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Bachelor of Science (Honours) Chemistry and Geology

General information

Bachelor of Science (Honours)
Bachelor of Science (Honours) Chemistry and Geology
University of St Andrews
University of St Andrews
Undergraduate Honours (Science Faculty)
Chemistry and Geology
School of Chemistry, School of Geography & Geosciences
Faculty of Science
48 months (4 years)
See the School of Chemistry website at

See the School of Geography & Geosciences website at

For further details about this programme contact or
For general QAA information on academic infrastructure see

For subject specific benchmarking see: (Chemistry) (Earth Sciences)

Educational aims

This programme will involve study of Chemistry and Geology at an advanced, research-led level in which students will gain an understanding of how knowledge is created, advanced and renewed. The programme will encourage in all students a desire to pursue independent learning with curiosity, integrity, accuracy and intellectual rigour.

Programme structure

This is a 48-month programme of study leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science (Honours). As with all St Andrews programmes, it is made up of credit bearing modules. Students must earn 480 credits over the duration of the programme, with 120 credits normally earned each academic year. Typically, the first two years of study include core modules specific to the programme as well as other modules chosen from a range of options (in some cases, including modules from a different Faculty). The remaining years offer advanced research-led learning through modules that provide a programme-specific curriculum.

Typically, the first two years of study include core modules specific to the programme as well as other modules chosen from a range of options (in some cases, including modules from a different Faculty). The remaining years offer advanced research-led learning through modules that provide a programme-specific curriculum. For information about core and optional modules for each programme, please consult the Course Catalogue, which can be found at

This catalogue describes the detailed structure of the course and the contents of all the modules that can be included in the programme. Teaching, learning and assessment are progressive, with both the content and methods of delivery changing to suit the increasing level of complexity in the material, and independence of students, as they work through the programme.

Distinctive features

Distinctive features of this programme include:

a) School of Chemistry

Being provided with a broad base of chemical knowledge and understanding reinforced by extensive practical experience and familiarity with modern laboratory, instrumental and computational techniques. You will obtain the necessary skills and experience for a career in Chemistry, whether in industry, education or research. In addition, you will get a high-level general intellectual and scientific training, which allows many of our graduates to enter challenging careers in areas not directly related to chemistry.

b) School of Geography and Geosciences

(a) an area of study that encompasses all aspects of Earth science, and emphasises the long-term behaviour of the Earth over geological timescales; (b) a blending of the theory and techniques of geology, geophysics and geochemistry to understand the nature, rates and durations of Earth's surface, near-surface and internal processes, and also their interactions with the atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere; (c) a rigorous training in the techniques, approaches and methods across the range of geological and physical Earth sciences, with a particular emphasis on field and laboratory skills; (d) a degree that takes full advantage of the superb geological setting of Scotland for training and the development of knowledge; and (e) a degree that prepares students for immediate entry to geoscience professions. Students can expect to have the opportunity to engage with a number of specialist topics including for example, geological field mapping; igneous and metamorphic petrology; tectonics and geodynamics; geological processes and landscape evolution; a geological traverse of the Italian-Swiss Alps; and applications of Geographical Information Systems.

Joint honours students take a smaller number of core and option modules than either single honours or major students, and undertake a shorter dissertation.

Programme outcomes/graduate attributes

In the course of this programme students will develop programme-specific skills. On completing the programme students should be able to demonstrate the graduate attributes outlined below.

Demonstrate original thought
Construct a coherent argument or debate by demonstrating logical processing of (complex) information and deductive reasoning
Apply critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis to solve complex problems
Test hypotheses, theories, methods and evidence within their proper contexts
Reason from the particular to the general
Identify relevant techniques and concepts to solve advanced and complex problems
Demonstrate use of an appropriate range of resources to the task at hand
Evaluate relevant best practices for the task at hand
Engage directly with current research, developments and skills in the discipline
Engage with primary and secondary material and differentiate between them
Demonstrate active learning
Demonstrate reflective learning, including the ability to engage with and learn from feedback
Demonstrate creativity and curiosity
Demonstrate independence of thought and reasoning
Demonstrate skills in time management, self-discipline and self-motivation
Demonstrate skills in close textual and comparative analysis
Demonstrate skills in close analysis of visual material
Demonstrate advanced IT skills
Demonstrate quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis
Demonstrate expertise in the use of statistical software packages for recording, manipulation and analysis of data
Convey statistical results and methods in a manner understandable to the lay-person via written or oral reports
Work independently
Work as part of a team
Communicate with clarity and accuracy, orally (including presentation) and in writing
Engage with the views and opinions of others
Present work and findings in a professional manner, with attention to detail
Learn and use research skills

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

a) Teaching and learning delivery

Students will engage with independent and group study in a supportive framework of teaching and learning. The strategy is to use methods of teaching and assessment that will facilitate learning appropriate to the aims of the degree programme. The following methods will be employed where appropriate to the level of study and the particular content of each module in the programme.

Small group discussions / tutorials
Problem solving workshops
Autonomous learning groups
Independent study activities (supervised and unsupervised)
Laboratory based teaching and problem solving
Computer based teaching and analysis
Field Trips
One-to-one discussions / supervision
Project work
Practical work
Practice exercises
Study at a partner University / period of residence abroad
Larger group discussions / seminars
Work placements
Technology enhanced learning
Group work
Reflective practice
Simulation/Role plays
Guided instruction/coaching

b) Material submitted for assessment

Assessment can be a blend of diagnostic work to determine student needs, formative work submitted for assessment and feedback (but not necessarily for academic credit) or summative work submitted for academic credit.

Dissertations / projects
Class tests
Unseen written examinations
Oral examinations
Literature reviews
Portfolio of independent work
Learning diaries
Technology enhanced assessments
Take home examinations
Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ)
Short Answer Questions (SAQ)
Lab reports
Group assignments
Problem solving exercises
Field notebooks and fieldwork reports
Lab notebooks

c) Learning and teaching support

Students' scholarship skills (in, for example, academic writing, information gathering and academic conduct) will be supported and developed through this programme. The following will be available, where appropriate to the level of study and the particular content of each module in the programme.

Handouts / handbooks
Web based and Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) resources
Library support and resources
Reading lists
Training in Good Academic Practice
Office hours and staff availability
Access to computer classrooms
Reading parties
IT services support
Student services support (available on application. Individual support will be available for students with disabilities registered with the University)
Study skills support (CAPOD) (available on application)
Mathematics and statistics support (available on application)
Student representation
Free WiFi