Geology BSc/MSci

Geology is the study of the Earth, its structure, composition, and history, and its hazards and resources. Geology uses rocks, minerals and fossils to provide an integrated understanding of whole Earth processes in 4D, linking the deep Earth, its crust, the surface environments. This knowledge is applied to contemporary geological and socio-environmental problems, including natural and anthropogenic change, hazards, and the sustainable development of resources.

Our Geology graduates have gone on to work in engineering, mining and exploration, renewables and hydrocarbon industries, and environmental consultancy.

  • September start
  • Session dates
  • Geology BSc (Hons): F610 4 year degree
  • Geology MSci (Hons): F611 5 year degree

Why study Geology?

  • Geology at the University of Glasgow is ranked in the top 10 in the UK (Complete University Guide 2019)
  • Fieldwork is a fundamental part of studying Geology at the University of Glasgow, and all students undertake field classes in Aliaga and Andalusia in Spain, Tenerife, and closer to home in Oban and Mull, giving you a comprehensive learning experience
  • You'll have the opportunity to specialise in the area of your choice; a wide range of optional courses including Planetary Science, Engineering Geology, and Climates: Past and Future are available
  • The School works collaboratively with the Hunterian Museum, which provides students with world-class samples to work with
  • State of the art equipment and software is available in our four fully dedicated laboratories, which are accessible 24 hours a day
  • You can be part of GUESS – the University of Glasgow’s Earth Science Society
  • Find out more about what it's like to study in the School of Geographical & Earth Sciences: meet our students

Be part of the solution.

Programme structure


Year 1

Core courses:

In years 1 and 2, you will study the major themes of geology linked to important problems and challenges in environmental geoscience, using a problem-based approach to learning integrated with topical examples. You will cover fundamental geological principles, including plate tectonics, the structure of the Earth, volcanoes, earthquakes, how rocks deform, the evolution of the oceans and continents, the evolution of life, and surface processes and environments. These principles are then applied to challenges in the sustainable exploration for resources and energy, climate change, water security, and waste and contaminated land management.

You will develop a range of spatial, analytical and computational skills. You will participate in local field classes in both years, and a residential field class in your second year, where you will develop your practical and problem-solving skills.



Year 2

Core courses:

You will undertake two courses in the second year. The first course builds your knowledge of the solid Earth, focusing on key geological, geochemical and geophysical processes, and in particular the relationship between the deep Earth and crustal and surface processes. The second course develops your understanding of the evolution of Earth life and environments, changing climate and biogeochemical cycles, Earth exploration, and resource management.

You will also study other subjects in years 1 and 2 to pursue your interests and ensure maximum flexibility; see Flexible degrees.



Year 3

Core courses:



Year 4

Core courses:

If you progress to Honours (years 3 and 4) you will study a number of core courses covering igneous geology (including geochemistry, chronology and volcanology), sedimentary geology (including environments and basin analysis), metamorphic and structural geology, stratigraphy and tectonic synthesis, and resources for a sustainable future. You will participate in many local day field classes and residential field classes integrated into the core courses, as well as undertaking an independent project in your final year where you will develop and answer a research question based on data you have collected. You will also tailor your degree by choosing from a wide range of optional courses in geological and environmental topics.

You will participate in extensive residential field classes in the UK and overseas and undertake an independent geological mapping project with a unique research question or problem in your final year. You will also tailor your degree to include additional areas of interest chosen from a wide range of optional courses, many of which are focused on applied and environmental aspects of Geology, such as engineering geology, hydrogeology, landscape dynamics, and climate.



Year 5

You can take Geology as an MSci degree, which is particularly suited to those interested in further study. The MSci includes an additional year, centred on an extensive independent research project that involves the use of advanced analytical facilities in the School of Geographical & Earth Sciences.


Programme alteration or discontinuation
The University of Glasgow endeavours to run all programmes as advertised. In exceptional circumstances, however, the University may withdraw or alter a programme. For more information, please see: Student contract.

Our international links

Travelling and overseas work are major features of a Geology career and we encourage our students to take advantage of the University’s extensive exchange programmes to study abroad. Our students have studied in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Hong Kong, California and Europe. See Study abroad.

Entry requirements

for entry in 2021

Summary of entry requirements for Geology

SQA Higher Entry Requirements

  • BBBB at S5 will be considered. Typically S6 entrants will have AAAB at Higher. B at Advanced Higher is equivalent to A at Higher.
  • Additional requirements: National 5 Maths at grade B and two Higher Science subjects.

SQA Higher Adjusted Entry Requirements* (by end of S6)

  • Additional requirements: National 5 Maths at grade B and two Higher Science subjects. Successful completion of Top-Up or one of our Summer Schools.

* See Access Glasgow for eligibility.

A-level Standard Entry Requirements

  • BBB – BCC
  • Additional requirements: A-level Science subject.

IB Standard Entry Requirements

  • 38 (6,6,6 HL) – 34 (6,5,5 HL)
  • Additional requirements: HL Science subject.


2021 Admissions Policy and further information about entry requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

English language requirements

Important information for entry in Autumn 2020 and January 2021

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training):

  • overall score 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.0
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification (see below)

Common equivalent English language qualifications:

  • ibTOEFL*: 90; no sub-test less than: Reading: 20; Listening: 19; Speaking: 19; Writing: 23
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall: no sub-test less than 169
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): 176 overall: no sub-test less than 169
  • PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59
  • IGCSE: English as a First Language (0500/0522): C in Reading and Writing, plus 1 in Listening, 2 in Speaking, where applicable. All four components (listening, writing, speaking, reading) must be examined and detailed on results slip
  • IGCSE: English as a Second Language (0510/0511): A in Reading and Writing, plus A in Listening, 2/B in Speaking, where applicable. All four components (listening, writing, speaking, reading) must be examined and detailed on results slip
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII at Distinction with Distinction in all sub-tests

* Please note that TOEFL is still acceptable for admission to this programme for both home/EU and international students.

