Population growth, global industrialisation and other related issues are putting our planet under unprecedented strain. As an Environmental Geoscientist you'll be in a position to apply both acute problem-solving skills and the profound understanding of humanity’s relationship with the planet required to help overcome some of our most significant threats.
This four-year programme gives you a thorough understanding of environmental geoscience, and is an ideal preparation to progress into postgraduate study or a scientific or technical career.
The Department of Earth Sciences is consistently ranked among the country’s top 10 (The Complete University Guide and The Guardian 2016). As an Environmental Geoscience student you'll contribute to our leading research and work alongside our expert academics in a friendly, community-focussed department.
Participating in exciting fieldwork opportunities in the UK and overseas will develop your scientific understanding and hands-on experience of environmental, ecological and health issues. Choose from a range of optional modules in years two, three and four, tailoring your learning experience to fit your interests and career ambitions.
You’ll graduate with an integrated Masters (MSci) degree from one of the UK’s most highly-regarded departments, with the practical and research skills you need to pursue a rewarding career in your chosen field.
This programme has been developed to lead students to posgraduate study and and is also recommended for those who wish to undertake a broader and deeper study of the subject. It will prepare you for careers in petroleum geology, environmental engineering, geographic analysis and other exciting sectors.
- Benefit from a pioneering research culture, with 94% of Department of Earth Sciences research ranked world-leading or internationally excellent – no.2 in the UK. ( Research Excellence Framework, 2014).
- Enjoy extensive fieldwork opportunities in the UK and Europe.
- Gain a practical skillset geared towards a career in Earth Sciences and other related fields.
- Become a part of a friendly, community-focussed department with a high staff-to-student ratio.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the evolution of major features of current and past tectonic activity of the Earth. You will look at the current understanding of the Earth’s interior, considering its importance for both the kinematic and tectonic evolution of the planet. You will also explore how plate boundaries have formed, the dynamic processes involved, the types of data used to investigate these regions both onshore and offshore, and the importance of these processes to society.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the surface processes and the mechanisms of weathering, transport and deposition. You will look at the classification of sediments and sedimentary rocks, and consider depositional facies analysis and interpretation of the paleoenvironment. You will also examine the use and interpretation of sedimentary logs, triangular diagrams, vector scales and granylometric data in analysing sedimentary rocks.
Environmental Issues with Maths
In this module you will develop an understanding of the fundamentals of environmental geology, including the connection between ecology and geology, the rates of geological processes, and the structure of the Earth. You will look at natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanism, tsunamis, landslides and flooding. You will also consider the origin and usage of water and energy resources and examine the geological tools available to study climate change. You will learn how to manipulate algebraic equations and expressions, gaining familiarity with several types of charts, diagrams, and projections commonly used in geological sciences, such as log-log plots and stereonets.
Igneous and Metamorphic Geology 1
In this module you will develop an understanding of crystallography, rock-forming minerals, their occurrence and textures in igneous and metamorphic rocks. You will look at igneous and metamorphic geology, volcanic and plutonic rocks, mineral identification, crystallisation, silicates, metamorphic rocks and textures. You will also examine the origin of chemical variation in volcanic rocks, metamorphic rocks and textures, and ore minerals.
Physics and Chemistry of Earth
In this module you will develop an understanding of basic concepts in chemistry and physics and how to apply these to geological processes. You will look at atoms and atomic structure, the periodic table of elements, reactions, equations, geochemical analysis, the composition of the earth, interpretation of phase diagrams, solubility of minerals, weathering and the hydrological cycle. You will also consider Newton’s Laws, kinematics, circular motion, planetary orbits, gravity, magnetism, electricity, resistivity, stress, strain, seismicity, isostasy, radioactivity, and geochronology.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the principles of structural geology and the interpretation of geological maps. You will look at large scale geological structures and learn how to recognise them on geological maps. You will consider how to interpret maps, recognise outcrop patterns, geological structures and geological relationships on maps, and how to draw cross sections. You will also examine smaller scale structures in hand specimen and outcrop, and analyse structural data in order to understand larger scale structural relationships.
