UCL Earth Sciences

Natural Sciences Degree

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Modern Earth Sciences is as dynamic and diverse as the planet (planets!) it studies. We study everything from the origin of the Earth to the History of the life it sustains. We are an integrative, interdisciplinary, modern science. We use and apply state-of-the-art maths, physics, chemistry and biology on a daily basis to uncover fundamental knowledge about Earth and other planets. We apply that knowledge to practical issues like climate change and groundwater pollution.

Right here at UCL we use ground and satellite observations to see how fast the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets are melting and climate past and present. We study the fundamental motions that generate violent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. We look for new natural resources and study groundwater pollution. We look deep into the interior to see how materials behave at pressures a million times greater than the surface and temperatures as hot as the sun. We look past Earth to the solar system and beyond. 

In addition to an academic understanding of Earth structure, history and mechanisms, geoscientists work to provide solutions for problems in water supply, energy supply and conservation, construction and pollution control. 

There are two streams offered by the Earth Sciences Department: Earth and Environment Modules | Geophysical Sciences Modules

Earth and Environment Stream


In the Earth and Environment Stream you focus on the surface and the environment including past life and climate. We observe processes operating at the surface today preserved in the geological record and view the evolution of the life through fossil up to the present day.


Our objectives in the Earth and Environment are to understand:

  • How the Earth and life came to be.
  • What is Earth made of? How do we know?
  • How has Earth's environment changed?
  • How did volcanoes make Earth's atmosphere?
  • How is that reflected int the rocks and sediments at the surface?
  • How has life changed?
  • How is that reflected in the fossil record?
  • Geological data, computation, equipment and analysis
  • A comprehensive view of the Earth's system and its chemical and life evolution


Continue to Natural Sciences: Earth and Environment Modules

Geophysical Sciences Stream


The Geophysical Sciences stream focuses on the physical and chemical processes that drive the Earth's engine and their manifestations at the surface. You will learn to apply physics and chemistry from quantum mechanics to continuum mechanics to understand what the Earth and the planets are made of, what their properties are, and how they make the Earth such an active planet. You will apply your knowledge of physics, maths and chemistry and become skilled with instruments, data collection and computational analysis.  


Our objectives in Geophysical Sciences are to understand:

  • How the earth came to be.
  • What is it made of?
  • What are the properties and behaviour of Earth materials, from rick to ice?
  • What is the structure of the interior? How do we know?
  • Earthquakes and seismology, volcanoes and volcanolgy.
  • Physics of oceans and atmosphere.
  • Geofluids: water, ice, magma, and hydrocarbons.
  • Geophysical data, computation, equipment and analysis.
  • A comprehensive view of Earth's system and its dynamical evolution.


Continue to Natural Sciences: Geophysical Sciences Modules

Continue to MAPS Faculty: Natural Sciences website for full admissions criteria.