceans and a foundation in key aspects of underpinning science and mathematics.

    • OS103 Biology and Hydrography of the Ocean

      This module aims to develop an understanding of the diversity of life in the sea and how we explore marine environments. Methods of marine exploration will be studied and a general understanding of where different organisms live and how they interact in marine ecosystems will be developed.

    Optional modules
    • GEES1001PP Natural Hazards

      This module examines the major short-term natural hazards that affect the contemporary Earth. The various different hazards will be covered ranging from geohazards including landslides, volcanoes, earthquakes as well as weather related hazards such as tropical cyclones, extra tropical storms. Emphasis is placed upon natural hazard processes, identification, risk potential and hazard mitigation.

    • GEES1002PP Climate Change and Energy

      This module provides a scientific evaluation of climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It introduces climate change policy, renewable energy options and societal challenges over GHG reduction measures. Students engage in literature searches and review climate change policy options.

    • GEES1003PP Sustainable Futures

      This module explores the concepts and principles of sustainable development and critically examines their application to a range of real-world contemporary issues. The module provides opportunities to enhance knowledge and understanding and develop key skills by exploring an aspect of 'sustainability in practice' through student-led research.

    • OS106PP Our Ocean Planet

      In this module students will explore important topical issues associated with our ocean planet. Students will have a creative opportunity to work in teams on a topic of their choice using a project based learning approach. They will develop a variety of communication skills in order to present their ideas in a medium of their team's choice.

  • Year 2
  • Year 2 consolidates the geological knowledge and skills you’ve developed so far, with an emphasis on practical aspects of geology. You'll increase your understanding of fieldwork, applied geological techniques and Earth surface systems. Alongside geological modules, one third of your study will focus on large-scale ocean dynamics, tides waves and coastal processes. You can also take the opportunity to spend your second year studying abroad in Canada, Australia, USA or Europe 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.

    • 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.

    • GEOL2009 Magmatic and Structural Processes

    • GEOL2010 Geology with Ocean Science 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 undertaking their summer field camps. Techniques are to include geological material descriptions, mapping, logging, surveying, and related methods relevant to completing geological mapping projects.

    • OS201 Global Ocean Processes

    • OS204 Waves, Tides and Coastal Dynamics

      This module provides an introduction to the characteristics of ocean waves and focuses on how waves and tides interact with the coast and drive the coastal processes that result in shoreline erosion and accretion.

  • 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. 

    Core 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 fourth year will expand your knowledge of coastal and near-shore oceanography, refining your understanding of waves, coastal and estuarine processes. You’ll have a wide range of applied and pure geological options to choose from, to complement, or contrast with, your ocean science modules. During your honours dissertation you will complete an independent laboratory, field or industry-based project in geology or ocean science.

    Core modules
    • GEOL3002 Earth Science Independent Research Project and Professional Skills

      An independent research project on an Earth science topic, normally involving field and/or laboratory work on a topic relevant to the degree programme. Independent work is linked to skills development appropriate to the management of the project and entry and success in the professional workplace.

    • OS303 Ocean Dynamics

      The module provides an introduction to dynamical oceanography with emphasis on the large- and meso-scale circulation in the world ocean and shelf seas. Topics include geostrophic and wind driven currents, eddies, formation of fronts, upwelling, interactions between water masses, exchanges between shelf and deep seas. Emphasis is placed on quantitative understanding of physical processes and the analysis of field data.

    • OS306 Coastal Geomorphology and Estuaries

      A study of the different geomorphological archetypes of the coastal zone which builds on the student's knowledge of physical processes to describe how the geographical characteristics of these zones develop. The module explores how the characteristics of these zones influence the associated ecosystems and examines how human utilisation of this space contributes to or conflicts with the natural setting.

    Optional modules
    • GEOL3004 Advanced Palaeontology and Sedimentology

      This module examines paleontological and sedimentological concepts, theory and data via a holistic and systematic approach. Modern and ancient sedimentary systems will be evaluated in terms of facies analysis, geochemistry and petrography. Case studies and related datasets will be investigated to analyse past environments and environmental change.

    • 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.

    • GEOL3009 Earth Science Professional Case Studies

      This module allows students to undertake an individual analysis of an advanced geological dataset with an applied or research emphasis. Outcomes are reported in a professional style consultancy document or research paper underpinned by advanced scientific literature. Within groups, students integrate findings and communicate their wider geological significance in a professional public forum.

    • 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.

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 Geology with Ocean Science Programme Specification September 2016 5367

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

116-128

A level
Depending upon subjects studied, from a minimum of 2 A levels, to include grade C from at least one A level subject from list of subjects below: biology, mathematics/use of mathematics, physics, chemistry, environmental science/studies, applied science, geography, geology or technology, excluding general studies.

BTEC
DDM-DDD – science related subjects within a Science related BTEC 18 Unit Extended Diploma.

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 encourage to contact admissions@plymouth.ac.uk if you do not meet this criteria.

IB
28 - 30 points. 28 points overall to include 4 at Higher Level in two science subjects. 30 points overall to include 4 at Higher Level in one science subject. English and mathematics must be included.

English language requirements


Information on the Academic Excellence Awards

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

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2017 2018
Home/EU £9,250 To be confirmed
International £12,500 To be confirmed
Part time (Home/EU) Check with School To be confirmed
Part time (International) Check with School To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Fees are correct at the time of publication and may be subject to change.

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.



Graduate profile

The largely practical aspect of the courses makes any Plymouth University geology graduate highly desirable within the Geoscience industry.

Jenni's decision to pursue a geology degree led her to postgraduate study followed by a career in the field.

Jenni O'Connell's profile

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

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

Marine Station

Boasting lecture facilities overlooking the sea, a wet lab for sample examination and analysis, a seawater aquarium, and field equipment storage and changing facilities.

The Marine Station is a landmark £5 million development; a state-of-the-art teaching and research facility on the shores of Plymouth Sound.

Discover more about the Marine Station

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 2017, 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

Academic staff