Geology is the study of the world and how it's interior, surface and atmosphere interact. It is a subject that is concerned with the Earth's past, present and future. Geologists study the world through observation and make inferences based on understanding of fundamental scientific principles.
Knowledge and Understanding of
The Earth as a dynamic system, its evolution through time, uniformitarianism
Petrology and petrological analysis and the interpretation of the provenance through hand
specimens, petrology and field relationships from the micro- to macro-scale
Basic mathematics, physics, chemistry and computer languages that are relevant to modern
Geochemistry: in particular solid earth geochemistry, low temperature geochemistry,
biogeochemistry, environmental geochemistry, study of the earth and planetary systems and
Using Geophysical techniques in exploration, and applying mathematics and physics to
studying the Earth as a planet
Surface Processes: weathering and its consequences for sedimentation, soil development,
geomorphology and geohazards
Internal Processes: Petrological analysis and what it tells us about processes, volcanism and
Tectonics and geological structures: Deformation, plate tectonics and earthquakes
Life on Earth through the study of palaeontology, paleobiology and the stratigraphic record
on land and marine
Geological maps and three-dimensional interpretation of surface and sub-surface
geological systems acquired through knowledge of geological mapping and electronic
Our students currently enjoy studying at universities in Canada, America and Europe including: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); The University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Los Angeles; the University of British Columbia; and Australian National University.You will organise much of the year yourself including your learning package, after discussions with the year abroad coordinator. You will have the chance to take courses, and possibly a research project, under the guidance of other world experts in the geosciences.
Dynamic Earth 1
Physical Processes (4)
Programming for Geoscientists
Maths Methods 1 (4)
Solid Earth Geochemistry (4)
Structural Geology 1
Optical Mineralogy and
Life & Earth History
Introduction to Field Geology
Graphics & Statistics for
Field Geology 1
Projects and Tutorials 1 (1)
Geoscience Workshops (2)
+ optional Imperial Horizons (3)
Projects and Tutorials and Geoscience workshops take place throughout the year on a variety of
Imperial Horizons courses in term 1 and 2 can be taken as an additional 6 ECTS.
Students may not have A-levels or equivalent in all three of Maths, Physics and Chemistry.
Introductory level 1 courses in these subjects allow such students to delay studying more advanced
material in one or more of these subjects until year two; the programme and timetable allow for this
Applied Geophysics 1 (4)
Structural Geology 2
Rocks Master Class
Remote Sensing & GIS
Structural Geology 3
Palaeontology or Maths
Field Geology 2
Field Geology 3
Independent Geology Project (1)
Projects and Tutorials 2 & Geoscience Workshops
+ optional Business for Professional Engineers & Scientists (2)
+ optional Imperial Horizons (3)
(1) Year 2 develops the fundamental geological and geophysical knowledge and skills that are required
to undertake a major independent project at the end of the year. This is a mapping project for
geology students; this continues into summer vacation.
(2) Students can take Business for Professional Engineers and Scientists course in term 1 and 2 for
credit which may contribute to the coursework element. Students taking this option will graduate with
66 ECTS for their 2nd year – an additional 6 ECTS for their 2nd year.
(3) Imperial Horizons in term 1 and 2 can be taken as an additional 6 ECTS which is not for credit.
(4) For students with missing A-levels in Maths, Physics or Chemistry, students take Maths methods 1
instead of Applied Geophysics 1, Physical Processes instead of Earth Structure and Tectonics and
Solid Earth Geochemistry instead of Low Temperature Geochemistry respectively
Modules and courses offered by foreign university
Independent mapping project (1)
Entire year spent abroad at pre-approved foreign university. Term dates may differ from those
operated by Imperial College London.
(1) In Term 1 students continue to work on their independent project.
MSci project (full time)
(Submit MSci report as a paper
plus supporting material at the
start of term 2)
Elective courses vary annually.
In 2014/2015 they are as for
year 3, but normally excluding:
Additional year-4 electives:
Applied Sedimentology (triple)
Basin Analysis (double)
Earth Science General Paper
Field Geology 5 or
Science Communication – throughout the year
Universities in the United Kingdom use a centralized system of undergraduate application: University and College Admissions Service (UCAS). It is used by both domestic and international students. Students have to register on the UCAS website before applying to the university. They will find all the necessary information about the application process on this website. Some graduate courses also require registration on this website, but in most cases students have to apply directly to the university. Some universities also accept undergraduate application through Common App (the information about it could be found on universities' websites).
