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Courses

Geology (International) (MESci)

  • F602

n/a (Full-time) / n/a (Part-time) / n/a (Distance / E-Learning)

The four year MESci course at Cardiff involves hypothesis testing, critical analysis and problem solving whilst learning about the process and outcomes of research. It builds upon and augments the equivalent BSc programme by means of a fourth year which enables you to undertake a specialist research project in the area of your choice. It is designed for high quality candidates who might aim to pursue a research career in academia, government or industry. In addition, by following the International MESci at Cardiff you will get the opportunity to study at a prestigious overseas university for the third year of your degree. This year abroad will allow you to broaden your horizons, both academically and culturally. You will also be able to enrol in courses overseas that are not available at Cardiff.

Geology (International) MESci

The evolution of the Earth and the life it supports is a key subject of human enquiry. This is why geologists and earth scientists are much sought after in many professions because of their global view of natural processes. Our MESci in Geology provides you with a broad view of the physical, geochemical and biological processes that formed planet Earth, its oceans, atmosphere, lithosphere and biosphere. You will learn how to observe this history within rock outcrops and interpret the processes controlling Earth's structure and environments. And as an MESci student you will get an opportunity to specialise through your project work and through small group research tutorials.

A key component of this course is fieldwork. You will travel to a number of classic localities both in the UK and abroad. On these excursions you will learn how to record observations, to analyse and interpret a wide range of rocks and structures in the field, and be trained in making a geological map. Our field courses are specifically designed to focus on key themes, such as the origins of oceanic crust, the development of sedimentary basins and their oil and gas potential, and the growth and collapse of mountain belts. In Year 1 the main locations visited are South Wales and Arran while in Year 2 you will visit SW England and northern Spain. In Year 4 the MESci students chose their own fieldtrip destination, often a Mediterranean island, where they undertake research level fieldwork in their own discipline.

Key Facts

UCAS Code F602
Duration 4 years
How to apply www.cardiff.ac.uk/howtoapply
Accreditation  Geological Society of London
Typical places available The School admits 150 students each year to its undergraduate degree programmes, usually between 40-45 on its Geology programmes.
Typical applications received 850
Scholarships & Bursaries www.cardiff.ac.uk/scholarships
Fees www.cardiff.ac.uk/fees
Typical A-level offer AAA
Admissions Tutors Dr Jennifer Pike
Tel Number 029 2087 4830
Email address earth-ug@cardiff.ac.uk
School website www.cardiff.ac.uk/earth

In this broad-based, accredited degree you will learn how to read the rocks, assess the processes involved in their formation, be able to reconstruct past environments and interpret how life evolved.

Geology (International) MESci

A key component of this course is fieldwork. You will travel to a number of classic localities: current field excursions run to areas both in the UK and abroad. On these excursions you will learn how to record observations, to analyse and interpret a wide range of rocks and structures in the field, and be trained in making a geological map. Our field courses are specifically designed to focus on key themes, such as the origins of oceanic crust, the development of sedimentary basins and their oil and gas potential, and the growth and collapse of mountain belts.

The four year undergraduate programme is designed for high quality candidates who aim to pursue a research career in academia, government or industry. The course involves learning about the process and outcomes of research and enables students to specialise in areas of their choice.

The difference between this degree and the regular MESci is that the credits and grades for Year 3 of your degree assessment are acquired at an overseas institution.

Financially, these programmes are very attractive since you pay no fees at the international university but merely continue to pay fees to Cardiff University. This means that successful applicants have the opportunity, for example, to attend world-class, private universities in the USA at Cardiff fee levels. These institutions routinely provide intensive, small group teaching by international leaders in an environment where individual student welfare is paramount.

Please note that while there are normally sufficient places to send all of our International programme cohort away for their third year, the exact number of places available can vary from year to year depending on the number of students exchanged in either direction. This means that we cannot guarantee that all students on the International programme will be able to study abroad. In the event that a place is not available, students will be transferred to the normal MESci programme. Since the programme began we have placed over 95% of qualified students who have applied to study abroad.

Year 1

The course structure is very flexible. All Cardiff's School of Earth and Ocean Science degree programmes share a common first Semester. This is designed to give you a sound foundation in Earth Sciences upon which to build. At the end of your first Semester you will decide whether to continue with your original degree choice or choose another of Cardiff's Earth Science degrees.

You will have a tutor involved in research into Geology and complete a research project on an aspect of Geology.

