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Our courses - Earth Sciences

The Department is committed to providing an educational environment in which learning and research are inseparable. It aims to foster academic excellence at all levels of study and was awarded the top grade of ‘Excellent’ in a national Teaching Quality Assessment. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) reported that in its assessment 94% of research has been classified as 4* world leading and 3* internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour. By this criterion, the Department is 2nd place among UK universities.

We are committed to the principle of education for all, and seek to make all of our degree programmes equally accessible to those who may have special education needs. We also provide a high level of student support, which includes a comprehensive Health Centre, a highly regarded Counselling Service, dedicated educational and disability support within the Educational Support Office, together with a wealth of financial, career and other advice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the entry requirements for your degree programmes?
A: The entry requirement for all our courses is ABB at A’Level or equivalent. We also warmly welcome applicants from other backgrounds (GNVQ Science, BTEC, IB, EB etc).

Q: Your department requires at least one science at A2 level. Can you be more specific about which subjects you count?
A: We would normally expect at least one of Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geography or Geology at A2 level.

Q: What about A2 subjects such as Psychology, Electronics, Environmental Science? Do these count as science subjects?
A: While these subjects cover some of the science skills needed to undertake our degrees they will not provide you with the same breadth of experience as the core sciences listed above, and we do not automatically regard these as the "one science" needed for an application. We will nevertheless consider all strong applications on a case by case basis.

Q: I am very interested in several of your degrees. Is there any advantage to me in applying to your department for admission to more than one course?
A: If it is a choice between a 3 year BSc or a 4 year MSci course we can make you a dual offer and you can decide which to take and make the necessary financial arrangements before you come. If it is choice of different degree programmes (e.g. BSc Geology or BSc Environmental Geology) there is little point in applying for both since our courses have a common first year and we allow suitably qualified students to switch between them before starting year 2. Finally if we make you an offer for an MSci degree and you only get the A2 grades appropriate for BSc entry, we will still offer you a BSc place.

Q: I plan on taking an additional AS level course. Which subject would you recommend?
A: The more science subjects you take, the better prepared you will be for our degrees, so it is always best to choose one of the 5 subjects listed above.

Q: : Does an A2 in General Studies count towards my UCAS tariff?
A: : No.

Q: Do passes at AS level count towards my my UCAS tariff?
A: No - we require a minimum of three passes at A2 level

Q: My school wants me to do resits in January and this summer to further improve my marks. Will your department regard my application less favourably if I have taken a resit?
A: We have no policy on this and will accept the best grades that meet our offers, whether it is a resit or a first attempt.

Q: What is “Geoscience”?
A: Geoscience is the scientific study of the Earth and covers topics traditionally included in Geology as well as looking at additional topics such as the atmosphere, oceans and “cryosphere” (i.e. ice).

Q: What are my chances of getting a job?
A: Geology is a vocational subject with good prospects of employment even in the present economic climate. ¾ of our graduates either find employment in Geology or go onto further study.

Why Study Earth Science at Royal Holloway?

The Department of Earth Sciences at Royal Holloway is internationally recognized for its teaching and research, offering an ideal environment for learning. Our friendly and approachable staff are leading authorities in their fields and, together with state-of-the-art facilities, provide students with the best possible opportunity to succeed.

  • Top 5 Earth Science Department
  • High Quality Teaching from Internationally Recognized Experts
  • Strong Industrial Contacts & Alumni Links
  • Lyell Work-Experience and Lyell Research Scholarships
  • Bedford Scholarships
  • Better than 90% in Employment/Further Study Following Graduation
  • Campus Accommodation
  • On-Campus Sports Facilities, Sports Scholarships and a 2012 Olympic Village

More general FAQs for visitors to the college are also available as a PDF file.

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