BSc(Hons) Geology

mountain range
Entry year
Course code
Tariff points
Geography and Environmental Management
Three years full-time; four years sandwich
Full-time; sandwich
Programme leader
Dr Hazel Beaumont

Please note that new student recruitment to this course has been suspended for the September 2020 intake. Applications for 2021 should be made through UCAS from September 2020.

Page last updated 10 August 2020


We are the only accredited geology course in the UK that offers two modules in hydrology at undergraduate level and over 60 days geological fieldwork.

Accreditations and partnerships:

Why study geology?

Geologists have a significant role to play in addressing many of the challenges facing society. For example, as geologists we contribute to the building of bridges, tunnels and their associated hazards; understanding of aquifer systems and hydrocarbon reservoirs; and the development of new forms of electricity. These industries are currently growing and are in need of well-trained geologists.

Studying geology gives you the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in these fields. It also helps you develop analytical, critical thinking and communication skills, qualities sought after by employers across a wide range of industries.

Why UWE Bristol?

BSc(Hons) Geology will equip you with a solid understanding of the subject, with a focus on applying it across various geological industries.

Study modules addressing hydrogeology, structural geology, sedimentology, volcanics, geophysics, geotechnics and geological hazards. Develop valuable skills in the laboratory, microscope work, field skills, geological mapping and computer-based spatial analysis, along with report writing and presentation skills.

Tailor the course to your interests with options including geographic information systems (GIS), applied sedimentology, tectonic landforms and processes, and coastal and fluvial geomorphology.

Apply theoretical and field data in our well-equipped laboratories. Conduct assignments based on real-world issues and where possible, broaden your experience through local and international field trips. We are also committed to helping you be as successful as possible, why not check out our free resource which introduces you to different rock types and some key field skills.

Gain vital professional experience on a work placement and graduate ready to take your place in the industry.

Where can it take me?

You'll graduate ready for many of the typical areas of work for geologists.

Pursue a career in geotechnical engineering, engineering geology, environmental consultancy, hydrogeology, oil and gas industries, quarrying and mining. Alternatively, get involved in finance, education and research.



The optional modules listed are those that are most likely to be available, but they may be subject to change.

Year one

You will study:

  • Dynamic Earth 
  • Earth Materials
  • Living Earth
  • Geological Field Skills
  • Geological Maps
  • Stratigraphy of the British Isles.

Year two

You will study:

  • Research in Geology
  • Hydrogeology 1
  • Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology
  • Geotechnics
  • Sedimentary Environments and Palaeoecology.

Plus, one optional module from:

  • Understanding River Dynamics
  • Understanding Coastal Dynamics
  • Tectonic Processes and Landforms.

Placement year (if applicable)

If you study on the four year (sandwich) course, you'll spend a year away from the University on a work placement after Year two.

You'll complete a placement learning module.

See the Placements and Fees sections for more information.

Final year

You will study:

  • Final Year Project
  • Hydrogeology 2
  • Geotechnical Hazards
  • Structural Geology and Geophysics.

Plus, optional modules:

  • GIS and Remote Sensing Applications*.

*Not available to students who complete the placement year.

Or two from the following (one if you complete the placement year):

  • Applied Sedimentology
  • 21st Century Economic Geology
  • Independent Project (Geology).

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

Our lecturing staff achieve consistently high scores on the National Student Survey and provide a friendly environment for learning. They're active researchers or industrial consultants and stay aware of advances in the field.

Find out more about our department's approach to learning and teaching.

Learn through a blend of lectures, seminars, small group work, laboratory classes, fieldwork and workshops.

Attend presentations from visiting professionals to learn about industry challenges and decide which area to go into. Develop key analytical, communication and business skills that will help you succeed in the workplace.

Receive mentoring from more advanced students through our Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme.

See our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Approximate percentage of time you'll spend in different learning activities*:

YearScheduled learning and teaching studyIndependent studyPlacement study

*Calculated from compulsory and optional modules (where applicable) each year

Socialise and network

Meet students from Civil Engineering and Physical and Human Geography in our thriving Geography Society.


Modules are assessed through a combination of exams, essays, projects, presentations and field exercises.

You'll complete most coursework individually but there are some group assignments. Exams take place at the middle and end of each year.

Support is available if you have difficulties with numeracy, IT, literacy and study skills.

See our full glossary of assessment terms.

Approximate percentage of marks awarded by each assessment method*:

YearWritten exam assessmentCoursework assessmentPractical exam assessment

*Calculated from compulsory and optional modules (where applicable) each year


Professional accreditation

This course is accredited by The Geological Society and The Institute of Environmental Sciences.


Students who get work experience tend to graduate with better degrees. Experience also hones your skills, industry knowledge and professional network, making you a sought after graduate.

