Course details

Study options

Full-time: 3 years, Part-time: 6 years

UK/EU fee

£9,250 per year (2018/19)

International fee

£12,500 per year (2018/19)

UCAS points

120 (September 2019 entry)

UCAS code


Course level



BSc (Hons)

Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

If you do not achieve the typical entry points required, you may want to consider studying this course with foundation year.

View with foundation year optionView with foundation year option

Course description

Never far from the headlines, disasters like tsunami, earthquakes, drought and flooding carry a huge environmental and human cost. This dynamic new degree brings together the study of Geography and Environmental Hazards to equip you with skills and knowledge which will set you apart in an increasingly important field.

From earthquakes to mudslides, flooding to volcanic activity, tsunami to avalanches, natural disasters regularly dominate our news. One of only a few courses of its kind in the UK, the BSc (Hons) Geology and Environmental Hazards takes you behind the headlines, giving you scientific insights into how such events are triggered and what we can do to address them.

On the frontline of tackling hazards

High-calibre graduate geologists are in great demand across the world – and our BSc (Hons) Geology and Environmental Hazards gives you specialist skills and knowledge for careers in one of the most challenging branches of geology.

While it has a strong focus on geology, the course takes applied and multidisciplinary approaches to address real-world problems caused by environmental hazards. It explores important questions at a time when climate change, population growth and the exploitation of natural resources are intensifying the pressure on our planet.

You’ll delve into fascinating aspects of how the Earth works, how it has evolved over time and the essential resources it provides. In particular you’ll gain an in-depth understanding of the tectonic, climatic and geomorphological processes which cause environmental hazards and the different measures we can take to prevent and manage those hazards.

The scope of this subject reaches from the local to the global, so you will look at everything from slope stability and flood management in Derbyshire to climate change on an international scale.

Focus on your practical skills

We specialise in real-world learning, providing you with plenty of opportunities to translate theory into practice. Most of the modules on the BSc (Hons) Geology and Environmental Hazards feature training in technical, practical and fieldwork skills. Field-based study is integrated across all years of the course and you will become familiar with innovative techniques in areas like spatial analysis.

To equip you for the challenge, you will receive free basic field equipment in your first year. The kit 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.

An exciting programme of fieldtrips

Vital for your career development, fieldwork is at the heart of this course and we offer a range of opportunities* which may include overseas study tours. Locally, you could find yourself taking regular fieldtrips into the Peak District, touring industrial sites, exploring flood risks on the river Trent or visiting the British Geological Survey site.

Further afield, you could have the chance to visit areas of active natural hazards such as volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides, floods and drought. In the past our students have investigated volcanic processes and hazards amid the spectacular scenery of Tenerife or explored how sedimentary basins were formed through crustal collision in the North Pyrenees of France.

They have also visited the Pacific Northwest of America to conduct a series of fieldwork-based case studies exploring earth-surface hazards, their effects on people and their management. Highlights included visiting the sites of the 1980 Mount St Helens eruption and earthquake-prone areas of downtown Seattle.

*Please note that our programme of fieldtrips is subject to change.

Exceptional learning facilities

You’ll have every opportunity to develop your practical skills in realistic environments. Our facilities include a spatial data laboratory as well as purpose-built petrology, sedimentary, geotechnical and specialist computing laboratories. We also provide a student research laboratory which gives you a dedicated space for conducting your independent investigations.

The labs house thousands of rock, mineral and fossil samples from across the world, helping deepen your understanding of rock formations and their role in the history of the Earth.

Expertise to inspire you

You’ll be taught by our team of highly skilled geoscientists who are passionate about their subjects and committed to your academic and career success. They include active researchers, respected authors and experienced consultants who regularly work with local and international partners.

The team has been commended by quality inspectors and Geology teaching at Derby was ranked second in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018.

Our staff are conducting influential studies into everything from climate and coastal change to volcanology and glaciology. Such research will underpin the teaching on your course, ensuring that you are kept up to date with latest debates and thinking.

Strong professional and academic networks also enrich the University’s vibrant programme of guest lectures. These give you fresh perspectives on topical themes.

A qualification with credibility

Our close links with The Geological Society help ensure that you benefit from a learning experience which reflects the highest professional standards. Our BSc (Hons) Geology has accreditation from the Society and we will be seeking a similar stamp of approval for this new course. Graduating from an accredited course puts you on the fast track to becoming a Chartered Geologist or Scientist because it reduces the amount of professional experience you need before making your application.

Our Geology teaching has received a major vote of confidence from students themselves too: in the 2017 National Student Survey, 95% of our Geology students said they were satisfied with the overall quality of their course. This was followed by a second place ranking for student experience in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018.

An ideal setting for Geology studies

In a location just a stone’s throw away from the Peak District, Derby is an excellent base for aspiring geoscientists. You’ll be studying close to some of the country’s most important geological sites and will have every opportunity to conduct fieldwork in and around the National Park, with its limestone, sandstone and metal-bearing mineral veins.

From exploring the ‘Blue John’ caverns of Castleton to interpreting the landscape in rugged gritstone uplands, you’ll discover the perfect outdoor classroom in close proximity.

