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Environmental Geoscience (MSci)

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Course details

This course covers all aspects of geology, but concentrates on those geological and environmental factors that have a direct impact on human existence. As our industrial society and growing global population put more pressure on the Earth to supply our needs, the margin for error decreases and the probability of major problems increases. This is where the environmental geoscientist can make a contribution.

Environmental Geoscience is a highly practical subject with a strong interest in problem solving. If you're interested in the complex interplay of human activity and the environment and its challenges, this course will equip you with the knowledge and skills to make a real difference to the way we interact with our planet.

As this is a four-year course, you will be able to study the subject at much greater depth than could be possible in a three-year degree and the final year in particular involves a high research and practical component. MSci degrees are recommended for those who might wish to retain a long-term commitment to the discipline, for example those who wish to proceed to postgraduate study or to a scientific or technical career, and also for those who simply wish to undertake a broader and deeper study of the subject.

Key facts

Key facts about the course
UCAS code F631
Qualification Integrated Masters of Science
Duration Four years full time
Typical A-level offer ABB, including an A2 grade B in one science subject, or equivalent
Department Earth Sciences

Fees / funding

Please visit the Fees and funding pages for the latest information about tuition fees and the different sources of funding which may be available to you.

How to apply

Applications for entry to all our full-time undergraduate degrees must be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Further information on making your application through UCAS is available on the Applying section of our website.

If you are interested in applying to Royal Holloway, why not arrange a visit to our campus to see for yourself what academic and student life is like here. The College runs three annual Open days which give you the chance to meet our students and teaching staff, and get a taste of what university life is really like.

Prospective students who receive an offer of a place are invited to attend a UCAS day, where they are shown around the department, given the opportunity to speak with academic members of staff and meet current students.

Entry requirements

Typical offers

Typical offers
A-levels ABB, including an A2 grade B in one science subject, or equivalent
GCSE At least five GCSE passes at grade A*-C including English and Mathematics.
English language
IELTS and TOEFL scores for non-native English speaking applicants 
Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate 6,5,5 at Higher Level  including a Science subject (Physics, Maths, Chemistry, Biology, Geology or Geography), with a minimum of 32 points overall
BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction, Distinction in a science subject. Substantial Maths content required
BTEC National Diploma Distinction, Distinction in a related subject, plus A2 grade B in a science subject
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma Distinction plus A2 grades B, B, one of which must be a science subject
Welsh Baccalaureate 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 Level Core.
Scottish Advanced Highers AB including a Science subject: Physics, Maths, Chemistry, Biology, Geology or Geography (only acceptable when combined with the required Scottish Higher grades as published)
Scottish Highers AABBB (only acceptable when combined with the required Scottish Advanced Higher grades as published)
Irish Leaving Certificate AABBB at Higher Level including B in one Science subject at Higher Level
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass in a relevant subject with at least 30 level 3 credits at Distinction and 15 level 3 credits at Merit including Distinction in all Science units. Please note that the Access to the Higher Education Diploma will only be acceptable if the applicant is 21 or over at the time of application and has had a considerable break from education. 

Other UK Qualifications

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International and EU Entry Requirements

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Applicants living in the UK who are given a conditional offer will be asked to meet with an academic member of staff at an Applicant Visit Day (AVD).  Skype or telephone discussions will be available to overseas applicants or those unable to attend an AVD

Applicants come from a diverse range of backgrounds and we accept a broad range of qualifications. Special consideration will be given to mature applicants, and we are happy to consider applicants with other qualifications, including QAA-approved Access to HE courses.

Students from overseas should visit the International pages for further information on the entry requirements from their country and English language requirements.  Royal Holloway International offers an International Foundation Programme and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their undergraduate degree.

We make decisions based on achieved or predicted grades, personal statements and references. More information on how your application will be assessed, and tips for your personal statement can be found on our Applying pages.


Why choose this course?

  • Our teaching is closely linked to research strengths in the department.
  • The course emphasises the chance to develop practical skills and participate in fieldwork around the world.
  • You will be able to choose from the large range of subjects on offer.
  • The Department boasts excellent facilities and strong links with industry
  • Final year course units are linked to MSc classes.

What you'll learn

You will take courses in the core geological subjects but concentrate on those that have a direct bearing on environmental issues.In your final year you'll undertake an independent environmental geoscience project as well as pursuing environmental field investigations.

Throughout the course, you will:

  • study the interaction of physical, chemical and biological processes relating to the Earth as a dynamic system through time (crust-mantle processes, surface processes, biosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere)
  • examine geological materials (minerals, rocks, fluids) and use of geological maps to represent three-dimensional spatial variations and their interpretation in a temporal framework
  • consider the application of the Earth Sciences and its social and political role to resource exploitation (hydrocarbons, minerals, water), civil and environmental engineering (construction, waste disposal) and environmental hazards (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, landslides).

All undergraduate degree courses at Royal Holloway are based on the course unit system. This system provides an effective and flexible approach to study, while ensuring that our degrees have a coherent and developmental structure.

The Department’s website gives detailed lists of the course units taken for each different degree.

View the full course specification for Environmental Geoscience (MSci) in the Programme Specification Repository

How you'll learn & be assessed

The course has a modular structure, whereby students take sixteen course units at the rate of four per year. Some course units are compulsory while others are elective thereby offering 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. 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.

Employability & career opportunities

The Department offers rigorous degree courses which will prepare you for a broad range of careers. Our graduates are highly employable and, in recent years, have entered many different roles relating to Environmental Geoscience including Conservation, Heritage and Environmental Protection, Scientific Research, and roles in the hydrocarbon and environmental professions, as well as going on to further research degrees.


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