The Department of Earth Science and Engineering is part of the Royal School of Mines, which was established in 1851, growing out of the Museum of Economic Geology set up by Sir Henry De la Beche in 1841. The Royal School of Mines moved from central London to South Kensington in 1872 and officially became a part of Imperial College in 1907. For 160 years, geoscientists and engineers at the Royal School of Mines and then in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering have been committed to excellence in the teaching and research of the Earth Sciences. Put simply, we’ve been studying the way the world works longer than any university in the UK and are one of the oldest in the world.


Today, the department hosts approximately 50 academic staff, 70 research and support staff and 600 undergraduate and postgraduate students. We are ranked in 1st place as the top UK Earth Science department in the Guardian University League Tables 2020 and the Times and Sunday Times University League Tables 2020.  Whether it is through undergraduate degrees in Geology, Geophysics, or Earth and Planetary Science, or our MSc courses, the commitment of staff to an excellence in teaching ensure that our students graduate with a range of skills that allow them to join a cohort of alumni that go on to senior positions in industry and in academia. Find out more about our commitment to teaching excellence.


Academics and researchers in the Department of Earth Science & Engineering are at the cutting edge of comprehending how Earth systems work and how natural resources and energy can be sustainably extracted and provided, using a combination of pure and applied research. Our work in these fields are particularly aided by strong collaborative ties with the Energy Futures Lab, the Sustainable Gas Institute and the Grantham Institute - Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial College London. We are also at the forefront of applying this knowledge to understanding the evolution of solid bodies, such as Mars, throughout our Solar System. 


The Natural History Museum and Science Museum are nearby world-famous institutions with which we collaborate. We benefit from our links with these organisations, where a number of students undertake research during years three and four. We are also closely connected with The Geological Society, which frequently hosts international conferences. Our staff and students often help out at these conferences – mixing with leading Earth science experts from across the world.

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RSM Clubs & Societies

RSM Union Logo

The Royal School of Mines (RSM) has its own, renowned, Union, which for many students is a central part of their social life, providing the opportunity to meet people from all years and mix in a friendly, supportive environment.

The RSM Union has several prominent Mixed, Ladies and Mens sports teams including: hockeyrugby, football, netball, basketball, squash and golf. Alongside the multiple RSM sports societies, there is also the geology society 'De La Beche' (named after Sir Henry De La Beche, founder of the RSM) and the Geophysics Society.

There are also multiple Student Chapters of professional organisations: The AAPG (American Association of Petroleum Geologists) and the EAGE (European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers)

The De La Beche Club - visit the The De La Beche Club website

Relish rocks? Fascinated by fossils? Discover geology with the DLB. We run talks, day trips and weekend excursions all over the UK …

One of the oldest and most active departmental societies at Imperial, promoting “social academia” and arousing your curiosity about all things geological since 1914. The De La Beche offers an insight into this fascinating subject in a relaxed setting. All undergrads, postgrads and lecturers are welcome.

As a departmental society, our main aim is to excite interest and offer you an insight into the fascinating world of geology. However we Royal Miners are social beasts, and our laid-back events let you mingle with like-minded people from all years. This special mix makes the DLB a uniquely awesome society, and part of the lifeblood of the RSM.


The Royal School of Mines became a constituent college of Imperial College London in 1907, and the De La Beche Club, established in 1914, is one of the oldest clubs at Imperial. The club is named after the leading 19th Century geologist and founder of the Royal School of Mines, Sir Henry De La Beche. The DLB has remained right at the heart of the RSM ever since.

Geophysics Society - here to help you explore the world of geophysics outside of your lectures in a fun way, so if you‘re studying Geophysics, or a Geologist who‘d like to learn a bit more about Geophysics, or anyone else who‘s interested, come along and see what‘s on offer. Visit our Geophysics Society website for more information.

We hold events throughout the year that focus on new or interesting subjects that are right at the forefront of the subject. We‘ve also got fantastic links with professionals within the geophysics industries, so we‘re a great place to start looking at the sort of jobs you might want to do in the future. We have got lots of exciting things planned, including some great talks, a couple of trips and multiple socials.

Society of Economic Geologists - based out of the Royal School of Mines (RSM) in South Kensington, the chapter was established in 2004 to encourage an increasing awareness of geology in its application to minerals exploration and mining. It serves as a platform to connect like-minded individuals from both academia and industry who are interested in the sector. We aim to further the study of economic geology at Imperial College through organising field courses, guest lectures and employment based seminars. Click to visit the Society of Economic Geologists website!

