This four-year programme allows students to follow any of the MSci programmes offered by UCL Earth Sciences, with the additional opportunity to spend year three studying at an approved university in Australia, New Zealand, continental Europe or North America.
- UCAS code
- 4 years
- Application deadline
- 15 January 2017
- Applications per place
- 5 (2015 entry)*
- Total intake
- 63 (2017 entry)*
- Two (essential), three (preferred) from Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics or Physics.
- English Language and Mathematics at grade C. For UK-based students, a grade C or equivalent in a foreign language (other than Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew or Latin) is required. UCL provides opportunities to meet the foreign language requirement following enrolment, further details at: www.ucl.ac.uk/ug-reqs
- A score of 16-18 points in three higher level subjects to include at least two (preferably three) from Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics or Physics, with no score lower than 5.
UK applicants qualifications
For entry requirements with other UK qualifications accepted by UCL, choose your qualification from the list below:
Not acceptable for entrance to this programme
Pass in Access to HE Diploma, with between 28 credits awarded with Merit and a minimum of 23 credits awarded with Distinction in the Level 3 units, the remainder of the Level 3 units awarded with Merit.
D3,D3,D3 - D3,M1,M1 in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects, including two (preferably three) from Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, or Biology.
AAA-ABB at Advanced Highers (or AA at Advanced Higher and AAA at Higher - AB at Advanced Higher and BBB at Higher). Two (preferably three) from Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, or Biology required at Advanced Higher
Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A-Levels at grades AAA-ABB, including any two from Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, or Biology.
In addition to A level and International Baccalaureate, UCL considers a wide range of international qualifications for entry to its undergraduate degree programmes.
Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates
The Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPCs) are intensive one-year foundation courses for international students of high academic potential who are aiming to gain access to undergraduate degree programmes at UCL and other top UK universities.
Typical UPC students will be high achievers in a 12-year school system which does not meet the standard required for direct entry to UCL.
For more information see: www.ucl.ac.uk/upc.
English language requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency. Information about the evidence required, acceptable qualifications and test providers can be found on our English language requirements page.
The English language level for this programme is: Standard
A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.
- You will have the opportunity to specialise in Environmental Geoscience, Geology, Geophysics, Palaeobiology or Planetary Science and broaden your horizons by spending the third year of study abroad.
- Degrees for those specialising in Environmental Geoscience, Geology and Geoscience are fully accredited by the Geological Society of London.
- The programme includes approximately three months of field classes in the UK and continental Europe, with financial support from the department.
- World-leading research in geophysical hazards, mineral, ice and rock physics and palaeoenvironmental analysis is undertaken in the department and is used in the development of our modules.
Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Earth Sciences.
- 92% rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual modules, normally valued at 0.5 or 1.0 credits, adding up to a total of 4.0 credits for the year. Modules are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional modules varies from programme to programme and year to year. A 1.0 credit is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).
You will initially follow the first two years of one of the degree programmes on offer in UCL Earth Sciences (Environmental Geoscience, Geology, Geophysics, or the General, Palaeobiology or Planetary Science pathways in the Earth Sciences programme) but with an additional option of a foreign language elective.
Your third year is spent abroad at an approved university in Australia, New Zealand, continental Europe or North America, and you will return to UCL for your final year.
The final title of the degree awarded may reflect the particular choice of modules that you have taken, for example Earth Sciences (International Programme) (Geology) MSci.
The number of places available for direct entry onto the International programme is limited and, therefore, competitive. Eligibility to continue will be assessed in both the first and second years of study. Students failing to maintain the required standard will be transferred to the corresponding UK-based MSci or BSc programme.
An indicative guide to the structure of this programme, year by year.
Core or compulsory module(s)
From Petrology to Petrogenesis (including Cornwall fieldwork)
History of Life
Surface Processes (including Dorset/Devon fieldwork)
You will select 0.5 credits of optional modules from Geology, Geophysics and Environmental Geoscience programmes, and the Palaeobiology or Planetary Science pathways. Options available within the department may include:
Foundations of Physical Geoscience
Introduction to Planetary Science
Core or compulsory module(s)
Maps, Images and Structures (including Italy fieldwork)
Structural Geology and Tectonics
Surface Processes and Structures (including Pyrenees fieldwork)
You will select 2.5 credits of optional modules from the Environmental Geoscience, Geology and Geophysics programmes, and the Palaeobiology or Planetary Science pathways. Options available within the department may include:
Vertebrate Palaeontology and Evolution
Year abroad at an approved university in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, continental Europe or North America.
