Course details

Study options

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

UK/EU fee

£9,250 per year* (2020/21)

International fee

£14,045 per year (2020/21)

UCAS points

120 (September 2020 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

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.

Up in the volcanoes of Tenerife

Rebecca's out in the field

A study trip to Tenerife took our Geology student, Rebecca, to the top of the island's most famous volcano - Mount Teide - and gave her inspiration for her career path.

Find out more about Rebecca's adventureFind out more about Rebecca's adventure

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.

Explore our fieldtrips

*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.

Top10in the UK for student satisfaction with teaching and feedback **Geology at Derby, Guardian University Guide 2020
an iceberg

Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC)

Specialising in securing clean environments, nature recovery, and resilience to natural hazards, we work collaboratively to safeguard our planet for future generations.

Learn more about our research Learn more about our research

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 2019 National Student Survey, 97% 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:

  • 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
  • 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 
  • 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
  • Rocks, Minerals and Gemstones (1) - This module will introduce you to the subject of rocks and minerals and origin of gemstones
  • Earth Surface Processes and Environments (1) - This module will introduce you to the processes which have an impact on the surface of Planet Earth
  • Resource Geology (1) - The aim of this module is to introduce the concepts of geological reserves and resources
  • Geological Mapping and Applied Skills for Geoscientists (2) - This module introduces the basic geological techniques and procedures used in the compilation of geological maps and report
  • 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  
  • Imaging Earth’s Surface and Subsurface (1) - 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
  • 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 
  • Preparing for 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
  • 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
  • Applied Environmental Hazards Workshop

Optional modules:

  • Economic Mineral Deposits (1) - The purpose of this module is to promote an appreciation of the natural processes and geological environments in which normally dispersed elements are concentrated into deposits of economic value
  • Applied Sedimentology (2) - In this module, you will study the composition, texture, structures and field relationships of modern sediments and ancient sedimentary rocks 
  • Glacial Environments (1) - This module examines the nature of surface processes operating in cold environments and their role in landform development
  • Deformed Terrains (2) - The purpose of this module is to introduce you to a range of tectonic and metamorphic features associated with deformed terrains

This course offers an ‘Industrial Placement Year’ giving you the opportunity to enhance your practical skills by putting theory into practice, network in your industry and stand-out in the graduate job market. The placement year takes place in your third year, once completed, you would return to University to complete your final year of studies.

  • Applied Professional Practice
  • Contemporary Issues in Professional Practice
  • Independent Studies for Geoscience (2 or 3) - 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
  • Applied Environmental Hazards

Optional modules

  • Basin Analysis (3) - This module will examine sedimentary environments in tectonic settings, particularly focusing on commercial interests, during lectures
  • Crustal Evolution (3) - This module provides a deep understanding of the origin, evolution and differentiation of the Earth’s continental crust
  • Terrain Evaluation (1) - This module investigates the theory and practice of terrain evaluation with particular reference to engineering construction
  • 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
  • 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
  • Climate Change: Adaptation and Mitigation Perspectives - This module aims to develop a sound understanding of the nature and causes of climate change
  • 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

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

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

Smiling girl with scarf sitting in cafe with cup of coffee

Find out more about Geology and Environmental Hazards

The best way to find out if studying at Derby is right for you is to experience an Open Day. Get a feel for the city and campus, tour our first-class facilities and see where you could be living.

Book your Open DayBook your Open Day

How you will learn

You’ll learn through lectures, laboratory-based practical sessions, tutorials and fieldwork in the UK and overseas. For example, you could visit Scotland and Snowdonia to learn how to make a geological map, Anglesey to study metamorphism and deformation, and Tenerife to analyse volcanic processes. You’ll be taught by a team of enthusiastic and highly skilled geologists, who are active researchers working with local and international research partners.

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.

Students studying rock on residential fieldtrip to Anglesey

Geology fieldtrips

Fieldwork lies at the heart of our Geology degrees, enabling you to develop strong practical skills through a combination of residential and day trips across the UK and abroad.

Explore our fieldtripsExplore our fieldtrips

Entry requirements

September 2020 typical entry requirements

RequirementWhat we're looking for
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
IELTS6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)
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

2020/21 Fees


£9,250 per year*

£1,155 per module*


£14,045 per year


* The fees stated above are for the 2019/20 academic year; fees for 2020/21 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. We will update this information as soon as it is available.

Further information about our fees and support you may be entitled to.

Additional costs and optional extras

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

Guidance for EU students post-Brexit

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

Guidance 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 a masters degree such as our MSc Environmental Assessment and Control or our MSc in Intelligence, Security and Disaster Management. This specialist MSc will be particularly beneficial for anyone keen to pursue a career in the field of environmental hazards.

Programme leader

Dr Adrian Watson

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

Contact us Contact us

Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

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.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

Included in your fees

Mandatory costs not included in your fees

Optional costs not included in your fees

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.

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