Undergraduate Degrees, Department of Earth Science and Engineering

Hear from students and teachers about our Geology, Geophysics and Earth and Planetary Science programmes, including field-based teaching and research opportunities. Please note that this video was filmed before the Covid-19 social distancing requirements. Due to Covid-19, some teaching including field-based teaching may be remote. 

Key facts

Total expected intake
78 (2022 entry)

Applications : Admissions ratio
4 : 1 (based on 2020 entry data)

The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021

2nd in the UK

Meet Laura Jackson, an undergraduate Geology student at Imperial. Hear what led her to choose Geology and what she’s enjoyed about her course so far

 

The principal challenge facing the world’s growing population is how to maintain sustainable access to the natural resources – water, energy and food – that are necessary for us to enjoy a good quality of life, while protecting the environment.

The science and engineering behind understanding and solving this challenge lie at the heart of earth science, an interdisciplinary subject which encompasses physics, chemistry, mathematics and other sciences. Modern geoscience is moving beyond the confines of Planet Earth to explore the geological and geophysical processes that shaped the Solar System, and since 2019 we have offered a degree in "Earth and Planetary Science".

Our dynamic and friendly Department brings together ground-breaking research and innovative teaching in geology, geophysics, mineral and energy resources, environmental science, planetary science and computational modelling. 

We are based within the Royal School of Mines building (virtual department tour) and have excellent teaching and learning resources and industry-standard geoscience software packages.

Our location gives us easy access to one of the finest fossil and mineral collections in the world, hosted at the Natural History Museum, just minutes away from the South Kensington Campus. Museum staff, who are world experts in geochemistry, mineralogy, mineral resources and palaeontology, also contribute to our teaching.  Read student profiles to learn more about what it is like to study within our dynamic Department.

Two students studying.

Courses

Three-year courses (180 ECTS):

Four-year courses (240 ECTS, except F663 which is 270 ECTS):

Covid-19

For more information about multi-mode delivery, your learning experience and the steps we’ll be taking to keep you safe on campus, please see our Covid-19 information for applicants and offer holders page or contact Lizzie Day, Admissions Tutor. 

Undergraduate course information

Choosing the right course for you

All students study a very similar syllabus in years one and two.

All our courses combine a strong traditional emphasis on observational and field skills with the numerical and analytical fundamental science required to understand Earth processes and systems quantitatively. We also emphasise the development of transferable professional skills such as group working, problem-solving, drawing inferences from incomplete data, IT, and oral and written communication.

For students with a particular interest in physics and maths we offer specialist courses in Geophysics – using maths, physics and computer modelling to understand how the world works. You can also diversify your studies with opportunities to study Business, language and humanities courses if you wish.

All of our courses advocate minimal environmental impact. Students who are keen on environmental science are advised to study the geology degree and to take the specialist environmental options in years 3 and 4.
You will also need to decide whether to study a 3 or 4 year course. We also offer programmes with year studying abroad.

You may transfer between all our courses up to the start of spring term in year 1 if you meet the original entry requirements for the degree you want to transfer to. Transfer onto our Year Abroad courses is not normally allowed as places at our partner institutions are limited. Transfer to the equivalent three-year BSc course is normally allowed until the end of the autumn term of the third year.

Visit us

Want to know more about the Department and studying here? Then come along to:

Fieldwork

Depending on their undergraduate course, our students can spend over 100 days in the field as part of their degree. This can range from a day in Leicestershire, to 10 days in the Pyrenees, and to 6 weeks mapping the geology of areas such as the: Greek cycladees, French Massif Central, Pyrenees, French Alps, NW Scotland, and others.

Find out more about our undergraduate field courses.

All our taught fieldtrips are free to students, but we are not able to cover the costs of the independent mapping project, which geology students undertake at the end of their second year. Costs for this vary with area, but are typically in the £700-1100 range. Students can often reduce or negate this cost by negotiating a shorter accommodation contract in London; in addition departmental hardship funds are available to provide assistance.

Due to Covid-19, some teaching including field-based teaching may be remote. For more information about multi-mode delivery, your learning experience and the steps we’ll be taking to keep you safe on campus, please see our Covid 19 information for applicants and offer holders page.

Career prospects

A degree in the geosciences opens up a wide range of career options and a world of exploration. Imperial graduates currently have a 94 % employment rate and have average starting salaries that rank among the highest in the country. One of the reasons for this is that scientists are highly skilled. Geoscientists in particular are:

  • Literate and numerate, with a broad scientific knowledge base
  • Critical and integrative thinkers
  • Creative problem solvers, often with incomplete information/data
  • Excellent at combining theoretical and practical work
  • Both team players and independent workers

You can read about the wide range of careers that our graduates have gone to here.

Our ranking and teaching excellence

For the current League Table rankings, please see the Teaching Excellence in Earth Science and Engineering page. 

See the Why Imperial? website for full details on the College and Department's position in league tables.

Within the Department you will find all our staff are committed to ensuring a world class education for all our students.  During our practical classes our Lecturers and Academics are supported by numerous PhD Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA’s) who offer our students fantastic additional support.  See more about our teaching excellence here.

Welfare and Support

Undergraduate students in our Department are supported by a robust wellbeing support network.  Each student is assigned a personal tutor who acts as your first point of contact for pastoral support and advice.  Your personal tutor’s role is to support you with personal, general academic, and professional development.  All of our undergraduate personal tutors are supported by the Department’s Undergraduate Senior Tutor who has overall responsibility for the academic and pastoral care of undergraduate students in the Department.

In addition to your personal tutor, all first year students will be assigned two mentors – 4th year students who can help you with learning in university style and with any other questions about the degree scheme or about College in general.

We also have a Departmental Disability Officer (DDO) who looks after undergraduate students in the Department, and acts as the first point of contact for questions and issues around disability, long term health, or learning differences.  Our DDO will be able to facilitate support, and advise you on the procedure to get additional exam arrangements put in place via the Disability Advisory Service.