Learn how to apply mathematical and physical laws to the study of the Earth in this professionally accredited degree.
Three A-level offer: AAA
Applications : admissions ratio
3 : 1
Based on 2017 entry data
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. It can be applied to the study of Earth to give us an understanding of how our planet works, from its internal core, crust and oceans, to the atmosphere and our solar system.
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. You can expect a balance between theory and practice, including a variety of field trips in the UK and abroad.
Our Geophysics courses are aimed at students with a particular interest in physics and maths. Geophysicists use maths, physics and computer modelling to understand how the world works.
The modular nature of the course enables you to gain a solid understanding of geosciences while tailoring your study programme to suit your interests. As the course progresses, you will be able to choose modules from specialist areas such as: surface processes, marine geophysics, volcanism, tectonics and geophysical techniques.
You will complete a range of computing modules to prepare you for using specialist electronic mapping packages. You can also diversify your studies with opportunities to study business, language and humanities modules, if you wish, through the Imperial Horizons programme.
In your final year, you complete an independent field study and research project.
We place emphasis on field work across all our courses. It is a great way to apply your knowledge to the real world and learn essential observational and practical skills.
Our field trips are designed to help you gain experience of identifying rocks and interpreting the physical (including tectonic) processes that may have been involved in their formation.
Depending on which degree scheme you choose, you could spend over 100 days in the field. This can range from geological day trips in the UK to 10 days in the Pyrenees or Cyprus.
Students on Geology courses spend six weeks mapping the geology of areas such as the: Greek Cyclades, French Massif Central, Pyrenees, French Alps, North West Scotland, and others.
Students on Geophysics courses have the chance to gain experience in using technical equipment in the field.
Transfer between courses
All of our courses follow a very similar syllabus for the first two years. This high level of shared content means you may transfer between all our Geology and Geophysics courses up to the start of spring term in the first year if you meet the original entry requirements for the course you want to transfer to. As a result, you are encouraged to only apply for one course within the department.
- Transfer onto our Year Abroad courses is not normally possible as places at our partner institutions are limited.
- Transfer to the equivalent four-year MSci course is normally allowed up until the start of year three, as long as you are achieving at least a 2:1 degree standard at the end of your second year.
If you are an international student, transferring to a different course could have an impact on your Tier 4 visa. Please visit our International Student Support webpage for further information.
Find out more about the limited circumstances in which we may need to make changes to or in relation to our courses, the type of changes we may make and how we will tell you about them.
In the first year, you will take advanced maths and physics classes with an emphasis on calculus, statistics and mensuration, as well as the subjects studied by Geoscience students, with an introduction to programming in both Python and Matlab.
- Deforming the Earth
- Dynamic Earth and Planets
- Geology in the Field
- Maths Methods 1
- Maths Methods 2
- Physical and Surface Processes
- Programming for Geoscientists
- Stratigraphy and Geomaterials
- Volcanism and Internal Processes
You choose one optional module from below.
- Chemistry for Geoscientists
- Low Temperature Geochemistry
- Field Geophysics
- High-temperature Geochemistry
- Maps and Structures
- Maths for Scientists and Engineers
- Mechanics and Waves
- Pure and Applied Geophysics
- Remote Sensing Earth and Planets
- Seismology and Numerical Methods
- Solar System Science
- Independent Geology Project
You choose eight optional modules; the below list is indicative of available subjects, and the modules are likely to include some of the following:
- Advanced Programming
- Advanced Remote Sensing
- Coastal Engineering
- Collisions and Craters
- Continental Tectonics
- Earth Systems
- Environmental and Engineering Geology
- Environmental Impact Assessment
- Environmental Seminars
- External co-curricular module
- Flow and Reactive Transport
- Geophysical Inversion
- Hydrogeology and Fluid Flow
- Hydrogeology and Fluid Flow 2
- Magmatic Processes and Products
- Minerals Processing
- Mining Waste and Water Management
- Ore Deposits
- Palaeo and Environmental Magnetism
- Physical Oceanography
- Planetary Chemistry
- Planetary Physics
- Planetary Surfaces
- Science Communication
- Seismic Techniques
- Tectonics of the Oceans
Download the programme specification [PDF] – this is the most up-to-date version available for this course. It may change for your year of entry. If/when changes to this course are approved by the College, we will update this document and the information on this course page.
