Earth Science at Edinburgh

The School of GeoSciences offers a number of undergraduate programmes that can be undertaken either as four-year or three-year honours degrees. The four-year format is more broadly based by providing a greater opportunity to take courses outside your chosen degree programme in the first two years of study, whilst the three-year format provides more focus on your chosen degree subject. Details of those degree programmes that provide the opportunity of three years of study along with their entry requirements can be found under the relevant discipline headings in the University Undergraduate Prospectus (see Second-year entry).

Studying Earth Science at the University of Edinburgh provides the opportunity to explore a wide variety of courses, study abroad and participate in fieldwork.

Variety and flexibility

Honours degree programmes are normally four years long and are composed of compulsory and chosen course components.

By taking the compulsory components of the degree programmes that interest you in years one and two, you will have the flexibility to switch between degree programmes during those years.

You will also be able to choose from a variety of other course options. These courses allow you to:

  • develop your school subjects further with maths, physics or geography
  • broaden your knowledge of the sciences with astronomy, computer science or oceanography
  • expand your vocational skills with foreign languages, business or management studies
  • explore areas of the arts or social sciences with archaeology, history or culture studies

Study abroad

With all our degrees it is possible to spend your 3rd year studying abroad at a university in Europe, North America or Australasia.

The exchange schemes are very popular and can be very competitive. In order to participate, you must maintain good academic progress.


Fieldwork is a very important (and exciting) part of all our degree programmes.

Many rich geological settings are within a day's reach of Edinburgh, but you will also travel more widely on one to two week residential excursions throughout the UK and abroad.

You will also participate in independent fieldwork projects between the third and fourth year of your degree.

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