Both undergraduate and graduate students may receive three types of responses from the university. The first one, “unconditional offer” means that you already reached all requirements and may be admitted to the university. The second one, “conditional offer” makes your admission possible if you fulfill some criteria – for example, have good grades on final exams. The third one, “unsuccessful application” means that you, unfortunately, could not be admitted to the university of you choice.
All universities require personal statement, which should include the reasons to study in the UK and the information about personal and professional goals of the student and a transcript, which includes grades received in high school or in the previous university.
Our minimum offer for all our courses is AAA but we normally ask for additional or higher requirements depending on the individual student. Students are interviewed before being made an offer. Most of our offers are targetted to individual students. Our undergraduate intake is therefore among the best qualified in the country.
If studying UK qualifications you will need three A levels, and at least two A-levels from the following list:
Only about 20% of our students have prior knowledge of geology, so don’t worry if you have not studied Earth science or geology before. What we are looking for are students who love science and have a deep desire to learn more about the Earth.
We welcome students from across Europe and worldwide with A-level equivalents such as International or European Baccalaureates, Scottish Advanced Highers or the Irish Leaving Certificate. Students with other competencies will also be considered. We encourage students who have not taken A-levels to visit the relevant pages on the Registry website.
Maths and physics
Maths is an important part of all the courses so we expect students to have at least GCSE Maths (or equivalent) at grade A, or an AS level (or equivalent) at grade B or above.
Students wanting to study geophysics must have A-levels (or equivalent) in physics and maths (although you can still study geophysics combined with geology without physics A-level).
Candidates admitted without an A-level (or equivalent) in maths, physics or chemistry are provided with additional subject teaching in the first year and take the intermediate level courses in those subjects a year later.
In addition to A-levels (or equivalents) we place great emphasis on interview and take other qualities as well as academic ability into account.
To continue to be considered for the Year Abroad degree, students must achieve first-class marks in years 1 and 2. Students receiving the highest marks are normally given the first pick of the host universities. If there are more students wishing to go than places available, only the top students are considered. Whatever university you attend abroad, it will be of similar standing to Imperial College London and your studies abroad during your third year will count towards your final degree.
Rio Tinto Scholarships
The Rio Tinto Scholarshipswill provide financial support for Earth Science students during their university degrees. These scholarships are a shared vision between Rio Tinto and Imperial to encourage students to apply their skills in the mining sector. Scholarswill be selected at the end of theirfirst year of their studies at Imperial,with continuous funding for years 2, 3 and 4, subject to satisfactory performance. Each Rio Tinto Scholar will receive: • Financial aid of £4,000 per yearforthose selected in September 2014 • Preferential entry to Rio Tinto’s graduate program (subject to meeting standard selection criteria) • Mentorship by Rio Tinto staff members • Opportunities to apply studies through internships and vacationwork • Networking opportunitieswith Rio Tinto managers and high profile Imperial College visitors Scholarship holders are not compelled to join Rio Tinto on graduation.
Rio TintoUrra Fieldtrip Rio Tintowill fund the first year geosciences fieldtrip to Urra, Southern Spain,which specifically develops observational and practical skills for all first year undergraduate students. Anglo-American Scotland Fieldtrip Anglo-Americanwill fund the second yearfieldtrip to the Highlands, the pre-independent mapping trip designed to enhance independent mapping skills.
Burhouse Bursary The Burhouse Bursary is awarded annually to an overseas student. Eligible students are contacted by the department in late August and encouraged towrite an essay to be submitted in late September, before starting theirfirst year of studies in October. MinSouth Student
The MinSouth Sponsorship, administered by MinSouth, is available to UK students starting their second year. Students must not be in receipt of any other major scholarship or sponsorship otherthan student loans and educational grants. The MinSouth Sponsorship is £1,000 per yearto the end of their degree, subject to satisfactory progression. Applications, accompanied by an essay are available from the Academic Tutor
All students study a very similar syllabus in years one and two, so you can switch between courses up until the start of year three, although most students decide on their degree title by the end of year 1.
Students do not need to have previously studied geology to apply to our courses; normally around 20% of students will have studied some geology.
Students can swap between three and four year courses up until the start of year three. However, to do a four year MSci course you will need to be achieving a grade 2.1 or higher at the end of your second year.