UCL Earth Sciences

Earth Science Degree







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Earth Sciences MSci & BSc degrees are intended as an entry route for high-level professional employment or postgraduate education. This flexible programme allows you to select from the range of options offered across environmental geoscience, geology and geophysics. You may also graduate with a degree in Earth Sciences (Palaeobiology), or in Earth Sciences (Planetary Science), dependent on your chosen courses.

Earth Sciences


Benefits

Degree Benefits

  • The programme includes up to three months of field classes in the UK and continental Europe, with financial support from the Department.
  • The opportunity to specialise within Earth Sciences and, by the appropriate choice of courses, graduate with a degree in Earth Sciences (Palaeobiology) or Earth Sciences (Planetary Science).
  • World-leading research in mineral, ice and rock physics, and in geophysical hazards, is undertaken in the department and is used in the development of our courses.
  • World-class facilities include hosting the UK's only NASA Regional Planetary Image Facility, use of the UCL University of London Observatory, and collaboration with the Natural History Museum.

Degree Overview

On entry to the programme, you will select a 'diet', following a route through the subject (e.g. geology, geophysics, palaeobiology, environmental geoscience or planetary science). There is considerable overlap between these diets and opportunities to switch diets particularly in the first year and into the second year of study. The holistic nature of the subject is emphasized. Students should normally take at least four half course credits in the Earth Sciences Department each year. Modules based in other departments may be chosen from those listed for the Geology, Geophysics, Palaeobiology, Environmental Geoscience or Planetary Science degree programmes.

The first and second years provide core skills and knowledge in the subject. The third year provides opportunities for specialisation and diversification, with an emphasis on individual initiative and problem-based learning. Fieldwork provides a unique opportunity to develop independent and team skills and problem-solving abilities.

The first two years of the BSc and MSci programmes will be the same. However, the additional fourth year of the MSci allows for an individual research project and advanced options, providing extra depth and breadth of knowledge. We recommend you apply for an MSci initially, as this keeps more options open.

Your Learning

We use a mixture of lectures, practical classes, field courses, directed reading, problem-orientated learning, private study and tutorials to enable you to gain the theoretical knowledge and practical skills demanded by the programme, as well as to develop key transferable skills such as critical analysis, report writing, team working and organisational skills.

Assessment

You will be assessed by a combination of written examinations, practical examinations, coursework, independent project reports and an oral examination.

Modules






Earth Sciences Modules

Other ES Streams: Palaeobiology | Planetary Science

On entry to the programme, students select one of the following streams through the programme: General, Palaeobiology or Planetary Science.

Please note that places may be limited on GEOG* courses. However, you are requested to submit your choices on Portico and await approval from the Geography department.

Term 1 - Autumn Term

Module Code Unit Value Module Title
Compulsory:
   
GEOL1001 0.5 Earth Materials
GEOL1013 0.5 The Earth
GEOL1014 0.5
Geochemistry

Options:
   
GEOL1006 0.5 Foundations of Physical Geoscience (normally compulsory for students without A-Level Mathematics)
GEOL1015 0.5 Introduction to Planetary Science
MATH6501 0.5
Mathematics for Engineers I (students must have A-Level Mathematics)
GEOG1002 *
0.5
Environmental Systems and Processes
BIOL1002
0.5
Quantitative Biology
BIOL1006  0.5 Life On Earth

Term 2 - Spring Term

Module Code Unit Value Module Title
Compulsory:
   
GEOL1002 0.5 From Petrology to Petrogenesis
GEOL1003 0.5 History of Life
GEOL1004 0.5 Dynamic Earth
GEOL1012 0.5 Surface Processes
Fieldwork:    
Dorset/Devon Coast   Part of GEOL1012 Surface Processes (takes place in the Easter Vacation)
Cornwall/Devon Coast   Part of GEOL1002 From Petrology to Petrogenesis

Students entering UCL in September 2013 or later, and who are taking the Earth Sciences (General) degree programme, are required to take a minimum of 2.5 course units from Earth Sciences. 

Optional modules in other departments are subject to availability.

Students may take 0.5 course units of a language in either Year 2 or Year 3.

Please note that places may be limited on GEOG* courses. You are requested to submit your choices on Portico and await approval from the Geography department.