You will study the following modules:

  • The Sedimentary System
  • Life Through Time
  • Earth and Planetary System Science
  • Fieldwork (including a residential fieldcourse to Arran)
  • Earth Science Skills
  • Natural Resources and Energy
  • Dangerous Earth
  • Earth Materials
  • Formation of the British Isles
  • Geological Maps, Sections & Structures

Year 2

You take a suite of modules which is aimed at providing the basic tools for understanding geology and for fieldwork. The MESci field skills and research module includes a number of day courses and residential trips to Devon, Dorset, Cornwall and Spain where you learn advanced field skills. As an MESCi student you will have the chance to research in detail into one aspect of the field programme of your choice and produce a research poster which will be displayed and discussed at the annual MESci Research Conference.

You will study the following modules:

  • Research Tutorial
  • Geological Fieldwork and Mapping Training
  • Geological Resources (ores, minerals, oil & energy)
  • Structural Geology
  • Geophysical Exploration
  • Sedimentary Petrogenesis and Stratigraphy
  • Palaeoecology
  • Applied GIS
  • Igneous Geology
  • Plate Tectonics
  • Earth Surface Processes
  • Metamorphic Geology

Year 3

You will undertake a research project during your year overseas, usually on a one-to-one basis with an international research expert the host institution. You will also be able to enrol in courses overseas that are unavailable at Cardiff. You will acquire a wide range of transferable skills and the additional experience will improve your employability and prospects of postgraduate studies.

Your year will be spent at one of the following overseas Universities – University of Miami, Rutgers University (New Jersey), University of British Colombia, Wyoming University, University of Vermont, the University of Western Australia or Macquarie University (Sydney).

Year 4

In year four you will return to Cardiff to complete your degree. The major element in the fourth year of the programme is a research project that will enable you to master and demonstrate the skills you will need in your future career. This project counts for 25% of your overall degree and is an opportunity to pursue a particular topic to the highest level possible as an undergraduate.

The research project is complemented by a Research Frontiers module, in which the latest ideas in Earth Sciences research are discussed. In addition to a Year 4 fieldcourse you have a choice of optional modules:

  • Advanced Igneous Petrogenesis
  • Evolution of Antarctica
  • Planetary Geology
  • Contaminated Land
  • Seismic Interpretation and Petroleum Exploration
  • Process Geomorphology
  • Marine Carbonate Chemistry

You may also be able to choose Year 3 modules you were unable to take during your year overseas.

In year four you will return to Cardiff to complete your degree. The major element in the fourth year of the programme is a research project that will enable you to master and demonstrate the skills you will need in your future career. This project counts for 25% of your overall degree and is an opportunity to pursue a particular topic to the highest level possible as an undergraduate.

Visit the Cardiff School of Earth and Ocean Sciences website for more information about modules and credits.

Below is the first in our mini-series of podcasts. It is a self-contained, engaging, fast-paced and fun introduction to a particular aspect of ancient oceans. The series aims to uncover surprising and little-known facts, highlighting the importance of the science to our understanding of the world and the impacts of human activities including climate change. The series contains five podcasts, if you would like to see more then please follow the links on our Youtube page.

The School of Earth and Ocean Sciences has an excellent tradition of teaching in the Earth Sciences.  This educational experience is enhanced by frontier earth scientists from a wide variety of disciplines, involved in national and international research programmes, teaching alongside its students as they learn.  This team ensures students receive the highest quality teaching, delivered by lecturers at the cutting edge of international research. In addition the School is able to maintain a friendly and informal approach brought about by staff-student interactions during fieldwork.

The modular course structure enables the School to offer an exciting and relevant spectrum of vocational degree programmes.  These cover a wide range of modern geosciences from the traditional geology approach to the more industry focussed exploration and resource geology through to the equally applied environmental geoscience and water borne marine geography.  The first semester is common to all degree schemes and you then confirm your chosen programme in January of your first year.  Thus there is a chance to sample university teaching styles before committing to a particular degree programme or pathway.

Teaching in the School is conducted by a variety of methods –

  • formal lectures
  • laboratory practicals
  • IT practicals
  • fieldwork – both on land and for the Marine Geography students on the sea in the School’s own research vessel too

Formal lectures and practical classes have the emphasis on students taking ownership of their own learning programme and “learning how to learn”.  Fieldwork is a vital format for understanding the earth sciences and all students go on at least one residential field trip each academic year as well as numerous specialist day trips.  All students are assigned a tutor who will hold timetabled tutorials: fortnightly in Year 1 and monthly during other years.  Your tutor will be a specialist in your degree programme and will advice on both academic and pastoral matters.

