Accredited by the The Geological Society and ranked 3rd for teaching quality by The Times, our degree offers practical experience in outstanding geological sites – in the nearby Peak District and overseas.
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.
97% of our BSc (Hons) Geology students said that they were satisfied with the overall quality of the course and teaching on the course (National Student Survey 2019)
Geology at Derby is ranked third for student satisfaction in The Complete University Guide 2019. We're also ranked in the Top 10 in the UK for student satisfaction with teaching and feedback (Guardian University Guide 2020)
Take your first step towards becoming a Chartered Geologist on our three-year BSc (Hons) Geology degree accredited by The Geological Society
Geology at Derby is ranked second for student experience (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018)
Benefit from inspiring teaching: our BSc (Hons) Geology course is ranked second for teaching quality (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018)
Develop the skills and knowledge for a vast range of careers – from the petroleum and mining industries to the geotechnical and environmental sectors
Discover some of the most outstanding geology and landscapes in the British Isles: the Peak District National Park is right on our doorstep
Gain practical experience on exciting field trips: our students have conducted studies in Snowdonia, Scotland, Tenerife and the Pyrenees
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 module will be taught through a combination of field work (including a residential field course), practical classes and small-group tutorials. Assessment is 100% coursework.
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. The course will be delivered through the medium of lectures, practical classes, fieldwork and directed study. Assessment is 50% coursework and 50% examination.
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 recognise the products (rocks, structures, large-scale features) of surface processes, and to use them in interpreting environments. The module is delivered through lectures and practical classes supplemented by a local field trip. Assessment is 50% coursework, 50% examination and weekly quizzes (pass/fail).
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. The module is assessed by 100% coursework (individual and group work).
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. Delivery will be by lecture, practical, demonstration in class, and by field study. Assessment will involve practical investigations (50%), an exam (50%) and weekly quizzes (pass/fail). In addition to subject-specific knowledge and skills, students will develop transferable skills in (amongst others) observation, description, analysis and interpretation.
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. It is delivered mainly via lectures and associated practicals, tutorials and a site visit. Assessment is 100% coursework and will involve a group project and a computer-based assessment.
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. Therefore, the module aims to get students to identify a research topic, which they discuss with a member of staff, design and write a research proposal, apply to the Ethics Committee and complete a risk assessment for their chosen topic. Students are tutored in aspects of research design: defining research questions, research aims and objectives and appropriate methodologies. Students will also learn practical aspects of research design such as logistical considerations of time and budget limitations as well as data archiving (including digital and mobile technology) and location-based analysis.
Geological Mapping and Applied Skills for Geoscientists
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. This will include preparatory work for an Independent Study. The module will be taught through a combination of field work (including a residential field course), practical classes and small-group tutorials. Assessment is 100% coursework.
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. Lectures and practical work will prepare students for residential fieldwork in a recent volcanic environment. The assessment for the module is 100% coursework.
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. Teaching includes lectures, practicals and hands-on experience with specialist computer software. Assessment is 50% coursework, 50% examination.
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. Delivery will be by lecture, associated practical and a residential field study. Assessment is 50% coursework and 50% examination.
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. Learning will take place in lectures, in practical classes and on residential fieldwork. The assessment is 50% examination and 50% coursework.
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.
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. The module will be delivered through classroom based lectures and a half day visit to the river Trent. The module is assessed by 50% coursework and 50% seen exam.
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. It is delivered mainly via lectures and associated practical’s, tutorials and a field visit. Assessment is 50% coursework and 50% examination.
This module aims to prepare students for the Level 6 module 6GL504 Applied Environmental Hazards, which is fieldwork-based and runs in the autumn at the start of Stage 3. It will introduce them to the region of study, its geography, geology and hazards. It will give students the opportunity, individually and in groups, to work on problem-based exercises involving assessment, management and mitigation of a range of hazards.
Students will prepare for fieldwork activities in Geological and Environmental Hazards, including planning student-led localities. There will also be time for finalising the logistics of the field trip.
The module will run as a 2-day workshop towards the end of the Spring Semester.
This module examines the nature of surface processes operating in cold environments and their role in landform development. Specific attention is given to the role of glaciers in relation to their role as geomorphological agents. The module is supported by a field-day and is assessed by 50% coursework and 50% exam.
