School of Earth and Environment

For 2018 entry course see BSc Geological Sciences 2018

Geological Sciences BSc

(Full time) 2019 start


Key facts

  • UCAS code: F600
  • Start date: September 2019
  • Duration/Mode: 3 years full time
  • Typical A level offer: AAB
    (specific subjects required)
  • UK/EU fees: See fees section below
  • International fees: £22,750 (per year)
  • Study abroad option: Yes
  • Work placement option: Yes
  • Course terms and conditions

The Geological Sciences BSc offers a broad and deep education in the geological processes that govern the evolution of the Earth’s surface and interior.

You’ll study all the essential earth science disciplines: the sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic origins of rocks and minerals; the evolution of life on earth; plate tectonics and the structural deformation of rocks; earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides and other natural hazards; geological mapping and fieldwork; and the use of geological natural resources. Specialist “pathways” allow you to develop interests in petroleum, minerals and the environment.

There's a strong emphasis on applying your knowledge in the real world through practical hands-on learning and field trips, in national and international destinations.

You’ll be taught by staff at the cutting edge of research worldwide and you’ll have access to outstanding facilities.

Extending this degree

You can convert your 3-year degree into a 4-year degree by spending an additional year on an industrial placement or overseas, before returning to Leeds to complete your final year of study. Read "Study abroad and work placements".

We also offer an Integrated Masters (combining bachelor and Masters level study), where you spend a year studying abroad at a partner university and return to Leeds to study Masters-level modules in your final year. Read Geological Sciences (International) MGeol, BSc.

A top university for Earth Sciences

Leeds is 3rd in the UK and in the Top 20 in the World for Earth Sciences (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017).

If you study in our School of Earth and Environment you’ll join one of the largest and most vibrant schools in the country. We are one of the few universities that has brought together the complete range of geoscience and environmental disciplines under one banner.

Excellent relationships with industry

We attract industry sponsorship and maintain excellent relationships with major companies in the sector, such as BP and GETECH. Their developing commercial requirements inform and influence the development of our course content.

Enhancing your experience

We want to help you make the most of your time at Leeds. The School has an officer dedicated to Student experience.


This course has been accredited by The Geological Society of London, the recognised professional body for geoscientists.

An accredited degree is the first step to becoming a Chartered Geologist, an increasingly important professional qualification.

The Geological Society - accredited degree programme
Accredited by the Geological Society


Course terms and conditions

Course content

Each year of the course includes a combination of compulsory core modules and optional modules which allow you to follow your areas of interest.

Specialist “pathways”, supported by close links with industrial partners, ensure that the education we deliver prepares you for employment in a range of geoscience careers. The first year programme is common to all our geology degrees, so there is no need to specify your intended pathway until later. From year 2 you select optional modules to follow one of four “pathways” designed to help you to acquire skills in particular areas of geology:

The Geology Pathway provides a broad geological base and if you continue on this pathway throughout your degree you can choose freely from a wide range of modules.

The Petroleum Pathway provides focused education in exploration geophysics, sedimentology, structural geology, and hydrocarbon resource geology. It is recommended for students intending to pursue a career in the hydrocarbons industry.

The Environmental Pathway provides education in aspects of environmental geology. It is recommended for students intending to pursue a career in environmental and engineering geology, or those considering working for a geoconsultancy company. You might choose modules that study the hydrological cycle, natural hazards, and waste management.

