Duration: 4 years full time
UCAS code: F60F
Institution code: R72
Duration: 3 years full time
UCAS code: F600
Institution code: R72
Campus: EghamView this course
Duration: 4 years full time
UCAS code: F603
Institution code: R72
Campus: EghamView this course
BSc Geology with Integrated Foundation Year
Our Integrated Foundation Year for science is a thorough, skills-building course that will give you everything you need to start your study of BSc Geology with confidence.
Science underpins society and can help us provide answers to fundamental questions. Our Foundation Year sets you up so that you’re ready to take on those questions - providing you with opportunities to gain knowledge and understanding of how to get started in studying the sciences at university, including Geology. You’ll have theoretical and hands-on experiences to equip you with the skills and confidence to progress.
To understand the physical Earth and the dynamic processes that continue to alter and change our environment it is important to understand the geology of our planet. BSc Geology combines disciplines including chemistry, physics, maths, and geography to fully comprehend the past, present, and future of our planet.
A degree in Earth Sciences develops your ability to successfully apply scientific knowledge and transferable skills. A programme of fieldwork enables you to put into practice all aspects of the taught programme in Earth Sciences, as well as providing a chance for staff and students to get to know each other. The fieldwork programme is designed to provide progressive training through projects, involving either geological mapping or environmental data collection.
On successful completion, you’ll be equipped with:
- a broad understanding of the fundamental scientific knowledge and terminology of Geology/Earth Sciences
- an awareness of current areas of debate and discovery in Earth Sciences, and their investigation by scientific knowledge and methods
- the skills required to conduct standard fieldwork and laboratory procedures in Geology/Earth Sciences, together with skills in monitoring, observation, documentation and quantitative or qualitative measurement in the laboratory and field.
From time to time, we make changes to our courses to improve the student and learning experience. If we make a significant change to your chosen course, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.
Interdisciplinary Approaches to Global Issues and Academic Skills provides the underpinning for the Integrated Foundation Year programme and is key to helping students achieve the requirements for entry into first year undergraduate study and transition effectively from school / college to HE.
- Interdisciplinary Approaches to Global Issues and Academic Skills 2
Mathematics. The foundation to all sciences. By engaging in mathematical reasoning you will develop your scientific thinking as well as problem-solving skills. Moreover, you will get to embark on a journey through the exciting world of maths and its application. This course will provide you with the skills to successfully continue onto a STEM degree. The course aims to aid you in developing familiarity and skills in differentiation and integration. The main mathematical topics and concepts in the course are algebra (simplification, rearrangement), sequences and series, number bases, logic, functions, graphing of functions, exponential and logarithm, trigonometry, vectors/matrices, complex numbers differentiation, integration, first order ordinary differential equations, probability, and statistics (mean, variance, normal, binomial distributions).
The aim of this module is to provide the calculus and statistics required for a foundation in engineering and physical science. This module will provide a foundation so that a student can apply calculus to real-world problems. The module also aims to aid students in developing familiarity and skills in differentiation and integration. The main mathematical topics and concepts in the course are differentiation, integration, first order ordinary differential equations, Probability, Statistics (mean, variance, normal, binomial distributions).
Knowing how to program is a highly sought-after skill, and is becoming increasingly important. Also, it is fun. This course equips you with the basic and foundational skills necessary to be successful in programming. We mainly use Python, but the skills learnt are also applicable to other languages. The course will contain foundational programming topics, including: how computers work, introduction to algorithms, basic data structures, control flow, programming libraries, data manipulation, input/output, file manipulation, dynamic structures and objects. Upon completion of the until you’ll will be able to understand variables, types and simple data structures (lists, strings, dictionaries and arrays), use functions to simply programs and promote code testing and reuse. Throughout the course there will be lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on problem-solving.
Students will learn key topics in pre-HE-level biological and earth sciences through an interdisciplinary, chronological curriculum. The module content is divided into three broad sections: origins, present and future. The history of the earth affords the opportunity to learn topics in biological chemistry, metabolism and physiology alongside planetary science and palaeontology. The second section of the module gives students the chance to learn about key challenges in communicable and non-communicable disease, climate change, biodiversity and the impact of environmental pollutants on human health. In the module’s final section the focus will shift to the future, and students will learn some of the opportunities presented in the management of ecosystem services, nucleic acid-based technologies and renewable energy sources.
The module aims to provide students with practical hands-on experience of a range of geoscience activities carried out in the field and laboratory that will be essential for their future UG studies. Examples of such activities include but are not limited to, measurements of greenhouse gases and/or air pollutants, measurements of water quality in chemical and ecological terms, measurements of soil contamination, identifying the origins and properties of rocks, fossils and/or meteorites, geophysical analyses, and a field trip to the south coast of England to study the solid earth.