As well as conventional BSc programmes, an optional one year industrial placement is available for some of the BSc degrees.  These placements provide an opportunity for students to gain in-depth experience in a range of relevant industries.  Students are supervised and visited by University staff while enjoying the experience and career enhancement that results from a ‘Year Out’. The four year MESci schemes focus on research training and critical analysis making students who take these programmes very employable in a range of professions.

Most modules will contain some element of course work so the ability to work independently is crucial.  Formal unseen exams and presentations are a key component of the way you are assessed.  You will also undertake group work and project work, with all students producing a substantial dissertation on a topic of their choosing in the final year.

Typical A-level Offer

 AAA

At least two A-levels one should be a Science, Geography, Geology or Maths

Typical WBQ Offer  Pass in the Core and grades AA at A-level. At least two A-levels should be a Science, Geography, Geology or Maths.
Typical Int Bacc Offer  34 points, including at least one Science at Higher Level
Other Applications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Please see detailed information about alternative entry requirements here

Please find here further information about admissions and selection criteria for this degree programme.

In 2010, 51% of the School’s graduates were in employment within six months of graduation while a further 20% were engaged in further study, with others taking time out to travel.

Employers included: local government plus companies and organisations such as the British Geological Survey, the Environment Agency, Digirock, Hummingbird Resources and BHP Billiton.

Typical career destinations for graduates in Geology include engineering geologist, exploration geologist, reservoir geologist, survey geologist, mineralogist, mineral exploration, geological consultant, field mapping, oil geologist, mining software analyst, geophysical surveying, water industry.

Careers case studies

Ben Lepley – MESci Geology 2008
Working for SRK mining consultancy. Currently in Sweden helping to set up a new company base there

Fieldwork is an integral part of degrees at Cardiff’s School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, giving our students hands on experience in real field situations. The fieldwork programme has been designed to give students the widest range of field experiences linked to classroom-based teaching. Specialist equipment for working in the field and at sea will be provided by the School and students will be issued with specialist equipment appropriate for their degree after enrolment.

Geology (International) MESci

You will be out in the field with us during the first week of teaching, taking part in a variety of induction events which will help embed you in Cardiff, meet other students on your programme in informal surroundings, meet some of your lectures away from the constrains of the classroom and see some of our local field areas.

Throughout Year 1 you will undertake various local day trips as well as a residential fieldtrip to Arran, learning field skills such as sedimentary logging, mapping and structural analysis. Fieldwork is a major component of all degree schemes in Year 2, as a Geology student you will go on residential trips to Dorset, Cornwall and Spain as well as undertake various local day field trips. We will train you how to accurately make and record field observations, take field measurements and produce professional reports. All skills highly sought after by employers. As an MESci student you will also be expected to investigate an aspect of your fieldwork and produce and present a research poster to staff and students later in Year 2.

Between Year 2 and Year 3 all students undertake a five week individual mapping project. As a Geologist you will do a mapping project (working in a pair in various national and international locations – current mapping areas include Spain, France, Scotland, North Wales, The Pennines). Every student will get supervision from a member of staff including a visit in the field.

In Year 3 (for those of you not on the International scheme) the fieldwork programme is more research-led, focussing on interpretative skills, field techniques, teamwork projects and independent study. Again you will undertake field day trips to local areas and also a residential trip top Cyprus where amongst other things you will be interpreting ophiolites and tectonics in this iconic area. Those of you on the International scheme will find yourselves in one of our partner institutions (such as Miami, USA who currently offer a residential fieldtrip to Ecuador).

In your final year, when you are all back in Cardiff, your residential fieldtrip takes place in an area in the UK or abroad selected by the student cohort. In recent years the MESci fieldtrip has taken place in northern Pennines, Malta, Ibiza, Scilly and Naples. Students carry out field-based projects designed by themselves, to explore their individual research interests with academic staff on hand to direct and help out.

Next intake: September each year

School Contact

Name: Dr Jenny Pike  

Telephone:  

Fax:  

Email: earth-ug@cardiff.ac.uk  

School Website: www.cardiff.ac.uk/earth

More information

School of Earth and Ocean Sciences