Course details

Study options

Full-time: 3 years, Part-time: Up to 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

This course is available as a Joint Honours degree.

View Joint Honours optionsView Joint Honours options

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

High-calibre graduate geologists are in great demand across the world. This course prepares you for a rewarding future exploring, producing and managing the Earth’s resources.

You can also take Geology as a Joint Honours subject.

*Accreditation from The Geological Society applies to the three year BSc (Hons) Geology course only

The Geology Society Accreditation Logo


97%overall student satisfaction - BSc (Hons) Geology**National Student Survey 2019
Top10in the UK for student satisfaction with teaching and feedback**Guardian University Guide 2020
2ndfor teaching quality in the UK**Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018
Why you should study Geology at the University of Derby

Delve into a fascinating subject

Interested in the story of how our planet works and has changed over time? Want to know more about the evolution of life on Earth? Curious about hazards such as earthquakes and volcanoes? Keen to safeguard the Earth’s energy, water and mineral resources? Then our BSc (Hons) Geology is perfect for you - our course is an academically challenging and stimulating course, designed with your future employment in mind. 

Geology is the study of the Earth, what it’s made of, the processes which are changing it, and the essential resources it provides. It also explores the organisms that have lived on our planet and how the Earth has evolved through time. 

A prime location for your studies

Derby is close to some of the country’s most important geological sites. With its limestone, sandstone and metal-bearing mineral veins, the Peak District National Park is a haven for geologists and the perfect outdoor classroom for you.

To help you start exploring this rich environment, we provide all our first-year students with free basic field equipment, including 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. 

Anglesey fieldtrip 2018
Anglesey fieldtrip 2018

Excellent learning facilities

Along with lectures and fieldwork, you’ll learn through laboratory-based practical sessions and will receive training in the use of industry-standard geological equipment.

We have invested in up-to-date facilities so that you can develop your practical skills in realistic environments. They include a spatial data laboratory, map library, as well as a purpose-built petrology laboratory, sedimentary laboratory, geotechnical laboratory and specialist computing laboratory. Our student research laboratory gives you a dedicated space to conduct your independent investigations.

Our labs house thousands of rock, mineral and fossil samples from all over the world, giving you the opportunity to gather a broad knowledge base of rock formation and their role in the history of Earth. 

Exciting fieldwork opportunities

Fieldwork lies at the heart of this course and is vital for your career development. Apart from regular fieldtrips to the Peak District and industrial site visits, there are opportunities to go further afield in the UK and abroad. Our undergraduate geology students have explored a broad variety of rocks and structures in Scotland, investigated sedimentary sequences in Wales, analysed volcanic processes, environments and hazards in Tenerife and have studied 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

Learn from experienced geologists

You’ll be taught by an enthusiastic, forward-thinking team who are highly skilled and have an international reputation in geology. Our academics are active researchers whose work informs and inspires their teaching. They are undertaking important studies from sedimentology to volcanology, glacial environments to land degradation.

They work closely with research partners in the UK and overseas. If you take the chance to study abroad in the second year of your course, you will also learn from lecturers based in other countries who have different knowledge, skills and perspectives on geology.

We call on our network of contacts across the profession to deliver thought-provoking guest lectures at the University. Topics have ranged from how the Himalayan mountain chain formed to new technologies in petroleum exploration. You could also 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

A strong reputation for quality

Our three-year BSc (Hons) Geology course is accredited by The Geological Society, which assures you that our teaching is of the highest quality and has been approved by an independent body of academics and industrialists. Because you are studying an accredited course, it reduces the amount of professional experience you will need if you decide to apply to become a Chartered Geologist or Chartered Scientist.

Our students are equally impressed with the standards set by the degree. In the 2019 National Student Survey, 97% of students said they were satisfied with the overall quality of the course and its teaching.

What you will study

You’ll study modules such as:

  • 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.

Student Researcher, Faye Davies, presented her paper at the University's first Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme (URSS) Conference 2018


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.

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 Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Geology, Geography, Mathematics or Physics 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


Our BSc (Hons) Geology opens up many career opportunities. Through a dynamic combination of broad-based training and specialist studies, you will have the professional skills, theoretical knowledge and practical expertise to go into a wide range of employment.

The petroleum and mining industries are still major employers of our geology graduates but the geotechnical and environmental sectors are becoming increasingly important too. As a Derby graduate, you’ll be well placed to respond to the changes in the geology profession and to enter roles in areas such as resources exploration and exploitation, engineering geology, environmental consultancy and monitoring, pollution control, and waste or water supply management.

The self-reliance, communication and transferable skills you gain on the course also ensure you’re well suited for any type of employment where environmental awareness and broad scientific expertise are valued. 

Student successes

Among our many graduate success stories:

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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