Geology holds the key to some of our most profound questions, from the origins of our planet to the root of countless physical processes and even the optimum conditions for life itself.
Study Geology with a Year in Industry at Royal Holloway, University of London and develop your understanding of the physical Earth and the dynamic processes that alter and change our environment.
This flexible programme includes a year in industry, during which you’ll gain experience in an industrial workplace and build valuable connections to take with you into your future career.
You’ll study in a dynamic department which is consistently rated among the UK’s top 10 (The Complete University Guide and The Guardian 2016). Our renowned research culture means that our teaching is informed by leading research, providing you with cutting-edge knowledge and active industry links.
The Department of Earth Sciences has a supportive, friendly and community-focussed approach and this is reflected in the consistently high satisfaction scores from our students. Participating in exciting fieldwork opportunities in the UK and overseas will develop your scientific understanding and practical hands-on experience.
Study this rewarding programme and you’ll be well equipped with a diverse transferrable skillset to make you a highly employable prospect in a range of industries. Our alumni have secured jobs in petroleum geology, geotechnical engineering and other related sectors, so let your passion for Geology lead you towards a fulfilling career.
- Spend a year in industry and gain vital career experience while establishing valuable industry connections.
- 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).
- Graduate with a Geology degree from a department consistently ranked among the UK’s top 10 (The Complete University Guide and The Guardian 2016).
- Enjoy extensive fieldwork opportunities in the UK and Europe.
- Gain a practical skillset geared towards a career in Earth Sciences and other related fields.
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.
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 the 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 the 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.
Igneous and Metamorphic Geology 2
In this module you will further develop your understanding of igneous and metamorphic geology. You will look at the characteristics and origins of alkaline igneous rocks, the nature and controls on metamorphic reactions, and the links between metamorphism and tectonic processes. You will consider hand specimen and thin section techniques for study of minerals and igneous and metamorphic rocks, and examine analytical approaches to the interpretation of metamorphic rocks, including the quantification of metamorphic rates and processes.
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 Scientific and Geological Field Skills
In this module you will develop advanced geological field skills. You will carry out a series of activities in an area of igneous and metamorphic rocks, and in an area of sedimentary rocks. You will learn to describe and interpret the origin of the rock types in the field and will prepare a geological map and cross-section using standard symbols. You will analyse structural features using stereonets, and infer the geological history of a region through the construction of scaled cross-sections through structurally complex terrains.
This year will be spent on a work placement. Students are supported by their academic department and the Royal Holloway Careers and Employability Service to find a suitable placement. However, Royal Holloway cannot guarantee that all students who are accepted onto this degree programme will secure a placement, and the ultimate responsibility lies with the student. This year forms an integral part of the degree programme and students will be asked to complete assessed work. The mark for this work will count towards the degree.
Advanced Concepts and Techniques in Geology
Independent Field Mapping
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.
Introduction to Petroleum Geology
Sedimentary Basin Analysis
Computational Earth Sciences
Structural Analysis and Remote Sensing
Advanced Topics in Sedimentology
Planetary Geology and Geophysics
Advanced Techniques in Tectonic and Structural Interpretation
Teaching and learning is mostly by means of practical classes, which comprise 60% of the timetabled study time. Lectures are used to introduce material and provide a context for private study, while tutorials supplement and reinforce knowledge and understanding. Field and laboratory project work carried out as individuals or in teams are valuable opportunities for students to develop in-depth knowledge of specialist areas and help bring the syllabus to life.
Assessment is by a mixture of coursework and end-of-year examination in varying proportions, depending on the chosen course units. Coursework can include literature research reports, fieldwork and laboratory exercises and reports, oral presentations and independent dissertations. In the final year you will produce an independent geological map and write a research report with individual guidance from your tutor.
The first year is foundational and marks do not count towards your final degree. The second year, optional year abroad and final year marks do count, with the final year marks being more heavily weighted in order to reward progress and achievement.
Proportions of study time will vary depending on modules taken, but typically:
You will spend 32% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 68% in guided independent study.
You will spend 49% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 51% in guided independent study.
You will spend 100% of your time on placement.
You will spend 40% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 60% 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 44% of the total assessment for this year of study, 4% will be assessed through practical exams, and 52% will be assessed through coursework.
Practical exams account for 20% of the total assessment for this year of study, and 80% will be assessed through coursework.
Written exams account for 42% of the total assessment for this year of study, 8% will be assessed through practical exams, and 50% 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: 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
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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.
Studying Geology with a Year in Industry at Royal Holloway will equip you with a diverse skillset to take into your career or further postgraduate study, as well as providing you with invaluable workplace experience and professional connections.
The Department retains excellent industry connections, with representatives regularly visiting the campus to provide careers opportunities for current students. 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.
Our alumni have secured careers in sectors including environmental consultancy, geoscience and petroleum geology, among others.
- Gain invaluable workplace experience and make professional connections during your year in industry.
- Jobs fairs, skills workshops and visits from industry representatives provide students with excellent career opportunities.
- 90% of graduates in work or further education within six months of graduating.
Home and EU students tuition fee per year*: £9,250
International students tuition fee per year**: £18,900
The fee for the Year in Industry will be 20% of the tuition fee for that academic year.
Other essential costs***: £120
Costs incurred by students while on a Year in Industry / Business will vary depending on the nature and location of the placement. For further information please contact the Department of Earth Sciences.
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. The policy at Royal Holloway is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see fees and funding and our terms and 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.