Our alumni have taken their Earth Sciences learning far and wide – from environmental services to wealth management - and still use it in their daily work.
A degree in Earth Sciences opens doors to a range of careers and organisations. Read about the jobs our graduates do and the companies for whom they work.
Field Researcher, IHS
Name Samia Ahmed
Subject BSc Biology and Geology
MSc Petroleum Geoscience
Graduated 2008, 2009
Place of Work IHS, UK
Position Middle East Field Researcher
and the environment for governments and multi-nationals.
Samia’s role is to create new discovery field records and to research and reconcile all aspects of hydrocarbon field data, ensuring data accuracy and consistency.
What first attracted you to Royal Holloway?
Royal Holloway came highly recommended from my brothers who studied there and had found their time at the University a great experience, both academically and socially. Coupled with
the reputation of the geology course at Royal Holloway, I decided to move from Denmark to study there.
Did you do gain any work experience while at Royal Holloway?
The Director of my Masters, Professor Chris Elders, had business contacts and sent out emails for job opportunities. On the back of these, I applied to Sasol Petroleum, where I worked on a CO2 research project in my third year. At the same time, I was doing my third year project with the Natural History Museum in London.
I also did an internship at Deloitte as an Analyst before starting my Masters. I worked on two GIS projects using Petroview software and Petrobase, which are both Deloitte’s products.
What support did Royal Holloway offer in addition to your academic studies?
My Professor was very pro-active, supportive and kept us up-to-date with alumni careers. He was my inspiration and he has definitely contributed to my success today. We also had departmental careers fairs, where oil and service companies came to tell us about their graduate programs. These were mostly delivered by alumni who had studied geology. We would have company presentations, discussions, drinks and the opportunity to network with them.
Name: Helayna Wade
Place of work: BAM
Position: Geotechnical Engineer
I completed Royal Holloway’s BSc in Geology in 2014.
What’s happened in your career?
Following graduation, I entered the construction industry, joining BAM Ritchies as an Assistant Geotechnical Engineer. During my time with BAM, I gained extensive engineering, commercial and design experience managing construction sites across the UK. The projects I have carried out have consisted of ground breaking and innovative techniques in slope stabilisation, ground remediation, piling and anchoring. In December 2015 I was promoted to Geotechnical Engineer at BAM. My responsibilities grew and so did the technical challenges.
What did Royal Holloway teach you?
Studying at Royal Holloway was not only a privilege, but also a springboard to start my career as a Geotechnical Engineer. The course as a whole has been fundamental to my career development and aspirations.
Managing Director, Thomas Miller Wealth Management
Name: Matthew Phillips
Place of work: Thomas Miller Wealth Management
Position: Managing Director
I completed Royal Holloway’s BSc in Geology in 1993. Back then, the UK economy was just coming out of recession, and having a good degree from a college of the University of London certainly helped getting my first job. By more luck than judgement I fell into financial services, working on a graduate management scheme for what was then the Woolwich Building Society.
Later I joined Deloitte, working in investment management, fund selection and portfolio construction. I am now managing director of Thomas Miller Wealth Management, a company that provides advice to private clients, charities and corporate clients.
Studying geology at Royal Holloway taught me how to apply the scientific method while always keeping the big picture in mind. This approach really helps in investment world where you need to have the flexibility to constantly challenge your own conclusions as new information comes to light.
Head of Innovation (Education Division), Oxford University Press
Name: Les Hopper
Place of work: Oxford University Press
Position: Head of Innovation (Education)
I completed Royal Holloway’s MSci in Geosciences in 2004. Following graduation, I was employed as Geology Warden at the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre on the Jurassic Coast, a job that involved renovating the museum, leading fossil hunting trips, and working with local collectors.
Since 2006, I’ve mostly worked in science publishing, first joining Heinemann as a Science Editor in their schools team, then serving as Commissioning Editor for Pearson Education, before finally running my own team as Science Publisher at Oxford University Press (OUP). During this latter career phase, I helped turn OUP Science into the UK No. #1 before also taking over the Maths team as Head of STEM Publishing. In my current role as Head of Innovation (Education Division) at OUP, I work across the UK, Africa and Australia developing new education solutions for schools and individuals, and I’ve just completed a Postgraduate Diploma at Oxford’s Saïd Business School.
