Geology BSc

Year of entry

2024 course information

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2023
Delivery type
On campus
3 years full time
Work placement
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
ABB (specific subject requirements)
Typical Access to Leeds offer
Full entry requirements

Course overview

Students on a field trip at the coast

Our Geology degree offers a broad education in the geosciences from the processes that govern the Earth’s surface and interior, to the interactions between society and the Earth.

You’ll study all the essential geoscience disciplines: the sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic origins of rocks and minerals; the evolution of life on Earth; plate tectonics and the structural deformation of rocks; natural hazards and climate change; geotechnics; geological mapping and fieldwork; the sustainable management of natural resources and the development of clean geoenergy.

There’s a strong emphasis on applying your knowledge in the real world through practical hands-on learning and field trips, and you’ll be equipped with all the geological skills necessary to understand and work in the modern world.

Why study at Leeds:

  • Take advantage of our world-leading research here at Leeds, carried out within five institutes that tackle complex global challenges such as climate change, energy security and natural hazard management.
  • Experience expertise teaching delivered by a programme team made up of internationally renowned academics working at the forefront of their fields, who are passionate about the subjects they teach.
  • Benefit from excellent specialist facilities, featuring lecture theatres, extensive lab spaces — including our Earth Visualisation Lab — and computer clusters fully equipped with the latest technology to support your learning.
  • Put theory into practice with our extensive fieldwork activities located across the world, where you’ll advance your research skills and gain hands-on experience highly valued by employers in industry.
  • Enhance your career prospects and give your CV that competitive edge before you graduate with our exciting study abroad programmes and paid industrial work placement opportunities.
  • Join one of our societies, such as ROCSOC or SusSoc, where you can meet like-minded people at events such as comedy and film nights, trips and through sports. You could even be elected as a member of the committee, which is a great opportunity to develop your management and leadership skills.

View this video on Bilibili.

Course details

The first and second year focus on building your skill set in core modules, while the final year is dedicated to the application of these skills to a variety of geological topics in a combination of core and optional modules.

During level 1 of the degree, you’ll study the following themes:

The Rock Cycle - You’ll get a broad introduction to geological materials by exploring how the rock cycle, driven by plate tectonics and Earth surface processes, creates, alters and destroys minerals and rocks.

Habitable Planet - You’ll look at big picture geology; the formation and evolution of the Earth; what makes it habitable for life; how it functions as a planet; and you’ll learn the fundamental aspects of chemistry, maths and physics you’ll need to study the Earth.

Field, Research and GIS skills - You’ll start developing the key skills needed to become an Earth scientist, from collecting, recording and interpreting data in the field to using computing packages, such as Geographic Information System (GIS) software.

Shaping the Earth - Using the geological history of the British Isles as an example you’ll explore how plate tectonics and global geological processes have shaped the Earth through time, and how the palaeontological record illustrates the evolution of life on our planet.

3D Earth - Discover the three-dimensional nature of geological structures, sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks, and how to describe and interpret these in two- and three-dimensions using geological maps and cross sections over the fourth dimension - time.

Geology and Society - Explore the complex interactions between the geosciences and society, illustrating the diverse roles of geoscientists, including topical case studies on natural resources, geohazards and infrastructure.

At level 2, you’ll study the following content:

Applied geosciences – an introduction to the disciplines of geotechnics, which support a wide employment sector in the UK.

Petrology and Palaeoenvironmental analysis – building on the skills from level 1, you’ll move on from identifying rocks to understanding how they can tell us about the conditions and environments in which they form.

Data analysis, programming and advanced field skills – in addition to continued development of the field skills from level 1, we introduce further tools for data analysis and presentation, including computer programming, which is becoming a desired skill with employers.

Tectonics and structure – looking at how the Earth deforms during tectonic events and how we probe the Earth’s structure using geophysical methods.

Sedimentary basins and Resources from rocks and minerals – these strands in economic geology look at the importance of geological processes for society in terms of producing the resources necessary to underpin the carbon transition.

One-year optional work placement or study abroad

To advance your skill set and boost your experience, you can apply to take up an industrial placement or study abroad at one of the many universities we’re in partnership with worldwide.


Ask any of our students and they will tell you that taking part in field trips is one of the most enjoyable and memorable aspects of the programmes in the School of Earth and Environment at Leeds.

We offer fieldwork opportunities at each level of study, giving you a great way to study a fascinating subject in contrasting environments away from the University. In year 1, you’ll use Leeds as your ‘laboratory’, carrying out group work around the city you live in and in years two and three you’ll have the option to undertake international and local fieldwork.