Core or compulsory module(s)
Earth and Planetary System Science (including fieldwork in Germany)
Independent MSci Project
You will select 2.0 credits of optional modules from the Environmental Geoscience, Geology and Geophysics programmes and Palaeobiology and Planetary Science pathways depending on your programme diet. Options available within the department may include:
Biodiversity and Macroevolutionary Patterns
Earth Resources and Sustainability
Geodynamics and Global Tectonics
Geological/Environmental Mapping Project
Melting and Volcanism
Because the Earth Sciences (International Programme) MSci spans several degree programmes, the modules shown here are illustrative only, using the General pathway in the Earth Sciences MSci as an example.
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.
You will be assessed by a combination of written examinations, practical examinations, coursework, independent project reports and sometimes an oral examination.
Detailed course descriptions are available on the department website: Earth Sciences (International Programme) MSci.
You will develop both discipline-based and highly sought after analytical skills, together with practical skills such as planning, conducting and reporting on investigations, collecting, recording and analysing data and the ability to undertake field and laboratory research.
All our students are encouraged and helped towards making informed career choices. We have excellent relationships with many employers in diverse aspects of the Earth and planetary sciences, and students are actively guided towards achieving their potential at UCL in preparation for their future careers.
In addition to further study, main employment destinations include: exploration and production for mining, oil and engineering companies; groundwater resources management; investigating ground conditions associated with land use, such as planning, construction and waste disposal; geological surveying, and collecting geological information for maps and databases.
First destinations of recent graduates (2012-2014) from Earth Sciences programmes at UCL include:
- Graduate Manager, Network Rail
- Assistant Geologist, Geotechnical Consulting Group
- Geoenvironmental Engineer, WYG
*Data taken from the 'Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education' survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012-2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
UCL is committed to helping you get the best start after graduation. Read more about how UCL Careers and UCL Innovation and Enterprise can help you find employment or learn about entrepreneurship.
“At UCL we go on up to three fieldtrips per year. This past year I have been to the Italian Apennines, Spanish Pyrenees and the Scottish Highlands. The fieldtrips really enhance knowledge learnt from lectures and enforces your understanding of the subject. The fieldtrips are also a great way of really bonding with fellow students and staff members, so I feel I have a great close network at UCL.”Ethan Petrou - Earth Sciences (International Programme) MSci (Fourth Year)
Fees and funding
The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2017/18 academic year and are for the first year of the programme at UCL only.
- UK/EU students
- £9,250 (2017/18)
- Overseas students
- £23,710 (2017/18)
The UK/EU fee quoted above may be subject to increase for the 2018/19 academic year and for each year of study thereafter and UCL reserves the right to increase its fees in line with UK government policy (including on an annual basis for each year of study during a programme). Fees for overseas students may be subject to an annual increase in subsequent years of study by up to 5%.
Please see the full details of UCL's fees and possible changes on the UCL Current Students website
Various funding options are available, including student loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students whose household income falls below a certain level may also be eligible for a non-repayable bursary or for certain scholarships. Please see the Fees and funding pages for more details.
The Scholarships and Funding website lists scholarships and funding schemes available to UCL students. These may be open to all students, or restricted to specific nationalities, regions or academic department.
Application and next steps
We will assess your application on the basis of your performance, or predicted performance academically, but we will also be looking for an indication of how your interest in natural and Earth sciences has developed, what aspects particularly appeal to you, and whether you have undertaken any research or reading to find out about the subject matter you wish to study.
How to apply
Application for admission should be made through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Applicants currently at school or college will be provided with advice on the process; however, applicants who have left school or who are based outside the United Kingdom may obtain information directly from UCAS.
Application deadline: 15 January 2017
We normally reach a decision on making an offer on the basis of the application alone. If you are resident in the UK and have been made an offer you will be invited to an applicant open day. This visit will include introductory talks on Earth sciences and our degree programmes, a tour of the department and UCL and a question and answer session.
Although we do recommend that all applicants who receive an offer visit UCL, we recognise that this is not always possible; applicants from regions distant from London and from outside the UK are not normally required to attend.
For further information on UCL's selection process see: Selection of students