BSc (Hons) Geology

Geology is the study of the world beneath your feet – it’s the course to choose if you want to really understand how the planet, the landscape and life have changed over millions of years. A Geology degree is concerned with the Earth’s origin, structure, composition and history, as well as the physical, chemical and biological processes that have formed it.

As part of your course in Geology, you’ll explore diverse topics, including how to describe, analyse and interpret rocks, how volcanoes are formed, how ice ages originate, how to search for oil and gas, and what Britain was like 300 million years ago. Our Geology degree emphasises applied geology, so you will learn vital skills for the workplace, including geographical information systems (GIS), geological mapping, and geological methods. The final year also includes several industry led workshops. We pride ourselves on offering some of the most extensive fieldwork of any UK university Geology course, at locations in the UK and overseas, which currently include Iceland and Spain. 

UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
F600 Full-time 3 Years September Glyntaff A
UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
F600 Full-time 3 Years September Glyntaff A

In the first year of the Geology degree, you will gain basic geological knowledge and scientific background. In years two and three, you will enjoy more detailed study and develop practical and transferable skills.

Year One: Geology degree

  • The Dynamic Earth
  • Rocks, Minerals and Fossils
  • Basic Field Geology 1
  • Basic Field Geology 2
  • Introduction to Data Analysis and GIS
  • Geological Research Techniques

Year Two: Geology degree

  • The Evolving Earth
  • Sedimentology
  • Structural Geology
  • Petrology
  • Geological Expedition
  • Applied Geochemistry (optional)
  • Digital Mapping for Geology (optional)

Year Three: Geology degree

  • Basin Analysis and Hydrocarbon Exploration
  • Geophysical Methods
  • Independent Geological Mapping and Research Project
  • Volcanology
  • Engineering and Mining Geology
  • Hydrogeology


The Geology degree is taught using a combination of lectures, laboratory sessions, tutorials, practicals, and UK field trips. The course contains around 35% practical work and most modules include a fieldwork element.

The number of hours of formal teaching will vary depending on your module choice and year of study. The focus of this Geology degree is hands-on learning, so you will gain practical skills that are supported by the study of theory.


Our students are assessed using a range of approaches depending on your module choice and year of study which could include laboratory and field reports of your own work, essays, oral presentations, posters, field notebooks, teamwork projects and examinations.



This Geology degree is accredited by The Geological Society of London (GSL).

Field Trips

We pride ourselves on offering some of the most extensive fieldwork of any UK university Geology course, at locations in the UK and overseas, which currently include Iceland and Spain. The Geology degree contains around 35% practical work and most modules include a fieldwork element.

Field work is an integral part of the Geology degree and offers exciting itineraries throughout the three years. All compulsory UK and overseas fieldwork is currently free of charge, with the exception of food costs. Independent Mapping (four weeks) in the summer between Years Two and Three incurs some extra costs (accommodation, food, travel) but we currently provide £500 towards these expenses if undertaken away from the South Wales area (£100 if undertaken in the local area).

There may be additional costs associated with this course


By studying a Geology degree with us, you will benefit from the huge investment in facilities that has taken place at the University’s Glyntaff Campus.

USW students enjoy a modern learning environment, with purpose-built labs and industry-standard research and specialist software that currently includes ArcGIS, ERDAS and RockWorks. There are two dedicated laboratories with a large suite of transmitted light petrological microscopes and an extensive rock and fossil collection to support practical sessions. We also have facilities for geochemical analysis using our Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and wet chemistry laboratories.


The entry criteria below shows the qualification range within which the University will make offers. Most offers we make are at the top of the range, but we take all aspects of an application into consideration and applicants receive a personalised offer. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable.

Typical A-Level Offer

BCC - CDD to include a Science such as Geography or Mathematics but to exclude General Studies (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical Welsh BACC Offer

Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C/D in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BC - CD at A Level to include a Science (which may be Geography or Mathematics) but to exclude General Studies (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Pass in a relevant Science subject (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical IB Offer

Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with higher grades of between 655-445 to include Science or Maths (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points)

Typical Access to HE Offer

Pass the Access to HE Science or Maths Diploma with 60 credits overall – the credits should equate to between 106-80 UCAS tariff points (examples below)

45 Level 3 credits equating to 15 Distinctions, 24 Merits and 6 Passes (106 UCAS Tariff Points)

45 Level 3 credits equating to 12 Distinctions, 6 Merits and 27 Passes (80 UCAS Tariff Points)

Additional Requirements

GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics and English at Grade C or above, or their equivalent but consideration is given to individual circumstances

International Entry Requirements

We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.

English Requirements

In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.

However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.

Typical Science Requirements

Applicants taking Science A levels in England will need to pass the practical element alongside achieving the requested grade(s)

This course is eligible under the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme for Ex-Armed Forces personnel.

August 2018 - July 2019 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU:  £9000 
  • Full-time International:  £12300 

August 2019 - July 2020 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU: TBC
  • Full-time International: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
Kit (Uniform and Equipment) * £100 - £200
Students will need to purchase suitable waterproof and windproof outdoor clothes and boots. Used for field excursions in all years
Field Trips * £50 - £100
Food costs for field trip to Snowdonia.
Please note that students who successfuly secure a placement in industry or abroad to complete their projects would be expected to pay for their own travelling costs to and from the venue during the period of placement. The cost of this will of course vary and some students have also paid for accommodation close to their place of work for the duration of their placement. Many books are available as ebooks. The course uses the many computing facilities of the Glyntaff campus (students are not expected to buy their own computer but having a personal PC will help with their studies). Tuition fees include access to laboratory equipment, field equipment, ICT stations and software. Students are required to purchase a number of required texts amounting to a total of about £200.

UK and EU students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK/EU residing applicant, applying for year one of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly

International students

Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK/EU. 

Admissions statement

For many students, a degree is an important step in achieving their career ambitions. Our Geology courses generate motivated and able graduates with a range of key skills. They are highly valued by employers for the scope of their knowledge, and have excellent communication and critical thinking skills. Laboratory work and field projects ensure our students have strong research and team working skills.

By the time you graduate, you will understand scientific principles and apply them to geological questions and problems. Graduates from our Geology degree have very varied careers, including environmental geology, site investigation, mining companies, oil companies, quarrying and geological surveys. A significant number of our graduates also continue to taught postgraduate courses or research degrees here at the University or elsewhere.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW Geology student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.