Earth Sciences BSc
Earth Sciences is the study of our home planet. Our flexible programme combines ideas and principles of Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geology and Geophysics. We explore how our planet works at depth and at the surface, the biological processes that build diversity and cause extinction, the ocean and atmospheric processes shaping climate, and issues relating to resources, geohazards and climate change.
- UCAS code
Full-time: 3 years
- Application deadline
- 26 January 2022
- London, Bloomsbury
- Two sciences preferred.
- English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 5.
- CCC (more about contextual offers)
- Two sciences preferred.
- English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 5.
- A total of 17 points in three higher level subjects to preferably include two sciences, with no score lower than 5.
- 30 (more about contextual offers)
- A total of 15 points in three higher level subjects to preferably include two sciences, 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:
BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (RQF - teaching from 2016) with Distinction, Distinction, Distinction. Science subject units preferred.
Pass in Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 30 credits at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit, all from Level 3 units. Science subject units preferred.
D3,D3,M1 in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects. Two sciences preferred
AAB at Advanced Highers (or AA at Advanced Higher and BBB at Higher). Two sciences preferred at Advanced Higher
Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A levels at grades AAB. Two science subjects preferred.
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
UCL 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: 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.
This programme emphasises the holistic nature of the Earth Sciences. It offers the opportunity to specialise within Earth Sciences and, by the appropriate choice of modules, graduate with a degree in Earth Sciences (Palaeobiology) or Earth Sciences (Environment and Policy).
Teaching is delivered by all of our research-active staff guaranteeing up-to-the-minute understanding and providing opportunities to take part in cutting-edge research activities.
We have recently moved into the renovated Kathleen Lonsdale Building with new, world-class facilities include bespoke teaching laboratories, new microscope facilities and student study areas, all in the heart of the department, next to staff offices and research laboratories.
This programme offers up to three months of field classes in the UK and continental Europe and independent field mapping projects in Scotland, Southern France and Spain, with financial support from the department.
In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual modules, normally valued at 15 or 30 credits, adding up to a total of 120 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 30-credit module is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).
On entry to the programme, you will select a pathway through the subject (General, Palaeobiology, or Environment and Policy). The programme includes many optional modules across Earth Sciences.
Students should normally take at least five half-module credits in UCL Earth Sciences each year. Modules based in other departments may be chosen from those listed for the Environmental Geoscience, Geology and Geophysics degree programmes and the Palaeobiology and Environment and Policy pathways.
The third year has an emphasis on individual initiative and problem-based learning.
Fieldwork provides a unique opportunity to develop independent and team skills and problem-solving abilities.
Upon successful completion of 360 credits, you will be awarded a BSc (Hons) in Earth Sciences.
Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.
- Dynamic Earth
- Earth Materials
- From Petrology to Petrogenesis (including Cornwall fieldwork)
- History of Life
- Surface Processes (including Dorset/Devon fieldwork)
- The Earth
- Foundation of Physical Geoscience (normally compulsury for students without A level Mathematics)
You will select 15 credits of optional modules from: Foundation of Physical Geoscience (if not taken as compulsory); Mathematics for Engineers (students must have A level Mathematics); Earth: An Integrated System; Quantitative Biology; Life on Earth; Revealing Science.
- Maps, Images and Structures (including Scotland fieldwork)
- Structural Geology and Tectonics
You will select 90 credits of optional modules which include: Ecological Patterns and Processes; Engaging the Public with Science; Environmental Remote Sensing; Global Geophysics; Geomorphology; Igneous Petrology; Isotope Geology; Principles of Climate; Reconstructing Past Environments; Science in Popular Culture; Surface and Groundwater Hydrology; Surface Processes and Structures; Vertebrate Palaeontology and Evolution.
All final-year modules are optional.
You will select 120 credits of optional modules which include: Biodiversity and Macroevolutionary Patterns; Crustal Dynamics, Mountain Building and Basin Evolution (fieldwork only); Earth Resources and Sustainability; Geological/Environmental Mapping Project; Geosciences Report; Groundwater Science; Global Environmental Change; Andvanced Geochemistry; Marine Geology; Ocean Physics and Climate Change; Seismology I; Seismology II; Geodynamics and Global Tectonics; Metamorphism and Metamorphic Processes.
Please note: the modules listed above relate to the General pathway for Earth Sciences. For specialist pathways, please see the department website.
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 module descriptions are available on the department website: Earth Sciences BSc.
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 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.
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.
Fees and funding
The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2022/23 academic year. The UK fees shown are for the first year of the programme at UCL only. Fees for future years may be subject to an inflationary increase. The Overseas fees shown are the fees that will be charged to 2022/23 entrants for each year of study on the programme, unless otherwise indicated below.
- UK students
- £9,250 (2022/23)
- Overseas students
- £32,100 (2022/23)
Full details of UCL's tuition fees, tuition fee policy and potential increases to fees can be found on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.
The department makes a substantial contribution towards fieldwork costs (ranging between £150-800 per student per trip), covering all accommodation and in-field transportation for all fieldwork which is organised by the department. The majority of the fieldtrips include breakfast and/or dinner. Some fieldtrips in the second year are self-catered. Students are expected to cover their transportation to and from the beginning of the field location for some of the 2nd and 3rd year non-UK field trips (cost of a return flight/train or bus), at an estimated cost of £200-£400.
In the third year, there is an optional fieldtrip for 30 days of independent mapping. For this fieldtrip, the department provides a cheque for ~£800 to each student.
A guide including rough estimates for these and other living expenses is included on the UCL Fees and funding pages. If you are concerned by potential additional costs for books, equipment, etc., please get in touch with the relevant departmental contact (details given on this page).
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.
Funding opportunities relevant to the department may appear in this section when they are available. Please check carefully or confirm with the programme contact to ensure they apply to this degree programme.
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.
UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.
Page last modified on 13 January 2022