The Minerals Pathway focuses on aspects of geology relevant to ore position, mineral exploration and resource development. It is an ideal route for students considering a career in minerals exploration or mining geology.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Ice Age Environments and the Quaternary Evolution of the British Isles 10 credits
  • Computing and Data Analysis 10 credits
  • Geology 1 30 credits
  • Geology 2 30 credits
  • Geology Tutorials 10 credits

Optional modules

  • Natural Hazards 10 credits
  • Vertebrate Evolution 10 credits
  • Introductory Chemistry for Earth and Environmental Scientists 10 credits
  • Gold and Precious Metals 10 credits
  • The Atmosphere of Planet Earth 10 credits
  • Intermediate Mathematics for Environmental and Geophysical Scientists 10 credits
  • Advanced Mathematics for Environmental and Geophysical Scientists 10 credits
  • Mathematics for Earth and Environmental Scientists 10 credits
  • Mathematics for Earth, Environmental and Geographical Scientists 10 credits

Year 2

Compulsory modules

  • Chemistry of the Earth 10 credits
  • Deformation Processes 10 credits
  • Sedimentary Processes 10 credits
  • Research and Career Skills 10 credits
  • Geology Field and Map Skills 20 credits
  • Palaeoecology, Palaeobiology and Evolution 10 credits
  • Mineralogy and Petrology 20 credits
  • Sedimentary Basins and Hydrocarbon Resources 10 credits
  • Introduction to Geophysics 10 credits

Optional modules

  • Intermediate Mathematics for Environmental and Geophysical Scientists 10 credits
  • Advanced Mathematics for Environmental and Geophysical Scientists 10 credits
  • Introductory Oceanography 10 credits
  • Contaminated Land Studies: Integrating Business Skills and Science in Consultancy 10 credits
  • Formation Evaluation 10 credits
  • Petroleum Reservoir Engineering 10 credits
  • Gemstones 10 credits
  • Explosive Volcanism: Processes, deposits and resources 10 credits

Year 3

Compulsory modules

  • Independent Field Projects (GS) 40 credits

Optional modules

  • Formation Evaluation 10 credits
  • Easter Field Class (Geological Science) 10 credits
  • Advanced Sedimentology and its Applications 10 credits
  • Applied Micropalaeontology 10 credits
  • Isotope Geochemistry 10 credits
  • Earth System Science: Biogeochemical Cycles 10 credits
  • Engineering Geology 10 credits
  • Volcanic Processes 10 credits
  • Earth Observations from Space 10 credits
  • Physical and Chemical Hydrogeology 10 credits
  • Structural Geology 10 credits
  • High-Temperature Processes in the Earth 10 credits
  • Plate Tectonics and Geodynamics 10 credits
  • Past Global Environmental Systems 10 credits
  • Mountain Belt Processes 10 credits
  • Basin Dynamics and Petroleum Systems 10 credits
  • Earth and Environmental Sciences into Schools 10 credits
  • Field Class: Petroleum Reservoir Architectures 10 credits
  • Ore Deposits and their Exploitation 10 credits
  • Strategic Energy Issues 10 credits
  • Geology and Mineral Exploration in Northern Ireland 10 credits
  • Environmental Geology in Northern Ireland 10 credits
  • Seismic Interpretation 10 credits
For more information on typical modules, read Geological Sciences BSc in the course catalogue

Broadening your academic horizons

At Leeds we want you to benefit from the depth and breadth of the University's expertise, to prepare you for success in an ever-changing and challenging world. This course gives you the opportunity to broaden your learning by studying discovery modules. Find out more on the Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

Most modules combine lectures with practicals, workshops or seminars, depending on the subject. These are enhanced with skills classes, fieldtrips and small group academic tutorials. You can expect to study in a variety of settings, from large lecture theatres to computer clusters, seminar rooms, tutorials, laboratories, visualisation suites and out in the field. Our state-of-the-art building is in the centre of the campus and provides an ideal working environment, and offers quiet study and coffee areas when you are not in class.

Read more about learning and teaching methods.

We offer research-led teaching across the breadth of our disciplines, from specialists in their field. As Leeds is a research-intensive Russell Group University, you’ll be studying amongst staff who are at the cutting edge of research world-wide, and who will incorporate this expertise into their teaching.


Our £23.5 million building opened in April 2010 and boasts state-of-the-art facilities for both teaching and research. These include our ground-breaking Earth Visualization Laboratory, all brand-new microscopes and a 3-D suite. Read about facilities in the School of Earth and Environment.


