Geology is the study of the solid earth. It looks at the material of which it is composed and the processes by which they change. Its study informs us of the history of the earth and how life has evolved on it.

Geology is commercially important as it directs mineral and hydrocarbon exploration and water resource. It is important in the understanding and amelioration of natural hazards.

Our geology courses are accredited by The Geological Society of London.

Why study Geology at Bristol?

Bristol earth sciences degrees are flexible and it is possible to transfer between subjects at the end of your first year. You can choose a three-year course, or a four-year course with the opportunity to spend your third year abroad.

Our courses are rigorously scientific and quantitative; you will learn a wealth of facts and will learn how to apply them to solve problems.

Our School of Earth Sciences employs world-leading scientists. Our teaching is research-led and our student to staff ratios are low. We have expertise in:

  • volcanology and fluid dynamics
  • palaeobiology and biodiversity
  • climate and environmental change
  • geochemistry and petrology.

In the final year of an MSci course you will undertake a major research project in one of these areas.

The school is exceptionally close knit and collegial, with students making lasting friendships across and between year groups. Free fieldwork is important and much enjoyed by all students and staff that participate.

What kind of student would this course suit?

Geology is a subject which people with a broad background in science find rewarding. If you are naturally curious about the planet that you inhabit and don't want to narrow your studies down to one science, you will do particularly well.

An enjoyment of the outdoors is essential as we spend a considerable amount of time completing field assignments. We work in many parts of the UK and everyone will undertake at least one overseas field course.

How is this course taught and assessed?

Our teaching methods include lectures, laboratory-based practicals and organised fieldwork.

Small-group tutorials are held every fortnight where you will develop your key skills. You will prepare work beforehand and complete problem sets for your tutor who will advise and monitor your progress throughout your time with us.

Students are expected to develop independent learning skills and to self-assess their progress with the aid of feedback provided by teaching staff.

Formal assessment may be wholly examination-based (written examinations take place twice a year), wholly coursework-based, or be a combination of assessed coursework and examination.

What are my career prospects?

Bristol earth sciences graduates are highly sought after by the mining, mineral exploration, geotechnical, environmental consultancy and petroleum industries.

Some of our graduates go on to further study in the field and then enter academia. Others follow careers in the scientific media, the financial sector and teaching. The teamworking, quantitative and problem-solving skills acquired by our graduates are rated highly by other academic institutions as well as by industry and employers in other sectors.

Read more about what students from Earth Sciences go on to do after graduation.


Important disclaimer information about our courses.

Every day my inbox is flooded with opportunities – internships, research projects, extra-curricular activities – all of which are the University getting students involved. The University is constantly updating its facilities, which reinforces its friendly and inclusive environment.

Alexandra (LLB Law)

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