In this module you will develop an understanding of palaeobiology and palaeoecology. You will look at the the diagnostic characters of the major groups of fossils in the laboratory and field, and compare and contrast examples from the main categories of fossils, learning to differentiate between them. You will also examine the diversity of fossils and see how this can be applied in both stratigraphy and palaeoenvironmental analysis.
Scientific and Geological Field Skills
In this module you develop an understanding of the skills required to practice geology in the field, carrying out a series of activities in South Devon and Pembrokeshire. You will learn to describe and interpret the origin of sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks and how to prepare a geological map and cross-section using standard symbols. You will examine stereographic projections, sedimentary logging, the construction of stratigraphic columns for the identification of rocks, and the analysis of structural features using sterenets.
Stratigraphy and History of Life
In this module you will develop an understanding of the key events in the history of life and their environmental impact using the fossil and sedimentary record. You will analyse fossil assemblages using stratigraphic principles such as absolute dating, lithostratigraphy, biostratigraphy and sequence stratigraphy. You will consider how to interpret sedimentary rocks, and examine the importance of fossil assemblages in the interpretation of events in earth history.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the geological evolution of the British Isles, interpreting regional geological history from geological maps. You will learn to describe rock specimens, and examine how palaeoenvironments can be reconstructed using case studies. You will also consider the application of stratigraphic techniques and use evidence from several different fields of geology to evaluate competing hypotheses for geological evolution.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the hazards associated with geological activity, their causes, and approaches to risk management. You will look at volcanoes, earthquakes, and radon, and the hazards associated with the exploitation of geological resources and associated anthropogenic activity, including asbestos, the mining industry, and contaminated land. You will examine a variety of geological and geochemical data, and learn to interpret and analyse these in order to make scientifically justified decisions as to the level of risk.
In this module you will develop an understanding of advanced chemical concepts relevant to the Earth Sciences. You will focus on isotope geochemistry and consider techniques that are directly applicable in most geological contexts. You will attend practical classes and conduct a small project involving the analysis and interpretation of a real geochemical dataset.
Advanced Concepts and Techniques in Geology
GIS and Remote Sensing
Environmental Geoscience Report
Methods of Environmental Investigation
Individual Environmental Geoscience Project
In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.
Only core modules are taken
Sedimentary Basin Analysis
Igenous and Metamorphic Geology
Computational Earth Sciences
Structural Analysis and Remote Sensing
Advance Scientific and Geological Field Skills
Geological Field Skills for Environmental Students
Advanced Topics in Sedimentology
Advanced Techniques in Tectonic and Structural Interpretation
Water Quality - Diagnosis and Management
Air Pollution - Monitoring, Impacts and Management
Modern Climate Change
Oceans and Atmospheres
Contaminated Land Case Study
Environment Inorganic Analysis
Advanced Igneous Petrogenesis
Seismic Processing and Interpretation
Geodynamics and Plate Tectonics
Interpretation of Structural Settings
Environmental Field Investigations
The course has a modular structure, with students taking sixteen course units at the rate of four per year. Some course units are compulsory while others are elective, thereby providing flexibility and choice. Assessment is by a mixture of coursework and end-of-year examination in varying proportions, depending on the course units you choose to take.
The first year is foundational and marks do not count towards your final degree, whereas the second year, year abroad and final year marks do count – with more importance being given to the final year marks in order to reward progress and achievement.
Proportions of study time will vary depending on modules taken, but typically:
You will spend 36% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 64% in guided independent study.
You will spend 38% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 62% in guided independent study.
You will spend 37% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 63% in guided independent study.
You will spend 23% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 77% in guided independent study.
Proportions of assessment types will vary depending on modules taken, but typically:
Written exams account for 53% of the total assessment for this year of study, 8% will be assessed through practical exams, and 39% will be assessed through coursework.