You'll be assessed through a variety of methods, specifically designed to help students learn, whatever their preferred learning style. We use both coursework and exams, but with a general progression from an emphasis on exams in year 1 towards an emphasis on coursework in your final year.

Read more in learning and teaching methods.

Alumni profile

Comparing with colleagues the quality and depth of subjects covered in our different geosciences degrees from different universities, it is clear that Leeds really is a world leader.Read moreRichard Taylor, BSc Geological Sciences

Entry requirements, fees and applying

Entry requirements

A-level: AAB , including two from biology, chemistry, geology, geography or environmental studies (not both), mathematics, physics.

Offers exclude general studies. You don’t need to have a qualification in geology to study this course, as we start from first principles.

GCSE:English and Mathematics at grade C (4) or above, or an equivalent appropriate English language and Mathematics qualification.

Alternative qualifications

  • Access to HE Diploma: 60 credits overall with at least 45 credits at Level 3, including 30 credits at Distinction and 15 at Merit. Must be in relevant subjects.
  • BTEC: DDD in Extended Diploma/3 Subsidiary Diplomas in two relevant subjects. We will accept a combination of BTECs and A-Levels. Please contact the School's Undergraduate Admissions Team for more information.
  • Cambridge Pre-U: D3, M1, M1 including two relevant subjects.
  • International Baccalaureate: 35 points overall, with 17 points at higher level to include 5 points in two relevant subjects.
  • Irish Highers (Leaving Certificate): AAAABB/H2H2H2H2H3H3 in two relevant subjects.
  • Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers: AABBB overall with AB in 2 Advanced Highers (AH). For non-AH applicants AAAABB. To include 2 relevant subjects.

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.

Access to Leeds Entry Requirements for this course: BBB

If you do not have the formal qualifications for immediate entry to one of our degrees, you may be able to progress through a foundation year.

We offer:
• a specialised BSc Earth and Environmental Sciences with Foundation Year
• a BSc Studies in Science for students without a science background at A-level
• an Interdisciplinary Science Foundation Year for applicants who meet specific widening participation criteria.


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For information contact the School of Earth and Environment Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Foundation year

If you have the ability to study for a degree but don’t have the qualifications to enter directly to level one, you might consider studying a foundation year. We have formal links with the following foundation year programmes:

- University of Leeds International Foundation Year (IFY)
- Northern Consortium of UK Universities (NCUK)
- Study Group Leeds International Study Centre (LISC)

If you are applying from an alternative foundation year provider, please contact our admissions team to find out if your qualification is suitable for entry to our courses.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in any component.

Improve your English

If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

How to apply

Apply to this course through UCAS. The institution code for the University of Leeds is L23. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK/EU students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

Faculty of Environment Undergraduate Admissions Policy 2019


UK/EU: See fees section below

International: £22,750 (per year)

For UK and non-UK EU full-time students starting in 2018, the fee for 2018/19 will be £9,250. 

For UK and non-UK EU full-time students starting in 2019, the fee for 2019/20 will be £9,250. 

The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation, and as permitted by law. For example, the increase of 2.8% in 2017/18 was based on the government’s forecast for the RPI-X measure of inflation.

The UK government has confirmed that non-UK EU students starting in the 2019/20 academic year will have home fee status and be eligible for UK government student loans. The UK government has not confirmed the situation for future years, so keep checking our website for updates.

If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Additional cost information

While the School heavily subsidises or covers the cost of all compulsory taught fieldcourses, you may have to supplement these trips depending on the destination you choose. There will however always be a free option for you to select. You may incur some costs for some optional fieldtrip modules. Full details are available on request.

Scholarships and financial support

The School of Earth and Environment offer a range of scholarships for Home, EU and International students.

Scholarships for 2019 entry are to be confirmed.

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.

Career opportunities

Geology graduates are highly regarded by employers for their skills in teamwork, problem solving, IT and data handling and manipulation.

