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Earth and environmental sciences

Understand and explore the natural processes that shape the planet and its environment. Learn about topics ranging from current climate change to the formation of mountain belts, or modern ocean acidification to the management of natural resources.

St Andrews is an ideal place to study Earth sciences, as it is surrounded by beaches, the sea, and world-famous geological outcrops. Field trips – both locally and across Europe – along with industry experience, allow you to gain valuable hands-on skills.


Postgraduate taught

Postgraduate research

The School of Earth and Environmental Sciences offers PhD research programmes. Research within the School is grouped into four main themes:

  • global change
  • solid earth and planetary science
  • geobiology and earth system evolution
  • economic geology and energy.

To apply, you should first identify and contact a potential supervisor you would like to work with in your intended research area. Find out how to contact a research supervisor.

“I chose St Andrews because of the multitude of fieldwork opportunities within and outside of Scotland. The staff are incredibly dedicated to their students and the result is a lively and positive atmosphere. I had absolutely no need to worry about making friends – there are so many University events, societies and sporting activities to get involved in, which means you are always going to find like-minded people.”

- Franschhoek, South Africa


First in Scotland for geology

The Complete University Guide 2021

First in Scotland for geography and environmental studies

Guardian University Guide 2021

Top in Scotland for research excellence in environmental studies

Most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014)