Written exams account for 53% of the total assessment for this year of study, 4% will be assessed through practical exams, and 43% will be assessed through coursework.
Written exams account for 34% of the total assessment for this year of study, 4% will be assessed through practical exams, and 62% will be assessed through coursework.
Written exams account for 19% of the total assessment for this year of study, 15% will be assessed through practical exams, and 66% will be assessed through coursework.
ABB including a Science subject.
How we assess your application: predicted grades lower than our typical offers are considered. Read more about what we look for here.
Where an applicant is taking the EPQ alongside A-levels, the EPQ will be taken into consideration and result in lower A-level grades being required.
Socio-economic factors which may have impacted an applicant’s education will be taken into consideration and alternative offers may be made to these applicants.
Acceptable Science subjects include: Mathematics, Physics, Geology, Chemistry, Geography, Biology, Computer Science.
At least five GCSEs at grade A*-C or 9 - 4 including English and Mathematics.
Other UK Qualifications
6,5,5 at Higher Level, including a 5 at Higher Level in an acceptable Science subject, with a minimum of 32 points overall.
|BTEC Extended Diploma
Distinction, Distinction, Distinction in a Science subject. Substantial Maths content is required.
|BTEC National Extended Diploma
Distinction, Distinction in a relevant subject plus one A-level grade B in an acceptable Science subject.
|BTEC National Extended Certificate
Distinction plus two A-levels grades BB including one A-level in an acceptable Science subject.
Requirements are as for A-levels where one non-subject-specified A-level can be replaced by the same grade in the Welsh Baccalaureate - Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate.
|Scottish Advanced Highers
ABB including an acceptable Science subject.
AABBB including an acceptable Science subject.
|Irish Leaving Certificate
H2,H2,H3,H3,H3 including H3 in one acceptable Science subject.
|Access to Higher Education Diploma
Pass in a relevant subject with at least 15 level 3 credits in Science units at Distinction and the remaining level 3 credits at Merit.
Please note that the Access to Higher Education Diploma will only be acceptable if the applicant has had a considerable break from education.
Other UK qualifications
Please select your UK qualification from the drop-down list below
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International and EU entry requirements
Please select your country from the drop-down list below
IELTS 6.5 overall and minimum of 5.5 in each subscore. For equivalencies please see here
For more information about entry requirements for your country please visit our International pages. For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, we offer an International Foundation Year, run by Study Group at the Royal Holloway International Study Centre. Upon successful completion, students can progress on to selected undergraduate degree programmes at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Environmental Geoscience (MSci) at Royal Holloway, University of London is geared towards leading students to further postgraduate study and to scientific or technical careers in the Earth Sciences. You’ll graduate with a Masters degree , as well as a practical skillset that will prove attractive to employers in a variety of sectors. The Department retains excellent industry connections, with representatives regularly visiting the campus to provide careers opportunities for current students.
Our alumni have gone on to achieve rewarding careers in Earth Sciences and other related disciplines.
- 90% of graduates in work or further education within six months of graduating.
- All of our Earth Sciences programmes are accredited by the Geological Society, providing graduates with qualifications recognised and respected by employers in a variety of fields..
- Jobs fairs, skills workshops and visits from industry representatives provide students with excellent career opportunities.
Home and EU students tuition fee per year*: £9,250
International students tuition fee per year**: £18,900
Other essential costs***: £120
How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.
*Tuition fees for UK and EU nationals starting a degree in the academic year 2017/18 will be £9,250 for that year, and is shown for reference purposes only. The tuition fee for UK and EU undergraduates starting their degrees in 2018 is controlled by Government regulations, and details are not yet known. The UK Government has also announced that EU students starting an undergraduate degree in 2018/19 will pay the same level of fee as a UK student for the duration of their degree.
**Fees for international students may increase year-on-year in line with the rate of inflation. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see fees and funding and our terms & conditions.
***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.