Studying Geology at Leeds opens the door to a wide range of careers. The solid scientific basis of your course and the fieldwork involved gives your degree a high value in a number of employment sectors. Oil and mineral industries are the traditional employers for geologists, but you’ll also find career opportunities in new and expanding areas of engineering and environmental protection. The transferable skills that you acquire throughout your degree will help you in many employment sectors.

Your employment prospects can be further enhanced by an MSc degree, and we offer a number of related, vocational MSc degrees in Leeds, with industry sponsored scholarships and other funds available, including funding only available to Leeds graduates.

Read more about our Alumni Success Stories.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.

We recognise that employability is an increasingly important consideration for prospective undergraduates. With this in mind, pathways through our Geological Sciences degree enable you to focus your studies towards a favoured aspect of the discipline, helping you to maximise your chances of employment in major geoscience sectors. All years of study include a strong emphasis on applying your knowledge in the real world through practical hands-on learning and field trips, with a mix of national and international destinations.

The School of Earth and Environment is committed to enhancing employability and offers a range of initiatives to ensure our students receive the highest level of support throughout their studies. Read about careers and employability on the School website.

Student profile

I would certainly recommend Leeds for Geology ... It is highly regarded, and is a good course in a friendly department.Read moreMyron Thomas, Geological Sciences BSc

Placement opportunities

Study abroad

You can convert your 3-year degree into a 4-year study abroad degree by spending an additional year overseas, before returning to Leeds to complete your final year of study. You don’t apply directly to this course, instead you can register your interest with us once you’ve enrolled on the 3-year degree.

To be eligible for Study Abroad you’ll need to maintain a good average in your assessments in years 1 and 2 and, for some destinations, you may have to show you have the necessary language skills. Read more about eligibility on the Study Abroad website.

The Study Abroad Office and the School provide guidance to help you set up a study place at one of the University's partner institutions from around the world. Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

You may also be interested in our integrated Masters, which includes a year studying in Australia, New Zealand, Canada or the USA. Read Geological Sciences (International) MGeol, BSc.

Year in industry

You can convert your 3-year degree into a 4-year industrial degree by spending an additional year on an industrial placement, before returning to Leeds to complete your final year of study. This allows you to gain valuable hands-on experience, and earn a salary, before you complete the final year of your degree.

The School has strong connections with industry and will help you through the search, application and interview process. You may end up working in or near Leeds, near your home, or perhaps overseas. The School will provide guidance and assistance throughout the process and will support you during your placement, liaising with your employer to ensure that your work is of value to your academic development.

Students who choose the Year in Industry option frequently receive attractive offers of employment when they graduate. The employability benefits include opportunities to:

  • apply your academic learning in the workplace
  • gain valuable work experience, as part of your degree, that will enhance your CV and job opportunities
  • enhance your personal development and life skills
  • develop your transferable skills, providing important evidence for job application forms
  • return to your final year of studies with enthusiasm and a better appreciation of the opportunities available to you as a student at the University of Leeds.

Read more about Year in Industry on the School website.


Fieldwork will be an essential element of your degree, and is one of the most enjoyable and sociable parts of the course for students and staff alike. The Geology programme at Leeds includes a variety of field course destinations in the UK and abroad. The Leeds degree includes residential field trips in every year, during which you will learn basic field and geological mapping skills, study sedimentary metamorphic and structural processes, and investigate natural resource, hazard and geo-environmental issues. Your field training culminates in a six week independent mapping project in a location chosen from areas such as the Isle of Skye, the Peak District, the Cornish coast, the Alps, the Pyrenees, the West Coast of Ireland, and Greece.

Because we recognise the value of field experience the school heavily subsidises or covers the transport and accommodation costs for all compulsory taught fieldcourses and many optional field trips, we also contribute to the cost of your independent mapping project.

Alumni profile

The practical field skills I gained while studying at Leeds have proved essential while conducting independent research in my current role.Read moreTim Wrighton, BSc Geological Sciences
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