During field trips, you’ll learn essential fieldwork and team working skills and transferable skills that will prove invaluable to your future career.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Geology BSc in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
The Rock Cycle 20
Field, GIS and Research Skills 20
Earth Through Time 20
Geology and Society 20
3D Earth 20

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Natural Hazards 10
Our Habitable Planet 10
Vertebrate Evolution 10
Foundation Chemistry 10
Atmosphere 10
Advanced Mathematics 1 10
Advanced Mathematics 2 10
Foundation Mathematics 1 10

Year 2 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Petrology and Geochemistry 20
Palaeoenvironmental Analysis 20
Advanced Skills for Geoscientists 20
Applied Geosciences 20
Sedimentary Basins and their Resources 10
Resources from Rocks and Minerals 10
Global Tectonics 20

Year 3 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Easter Field Class-Geology 10
Independent Field Projects (GS) 40
Plate Tectonics and Geodynamics 10
Past Global Environmental Systems 10
Mountain Belt Processes 10

Year 3 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Advanced Sedimentology and its Applications 10
Isotope Geochemistry 10
Earth System Science: Biogeochemical Cycles 10
Engineering Geology 10
Volcanic Processes 10
Groundwater 10
Structural Geology for the Future 10
Ore Deposits and their Exploitation 10
Strategic Energy Issues 10

Learning and teaching

Most modules combine lectures with practicals, workshops or seminars, depending on the subject. These are enhanced with skills classes, fieldtrips and small group academic tutorials. You can expect to study in a variety of settings, from large lecture theatres to computer clusters, seminar rooms, tutorials, laboratories, visualisation suites and out in the field.

We offer research-led teaching across the breadth of our disciplines, from specialists in their field. As Leeds is a research-intensive Russell Group University, you’ll be studying amongst staff who are at the cutting edge of research world-wide, and who will incorporate this expertise into their teaching.

You’ll have a designated personal tutor throughout your studies at Leeds, who will be an academic member of staff. You’ll have fortnightly academic tutorials with your tutor throughout your first two years, in your tutor group (of typically 5 students), as well as one-to-one meetings twice per semester. In addition, our excellent student support team is based close to where you’ll work and study to help with anything from academic advice to timetabling and project submission enquiries. You’ll also receive support from fellow students through our peer mentoring scheme.

Our Virtual Learning Environment will help to support your studies: it’s a central place where you can find all the information and resources for the School, your programme and modules.

You can also benefit from support to develop your academic skills, within the curriculum and through online resources, workshops, one-to-one appointments and drop-in sessions.

Watch our taster lecture to get a flavour of what it’s like to study at Leeds:

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


You'll be assessed through a variety of methods, specifically designed to help students learn, whatever their preferred learning style. We use both coursework and exams, but with a general progression from an emphasis on exams in year 1 towards an emphasis on coursework in your final year.

Entry requirements

A-level: ABB including two from Biology, Chemistry, Computer Sciences, Economics, Environmental Science, Geology, Geography, Mathematics, Physics and Psychology. If Geography and Geology are taken together, another science is preferred as a third subject.

Where an A-Level Science subject is taken, we require a pass in the practical science element, alongside the achievement of the A-Level at the stated grade.

Excludes A-Level General Studies or Critical Thinking.

You don’t need to have a qualification in geology to study this course, as we start from first principles.

GCSE: English and Mathematics at grade C (4) or above, or an appropriate English language and Mathematics qualification. We will accept Level 2 Functional Skills English in lieu of GCSE English.

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ): We recognise the value of this qualification and the effort and skills required to undertake it, where an applicant is taking the EPQ this may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. The EPQ taken with A-Levels, for example, could be BBB with an A in the EPQ.

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

Pass 60 credits overall with 45 credits at Level 3, 30 credits with Distinction and the remaining 15 credits with Merit or above. Must be in relevant subjects.


DDM in National Extended Diploma/3 National Extended Certificates in two relevant subjects. We will accept a combination of BTECs and A-Levels. Please contact the School's Undergraduate Admissions Team for more information.

Cambridge Pre-U

D3, M2, M2 including two relevant subjects.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall, with 16 points at higher level to include 5 points in two relevant subjects, one of which must be in mathematics or a science subject.

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

AAABBB/H2H2H2H3H3H3 in two relevant subjects.

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

AABBB overall with BB in 2 Advanced Highers (AH). For non-AH applicants AABBBB. To include 2 relevant subjects.

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.

Typical Access to Leeds A Level offer: BBC plus a pass in the Access to Leeds scheme.

For alternative qualification offers please contact the admissions team.

If you do not have the formal qualifications for immediate entry to one of our degrees, you may be able to progress through a foundation year. We offer a Studies in Science with Foundation Year BSc for students without a science background at A-level and an Interdisciplinary Science with Foundation Year BSc for applicants who meet specific widening participation criteria.

International Foundation Year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.


UK: £9,250 (per year)

International: £27,500 (per year)

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will remain capped at £9,250 for 2023/24 and 2024/25. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 and 2024/25 are available on individual course pages.

Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Additional cost information

Travel, accommodation and subsistence costs (though not self-catering costs) associated with compulsory field classes are covered by the University, and the University currently contributes towards the cost of accommodation for independent dissertation fieldwork. Whilst the school supplies some field equipment and professional tools on arrival, you will need to cover the cost of clothing and some equipment that is needed for taking part in field trips, such as waterproofs, boots and a field backpack. Some items and consumables may need to be replaced throughout your degree due to wear and tear. The anticipated cost for the necessary field equipment is estimated at £400 (2022 prices). A list is available on request.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.


Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

We may consider applications submitted after the deadline. Availability of courses in UCAS Extra will be detailed on UCAS at the appropriate stage in the cycle.

Read our guidance about applying and writing your personal statement.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

Contact us

School of Earth and Environment Undergraduate Admissions


Career opportunities

A degree from Leeds and the experience you'll gain here will give you the edge to find the career you want. Your course will give you the experience and knowledge that employers are looking for to help you secure a graduate job.

Plus, University of Leeds students are among the top 10 most targeted by top employers according to The Graduate Market 2023, High Fliers Research, meaning our graduates are highly sought after by some of the most reputable companies in the field.

Geology graduates are highly regarded by employers for their skills in detailed observations, teamwork, problem solving, IT and data handling and manipulation.

Studying Geology at Leeds opens the door to a wide range of careers. The solid scientific basis of your course and the fieldwork involved gives your degree a high value in a number of employment sectors. Oil and mineral industries are the traditional employers for geologists, but you’ll also find career opportunities in new and expanding areas of engineering and environmental protection such as renewable energies. The transferable skills that you acquire throughout your degree will help you in many employment sectors.

Our graduates have secured positions including:

  • Project Engineer, Fugro Geoconsulting Ltd
  • Geoscientist, ExxonMobil
  • Technical Assistant, Heritage Insight Ltd
  • Director, Agates Geoscience Limited
  • Business Development Manager, Alliance Geotechnical Services
  • Mapping Geologist, British Geological Survey
  • Geotechnical Engineering, British Waterways

Read our alumni profiles to find out more about where our students are working.

Careers support

At Leeds we help you to prepare for your future from day one. Our Leeds for Life initiative is designed to help you develop and demonstrate the skills and experience you need for when you graduate. We will help you to access opportunities across the University and record your key achievements so you are able to articulate them clearly and confidently.

You will be supported throughout your studies by our dedicated Employability team, who will provide you with specialist support and advice to help you find relevant work experience, internships and industrial placements, as well as graduate positions. You’ll benefit from timetabled employability sessions, support during internships and placements, and presentations and workshops delivered by employers.

You will also have full access to the University’s Careers Centre, which is one of the largest in the country.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

This programme offers you the option to spend time abroad as an extra academic year and will extend your studies by 12 months. You will return to Leeds to complete your final year of study.

Studying abroad is a unique opportunity to explore the world, whilst gaining invaluable skills and experience that could enhance your future employability and career prospects too.

From Europe to Asia, the USA to Australasia, we have many University partners worldwide you can apply to, spanning across some of the most popular destinations for students.

Once you’ve successfully completed your year abroad, you will be awarded the ‘international’ variant in your degree title which demonstrates your added experience to future employers.

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

Work placements

The graduate recruitment market is highly competitive so it’s important that you stand out. An industrial placement could be the opportunity you need to impress potential employers and improve your chances of securing the career you want.

Benefits of a work placement year:

  • 100+ organisations to choose from, both in the UK and overseas
  • All placements are salaried
  • Build industry contacts within your chosen field
  • Our strong connections with industry mean you’ll be in direct contact with potential employers
  • Advance your experience and skills by putting the course teachings into practice
  • Gain invaluable insight into working as a professional in a particular company or sector
  • Improve your employability

If you decide to undertake a placement year, this will extend your period of study by 12 months and, on successful completion, you will be awarded the ‘industrial’ variant in your degree title to demonstrate your added experience to future employers.

With the help and support of our dedicated Employability team, you can find the right placement to suit you and your future career goals.

Here are some examples of placements our students have recently completed:

  • Atkins, Water & Environment Placement
  • Geotechnical Engineering, Engineering Geology placement
  • Leap Environmental, Geo Environmental Placement
  • Harrison Group Environmental, Assistant Geotechnical-Geoenvironmental Engineer
  • Wardell Armstrong Assistant Geologist

During your industrial placement, you will have an industrial supervisor from within the company, plus an academic supervisor who will keep in touch throughout your placement.

Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.

Student profile: Charlotte Webb

This course completely changes your mindset and gives you a new insight in how to approach such geo-societal issues, whilst also developing key transferable skills.
Find out more about Charlotte Webb's time at Leeds