This module provides a framework for the development of “lifelong learning” skills appropriate to all areas of professional practice; including objective setting, planning, negotiating, implementing, demonstrating and reflecting. The emphasis in this module is on the analysis and evaluation of the work completed within the organisation. This module also gives students an opportunity to relate their academic knowledge to the work environment.
Students need to be aware of the commercial realities and external factors that influence the success of an organisation. This module provides opportunities for students to acquire an understanding of contemporary issues that may impact on industrial and professional practices relevant to a career within their chosen discipline.
During this period of work experience, students can gain a deeper appreciation of the responsibilities arising from both corporate and individual responses to such issues, thus enabling them to relate to the wider world when exploring a personal direction for potential career development.
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. The module is assessed by 100% coursework.
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. Teaching will include lectures, practical exercises and fieldwork. Assessment will be through a practical portfolio (70%) and examination (30%).
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:
- Ocean island and arc processes in the modern Earth and their role in geologically recent continent formation
- The link between plutonism and volcanism, and their relationship to continent formation.
- 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. The module will be delivered through the medium of lectures, practical classes, tutorials and fieldwork and will be assessed through coursework (50%) and examination (50%).
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. It is delivered mainly via lectures and associated computer based practical’s (done with tutor support) and fieldwork. The module is assessed by 100% coursework.
Work experience and volunteering are important ways to develop a further understanding of issues and problems pertinent to employment, and of gaining much needed experience.
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. The placement work must relate to the student’s degree programme but must not overlap with the topic of their Independent Studies. The module is assessed by 100% coursework.
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. The module is assessed by 100% coursework.
In this module students will learn how to reconstruct ancient environments through providing an integrated picture of the relationships between life and the environment. Delivery will be by lecture, practical and field study. Assessment will involve coursework (50%) and an examination (50%). In addition to subject-specific knowledge, students will develop transferable skills in analysis, interpretation and communication of complex information.
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. It is delivered mainly via lectures and associated practicals, tutorials and field visits. Assessment is 50% coursework and 50% examination.
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. The assessment is based 100% on coursework. Each student will, with staff guidance, select an appropriate topic related to hazards in the field region to pursue in depth, using data acquired in the field and from other sources.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
At least a C in Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Geology, Geography, Mathematics or Physics at A-level (or equivalent qualification)
Specific requirements at GCSE
GCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification
6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)
Interview / Audition
Alternative entry qualifications:
BTEC - DDM
Access to HE Diploma - 60 credits: 45 at level 3 with a minimum of Dist: 15 Merit: 24 Pass: 6
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
£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.
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.
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.
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.
Among our many graduate success stories:
One of our BSc (Hons) Geology graduates, Paul Williams now works for the BBC’s Natural History Unit. He says: “If you want a strong, practical, hands-on degree that will help launch you up the career ladder, sign up for Derby.”
Temidola Ojelabi received three awards in recognition of his research investigating water quality in Nigeria. He has been described as a ‘national hero’ for his work.
Simon Greenfield went on to gain our MSc Applied Petroleum Geoscience, works at Corelab and has travelled to many countries, including Ghana, Poland and Tanzania, for his job
Geology: rewarding careers
After studying Geology at Derby, Paige Colling is pursuing a varied career as an Engineering Geologist.
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
You will be provided with field equipment, maps, a hand lens, compass clinometer, field note book and grain size chart. You will also be provided with a hard hat and high visibility vest for field work
Practical materials for laboratory classes include maps from our map library and geological samples
Your day and residential field trips in core and prescribed modules: one in your first year, three in your second year, and two in your third year. Previous destinations have included Tenerife, The Pyrenees, N. Wales and NW. Scotland
Full access to Digimap online and downloadable mapping service
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
You will need to purchase mandatory appropriate clothing and footwear for field trips - approximate cost is £100
Field mapping as part of your final year independent study incurs a cost for transport and accommodation, this is variable depending on the destination- approximate cost is £1000. Field supervision is provided by geology staff for all students undertaking the IS final year field project
Optional costs not included in your fees
You may wish to purchase optional maps, textbooks or e-books to support your studies - costs for these are dependent on what you choose to purchase - approximate cost is £100
Professional body accreditation from the Geological Society, satisfying the early stage of Chartered Geologist status
We have built fantastic links with universities overseas to give you the opportunity to study abroad in your second year
Credit-bearing work placement opportunities are embedded in the programme and so costs for travel would need to be considered
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.