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Geology at Imperial College London

Imperial College London offers an undergraduate course in Geology. It is a three or four-year degree programmes. The programme enables students to achieve the thorough understanding of geosciences while modifying the degree programme to suit their interest.

Course Structure

First Year

  • Cover subjects not previously experienced
  • Broad introduction to geology
  • Catch up on aspects of sciences not studied at school

In the first year, students are introduced to the wide range of geology as a basic science. The contemporary geoscience has strong links to chemistry, physics and biology. Classes are modified to focus on these links and assist students who may not have covered important ground at A-level comprising mathematics. Students have a two-week field trip to Spain at the end of the year.

Students shall be taught to see the Earth as a dynamics system with courses including:

  • Field geology
  • Dynamic Earth
  • Internal processes, optical mineralogy and petrology
  • Geochemistry
  • Processes in geosciences
  • Life and earth history
  • Structural geology including maps
  • Mathematical methods
  • Sedimentary and surface processes
Second Year
  • Enhance written and research skills
  • Deepen knowledge of core subjects
  • Undertake fieldwork to become an independent learner

Students shall continue to study and deepen your knowledge of major branches of geoscience including:

  • Earth resources
  • Climate and planetary studies
  • Geochemistry
  • Field geology
  • Igneous and metamorphic petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Remote sensing and GIS
  • Palaeontology
  • Structural geology
  • Sedimentary geology

Additional teaching is designed to offer complementary knowledge such as areas of computing, physical science and statistical skills as applied to geosciences. The course introduces industrial aspects of geology, economic and encourages students to undertake language studies. Major teaching field trips presently go to Wales and southern Europe. Some of the students organize a work placement for part of their summer vacation between their second and third year.

Third Year - BSc

  • Improve time management skills
  • Write dissertation and prepare GIS-based map
  • Prepare for future career with work placement
    • Geochemistry and planetary science
    • Basin analysis
    • Surface processes and dynamic stratigraphy
    • Geophysics and seismic studies
    • Tectonics and structural geology

In this year, students need to undertake an independent fieldwork project. This can be in Scotland or elsewhere. The chosen field areas are diverse and in recent years have included the Italian and French Alps, the Greek Islands, Spain, Cyprus and Oman and may other areas in UK.

Students have to write a dissertation based on their independent field project to be submitted at the end of the summer term of their third year. Students shall take the Earth Science Synthesis course. With the help of this, students will contribute to a collective in-depth study of a chosen region of the world.

There is a broad variety of applied and pure geology course options. Students can also choose to take an option in a management, foreign language, humanities or economics. It is possible to study specialist subjects with staff at the Natural History Museum.

Third Year - MSci

  • Reinforce skills in applied areas
  • Improve report writing and research skills
  • Prepare for potential career with possible work placement during extended field work project or summer vacation

In order to proceed the MSci third and fourth years, students ought to typically be achieving first or upper second class marks throughout their second year. With the help of BSc degree, students take MSci degrees and write a dissertation based on their independent field project, which is undertaken during the summer term of the third year. For MSci students, this field report must be submitted at the end of the summer vacation before the beginning of the fourth year of study.

The remaining courses include a fine combination of advanced core courses as for the BSc degree. Qualifying students on courses F601 and F664 shall have the opportunity to spend their third year abroad.

Fourth Year

  • Class-based and combine field learning in unique basin analysis field course
  • Develop research skills by undertaking publishable research
  • Specialize in chosen area while maintaining breadth of options

The fourth year involves a combination of computing/laboratory analysis, fieldwork and literature review of a relevant topic. Students are given extensive flexibility in choosing their independent project and one or more members of the academic staff who will examine their work. Forth year students share some of the courses with the taught Master's courses in ESE. The environmental geoscience students share various courses with other departments at Imperial. Many students undertake a field course in the southern Europe as their final option putting together four years of study.

  • Advanced Sedimentology, Paleobiology, Structural Geology, Remote Sensing Basin Analysis
  • Geodynamics and Geohazards
  • Hydrothermal and Ore Systems
  • Environmental and Engineering Geology
  • Hydrogeology and Fluid Flow
  • Palaeoceanography and Oceanography
  • Marine Geology and Geophysics, Solid Waste Management, Rock Mechanics, Planetary Science


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