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.
Covid-19 programme updates
For the most up-to-date advice and information concerning UCL's response to the coronavirus outbreak please go to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) information pages. There is a Frequently Asked Questions section for prospective students and schools.
- UCAS code
Full-time: 4 years
- Geological Society of London
- Application deadline
- 29 January 2021
- London, Bloomsbury
- Two sciences preferred.
- English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 5.
- BBB (more about contextual offers)
- Two sciences preferred.
- English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 5.
- A score of 17 points in three higher level subjects to preferably include two sciences, with no score lower than 5.
- 32 (more about contextual offers)
- A score 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 18 credits awarded with Distinction in the Level 3 units, the remainder of the credits in the Level 3 units awarded with Merit. 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: 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.
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.
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.
The department scored 100% for overall satisfaction in the 2019 National Student Survey. 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
From Petrology to Petrogenesis (including Cornwall fieldwork)
History of Life
Surface Processes (including Dorset/Devon fieldwork)
You will select 15 credits from the following:
Foundations of Physical Geoscience
Science Communication and Public Engagement
Maps, Images and Structures (including fieldwork)
Structural Geology and Tectonics
Surface Processes and Structures (including fieldwork)
Vertebrate Palaeontology and Evolution
You may select 15 credits from the following:
Principles of Climate
Evolution in Science and Culture
Engaging the Public with Science
Crustal Dynamics, Mountain Building and Basin Evolution (including Betics fieldwork)
Earth Resources and Sustainability
Geodynamics and Global Tectonics
Geological or Environmental Mapping Project
You may select up to 45 credits from the following options:
Biodiversity and Macroevolutionary Patterns
Ocean Physics and Climate Change
Metamorphism and Metamorphic Processes
Earth and Planetary System Science
Independent MSci Project
You may select up to 60 credits from the following options:
Deep Earth and Planetary Modelling
Earth and Planetary Materials
Earthquake Seismology and Earthquake Hazards
Melting and Volcanism
Natural and Anthropogenic Hazards and Vulnerability
Physical Volcanology and Volcanic Hazard
Sustainable Management of the Environment
Advanced Biodiversity and Macroevolutionary Studies
You may take up to 1.0 credit outside the department.
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.
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: Geology MSci.
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.
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.
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 2021/22 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 2021/22 entrants for each year of study on the programme, unless otherwise indicated below.
- UK students
- £9,250 (2021/22)
- Overseas students
- £31,200 (2021/22)
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).
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 15 April 2021