The BSc (Hons) in Geology is a four-year course run by the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and provides students with a combination of academic skills and vocational training. During your degree, you will be able to take advantage of hands-on field and laboratory-based research projects that investigate topics as varied as the origin of continental crust, to planetary origin and differentiation, to causes and consequences of Earth system functioning during pivotal periods of Earth history.
In first year, you will be introduced to the main concepts of Geology, such as Earth structure and Earth history, including the origin of the planet and Earth’s biosphere.
Alongside Geology, in the first year of your studies, you will be required to study an additional two subjects. In the second year, you will usually carry on at least one of these subjects, sometimes two. Find out more about how academic years are organised.
In second year, modules provide additional and deeper study into mineralogy, sedimentary systems, palaeontology, geophysics and geochemistry.
At Honours level, there is a shift from broad-themed modules to more specialised ones that introduce students to a wide variety of exciting new research trends and findings. Modules involve the opportunity to get first-hand experience of new research discoveries and advances in Geology by staff in an integrated lecture-lab-field forum.
Advanced topics available at Honours level include (but are not limited to):
- GIS (geographic information systems) for Earth science
- Data visualisation and statistics using R-Studio and Python
- petroleum exploration
- structural geology.
The School is home to state-of-the-art analytical facilities supported by full-time technicians. These allow for the detailed characterisation of natural and synthetic materials, culturing of micro and macro organisms in extreme environments, and geological and geophysical field deployment. These facilities will enable you to address questions from fundamental field geology to assess anthropological versus natural processes in driving climate change. Find out more about research facilities.
Geology at St Andrews provides outstanding field-based training. Students have the opportunity to take numerous day to multi-week-long field trips associated with individual modules, as well as up to four weeks of fieldwork associated with their independent research projects.
Examples of field trips that are part of the BSc Geology degree include:
- First year: the five-day “Highland Fling” to renowned geological sites in the Scottish Highlands.
- Second year: six days of geological mapping in central Spain, examining multiple phases of continental collision and mountain building; five days exploring the varying sources of iron, nitrate and phosphate levels on river systems in Yorkshire and their impact on pH and invertebrate life.
- Third year: twelve days of mapping the iconic Moine Thrust system and Caledonian igneous complexes in the Scottish Highlands.
- Fourth year: a two-week transect of the Alpine orogenic belt through northern Italy and central Switzerland.
The University of St Andrews operates on a flexible modular degree system by which degrees are obtained through the accumulation of credits. More information on the structure of the modules system can be found on the flexible degree structure webpage.
Find out more about studying Earth and Environmental Sciences at St Andrews or visit the Earth and Environmental Sciences School website.