This section lists the changes that have been made to information about this course on this page since the UCAS application process opened in September 2018.
All core modules are displayed on this page; the optional modules represent an indicative list of those that are likely to be available rather than all optional modules that will be offered every year. As a result, the changes recorded here only apply to the modules displayed on this page rather than all available on this course.
Find out more about the limited circumstances in which we may need to make changes to or in relation to our courses, the type of changes we may make and how we will tell you about changes we have made.
- There are currently no changes to record for this course. Keep checking back for future updates.
This degree is professionally accredited by the Geological Society of London on behalf of the Engineering Council.
Achieving a professionally accredited degree demonstrates to employers that you have achieved an industry-recognised standard of competency. It also brings international recognition of your qualification, which is particularly useful for students preparing for a career abroad.
As professionally accredited qualifications, our BSc courses in Earth Science reduce the number of years of post-graduation experience you need in order to register as a Chartered Geologist (CGeol). This is a highly respected qualification earned by professionals working in the geosciences industries, which can lead to higher earning potential and better career prospects.
The current accreditation agreement was awarded for students starting their studies in the 2017–18 academic year, and is renewed every six years.
As well as your main Imperial degree, you will also receive the award of the Associateship of the Royal School of Mines on completion of this course.
The Royal School of Mines is one of three historic Colleges that came together to form Imperial College London in 1907.
Find out more about our Associateships.
Teaching and assessment
Our Geology courses are both theoretical and practical, and teaching will be enhanced by fieldwork throughout your degree.
You can expect the following teaching methods:
- Field work
- Group exercises
- Laboratory work
Teaching, independent study and placement hours
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3|
|Lectures, seminars and similar||504 hours||544 hours||640 hours|
|Independent study||996 hours||956 hours||1,329 hours|
|Based on the typical pathway through the course|
There are a number of different assessment methods for this course including:
- Written examination
- Poster presentation
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3|
|Based on the typical pathway through the course; percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole number|
For each module you will have a designated coordinator, who will be normally be a teaching fellow or member of academic staff.
You receive tutorial time with post-doctoral research assistants/fellows, who will themselves be researching specialised areas of geology and geophysics, with a depth of subject knowledge and experience of study to share.
As you progress through your degree, the areas covered become specialised and more advanced, and you will increasingly be taught by experts in the fields concerned.
Compare this course
See how this course compares with similar courses at different institutions.
Discover Uni compares things like student satisfaction and what graduates do after they finish the course.
We welcome students from all over the world and consider all applicants on an individual basis – see selection process below.
For advice on the requirements for the qualifications listed here please contact the Department (see Contact us).
We also accept a wide range of international qualifications. If the requirements for your qualifications are not listed here, please see our academic requirements by country page for guidance on which qualifications we accept.
Minimum entry standards
Our minimum entry standard for 2019 entry is AAA overall, to include:
- A in Mathematics
- A in Physics
General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted.
Typical offer range
As a guide, here are the typical offers made in 2017 to at least 85% of applicants studying A-levels:
Three A-level offer: AAA–A*AA
Practical endorsement (practical science assessment)
If you are made an offer you will be required to achieve a pass in the practical endorsement in all science subjects that form part of the offer.
The practical endorsement is part of the reformed English linear A-levels.
Minimum entry standards
Our minimum entry standard for 2019 entry is 38 points overall, to include:
- 6 in Mathematics at higher level
- 6 in Physics at higher level
- 6 in another subject at higher level
Typical offer range
As a guide, the typical offer made in 2017 to at least 85% of applicants studying IB was 38–39 points overall.
