Geology is the study of the solid Earth, the materials 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 for mineral and hydrocarbon exploration, water resource and the understanding and amelioration of natural hazards.

We focus on developing your enthusiasm for earth sciences and giving you the skills and knowledge to meet the scientific challenges of the future.

Why study Geology at Bristol?

Bristol earth sciences degrees are rigorously quantitative and focus on problem solving. You will learn from renowned scientists in a dynamic, intellectually stimulating environment, and a personal tutor will advise and monitor your progress throughout your time with us. Our courses are accredited by the Geological Society of London.

You can choose a three-year course, or a four-year course with the added opportunity to spend your third year abroad. Our degrees offer a wide range of unit choices and the option to transfer between some of the courses at the end of your first year.

We have a tightly knit community, and you will experience research-led teaching from scientists with expertise in:

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

In the final year of our MSci courses, you will undertake a major research project in one of these areas.

To give you a real feel for geology in practice, we have a large geology collection available to students and you will gain practical experience, with over 40 days of fieldwork both in the UK and overseas, the cost of which is included in your tuition fee. Your project work takes place in state-of-the-art laboratories.

See the School of Earth Sciences on film.

Download the Earth Sciences leaflet (PDF, 212kB)

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 courses are delivered through lectures, laboratory-based practicals and organised field trips. In addition, small-group tutorials help you to develop key skills.

You will be expected to develop independent learning skills and to self-assess your progress with the aid of feedback from teaching staff. A range of assessment methods is used; some units are assessed by exams, some by coursework, and some by a combination of the two.

What are my career prospects?

Geology graduates from Bristol travel the world, working in fields as diverse as natural resources, meteorology, the nuclear industry and geotechnical services, as well as in areas such as journalism and management.

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

Some graduates go on to further study or careers in the scientific media, finance and teaching. The teamwork, problem-solving and quantitative skills acquired by our graduates are highly valued 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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