Earth Sciences study guide 2023/24

Earth Sciences at Bristol

The School of Earth Sciences is situated at the historic heart of the University campus, in the neo-Gothic Wills Memorial Building. Part of the internationally acclaimed Faculty of Science, our school is one of the leading centres for research and teaching in the Earth Sciences, having been ranked in the top four UK departments of its kind since 2001. The Head of School is Professor Alison Rust.

Here at Bristol you learn with world-class experts in a close-knit and supportive student and staff community. The research-inspired teaching will help you put theory into practice, both in the labs and the field. A broad learning curriculum will prepare you for your future career choices and enable you to tackle urgent global challenges or conduct research with real-world impact.

One of the school’s greatest research strengths is the truly collegiate atmosphere fostered by a fluid grouping of research activities with emphasis on excellence and interdisciplinarity. Our research activity is organised into six groups covering everything from climate and environmental change, to palaeobiology and geochemistry.

Researchers collaborate across the groups to investigate issues such as the evolution and architecture of the Earth, global biogeochemical cycles, evolution of biodiversity and morphology, and geological hazards and risks. We attract major support and financial investment from a diverse range of sources, including RCUK and particularly NERC, the EU, the Royal Society and other charitable bodies, and industry.

The school boasts some of the best research laboratories in the UK, with a further £3 million being spent by the University on upgrading facilities. Our research output is prolific, with over 120 ISI cited papers published each year in leading scientific journals.

Unit structure

Many of the school's units are taught across the academic year (known as 'TB4' units), which means they start in September and end in May/June. There are some single-semester classes, but we encourage students interested in this subject to consider studying with us for the full academic year (September–June) so they have more unit choices available to them.

Unit levels

The school offers units across all undergraduate levels of study – Year 1 (Level C/4), Year 2 (Level I/5), and Year 3 (Level H/6). Postgraduate units (Level M/7) are not available.

Unit codes

Unit codes in the School of Earth Sciences begin with 'EASC'. This is followed by a number indicating the year (1, 2, 3). For example:

  • EASC10000 = year 1 unit
  • EASC20000 = year 2 unit
  • EASC30000 = year 3 unit.

For more information about each unit, check the University's unit catalogue for 2023/24. Applicants on all study abroad programmes must review the unit details on the catalogue before listing unit choices on their application form. This includes checking the format of assessment for each unit. The unit catalogue for 2023/24 is updated by April 2023.

Your unit choices cannot be guaranteed. Some units may not have capacity to accommodate all of the unit requests we receive. Registration on a unit also depends on whether you meet the pre-requisite conditions through prior study at your home university.

Study Abroad (Subject pathway)

If you have been nominated to Bristol on the Study Abroad (Subject pathway), you must take the majority of your credits in this department.

Units available on the study abroad programme in 2023/24

The following units from the School of Earth Sciences are open to inbound Study Abroad students.

Year 1 (level C/4)


  • Dynamic Earth (TB1) - EASC10011
  • Our Habitable Planet (TB1) - EASC10014


  • Earth’s Evolution (TB2) - EASC10012
  • Environmental Sustainability and Resources (TB2) -EASC10010


  • Physics and Chemistry for Earth Scientists (TB4) - EASC10006

Year 2 (level I/5)


  • Analytical Geochemistry (TB1B) - EASC20038. This runs for half of the semester (weeks 7-12)
  • Applied Geophysics (TB1A) - EASC20042. This runs for half of the semester (weeks 1-6)
  • Geochemistry 1 (TB1B) - EASC20043. This runs for half of the semester (weeks 7-12)
  • Mapping, Tectonics and Remote Sensing (TB1) - EASC20045
  • Mineralogy and Petrology (TB1) - EASC20035
  • Sedimentology (TB1A) - EASC20007. This runs for half of the semester (weeks 1-6)


  • Atmospheric Processes (TB2C) - EASC20027. This runs for half of the semester (weeks 13-18)
  • Exploration Geophysics (TB2) - EASC20048
  • Geobiology (TB2C) - EASC20024. This runs for half of the semester (weeks 13-18)
  • Numerical Methods and Programming (TB2) - EASC20041

Year 3 (level H/6)


  • Geomicrobiology (TB1B) - EASC30051. This runs for half of the semester (weeks 7-12)
  • Geophysical Data Analysis and Modelling (TB1A) - EASC30054. This runs for half of the semester (weeks 1-6)
  • Hydrogeology (TB1A) - EASC30065. This runs for half of the semester (weeks 1-6)
  • Igneous Petrology (TB1B) - EASC30057. This runs for half of the semester (weeks 7-12)
  • Oceans and Climate (TB1) - EASC30071
  • Physical Volcanology (TB1A) - EASC30062. This runs for half of the semester (weeks 1-6)
  • Volcanic Hazards (TB1B) - EASC30076. This runs for half of the semester (weeks 7-12)


  • Environmental Radioactivity (TB2D) - EASC30050. This runs for half of the semester (weeks 19-24)
  • Global Geophysics (TB2) - EASC30064
  • Global Seismology (TB2C) - EASC30063. This runs for half of the semester (weeks 13-18)
  • Mineral Resources (TB2C) - EASC30075. This runs for half of the semester (weeks 13-18)


  • Dynamics of Macroevolution (TB4) – EASC30077
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (TB4) - EASC30060

Year 4 (level M/7)

None available

Application queries

Contact the Centre for Study Abroad inbound team if you have any queries about the application process for the study abroad programmes:

Phone: +44 117 39 40207


Students cannot audit units. Study abroad students are fully registered on units for credit purposes and must attend teaching only for classes that they are registered on.

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