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BSc (Hons) Geology with Foundation Year
Why choose this course?
Take a foundation year for an ideal introduction to the dynamic subject of Geology – and prepare for a rewarding future where you can improve our understanding of the Earth.
- Build a strong platform for success in your studies: the foundation year is invaluable if you are thinking of a career change, keen to explore a new subject area or lack the formal qualifications to embark on our honours degree straight away
- Gain the skills, knowledge and confidence you need to complete this academically challenging and stimulating honours degree in four years
- Prepare to join a profession where high-calibre graduates are in great demand across the world
- Meet rigorous standards on a degree accredited by The Geological Society and take your first step towards becoming a Chartered Geologist
- Make the most of the exceptional geology of the Peak District National Park which lies right on our doorstep
- Hone your skills through challenging fieldwork: our students have undertaken geological investigations in Snowdonia, Scotland, Tenerife, the Pyrenees and the USA
- Explore environmental hazards such as volcanoes and earthquakes
- Study a degree with 95% overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2016
- Learn from an enthusiastic and experienced team of research active staff
You can also take Geology as a Joint Honours subject.
UCAS code: F601 Start date: September Course length: Full-time: four years. Campus: Kedleston Road, Derby College: College of Life & Natural Sciences
About this course
Developed with your future employment in mind, this course is your stepping stone to a career exploring, producing and managing the Earth’s resources.
A smooth transition to the honours degree
This four-year course is for you if youhave the ability and ambition to study Geology at Derby but perhaps lack the entry requirements to join our three-year honours degree directly. It is also a wise choice for anyone who is thinking of changing their career plans and would like to improve their knowledge of what may be a new area of study for them.
By starting your journey at foundation level, you will gain a solid introduction to the subject while developing the academic skills to prepare you for studying an honours degree. The foundation year covers geoscience, organisms and their environment, chemistry and physics as well as research and data handling.
Once you have successfully completed the foundation year, you can progress directly to the first stage of the honours degree with confidence. You won’t need to apply again for the full BSc (Hons) degree.
An in-depth understanding of the Earth
How does our planet work? How has it changed over time? How did life evolve on Earth? How can we safeguard our energy, water and mineral resources? How should we tackle environmental hazards?
You can explore these and many other important questions on the BSc (Hons) Geology with Foundation Year. You’ll enjoy fascinating insights into the Earth, what it’s made of, the processes which are changing it, the essential resources it provides and the organisms that have lived here.
The knowledge and skills you gain will open doors to a vast range of careers – from the petroleum and mining industries to the geotechnical and environmental sectors.
Reach high professional standards
You’ll be studying for a degree which has received the stamp of approval from an independent body of academics and industrialists. Because it is accredited by The Geological Society, you can be sure that your course offers high quality teaching and professional relevance.
The Society’s endorsement helps enhance your credibility in the graduate job market and puts you on a fast-track route if you decide to apply to become a Chartered Geologist or Chartered Scientist. Qualifying from an accredited course reduces the amount of professional experience you will need to demonstrate when you apply.
Your classroom in the great outdoors
At Derby you’ll discover some of the country’s most important geological sites right on your doorstep. The nearby Peak District National Park has long been a magnet for geologists keen to explore its limestone, sandstone and metal-bearing mineral veins.
As a first-year student, you will receive free basic field equipment to help you make the most of this giant outdoor classroom. The pack includes a compass clinometer, hand lens, hard hat, high-visibility jacket, professional field notebook and copies of the British Geological Survey geological map of the UK.
Fieldwork at home and overseas
Fieldwork skills are essential for any geologist’s career development, so we provide ample opportunity for you to put theory into practice and gain hands-on experience. Along with regular fieldtrips to the Peak District and visits to industrial sites, you could find yourself honing your skills further afield in the UK and abroad.
Our Geology students have, for instance, investigated a broad variety of rocks and structures in Scotland, studied sedimentary sequences in Wales, analysed volcanic processes, environments and hazards in Tenerife, and explored mountain building processes in the Pyrenees.
Modern labs with industry-standard resources
Laboratory-based practical sessions will be integral to your studies and we offer full training to help you harness industry-standard geological equipment.
Our high-quality learning facilities include a spatial data laboratory, petrology laboratory, sedimentary laboratory, geotechnical laboratory and specialist computing laboratory as well as a map library. We have thousands of rock, mineral and fossil samples from all over the world to help you deepen your knowledge of rock formation and its role in the history of Earth.
For your independent investigations, you will also have a dedicated space in our student research laboratory.
