Degree finder

Geology

F640

5 years

Full-time

MEarthSci

Entry requirements

Typical offer

The typical offer is likely to be:

  • SQA Highers: AAAA.
  • A Levels: AAA.
  • IB: 37 points with 555 at HL.

Minimum entry requirements

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S5 or ABBBB/AABB from S4-S6, to include two of Biology*, Chemistry*, Geography, Geology, Mathematics* and Physics*; with National 5 Mathematics at Grade A (*include at least one).
  • A Levels: ABB required in one sitting, to include two from Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, Geography, Geology; with GCSE Mathematics at Grade A.
  • IB: 32 points overall and award of IB Diploma with 555 at HL to include two of Biology*, Chemistry*, Mathematics*, Physics*, Geology or Geography (*include at least one).

English language requirements

You must provide evidence that your written and spoken English is at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

If English is not your first language, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your spoken and written English:

  • IELTS Academic module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component
  • TOEFL iBT 92 or above with 20 in each section
  • Cambridge English: Advanced & Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): Total 61 with at least 51 in each "Communicative Skills" section

  • About English language requirements

SQA and GCSE

For SQA and GCSE students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 Grade C
  • SQA Standard Grade 3
  • SQA Intermediate 1 Grade A
  • SQA Intermediate 2 Grade C
  • GCSE Grade C
  • IB Standard Level Grade 4

Entry to second year

For direct entry to second year the minimum requirements must be exceeded, including the following:

  • SQA Advanced Highers: AAB to include two of Chemistry*, Mathematics*, Physics*, Geology, Biology or Geography (*include at least one).
  • A Levels: A*AA in one sitting to include two of Mathematics*, Physics*, Chemistry*, Geology, Biology and Geography (*include at least one). Alternatively, GCE A-Levels AAA in one sitting to include three of Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Geology, Biology or Geography.
  • IB: 38 points overall and award of IB Diploma to include three of Biology*, Chemistry*, Mathematics*, Physics* or Geography (*include at least one) at HL Grade 6.
Other entry pathways

Entry to many degrees in Science & Engineering is possible via other qualifications (eg HNC/D, Access, SWAP).

More information

Entry requirements

Typical offer

The typical offer is likely to be:

  • SQA Highers: AAAA.
  • A Levels: AAA.
  • IB: 37 points with 555 at HL.

Minimum entry requirements

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S5 or ABBBB/AABB from S4-S6, to include two of Biology*, Chemistry*, Geography, Geology, Mathematics* and Physics*; with National 5 Mathematics at Grade A (*include at least one).
  • A Levels: ABB required in one sitting, to include two from Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, Geography, Geology; with GCSE Mathematics at Grade A.
  • IB: 32 points overall and award of IB Diploma with 555 at HL to include two of Biology*, Chemistry*, Mathematics*, Physics*, Geology or Geography (*include at least one).

English language requirements

You must provide evidence that your written and spoken English is at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

If English is not your first language, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your spoken and written English:

  • IELTS Academic module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component
  • TOEFL iBT 92 or above with 20 in each section
  • Cambridge English: Advanced & Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): Total 61 with at least 51 in each "Communicative Skills" section

  • About English language requirements

SQA and GCSE

For SQA and GCSE students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 Grade C
  • SQA Standard Grade 3
  • SQA Intermediate 1 Grade A
  • SQA Intermediate 2 Grade C
  • GCSE Grade C
  • IB Standard Level Grade 4

Entry to second year

For direct entry to second year the minimum requirements must be exceeded, including the following:

  • SQA Advanced Highers: AAB to include two of Chemistry*, Mathematics*, Physics*, Geology, Biology or Geography (*include at least one).
  • A Levels: A*AA in one sitting to include two of Mathematics*, Physics*, Chemistry*, Geology, Biology and Geography (*include at least one). Alternatively, GCE A-Levels AAA in one sitting to include three of Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Geology, Biology or Geography.
  • IB: 38 points overall and award of IB Diploma to include three of Biology*, Chemistry*, Mathematics*, Physics* or Geography (*include at least one) at HL Grade 6.
Other entry pathways

Entry to many degrees in Science & Engineering is possible via other qualifications (eg HNC/D, Access, SWAP).

More information

Overview

You will learn how to interpret the rock record and how to place present-day Earth in the context of evolving geological processes.

This programme involves understanding the processes behind the distribution of Earth's natural resources, including hydrocarbons, minerals and metals, as well as the development of subsurface storage.

This five-year programme follows the BSc Geology programme until the end of Year 4. In Year 5 you will develop your analytical skills and a higher level of understanding of the Earth system.

Emphasis will be placed on developing your research, practical and analytical skills, in areas of solid earth geology and geochemistry, including new methods of data acquisition, laboratory measurement and advanced paper and report-writing.

Find out more about this programme on the Geology website.

What you will study

Year 1

In addition to the following compulsory courses, you can take further option courses in different schools or colleges across the University.

Earth Dynamics

Volcanoes, earthquakes, mountain chains and the diversity of the Earth's rocks tell us that the Earth has been a dynamic planet since its formation 4.6 billion years ago. This course aims to impart an understanding of the processes which shape the Earth, and to develop practical skills in recognising the evidence of these processes in rocks, both in the field and in the laboratory. The course will focus primarily on the materials of which the Earth is made, how the major constituents are distributed between core, mantle and crust and how this changes with time through the agencies of plate tectonics and volcanism. From this viewpoint of underlying process, the course will also consider the inherent availability of natural resources and the potential for predicting natural hazards.