Mathematics Higher Level for award in 2021
For entry in 2021, the Mathematics Analysis and Approaches or the Applications and Interpretation syllabi will be accepted at higher level with no preference.
The grades detailed below are the minimum requirements for students offering only Advanced Placements as their exams for entry to Imperial.
If you are studying a High School Diploma that is accepted by Imperial alongside Advanced Placements, requirements may apply to both your Diploma and Advanced Placements.
Please consult our country index to check whether we accept your High School Diploma programme for admission.
Our minimum requirement for this course is grades 5, 5, 5 to include:
- 5 in Calculus (AB or BC)
- 5 in Physics
- 5 in another subject
Assessing your application
Admissions Tutors consider all the evidence available during our rigorous selection process and the College flags key information providing assessors with a more complete picture of the educational and social circumstances relevant to the applicant.
Some applicants may be set lower offers and some more challenging ones. It is the College’s policy to not make offers below three A’s at A-level in relevant subjects, 38 IB points with at least a grade 6 at higher level in relevant subjects, or their equivalent.
A typical range of offers made by this Department in 2017 (encompassing at least 85% of applicants who studied A-level or IB) is shown above.
Post-application open day and interview
If your UCAS application indicates that you are likely to satisfy our requirements and you live within reasonable travelling distance of the College you will be invited for an interview.
You will be introduced to the Department, the staff, our courses, teaching facilities and methods and life at College through meeting our current students. You will have a one-to-one interview with a member of the academic staff. For overseas applicants, or those unable to visit, we may arrange a telephone interview.
We place great emphasis on interview and take other qualities as well as academic ability into account when deciding whether to make you an offer. We will also take the comments of the staff member who has met you or spoken to you by telephone into account, particularly when we decide after A-levels whether to confirm our offer should you marginally fail to meet the terms of your offer.
English language requirement (all applicants)
All candidates must demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency for admission to the College.
For admission to this course, you must achieve the standard College requirement in the appropriate English language qualification. For details of the minimum grades required to achieve this requirement, please see the English language requirements for undergraduate applicants.
Tuition fees and funding
We charge tuition fees for every year that your course lasts. The fee you will be charged is based on your fee status, which is determined by government regulations.
Tuition fees (Home and EU students)
|£9,250 per year
Please note that the fee you pay may increase annually by an amount linked to inflation and approved by Parliament under the Student Fees (Inflation Index) Regulations 2006 – currently the measure of inflation used is the RPIX.
If you're a Home student, you can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan from the UK government to cover the entire cost of tuition for every year of your course.
You can also apply for a means-tested Maintenance Loan to help towards your living costs.
The UK government has confirmed that EU/EEA students starting at the College in the 2019-20 academic year will continue to pay the Home rate of tuition for the duration of their course/ This includes access to the Tuition Fee Loan for EU students who have resided in the European Economic Area for at least three years prior to study, and access to the Maintenance Loan for EU students have been resident in the UK for at least five years.
For the latest updates on the implications of ‘Brexit’, please see the Imperial and the European Union webpages.
Tuition fees (Overseas and Islands students)
|£30,250 per year|
The tuition fees for Overseas and Islands students are set by Imperial College London.
You should expect and budget for your tuition fee increasing each year by an inflationary amount. The measure of inflation used will be the Retail Price Index (RPI) value in the April of the calendar year in which the academic session starts e.g. the RPI value in April 2019 will apply to fees for the academic year 2019–2020.
Additional course costs
This section outlines any additional costs relevant to this course, which are not included in your tuition fees. It is possible that all, or only some, of these will be relevant to you.
Please note that the figures provided are usually based on the cost in the most recent academic year. These are likely to change from year to year. However, it is useful for you to be aware of the types of things you may have to pay for and their approximate cost to help you budget for student life at Imperial.
