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. 

Key facts

Total expected intake
78 (2022 entry)

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

The Times and Sunday Times World University Rankings 2022

2nd in the UK for Geology; 12th overall globally

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.

Our undergraduate courses

Three-year courses (180 ECTS):

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:


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 Cyclades, French Massif Central, Pyrenees, French Alps, NW Scotland, and others.

ESE pays for all taught coursework (transport, accommodation) and provides basic field equipment at no cost (compass clinometer, hammer, hand lens, field notebooks). 

Find out more about our undergraduate field courses.

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.

Wellbeing and support

Undergraduate students in our Department are supported by a robust wellbeing support network. Find out more about how ESE supports the welfare of undergraduate students.