Evolution of the Living Earth

This course is intended as a foundation course for all Earth Science students with emphasis on processes that operate at the global scale. In particular, the concept of the Earth System as the operation of inter-linked components of the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere is stressed. This concept is used to study the interaction between geology, chemistry, physics and biology affecting the surface processes of the planet that together form the characteristics of the environment in which we live.

Introduction to the Geological Record

The course will teach 3D mapping and cross-section skills, as well as 4D-thinking abilities. These will be taught via integration of maps with rock identification and the course will also introduce the application of online digital databases (BGS and USGS maps; DEM; radar interferometry; remote sensing imagery) in solving global geological problems and has an integrated field trip to the Lake District, England.

There are local day trips throughout Year 1 as well as the residential Lake District field trip

Year 2

In addition to these compulsory courses, you can take further option courses in different schools or colleges across the University.

GeoMaterials

In Geomaterials we investigate the solid materials which constitute the Earth. We study how atoms are arranged in crystalline materials and how these arrangements influence physical properties. The complex relationships between mineral structure, composition, properties and stability are then investigated as we consider the main materials which make up the surface of the Earth, and how the study of Geomaterials is used to understand processes which have shaped the Earth through time.

Global Tectonics and the Rock Cycle

This course can be broadly divided into two components. The first part develops the concepts of plate tectonics and analyses the physical processes responsible for the formation and destruction of the plates. It considers the principle tectonic components of the earth such as mid-ocean ridges, subduction zones and mountain ranges, and develops an understanding of the physical and chemical nature of the lithosphere. Practical classes will develop concepts from the lectures. In the second half of the course, we will consider the accumulation of sediment over the planet, how they relate to the tectonic processes, and how they are preserved in the stratigraphic record. We will consider the chemical precipitation of carbonate rocks (e.g. limestones), and evaporites (e.g. salts) as well as the physical processes responsible for the transport and deposition of siliciclastic sediments (e.g. sands and muds). Practical work will involve both theoretical analyses of data and practical descriptions of rock specimens and thin sections.

Introduction to Geophysics

Most aspects of geophysics are covered in this course, such as the origins of planets and their interior physical processes, the use of natural and artificial acoustic waves and sensitive gravity observations to determine the structure of the Earth’s core and mantle as well as identifying subsurface petroleum reserves. You will also learn about magnetic storms, the Geomagnetic field, polarity reversals and the palaeomagnetic evidence for plate tectonics.

There are local day trips and a residential field excursion to NW Scotland completes Year 2.

Year 3

Year 3 focuses completely on Geology. It contains a range of courses which develops deeper theoretical and practical knowledge of many different branches of the earth sciences, while tutorials give an opportunity to discuss earth science concepts in small groups. There are field excursions to Spain during the February break and to a choice of localities in the west of Scotland during the Easter vacation.

Year 4

During part of the summer vacation following third year you are required to complete an independent four-week, field-based project in an area of your choice, as close as the Scottish Highlands or as far away as New Zealand.

Compulsory courses in Year 4 include Formation and Evolution of Continents and Evolution of the Modern Earth; courses which individually provide a critical synthesis of evidence bearing on the Earth's evolution, from planetary formation to its present complex pattern of continents and oceans. Specialised options are selected from a list that may include topics such as hydrocarbon reservoirs, the behaviour of magma chambers, evolutionary palaeontology, geophysics or rock deformation processes and in which you can develop your presentation as well as practical skills. Final year fieldwork takes you to Cyprus where many aspects of these courses come to life in the spectacular rock exposures.

Year 5

Year 5 comprises independent and taught courses to enable students studying towards a degree in MEarthSci Geology to develop a high level of analysis and critical understanding of the Earth System and to understand what is involved in becoming an independent researcher.

You will complete high-level courses and a dissertation in a subject area of your choice. If you choose to progress to a masters programme there is ample opportunity in Year 5 to advance your research skills and gain a deeper understanding of your subject. In addition, there is a compulsory fieldtrip to Iceland.

How will I be taught?

You will be taught through a mixture of lectures, tutorials, projects and fieldwork. In your honours years, you will devote more time to self-directed study and will receive individual supervision for final-year project work.

All students have access to the University's specialist research facilities and laboratories for analysing rocks, minerals and fluids and measuring the physical properties of rocks.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through a combination of independent project work, field reports and notebooks, practical work, essays and written examinations. On MEarthPhys programmes you will also be assessed on computer programming exercises, and in the final year of all our programmes there are elements of assessed presentation and scientific writing skills.

Study abroad

You will have opportunities to study abroad through the Erasmus programme or the University's international exchange programme.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

We publish the latest available information for this programme. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year.

Details

Find out more about this programme's aims, what you will learn, how you will be assessed and what skills and knowledge you will develop.

We publish the latest available information for this programme. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year.

Key Information Set

Key Information Sets (KIS) are part of a government initiative to enhance the information that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

KIS are available for most undergraduate programmes and are intended to make it easier for you to find information about the programmes you are interested in studying. It is one of many sources of information available that will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

You can also use this website to find more information on our programmes and the learning environment you will experience at the University of Edinburgh.

Please note that some programmes do not have data available and will not display a KIS.

Why choose Edinburgh?

Choose to study with us and you will be investing in an education that will help you build a successful future.

You'll be taught by world-leading experts who will give you a lifelong thirst for knowledge and understanding.

Our research-led teaching encourages a pioneering, innovative and independent attitude to learning, while our focus on professional skills ensures success within and beyond University.

Our undergraduate Open Days are a great opportunity to come and see the University for yourself. You can learn more about the range of degree programmes available and ask questions about admissions, accommodation and job prospects.

About this programme

We publish the latest available information for this programme. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year.

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