An expert team to guide you
We have an international reputation for the quality of our geology research. Our academics are conducting influential studies into subjects such as sedimentology, volcanology, glacial environments and land degradation. It means that teaching on your degree is informed and inspired by the very latest developments and debates in geology.
Our strong associations with research partners in the UK and overseas bring an extra dimension to your studies. If you take the chance to study abroad in stage two of your degree, you will gain fresh perspectives from lecturers based in other countries.
A vibrant programme of guest lectures also sheds new light on current topics within the profession. Themes have ranged from how the Himalayan mountain chain formed to new technologies in petroleum exploration. In addition, we give you the chance to take part in careers events on and off campus, for example at the British Geological Survey.
What you will cover
You’ll study modules such as:
- Study Skills in Science
- Research Methods in Data Handling
- Foundations in Geoscience
- Organisms and their Environment
- Principles of Chemistry
- Foundations in Physics
If you already have level 2 English and Maths, you will not be required to take English and Maths core modules.
- Rocks, Minerals and Gemstones (1) This module will introduce you to the subject of rocks and minerals. Gemstones, a subset of minerals are discussed in terms of their origins. You will learn to recognise the important ore and rock-forming minerals in hand specimen and under the microscope. You will learn how the main groups of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks are formed.
- Fundamental Skills for Geoscientists (2) This module is designed to help you develop a range of intellectual, personal and subject-related skills that are fundamental for geoscientists. In particular, it will provide an introduction to the methods of recording geoscience data from a variety of sources. This includes training in the description, identification and interpretation of geological phenomena in the field and on maps. It emphasises the need for accuracy in the recording of small-scale features seen at outcrop and demonstrates how larger-scale structures, relationships and geological history can be established from field and map evidence. In addition, the module will enable you to develop skills in the presentation and communication of geoscience information. It will also introduce you to the concept of Personal Development Planning (PDP).
- The Stratigraphical Record (1) The module will explain the principles of stratigraphy and provide an overview of the fossil record, both as an element of Earth history in its own right and as a tool for investigating other aspects of environmental change over geological time.
- Environmental Hazards and Disasters This module introduces natural environmental hazards and disasters in a global geographical and geological context, and looks at each of the major hazards affecting Earth’s surface, people and society. Through lectures, case studies and problem-solving exercises, students will examine the concepts and issues of hazards and disasters with emphasis on physical processes, and on societal perception and response.
- Earth Surface Processes and Environments (1) This module will introduce you to the processes which have an impact on the surface of Planet Earth. You will learn how the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere and biosphere interact with the lithosphere, and how these interactions are reflected in surface features and sedimentary deposits. This is a module which provides an overview of the Earth surface environment, covering all of the major oceanic and terrestrial settings, and past as well as present environments. You will learn to recognize the products (rocks, structures, large-scale features) of surface processes, and to use them in interpreting environments.
- Resource Geology (1) The aim of this module is to introduce the concepts of reserves and resources, the geology of energy resources including hydrocarbons, the range, occurrence and importance of industrial minerals, methods of exploration and exploitation, industrial processes and the importance of geological resources to the construction industry and society.
- Geological Mapping and Applied Skills for Geoscientists (2) Geological maps have many and varied practical applications. Learning how to construct maps in the field is an important part of a geologist's training. Being able to interpret geological maps successfully is a fundamental skill as is the ability to produce succinct reports. This module introduces the basic geological techniques and procedures used in the compilation of geological maps and reports. Students will be able to develop their field skills through completion of an independent field mapping assignment. The module also provides an opportunity for students to develop their practical skills in geological map analysis and interpretation. This part of the module is designed to enhance understanding of the three-dimensional nature of geological structures, to illustrate a variety of stratigraphical relationships and to aid interpretation of a sequence of geological events. In addition, students will have the opportunity to develop their writing skills through the compilation of succinct geological reports. As part of the module, you will be expected to participate in a career development programme specifically related to work experience and career planning within the Geosciences and continue with the compilation of your Personal Development Portfolio.
- Imaging Earth’s Surface and Subsurface (1) This module provides a basic understanding of the theories, principles and applications of satellite remote sensing, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), solid Earth geophysical techniques and Geographical Information Systems (GIS). The module aims to develop skills in the acquisition, processing and interpretation of images and data acquired by remote sensing of Earth’s surface and by subsurface geophysical techniques. These data will be used to develop an understanding of surface environments, shallow site investigations and deep structures within the Earth. The module gives an introduction to the manipulation and interpretation of geospatial data using GIS software. Students will explore selected applications of GIS in the geosciences.