Term 1 - Autumn Term

Module Code Unit Value Module Title
Compulsory:    
GEOL2026 0.5 Maps, Images & Structures
GEOL2027

0.5
Structural Geology & Tectonics
Options:
   
GEOL2008 0.5 Vertebrate Palaeontology & Evolution
GEOL2014 0.5 Global Geophysics
GEOG2005
0.5 
Geomorphology 
GEOG2007 
0.5 
Ecological Patterns and Processes 
GEOG2020 0.5 
Hydroclimatology
MATH6501
0.5
Mathematics for Engineers I
Fieldwork:    
Italy   Part of GEOL2026 Maps, Images & Structures(taken at the end of the preceding summer vacation)

Term 2 - Spring Term

Module Code Unit Value Module Title
Options
   
GEOL2009 0.5 Surface Processes & Structures
GEOL2010 0.5 Igneous Petrology
GEOL2012 0.5 Metamorphism
GEOL2028

0.5
Isotope Geology
GEOG2008
0.5 
Reconstructing Past Environments 
GEOG2021
0.5 
Environmental Remote Sensing 
Fieldwork:    
Pyrenees   Part of GEOL2009 Surface Processes & Structures (taught in the Easter vacation)

Students entering UCL in September 2013 or later, and who are taking the Earth Sciences (General) degree programme, are required tto take a minimum of 2.5 course units from Earth Sciences.

Students may take 0.5 course units of a language in either Year 2 or Year 3.

The third year of teaching is research-led, based around the Department’s research strengths and research grouping. 

The 1 cu module "Biodiversity and Macroevolutionary Patterns" is delivered through a problem oriented learning approach. This is a proven and highly effective way for students to learn, encouraging students to be active agents in constructing their own knowledge, through both team working and individual effort, guided instruction and self-learning.

The 1 cu modules "Geological/Environmental Mapping Project" and "Geodynamics & Global Tectonics" are delivered as a mixture of independent project work and traditional lectures and practicals.

Term 1 - Autumn Term

Module Code Unit Value Module Title
GEOL3036A
0.5
Biodiversity & Macroevolutionary Patterns
(cannot be taken with GEOL3036)
GEOL3039
0.5
Ocean Physics & Climate Change
GEOL3042 1.0 Geological/Environmental Mapping Project
GEOL3047
0.5 
Seismology I
GEOG3057
0.5
Global Environmental Change
Fieldwork:    
Mapping   Part of GEOL3042 Geological/Environmental Mapping Project

Term 1 & 2

Module Code Unit Value Module Title
GEOL3003 1.0 Geodynamics & Global Tectonics
GEOL3036 1.0 Biodiversity & Macroevolutionary Patterns
GEOL3011
0.5 
Geosciences Report

Term 2 - Spring Term

Module Code Unit Value Module Title
GEOL3040 0.5
Crustal Dynamics, Mountain Building & Basin Evolution (fieldtrip only see below; no classroom element)
GEOL3043 0.5 Earth Resources & Sustainability

GEOL3045

0.5

Groundwater Science
GEOL3046
0.5
Marine Geology
GEOL3048
0.5
Seismology II
GEOL3049
0.5
Advanced Geochemistry

Fieldwork:    
SE Spain   GEOL3040 Crustal Dynamics, Mountain Building & Basin Evolution

MSci Co-ordinator: Prof. David Dobson

The fourth MSci year is primarily intended as a research year with a major 1.5 cu independent research project, linked to a research group in our Research School and a 0.5 cu research seminar series. In addition, students take four 0.5 cu modules from the Research School’s masters’ teaching programme.

Before entry to the Fourth Year of an MSci course, a student should normally have passed at least 11 course units, with at least three course units at advanced level, and achieved a mean mark of at least 60% for the third year of study.

Term 1 - Autumn Term

Module Code Unit Value Module Title
Options:
   
GEOLM006 0.5 Earth & Planetary Materials
GEOLM008 0.5 Physical Volcanology & Volcanic Hazard
GEOLM010 0.5 Tectonic Geomorphology
GEOLM018 0.5 Palaeoceanography

Term 1 & 2

Module Code Unit Value Module Title
Compulsory: 
   
GEOLM905 1.5 Independent MSci Project
GEOLM003 0.5 Earth & Planetary System Science

Term 2 - Spring Term

Module Code Unit Value Module Title
Options:
   
GEOLM002 0.5 Earthquake Seismology & Earthquake Hazards
GEOLM012 0.5 Palaeoclimatology
GEOLM021 0.5 Melting and Volcanism

GEOLM022


0.5

Hydrogeology & Groundwater Resources

GEOLM037 0.5 Deep Earth & Planetary Modelling
Fieldwork:    
Germany   Part of GEOLM003 Earth & Planetary System Science