American Association of Petroleum Geologists - Imperial College Student Chapter

Visit the AAPG Student Chapter website for further information.


The EAGE is a professional association for geoscientists and engineers. Founded in 1951, it is an organization with a worldwide membership base providing a global network of commercial and academic professionals. The association is truly multi-disciplinary and international in form and pursuits.

Currently catering for around 16,000 members worldwide, EAGE affiliates are professionally involved in (or studying) geophysics, petroleum exploration, geology, reservoir engineering, mining and civil engineering. The EAGE predominantly operates in two divisions: the Oil & Gas Geoscience Division and the Near Surface Geoscience Division, both of which organise a host of activities for their members each year.

Membership is available at a reduced rate of only €25 per annum for students who major in a geoscience or related engineering subject at a recognised university or institute, with first-time applicants able to apply for FREE membership for the first year (sponsored by CGGVeritas).


The EAGE student chapter at Imperial College is one of 25 EAGE student chapters located all around the world. Our principle goal is to bridge the gap and encourage interaction/co-operation between geoscientists and engineers at Imperial College, whilst simultaneously aiming to provide said students with the opportunity to meet experts and peers so that they can share experiences and wisdom. We also hope to provide students with the necessary assistance during what may be the first steps in creating and developing their personal network.

To facilitate these objectives we plan to co-ordinate a wide variety of events to a thorough cross-section of the student population (whether BSc, MSci, MSc or PhD) throughout the academic year. Such events include a joint geoscience-engineering academic symposium in spring, the online EAGE Geo-Quiz competition, open panel discussions with young professionals from the oil and gas sector, and various other social, academic and industry-based events.

EAGE Facebook page

Each of these clubs and societies organise a range of activities ranging from weekend field trips to weekday socials and even tours during the holidays! It’s easy to get involved and develop your leadership and organisational skills, or just get to know other students.

In addition, you can also take advantage of the huge range of clubs and societies run by Imperial College Union – more per head of student than any other university in the UK. Further details about these can be located on the Imperial College Union website.

ESE Honours, Awards and Rankings

The international research and teaching reputation of the Department of Earth Science and Engineering has been recognised by a wide range of honours and awards, received by the department and its staff. A selection of these honours are listed below.

The Guardian University League Tables 2020

We are ranked 1st place in the Guardian University League Tables 2020, for Earth and Marine Sciences, with a total score of 100%.

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020

The Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London has ranked 1st place as the top UK Geology department in The Times and The Sunday Times University League Table 2020.

The Complete University Guide 2020

The Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College has ranked 2nd place in 2nd for Geology in the Complete University Guide 2020 League Tables.  

The National Student Survey 2019

In the 2019 National Student Survey, 92% of students said they were overall satisfied with the quality of the course.



2019 Rocha Medal of the International Society for Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering
Dr. Qinghua Lei

2017 Houtermans Award of the European Association of Geochemistry
Dr. Julie Prytulak

Thompson International Distinguished Lecturer award of the Geological Society of America 2016
Prof. Christopher Jackson

Dr. N.G.W. Cook Ph.D. Dissertation Award of the American Rock Mechanics Association 2016
Dr. Qinghua Lei

RSPSoc Award of the Remote Sensing & Photogrammetry Society 2016
Dr. Philippa Mason

Routledge Education Award 2016
Dr. Emma Passmore

Rees Rawlings Prize for Best Portfolio 2016
Dr. Peter Fitch

Procter & Gamble Award of the International Society for Porous Media 2016
Dr. Branko Bijeljic

Honorary Membership Award of the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers 2016
Prof. Olivier Dubrule

Halstead Award of the Geological Association 2016
Dr. Craig Magee

Futers Gold Medal of the Institute of materials minerals and mining 2016
Prof. Jan Cilliers

Postdoctoral medal of the Geological Society 2016
Dr. Myriam Lambelet

Wallace E. Pratt Memorial Award of the American Association of Petroleum Geology 2015
Prof. Christopher Jackson