- Volcanology and the Earth's Interior (3) This module seeks to promote an understanding of volcanology and the diversity of its processes, products and hazards. You will study the generation of magmas within the earth, and the underlying geological, geophysical and geochemical evidence. Volcanic systems will be studied in all the major tectonic settings, including oceanic ridges, subduction systems and ocean-island volcanoes, and will be illustrated by detailed case studies. The module will address the physical volcanology of lavas and explosive volcanic systems and their products, with a brief review of the resultant volcanic hazards.
- Applied Sedimentology (2) In this module, you will study the composition, texture, structures and field relationships of modern sediments and ancient sedimentary rocks, in order to achieve the reconstruction of past depositional conditions and environments. The module aims to provide students with the skills to describe sedimentary rocks and sequences, and to interpret processes and environments through the development of theoretical and practical skills in the laboratory and during fieldwork. Students will explore applications of sedimentology to petroleum geology through working with and interpreting simple sets of well data.
- Deformed Terrains (2) The purpose of this module is to introduce you to a range of tectonic and metamorphic features associated with deformed terrains. Geological structures are considered by examining their origin and formation. This module also provides an understanding of the processes and products of regional metamorphism. You will also receive training in the description and interpretation of polydeformed metamorphosed rocks in the field, during a residential field course.
- Geomorphology (1) This module examines the nature and operation of geomorphological processes and their role in landform creation and change. Examples include weathering, slope, glacial and coastal processes. The module is supported by fieldwork and laboratory based practical work.
- Economic Mineral Deposits (1) The purpose of this module is to promote, by reference to selected case studies, an appreciation of the natural processes and geological environments in which normally dispersed elements are concentrated into deposits of economic value. It will also introduce students to the methods used in exploration for mineral resources, and the factors involved in the planning of a mineral exploration programme.
- Water: Resource and Hazard This module aims to develop a holistic, interdisciplinary understanding of water through a rigorous examination of both geographical as well as a geological analysis. The module focuses on two fundamental aspects of water: 1) resource and 2) hazard.. Students are made aware of differing disciplinary perspectives and how these can be brought together in developing interdisciplinary case studies.
- Study Abroad Module This is a block credit module primarily for Geography and Geology single honours students who undertake 1 semester of overseas study as part of their degree programme. On receipt of a formal transcript from the partner overseas academic institution, those who have successfully achieved the equivalent of 60 credits of learning at level 5 will have this module credited to their University of Derby academic transcripts (profile). This is a pass/fail module and only the credits, not the grades are transferred to Derby.
- Independent Studies for Geoscience (2 or 3) This module represents an opportunity for students to exercise initiative, creative thinking, time management and organisational skills in the pursuit of an independent (but tutor supported) piece of research work of their own choosing (subject to approval on academic, safety and ethical grounds). It is a continuation of the process of Personal Development Planning (PDP) initiated in level 4 and 5, to develop an advanced skill-set which will enhance the ‘graduateness’ and employability of students. Central to the research study will be a degree of problem solving, the formulation and testing of hypotheses and the critical evaluation of relevant theory. The research can, if required, be undertaken in a work based / placement context.
- Basin Analysis (3) Sedimentary basins are geologically and economically important. The evolution of such basins through space and time may constrain factors such as sea-level change, sedimentation rate and the accumulation of economic deposits. This module will examine sedimentary environments in tectonic settings, particularly focusing on commercial interests, during lectures. Analytical techniques such as well interpretation/correlation and seismic data/interpretation will be developed in practical sessions. Students will apply concepts and techniques to one or more sedimentary basins during a residential field course.
- Crustal Evolution (3) This module provides a deep understanding of the origin, evolution and differentiation of the Earth’s continental crust. It will examine some ‘big picture’ themes which will include: Arc processes in the modern Earth and their role in geologically recent continent formation, The Earth before plate tectonics and the processes of continent formation in the Early Earth, and The growth of the continental crust through accretion and collisional tectonics leading to the formation of mountain belts. This latter part of the module will be taught both in class and in the field. Models and hypotheses will be tested principally through the techniques of geochemistry.
- Applied GIS (1) This module provides an appropriate portfolio of subject knowledge and applied skills typically required for an introductory position in the field of GIS or for going on to specialist postgraduate study in GIS. It also aims to produce students capable of independently solving problems using GIS. Important themes in GIS are explored from both a theoretical and practical perspective, including data capture / input, data accuracy / error, databases, surface modelling, derived mapping, the use of new technologies and different approaches to problem solving.
- Engineering Geology (1) The module is designed to develop your understanding of the mechanical properties of rocks, rock masses, soils and other unconsolidated materials in an engineering context. The importance of these properties with regard to ground stability, slope stability and foundation design is emphasised throughout. The effect of varying groundwater conditions is also considered. Site investigation techniques are also investigated and demonstrated.
- Geological Hazards (3) This module seeks to promote an understanding of earth-surface hazards through case studies in a region prone to a range of geohazards. The case studies will mainly be investigated through residential fieldwork, supported by workshops. Students will assess the environmental and human impact of such hazards and evaluate methods of hazard assessment, hazard management, monitoring and mitigation.
- Terrain Evaluation (1) This module investigates the theory and practice of terrain evaluation with particular reference to engineering construction. In addition, the application of knowledge of geological and geomorphological processes in the management of the environment is examined. The management of coastal erosion and the assessment of flood risk are given examples of areas studied.
- Reconstructing Past Environments (1) In this module students will learn how to reconstruct ancient environments through providing an integrated picture of the relationships between life and the environment.
- Vocational Module (Work Placement) This module provides an opportunity for students to obtain and undertake a placement with a company, voluntary body, the University of Derby or a public establishment. By placing the module at level 6, the student will be able to undertake a range of tasks which will apply their knowledge, level of understanding and skills which will be beneficial to the host organisation. Similarly, the student should be able to compile a report incorporating deep reflection on their personal experiences whilst undertaking the placement and an evaluation of their skill set development.
(1) Module includes fieldwork
(2) Module includes residential fieldwork
(3) Module includes residential overseas fieldwork
You are expected to put 200 hours of work into each module, and you will normally take 3 modules per semester. In a typical Geology module, you will spend 6 hours per week in lectures, practical classes and tutorials. Some modules include field day, or residential fieldwork ranging from 5 to 12 days.
September 2017 typical entry requirements UCAS points 72 (up to 16 from AS-levels) Specific requirements at A-level N/A Specific requirements at GCSE N/A Interview / Audition N/A Portfolio N/A September 2018 typical entry requirements UCAS points 64-96 (up to 16 from AS-levels) Specific requirements at A-level N/A Specific requirements at GCSE N/A Interview / Audition N/A Portfolio N/A
Our entry requirements for this course should be read together with the University's general entry requirements, which details subjects we accept, alternative qualifications and what we're looking for at Derby.
How to apply
- Full-time students applying in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.
- Full-time students applying in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.
Information for international applicants
Fees and finance
Full-time Part-time UK/EU
£9,250 per year
Fees for 2018/19 entry are still being decided, so please check back later in the year for more information.
How you will learn
You’ll learn through lectures, laboratory-based practical sessions, tutorials and fieldwork in the UK and overseas. For example, you’ll visit Scotland and Snowdonia to learn how to make a geological map, Anglesey to study metamorphism and deformation, and Tenerife to analyse volcanic processes. In your third year, you will study mountain building processes in the Pyrenees. You’ll be taught by a team of enthusiastic and highly skilled geologists, who are active researchers working with local and international research partners.
This course is very practical and gives you the hands-on experience that you need to prepare you for your future career. We have invested in our facilities to ensure that you learn in realistic environments in new laboratories with modern equipment. Take a look at our facilities.
How you're assessed
We use a diverse range of assessment methods, including essays, reports, field and laboratory notebooks, portfolios, posters, oral presentations, presentations on social media and exams. You may be assessed individually or as part of a group. We’ve mapped our assessments against key graduate skillsets that employers require.
Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will be communicated after enrolment on your course.
Careers and employability
We are committed to equipping you with the professional skills, theoretical knowledge and practical expertise which will serve you well in a vast range of graduate careers. We also foster your personal attributes such as self-reliance, communication and leadership to help set you apart in the eyes of a prospective employer.
When you complete your course, you will be well prepared to respond to the changes which are transforming the geology profession today. While the petroleum and mining industries remain major employers of Geology graduates, there are growing opportunities in the geotechnical and environmental sectors too.
You could secure fulfilling and challenging roles in areas such as resources exploration and exploitation, engineering geology, environmental consultancy and monitoring, pollution control, and waste or water supply management. In fact, the skills you gain at Derby will make you well suited for any type of employment where environmental awareness and broad scientific expertise are valued.
There are exciting opportunities to take your geological expertise to the next level too. You could consider studying for a masters degree such as our MSc Applied Petroleum Geoscience.