Contact: Jenny Tait
Phone: +44 (0)131 650 7069
Earth Sciences at the University of Edinburgh provides opportunities to study a range of courses related to the formation and evolution of our planet and the Earth’s surface environments.
The Earth is the source of natural resources and natural disasters, such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and landslides.
Graduates of Earth Sciences can pursue careers anywhere in the world and are particularly in demand in areas where people need to make use of natural resources, or need to understand the risk from natural or environmental hazards.
Earth Sciences offers you a broad choice of courses and a flexible approach to learning. There is a strong practical element and fieldwork can take you from the Scottish Highlands and Islands to Jamaica.
The University has a strong reputation for research in Earth Sciences and collaborates with a number of reputable research centres.
There are a range of high-tech research facilities and services available to students.
In your first and second year you will study your core subject and related courses in Earth Sciences, plus some optional courses. You can select optional courses from within the School of Geosciences covering subjects such as natural hazards, geography, archaeology, astronomy, oceanography, global environmental processes, meteorology and computer science. Alternatively you can select your optional courses from different Schools or Colleges across the University. If you are studying for a Geophysics based degree you will take courses in mathematics, physics and meteorology. All degree programmes include various field trips, mainly within the Edinburgh region.
Similar to first year, you will study the core courses for your degree programme. With the exception of those in the Geophysics based degree streams, you will again be able to select a number of optional courses, either from the School of Geosciences or in different subjects across the College or University. Field work will comprise largely one or two day trips within Scotland. If you select all the relevant compulsory components of the different Geoscience degree programmes in your first two years, then you will have the flexibility to switch between degree programmes during your first two years.
In your third and fourth years you will start to specialise and will study courses in your chosen area of interest, plus optional courses from within the School of Geosciences. Depending on your chosen degree, you will take part in various fieldwork trips, which include residential courses in Spain, Mull, the Scottish Highlands and Cyprus. If you are studying Environmental Science you can also take part in a land and marine fieldwork project in Jamaica.
Your fourth year courses will again comprise subjects dedicated to your specific degree programme plus various optional Geoscience courses. For the Geophysics based degrees you will take part in a residential field trip to France or Germany. You will also carry out independent research which, for the Geology degrees will include a four week field-based project.
If you choose to progress to a masters programme which are available to the Geology and Geology & Physical Geography degree streams, this is an opportunity to advance your research skills and gain a deeper understanding of your subject through a combination of high-level taught and independent courses. You will gain specialised skills in the subject area of your choice, to bring you to research level in data acquisition, analysis and report writing and to the topical leading-edge of Earth Sciences by studying the best new research. You will also take part in a two-week fieldtrip to Iceland.
All degree programmes involve fieldwork. There is no additional contribution required to the teaching costs involved, but for the residential fieldwork and individual field-based projects, students cover accommodation, subsistence and the costs of travel to the fieldwork location, at a subsidised rate. The actual student contribution depends on the degree programme involved and the courses selected.
You will be taught through a mixture of lectures, tutorials, projects and fieldwork. From your third year, you will devote more time to private study and will receive individual supervision for final-year projects.
Assessment is by a combination of independent project work, field notebooks, practical work, essays and written examinations.
Graduates from the School of GeoSciences have lots of career opportunities. The majority of graduates continue studying or move straight into relevant employment. Many work in the resource industries or go on to establish environmental consultancies. Earth Sciences degrees also equip you for a career in environmental planning, education, engineering or the balance of renewable and non-renewable resources.
Teaching takes place within the School of GeoSciences, located at the University’s King’s Buildings campus, which is a very well equipped facility and has a strong reputation for research.
You can access the University’s libraries and IT facilities and the School’s laboratories provide personal workspace during your honours years. There are opportunities to study abroad and take part in field trips in the UK and abroad.
Opportunities to study abroad are available in this subject area.
My undergraduate degree has formed the base of my knowledge in almost every job I have done since graduating and will no doubt continue to do so in the future.
This article was published on Jun 29, 2012