2015 Luna B. Leopold Young Scientist Award of the American Geophysical Union
Dr. Vamsi Ganti

2015 Rock Mechanics Research Award of the American Rock Mechanics Association
Dr. Qinghua Lei

2015 Geological Society Petroleum Group Medal of the Geological Society
Prof. Al Fraser

2014 Editors' Citation for Excellence in Refereeing of the Journal of Geophysical Research Solid Earth
Prof. Robert Zimmerman

President's Award for Excellence in Teaching 2014

Dr Philippa Mason

President's Medals for Excellence in Teaching 2013

Dr Alex Whittaker

President's Award for Excellence in Teaching 2012

Dr Gareth Collins

2012 President's Awards for Excellence in Supporting the Student Experience

Mr Surinder Singh Dio

Athena SWAN Silver award 2012 
Department of Earth Science and Engineering

2012 Distinguished Educator Award 2012, AAPG
Professor Howard Johnson

Rectors Award for Excellence in Teaching  2011, Imperial College London
Dr Gary Hampson

Faculty of Engineering Award for Teaching Excellence in Engineering 2011, Imperial College London
Dr Gary Hampson

Faculty of Engineering's Graduate Teaching Assistant of the Year award 2011, Imperial College London
Mr Russell Garwood

Rector's Awards for Excellence in Supporting the Student Experience 2011, Imperial College London
Dr Lorraine Craig

OBE for services to UK/China relations in science 2011, UK Foreign Office
Professor Nigel Brandon

Athena SWAN Bronze award 2010
Department of Earth Science and Engineering

Biot Medal of the American Society of Civil Engineers 2010
Prof. Robert Zimmerman

Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering 2010
Prof. Jan Cilliers

2010 Coke Medal of the Geological Society of London 
Prof Dick Selley

Major Edward D'Ewel Fitzgerald Medal 2009, The Geological Society
Prof. Jane Plant

President's Award 2009, The Geological Society
Dr Alex Whittaker

Honorary Member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers 2009, SPE
Prof. Alain Gringarten

SPE Regional Service Award for the North Sea 2009, Society for Petroleum Engineers
Prof. Alain Gringarten

Rectors Award for Pastoral Care 2009, Imperial College London
Dr Lorraine Craig

Rectors Medal for Teaching 2009, Imperial College London
Dr Matthew Genge

Imperial College Teaching Fellow 2009, Imperial College London
Dr Matthew Genge

College Teaching Excellence Award 2009, Imperial College London
Dr Matthew Genge

Award for Excellence in Engineering Education 2009, Imperial College London
Dr Matthew Genge

BP Technology Fellow 2006-2008, British Petroleum
Prof. Ann Muggeridge 

Nobel Peace Prize 2007, Nobel Foundation
Prof. John Woods

Lyell Medal 2007, The Geological Society
Prof. Phil Allen

Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Award 2007, Royal Academy of Engineering
Prof. Nigel Brandon

William Smith Medal 2007, The Geological Society
Prof. Mike Worthington (Emeritus)

Antarctic Service Medal 2007, National Science Foundation
Dr Matthew Genge

Lindsley Thayer Visiting Lecturer 2007, Society of Economic Geologists
Dr Jamie Wilkinson

Imperial College Teaching Fellow 2007, Imperial College London
Prof. John Cosgrove

College Teaching Excellence Award 2007, Imperial College London
Prof. John Cosgrove

Award for Excellence in Engineering Education 2007, Imperial College London
Prof. John Cosgrove

2007 Honorary Membership of the Petroleum Exploration Society of GB 
Prof Dick Selley

Asteroids named by the International Astronomical Union in 2006 after:
Dr Phil Bland, Dr Matthew Genge and Prof. Mark Sephton

2003 Silver Medal of the Geological Society of London awarded for excellence in Petroleum Geoscience 
Prof Dick Selley

ESE Facilities

The Department of Earth Science and Engineering is housed in Imperial’s grand traditional building, with all the state-of-the-art laboratories and research facilities that you would expect in a world class university.

Our teaching areas, seminar rooms and research facilities are conveniently located at the heart of the South Kensington Campus.

Teaching takes place within the world-renowned Royal School of Mines building, with audio visual facilities that are updated annually to keep us abreast of the latest technologies.

Outside of teaching hours, undergraduates have their own study room with computers, microscopes and samples for self-study. The range of online learning resources includes our Rock Library, a leading international online database of rocks and minerals.

The Royal School of Mines building has its own cafe, where students can eat cheaply, and its own Union, which offers a wide range of clubs and societies.

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