What you will study

You'll study modules such as:

  • Introduction to Human Geography - The module examines urbanization and offers an insight into the conflicts behind decisions affecting land use and the allocation of resources in urban and rural settings 
  • Physical Geography of the Anthropocene - The aim of this module is to provide you with an understanding of the structure, function, and characteristics of the Earth’s physical environment and its links with the human realm 
  • Geographical Methods (1) - Supported by UK residential fieldwork, this module introduces basic methods of field survey, mapping and data collection, analysis and reporting to underpin geographical studies
  • Global Environmental Issues (1) - This module will introduce the current environmental issues that provide the greatest challenges to today’s global society
  • Geography and Geographers - The module aims to provide an appreciation of a range of theories and approaches in the discipline of Geography
  • 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
  • Intellectual and Applied Skills for Geographers 
  • Career Preparation for Geographers - The purpose of this module is to help you enhance your graduate employability and prepare you for a professional career as a geography graduate
  • Mediterranean Environments (2) - This module examines how contemporary geographical processes are expressed within specific spaces, places and landscapes of a specific Mediterranean location
  • Research Methods in Geography - Focusing on both quantitative and qualitative data analysis, this module evaluates data types and sources in human and physical geography
  • Water: Resource and Hazard (1) - This module aims to develop a holistic, interdisciplinary understanding of water through a rigorous examination of both geographical as well as a geological analysis
  • Preparing for the Independent Study in Geoscience - This module aims to prepare students for their Independent study. Independent study often includes fieldwork which normally starts at the end of the second year
  • Applied Hazards Workshop

Optional Modules:

  • Introduction to Remote Sensing and GIS - This module provides a basic understanding of the theories and principles underpinning both satellite remote sensing and GIS and their application
  • Sustainable Energy Resources (1) - This module will review the current sources of conventional and renewable fuels used for energy production in the UK and globally
  • Social and Cultural Landscapes - The module aims to introduce students to, and develop their understanding of, the core concerns of contemporary social and cultural geography: its substantive concerns, theoretical perspectives, and methodological innovation
  • Sustainable Cities - This module will introduce current discussions of sustainable cities highlighting the challenges and opportunities of the rapidly urbanisation taking place all across the world
  • Glacial Environments (1) - This module examines the nature of surface processes operating in cold environments and their role in landform development
  • Independent Studies for Geoscience - This module 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
  • Climate Change: Adaptation and Mitigation Perspectives - This module aims to develop a sound understanding of the nature and causes of climate change
  • Applied Environmental Hazards

Optional modules:

  • Terrain Evaluation (1) - This module investigates the theory and practice of terrain evaluation with particular reference to engineering construction
  • Environmental Management: Critical Perspectives (1) - This module will consider the role that environmental management plays in the reduction of waste and in the effective management of natural resources
  • Global Food Security and Food Futures - The overall aim of this module is to explore theoretical arguments and analysis of food security
  • Vocational Module (Work Placement or Volunteering) - 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
  • 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
  • Migration and displacement (1) - This module aims to define the theories and concepts of migration worldwide and explore contemporary geographical approaches to understanding migration and integration processes and their history, interaction, challenges, and prospects

(1) Module includes fieldwork
(2) Module includes residential fieldwork
(3) Module includes residential overseas fieldwork

Subject to validation, these modules may change for September 2019 entry, once validated, a new programme specification will be added so please check back soon. 

How you will learn

You will learn through a combination of compulsory class based contact time (lectures, seminars and practicals), fieldwork (e.g. half day, day and/or residential field courses) and optional tutorial classes. The remainder of the time is spent undertaking directed reading, making notes and undertaking assignments.

Field based learning

Fieldwork is an important part of our programme - all fieldwork is associated with particular modules and most of it involves half or full day trips to locations around the region.

How you're assessed

We use a diverse range of assessment methods, including essays, reports, field and laboratory notebooks, portfolios, posters, infographics oral presentations, vivas, and written exams (seen and unseen). You may be assessed individually or as part of a group. We’ve mapped our assessments against key graduate skillsets that employers require.

Entry requirements

September 2019 typical entry requirements

UCAS points120 (up to 16 from AS-levels)
Specific requirements at A-level

At least a C in Science or Social Science at A-level (or equivalent qualification)

Specific requirements at GCSEGCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification
Interview / AuditionN/A

Alternative entry qualifications:

We usually consider an A-level in General Studies as a supplementary qualification. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions.

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.

Fees and funding

2018/19 Fees


£9,250 per year

£1,155 per module


£12,500 per year


How to apply

UK/EU students

Full-time students applying to start 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.

Part-time students should apply directly to the University.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

International students

Full-time students applying to start 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.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Information for international applicants

Applying for an undergraduate degree


Highly practical and industry-relevant, our BSc (Hons) Geology and Environmental Hazards opens up many challenging and rewarding career opportunities worldwide. There are now a growing number of roles which involve planning for, mitigating and managing natural hazards as well as helping to reduce the impact of climate change, pollution and population pressure. However, this degree also equips you with invaluable transferable skills that can be used across many areas of employment.

By the time you graduate, you’ll have developed a full range of professional skills, theoretical knowledge and practical experience to impress prospective employers. You’ll also have the wide-ranging transferable skills, vision and self-reliance which will make you well suited to any organisation where environmental awareness and broad scientific knowledge are valued. Our graduates have gone on to secure posts in environmental consultancy, pollution control, geotechnical engineering and even the BBC’s Natural History Unit.

You could also consider taking your geological expertise to the next level by studying for a masters degree such as our MSc Environmental Assessment and Control. In an exciting new development, we are also launching an interdisciplinary MSc in Intelligence, Security and Disaster Management in September 2018. This specialist MSc will be particularly beneficial for anyone keen to pursue a career in the field of environmental hazards.

Contact details

EnquiryEmailPhone (0)1332 591167 (0)1332 590500

† Additional information about your studies

Teaching hours

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 usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.

* This course is subject to validation.

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