This section indicates whether any additional costs that apply are mandatory or optional. Mandatory costs are those that you will need to pay to fully participate in and complete your studies. Optional costs are not essential to your studies so you will be free to opt out of these.
|Description||Mandatory/optional||Guide to cost|
|Field trip (independent mapping project)||Mandatory for all Geology students||Variable|
|Field trips (travel and accommodation on other field trips)||Mandatory||Included in tuition fee|
|Field trips (all fully catered trips)||Mandatory||£25 per week|
|Geological equipment||Mandatory||£70 (refundable)|
|Personal Protective Equipment||Mandatory||Provided|
|Please review the information below for more information on the costs listed in the table.|
Please note that all field trips referenced on this page are included in the cost of tuition, except for a contribution to food costs on fully catered trips (currently approx. £25/week) and the Year 2 independent mapping project which Geology students undertake in a location of their choice. Costs vary by location.
You can purchase or hire geological equipment from the Department. In the 2016-17 academic year students paid £70 for Compass-clinometer, Hand lens and Geological Hammer. If they wish, students can return these in reasonable condition at a point later in their degree programme when they are no longer needed for a refund of the same amount.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Wearing personal protective equipment is compulsory for some activities on this course. Where this applies, the Department of Earth Science and Engineering will provide you with the necessary PPE free of charge.
Accommodation and living costs
Living costs, including accommodation, are not included in your tuition fees.
Over 90 per cent of Imperial undergraduates choose to live in our halls of residence in their first year. You can compare costs across our different accommodation options on our Accommodation website.
A rough guide to what you might expect to spend to live in reasonable comfort in London is available on our Fees and Funding website.
Bursaries and scholarships
The growing importance of earth science in tackling some of the world’s most significant challenges means that the job prospects for our graduates have never been better.
Our three-year BSc degrees are excellent preparation for careers in geosciences and other professions, especially if followed by a relevant MSc and a research degree. Our four-year MSci degrees provide a deeper understanding of the subject and the chance to undertake a significant research project.
Recent graduates of the Department have become:
- Graduate Environmental Scientist, Mott MacDonald
- Environmental Advisor, BP
- Geologist, CD Capital / Prairie Mining
- Geosolutions Geophysicist, Schlumberger
- Research Assistant, Natural History Museum
Besides obtaining the core knowledge and skills necessary for a career in the earth science, graduates of the new programme will gain specialist understanding and practical skills in geological, geochemical and geophysical aspects of planetary science.
This bespoke training will ensure that you are well placed to pursue a research careers in planetary science, and will have gained the breadth of knowledge required to undertake a broad range of space‐related employment.
Our three-year BSc degrees are excellent preparation for careers in geosciences and other professions, especially if followed by a relevant MSc and a research degree.
Our four-year MSci degrees provide a deeper understanding of the subject and the chance to undertake a significant research project.
Many of our graduates go onto further study either by doing focused MSc degrees or undertaking research on a PhD programme.
Other recent graduates of the Department have become:
- Geologist, CD Capital / Prairie Mining
- Geosolutions Geophysicist, Schlumberger
- Research Assistant, Natural History Museum
How to apply
UCAS key information
- UCAS course code: F662
- UCAS institution code: I50
UCAS Apply system
To apply to study at Imperial you must use the online application system managed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
You can view this course on the UCAS website.
All applications, other than those which include choices for medicine at Imperial, must be submitted to UCAS by 18.00 (UK time) on 15 January 2019 for entry in September 2019.
The deadline for medicine courses at Imperial starting in 2019 is 18.00 (UK time) on 15 October 2018.
Tracking your application
Once you’ve completed and submitted your application through UCAS’s online Apply service, you can use UCAS’ Track system to follow its progress and manage your choices.
See our How to apply section for further guidance.
You may also be interested in the following related departments and the courses they offer:
Got a question?
Read more on the Department of Earth Science and Engineering website.
Terms and conditions
There are some important pieces of information you should be aware of when applying to universities. We've put together this information in a dedicated section of our website.
Read our terms and conditions for these areas: