Geology is the study of Earth's history, composition and evolution. We tackle this through a multidisciplinary programme stretching from understanding Earth materials, internal processes that cause volcanoes and earthquakes, to surface processes that shape landscapes. We explore biological processes that build diversity and trigger extinctions, ocean and atmospheric processes shaping climate, and issues relating to resources, geohazards and climate change.
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
Programme startsSeptember 2024
Application deadline31 Jan 2024
UCAS course code
- Biology, Chemistry, Geology/Geography, Mathematics or Physics preferred
- English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 5.
Contextual offer information
- CCC more about contextual offers
- Biology, Chemistry, Geology/Geography, Mathematics or Physics 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 higher level score below 5.
- 30 more about contextual offers
- A total of 15 points in three higher level subjects to preferably include two sciences, with no higher level score below 5.
UK applicants qualifications
For entry requirements with other UK qualifications accepted by UCL, choose your qualification from the list below:
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.
BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (RQF - teaching from 2016) with Distinction, Distinction, Distinction. 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
Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.
Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.
Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A levels at grades AAB. Two science subjects preferred.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
Access and widening participationUCL is committed to widening access to higher education. If you are eligible for Access UCL you do not need to do anything in addition to the standard UCAS application. Your application will be automatically flagged when we receive it.
Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates
The Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPC) prepare international students for a UCL undergraduate degree who don’t have the qualifications to enter directly. These intensive one-year foundation courses are taught on our central London campus.
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
The English language level for this programme is: Level 1
Information about the evidence required, acceptable qualifications and test providers can be found on our English language requirements page.
A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.
Together with subject-specific skills, the Geology MSci also provides a strong intellectual and practical platform for those who wish to pursue non-geological careers as it integrates a wide range of ideas from many different scientific disciplines, including chemistry, physics and biology, and provides training in the application of scientific methods and knowledge to complex problems.
The programme includes: studies of the nature of rocks and minerals, their mode of origin and environment of formation; the study of past life and palaeoenvironments; the physics and chemistry of the Earth; major Earth processes such as plate tectonics and mountain building (tectonics).
The first and second years develop 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. During fieldwork students learn to apply and develop independent and team skills and problem-solving abilities which complement and build upon lectures and laboratory-based coursework, whilst being exposed to the true complexity of natural geological problems.
The first three years of the MSci programmes are identical to the BSc programmes. However, the additional fourth year of the MSci allows for an individual research project and advanced optional modules, providing extra depth and breadth of knowledge.
What this course will give you
The department delivers world-leading research embracing the origins and history of life, Earth’s composition and structure, earthquake and volcanic hazards, and past and present climate change, and these are fully integrated within our taught programme.
You will be taught by lecturers who are active researchers within their fields, ensuring everything you learn is up to date and providing you with opportunities to take part in cutting-edge research activities.
We are located in the Kathleen Lonsdale Building, providing you with access to world-class facilities including bespoke teaching laboratories, microscope facilities and student study areas, all in the heart of the department, next to staff offices and research laboratories.
This programme includes approximately 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.
Teaching and learning
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).
Upon successful completion of 480 credits, you will be awarded a MSci (Hons) in Geology.
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. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.
The MSci Geology programme is intended to provide a complete education and training that will qualify students for a wide range of high-level professional employment or postgraduate education and research within and outside the subject area. We also offer an International programme variant incorporating a year abroad.
In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual modules (usually 8 per year), normally valued at 15 credits. The balance of compulsory and optional modules varies from year-to-year.
In Year 1, students develop a fundamental knowledge base in both practical, theoretical and field-based skills. A Mathematics module is taken appropriate to A level background.
In Year 2, students develop specific skills used in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data and take modules which build on the first year programme. Two modules are built around teaching and research exercises carried out on field courses (currently based in Scotland and the Spanish Pyrenees), and students plan and implement an independent field-based mapping project.
In Year 3, students have considerable scope to develop an individual portfolio of interests through a range of advanced, research-based optional modules. The modules include research-based activities and independent research projects that match students to researchers one-to-one. A major field-based independent mapping project draws on all aspects of the student’s learning and provides a focus for outputs that include digital maps and figures, a scientific poster, oral presentations and a research report.
In Year 4, students gain specific training in research skills in preparation for postgraduate education or a professional career in Geology. Students further develop their interests by choosing from a range of M-level optional courses, usually aligned with their chosen research project. A major independent research project provides a focal point for the year and students are involved in project choice and design, perform the work within major research teams, and produce outputs that frequently lead to professional presentations and publications. The year closes with an Undergraduate Research Conference attended by students, staff and alumni.
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.
Field-based modules are included in all years and currently take place in the UK, Spain and Germany.
Typical weekly contact hours in the first three years will be 8 hours of lectures and 8 hours of practicals. Lecturers are also available for help outside these formal hours, as well regular tutorial sessions. During field trips, student will have constant contact with several members of staff (except for the independent mapping). Students are also expected to do an additional 15 to 20 hours per week independent study.
You will be assessed by a combination of written examinations, practical examinations, coursework, independent project reports and sometimes an oral examination.
The foundation of your career
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.
The programme provides a broad education in geology, integrating field and laboratory skills with theoretical studies. The strong emphasis on fieldwork provides a unique opportunity to develop independent and team skills, problem-solving abilities and specific skills such as rock identification, fabric recognition, map-making and the geometrical solving of complex three-dimensional structures.
This programme is accredited by the Geological Society. Undergraduate students may join the Geological Society as a Candidate Fellow and can become a Fellow of the Society upon graduation. A Fellow of the Society with relevant postgraduate experience in the practice of geology has the opportunity to apply for Chartered Geologist (CGeol) status.
Fees and funding
Fees for this course
|Tuition fees (2024/25)
|Tuition fees (2024/25)
The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2024/25 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 2024/25 entrants for each year of study on the programme, unless otherwise indicated below.
Full details of UCL's tuition fees, tuition fee policy and potential increases to fees can be found on the UCL Students website.
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-£500.
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.
In the fourth year, there is a 4-day trip to Germany. Students are expected to cover their transport to Germany (~£150). In-field transportation and accommodation (half-board) are covered by the department.
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).
Funding your studies
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.
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.
For further information on UCL's selection process see: How we assess your application.
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. Instead thse applicants will have an opportunity to chat with current students and staff during an online Virtual Open Day.
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 a Post Offer 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.
UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.