Course details

Study options

Full-time: 4 years

UK/EU fee

£9,250 per year* (2020/21)

International fee

£14,045 per year (2020/21)

UCAS points

72 (September 2020 entry)

UCAS code


Course level



BSc (Hons)

Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

Course description

You can also take Geology as a Joint Honours subject.

*Accreditation from The Geological Society applies to the four year BSc (Hons) Geology with Foundation Year course only

The Geology Society Accreditation Logo

Developed with your future employment in mind, this course is your stepping stone to a career exploring, producing and managing the Earth’s resources.

Foundation Year - helping you to achieve more

Including a foundation year as part of your four-year study programme will give you a head start in your academic and professional life. The foundation year offers the chance to strengthen your skills, knowledge and confidence – with extensive support from our expert staff – before you advance to stage one of your honours degree. It could also be beneficial if you are planning a career change and want to get to grips with aspects of subjects which are new to you.

Our degrees with a foundation year are continuous, meaning that you won’t need to apply again once you have successfully completed the first year.

Why you should study Geology at the University of Derby
Top10 in the UK for student satisfaction with teaching and feedback **Guardian University Guide 2020 (Geology at Derby)

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 our four-year BSc (Hons) Geology with Foundation Year 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

Field 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.

Explore our fieldtrips

Paige Colling

Geology: rewarding careers

After studying Geology at Derby, Paige Colling is pursuing a varied career as an Engineering Geologist.

Find out what motivated Paige to pursue GeologyFind out what motivated Paige to pursue Geology

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 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.

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

What you will study

You’ll study modules such as:

  • English
  • Maths
  • 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 and origin of gemstones
  • 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
  • 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 
  • 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 reports 
  • 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 
  • 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
  • Applied Sedimentology (2) - In this module, you will study the composition, texture, structures and field relationships of modern sediments and ancient sedimentary rocks
  • Deformed Terrains (2) - The purpose of this module is to introduce you to a range of tectonic and metamorphic features associated with deformed terrains
  • Preparing for Independent Study in Geoscience (prescribed)

Optional modules:

  • Glacial Environments (1) - This module examines the nature of surface processes operating in cold environments and their role in landform development 
  • 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 
  • 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
  • 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

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
  • 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

Optional modules:

  • 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
  • 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
  • Terrain Evaluation (1) - This module investigates the theory and practice of terrain evaluation with particular reference to engineering construction
  • 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

(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.

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

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’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.

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 points72 (up to 16 from AS-levels)
Specific requirements at A-levelN/A
Specific requirements at GCSE

GCSE Maths and English are preferred, however if you don't have these qualifications you will be able to undertake Maths and English at L2 as part of your course of study.

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*



£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.

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


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.

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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