Studying geology at Royal Holloway fueled my lifelong passion for the discipline, and the skills I learnt during my degree have proved invaluable for my career development.
Name: Alexandra Forster
Place of work: Gold Fields Ltd
Position: Exploration Geologist
I completed Royal Holloway’s BSc in Geology in 2012. Following graduation, I have been employed by a number of different greenfield gold exploration companies in Guyana, Mali, Congo, Guinea and Australia. I am currently based in Perth, Australia, working for Gold Fields Ltd as an Exploration Geologist. Highlights of my career so far have included using tanks in the rainforest as transportation, finding gold nuggets in Kalgoorlie and living in tents in Mali. If you love adventure become a mineral exploration geologist!
Studying geology at Royal Holloway, with its particular emphasis on fieldwork, provided the ideal pathway into my professional life
Name: Alexander Ball
Subject: BSc Geology
Place of work: University of Sheffield and the Natural History Museum (London)
Position: Ph.D. Student: Late Silurian – Early Devonian Adaptive Radiation of Vascular Plants.
I was first introduced to Royal Holloway by my A -Level Geology teacher, and amongst many other things, the excellent research and wide-ranging course matter at RHUL was very attractive to me. The opportunity to explore aspects of Geology beyond the set course are always there, and I started on my path to Palynology during my second year whilst writing a report, after which, encouraged by my lecturers, I continued to explore this exciting and somewhat unusual area of Palaeontology.
My third-year mapping project was carried out on (mostly) Early Devonian Rocks in Scotland, and my Paleobiology Professor very kindly allowed me to process and examine the plant microfossils that were extracted from a sample that I had collected. I was able to add this to my final year project, something that certainly helped when I applied for my Ph.D..
My Ph.D. focuses on an area of Southern Wales called the Anglo-Welsh Basin at a point in time (around 416 million years ago) where there was very limited and simple plant life, as well as negligible animal life, on land. My supervisors and I aim to quantitatively analyse changes in diversity and disparity, as well as the evolutionary turnover rates, of the earliest vascular plants during the Late Silurian and Early Devonian, as they succeeded much simpler land plants. I will do this through the analysis of dispersed spores and plant fossils, both collected during fieldwork in Wales and via existing collections in the Natural History Museum. I will also use in situ spores to explore the relationships between fossil plants and the dispersed spores, and all of this will help to illuminate the speed at which vascular plants gained terrestrial dominance, paving the way for the land we know today and giving insights into a very different world.
I was exceptionally fortunate to be offered a Ph.D. straight out of my BSc, as a master’s is usually required - it would not have been possible without the support and encouragement from my excellent lecturers.
Masters by research
Name: Max Coleman
Subject: BSc Environmental Geology
Place of work: Royal Holloway
Position: Msc Earth Sciences by Research student
I graduated from Royal Holloway’s Bsc Environmental Geology programme this year (2018). I am now preparing to undertake an Msc Earth Sciences by Research programme at Royal Holloway for the 2018-19 academic year. My masters project will involve investigating the scale and sources of methane emissions from North Sea gas rigs, onshore gas terminals and shale gas sites, using isotope and trace gas concentration measurements of air.
During my undergraduate study, lecturers often referred to their own research during lectures, and coursework would often require reading of primary research articles, investigating a range of topics. During fieldwork we were also encouraged to make our own observations and formulate our own hypotheses explaining what we found. These factors gave me a taste for scientific research which I found I enjoyed. Having enjoyed opportunities to experience geochemical lab work as part of my 3rd year environmental geology project on methane emissions from around a developing shale gas site, I decided to continue with my project supervisors pursuing an Msc by research. I have obtained many skills from my undergraduate study, including data analysis and reduction with excel and python, and scientific writing, which I feel have prepared me for my upcoming masters study.