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use TOEFL to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level courses. We therefore still accept TOEFL tests taken in the last two years for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses
The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:


What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's School of Modern Languages and Cultures offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact External Relations

If you require a Tier 4 student visa, your qualification must be one of the secure English language tests accepted by UK Border Agency:

Visa requirements and proof of English language level

It is a visa requirement to provide information on your level of English based on an internationally recognised and secure English language test. All test reports must be no more than 2 years old. A list of these can be found on the UK Border Agency website. If you have never taken one of these tests before, you can get an initial idea of your level by using the Common European Framework self-assessment grid which gives you a level for each skill (e.g. listening B1/writing B2 etc.) However, please note that this is not a secure English language test and it is not sufficient evidence of your level of English for visa requirements.

For further information about English language, please see School of Modern Languages and Cultures: English for Academic Study.

Career prospects

Our recent graduates are employed by organisations including Atkins, BAM Nuttall Ltd, Chevron, Equinor, Mason Evans, Nordgold, Scottish Water and Shell.

Degrees and UCAS codes

When applying you will need to know the UCAS code for the subject or subject-combination that you wish to apply to:

BSc (Hons)

Geology: F610 (4 years)

MSci (Hons)

Geology: F611 (5 years)

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

How and when you pay tuition fees depends on where you’re from: see Tuition fees for details.


The University is committed to supporting students and rewarding academic excellence. That's why we've invested more than £1m in additional scholarship funding in recent years.

College of Science and Engineering Deans' Award

The College of Science and Engineering is offering ten scholarships worth £10,000 each towards tuition fees for academically excellent students wishing to study an Undergraduate or Postgraduate Taught programme within the College’s programme portfolio.

RUK Access Bursary 2020 Entry

The bursary supports talented students who might not be able to take a place at University for reasons of financial hardship. It is available to new entrant full-time, undergraduate students of the University of Glasgow who are fully registered for Session 2020/21, as being domiciled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and paying annual tuition fees of £9,250 per annum.

RUK Excellence Scholarship 2020

The RUK Excellence Scholarship of £1,000 for each year of study will be awarded to first degree entrants who have attained AAA or better in one sitting at A Level (or equivalent). 

James McCune Smith Scholarship

The University of Glasgow has 30 undergraduate scholarships available for students Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students. The scholarship supports students who could face financial difficulties taking up their place to study at the University. The value of the scholarship is £2,000, paid in instalments for the first year of undergraduate study. The scholarship is open to new applicants to the University. Current students who have previously been in receipt of the award may reapply, however, preference will be given to applicants entering their first year of study.

Beaconhouse Schools

The University of Glasgow offer a 15% discount on the first year of tuition fee to students from Beaconhouse Schools and who enrol on an undergraduate programme at the University of Glasgow. The discount does not apply to Veterinary Medicine, Medicine and Dentistry programmes.

Undergraduate Talent Scholarships

The University of Glasgow awards c.50 undergraduate Talent Scholarships each academic year to support students who could face financial difficulties in taking up their place to study at the University. The value of each scholarship is typically £1,500 p.a. for each year of the degree programme, subject to satisfactory progress. Talent Scholarships are available to students entering any of the University's Colleges.

Dental School students are eligible for a Talent Scholarship in their first year of study only. They are eligible for the NHS Dental Student Support Grant in the following years.

Humanitarian Scholarships

The University of Glasgow is offering four scholarships (one per college) for applicants to the University who are staying in the UK on humanitarian grounds and are facing challenges in progressing onto Higher Education. The scholarship is open to prospective undergraduate and postgraduate taught students of the University of Glasgow applying for entry in 2021/22. The scholarship meets the full cost of tuition fees for the duration of your programme as well providing an additional £5,000 per year stipend, if the eligibility criteria for university accommodation is met this will also be provided for the duration of your degree. For more information on the accommodation criteria, please see the Accommodation Services section on the website.

We are also offering eight scholarships to students who hold refugee status. This scholarship is awarded as a £2,500 stipend towards study costs, per year of study.

The scholarships above are specific to this programme. For more funding opportunities search the scholarships database

How to apply


Full-time students must apply through the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). 

International students to Arts, Engineering, Law, Nursing, Science, and Social Sciences can also apply using The Common Application: however, if applying to more than one UK university, we recommend using UCAS. Applications to Dentistry, Education, Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine must be made through UCAS.

Application deadlines

  • 15 October: if including Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine or also applying to Oxford or Cambridge
  • 15 January: all other UK/EU applicants (unless otherwise stated on the UCAS website)
  • 30 June: international (non-EU) students

We do not usually accept any applications after these deadlines.

It's your responsibility to ensure the accuracy of your application before submission. Requests to correct application content, change degree programme or change college of entry, will not be accepted after these deadlines. This policy is in place to ensure fairness and consistency to all applicants, and no exceptions will be made.

How to apply for Advanced Entry

Apply for year 2 (Y2) on your UCAS application. If the specific subject is unavailable for Advanced Entry or your application for year 2 entry is unsuccessful, you will be automatically considered for year 1 entry. You do not have to submit a separate UCAS application.

Apply via UCAS


Earth Sciences students satisfied

Discover Uni, January 2020