If you choose the four year (sandwich) course, you'll spend a year away from the University on a work placement after Year two.

Past students in geology have worked with researchers at UWE Bristol to develop our understanding of the coastal sections of Portishead, Somerset and with a ground investigation company Land Science Ltd. Other students in the department have had placements involving recycling in Chile, ecological management in Australia and transport management in the UK. 

Read William Flay's Placement story.

You'll get help to find your placement and support throughout from department staff and our award-winning careers service.


Field trips are an important part of this course and include day and residential visits, directly linked to your modules. The fieldtrips below may be subject to change.

Year one

Two week-long residential fieldtrips within the UK, studying geological skills (Dartmoor) and geological mapping (Pembrokeshire). Various other day trips throughout the year.

Year two

Short trips will improve your field and research skills.  

Two week-long fieldtrips, one in the UK (The Lizard) and one international (Almeria, south Spain), for developing geological mapping and research skills.

Final year

Various day trips and short residential fieldtrips trying out applied geological skills as practiced in the world of work.

You'll study a range of environmental, social and economic issues at the expedition destination.

Study facilities

Learn in modern, well-equipped facilities, including our Natural Environment Laboratories.

Reconstruct past sedimentary and volcanic environments, test water quality and soil mechanics in our earth science and environmental change labs.

Study and collaborate on group assignments in our dedicated Project Room.

Conduct spatial enquiry and analyse data using industry-standard geographic information system (Arc GIS) and statistical software in our computer labs. Also learn how to use specific geological software such as Sterenoet.

This mix of traditional and highly creative learning environments enables you to learn essential knowledge and real-world skills, standing you in good stead for your professional career.

Learn more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources.


Careers / Further study

Studying geology leads to a range of career options. As a graduate, you could go into engineering geology, environmental consultancy, hydrogeology, oil and gas industries or quarrying and mining; or continue to further your education with a masters or PhD.

You may choose to use your skills and knowledge in logistics, business management or finance.

You could also teach geography or geology at secondary school level; this course is a good foundation for a postgraduate teaching qualification. 

Get inspired

Our award-winning careers service will develop your employment potential through career coaching and find you graduate jobs, placements and global opportunities.

We can also help find local volunteering and community opportunities, provide support for entrepreneurial activity and get you access to employer events.

Visit our employability pages to learn more about careers, employers and what our students are doing six months after graduating.


Supplementary fee information

Your overall entitlement to funding is based on how long the course is that you're registered on. Standard funding is allocated based on the standard number of years that your course lasts, plus one additional year.

You'll apply for funding each year that you study and Student Finance will take into account how long the course is in each year that you apply. So if you register for the four year course and then transfer to the three year course, the number of years you can apply for funding will change. Student Finance will reassess your funding based on how many years you have been in study, not just those years for which you received student finance.

Always seek advice before taking any action that may have implications for your funding.

Learn more about funding.

Additional costs

Additional costs are for items you could need during your studies that aren't covered by the standard tuition fee. These could be materials, textbooks, travel, clothing, software or printing.

Learn more about costs.


Typical offers

  • Tariff points: 112
  • GCSE: Grade C/4 in English Literature or Language and Mathematics, or equivalent. We do not accept Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Certificate in Adult Numeracy and Literacy as alternatives to GCSEs.
  • English Language Requirement: International and EU applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.0 with 5.5 in each component (or approved equivalent*).

    *The university accepts a large number of UK and International Qualifications in place of IELTS. You can find details of acceptable tests and the required grades you will need in our English Language section. Visit
  • A-level subjects: A2 in one of the following subjects: Geology; Archaeology; Biology; Chemistry; Computing; Design and Technology; Electronics; Environmental Science; Geography; ICT; Maths; Physical Education (PE); Physics; Psychology; Science (Applied); Sports Science; Statistics.
  • EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: You must be studying one of the following: Aeronautical Engineering; Applied Science; Construction and the Built Environment; Countryside Management; Electrical Electronic Engineering; Engineering; Environmental Sustainability; Information Technology; Manufacturing Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; or Pharmaceutical Science.
  • Access: 15 Level 3 credits at Merit in Science and Mathematics.
  • Baccalaureate IB: To include one of the following at Higher Level: Biology; Chemistry; Computer Science; Geography; Mathematics; Physics.

Entry requirements

International applicants

For country specific entry requirements please find your country on the Country Information pages. If you are an international student and do not meet the academic requirements to study this course, you can qualify by completing preparatory study at our International College.

If you are applying to study at UWE Bristol and require additional support to meet our English language requirements, you may be able to attend one of our pre-sessional English courses. Read more about our pre-Sessional English programme.

Read more about entry requirements.

How to apply

Read more about undergraduate applications.

For further information


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