The module aims to provide students with experience of choosing, planning, carrying out and reporting on an individual (supervised) scientific project. Projects may comprise the analysis and interpretation of data that has been produced by students in field and laboratory work, or of data that may have been provided by staff or obtained by students. Students may choose to build upon the type of work carried out in the previous module, Practical Geoscience, or indeed discuss with staff, a different topic within the geosciences for their project.
This module introduces the 4.6 billion-year history of our Evolving Earth and provides you with the skills to interpret that history. The module is subdivided into two complimentary streams that closely integrate. One stream (palaeontology) considers the story of life from its origin to the rise and fall of the dinosaurs, concluding with our own recent human evolution. It focuses on major events in evolution, and introduces you to the key concepts including systematic palaeontology, palaeoecology, palaeobiology, evolution, and taphonomy. The other stream (sedimentology) considers earth surface processes and palaeoenvironments and teaches you how to recognise the changing environments through time using techniques including rock classification, textural analysis, facies analysis and graphic logging, palaeoflow analysis, and stratigraphy. Because life and environments have co-evolved and are co-dependent, palaeontology and sedimentology need to be taught in close parallel, providing you with a powerful synthetic understanding of how our Earth has evolved in the past and continues to change in the future.
Earth is a dynamic and evolving planet with a record of plate tectonic and environmental change over its 4.6 billion year history. This module explores the geological structure and the processes that shape our planet and other planets within our solar system, from the planetary heat engine that powers plate motion and leads to the surface expression of these forces in volcanoes and earthquakes, to the use of maps, minerals and rocks to unlock the story in the rocks beneath our feet.
With the adoption of the Paris Agreement and the recent COP26, a seismic societal shift towards issues related to sustainability and climate change is taking place globally. The next generation of geoscientists are now required to understand the complex interrelations between human activities and a changing Earth system. With this module, students will explore key themes at the core of human-Earth interaction such as anthropogenic climate change, geohazards, environmental pollution, and sustainable exploitation of energy resources and energy-critical elements.
In this module you will develop an understanding of basic concepts in chemistry and physics and how to apply these to geological processes. You will look at atoms and atomic structure, the periodic table of elements, reactions, equations, geochemical analysis, the composition of the earth, interpretation of phase diagrams, solubility of minerals, weathering and the hydrological cycle. You will also consider Newton’s Laws, kinematics, circular motion, planetary orbits, gravity, magnetism, electricity, resistivity, stress, strain, seismicity, isostasy, radioactivity, and geochronology.
In this module you develop an understanding of the skills required to practice geology in the field, carrying out a series of activities in South Devon and Pembrokeshire. You will learn to describe and interpret the origin of sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks and how to prepare a geological map and cross-section using standard symbols. You will examine stereographic projections, sedimentary logging, the construction of stratigraphic columns for the identification of rocks, and the analysis of structural features using stereonets.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the key events in the history of life and their environmental impact using the fossil and sedimentary record. You will analyse fossil assemblages using stratigraphic principles such as absolute dating, lithostratigraphy, biostratigraphy and sequence stratigraphy. You will consider how to interpret sedimentary rocks, and examine the importance of fossil assemblages in the interpretation of events in earth history.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the geological evolution of the British Isles, interpreting regional geological history from geological maps. You will learn to describe rock specimens and examine how palaeoenvironments can be reconstructed using case studies. You will also consider the application of stratigraphic techniques and use evidence from several different fields of geology to evaluate competing hypotheses for geological evolution.
In this module you will further develop your understanding of igneous and metamorphic geology. You will look at the characteristics and origins of alkaline igneous rocks, the nature and controls on metamorphic reactions, and the links between metamorphism and tectonic processes. You will consider hand specimen and thin section techniques for study of minerals and igneous and metamorphic rocks, and examine analytical approaches to the interpretation of metamorphic rocks, including the quantification of metamorphic rates and processes.
In this module you will develop an understanding of advanced chemical concepts relevant to the Earth Sciences. You will focus on isotope geochemistry and consider techniques that are directly applicable in most geological contexts. You will attend practical classes and conduct a small project involving the analysis and interpretation of a real geochemical dataset.
In this module you will develop advanced geological field skills. You will carry out a series of activities in an area of igneous and metamorphic rocks, and in an area of sedimentary rocks. You will learn to describe and interpret the origin of the rock types in the field and will prepare a geological map and cross-section using standard symbols. You will analyse structural features using stereonets, and infer the geological history of a region through the construction of scaled cross-sections through structurally complex terrains.
The module aims to teach students advanced level key geological and transferable skills. Data Handling - a lecture and practical course on retrieval and handling of geological data which revises and extends numerical skills introduced in years 1 and 2. Presentation skills – presentation exercise to improve spoken, visual and other aspects of communication in geology. Advanced Field Skills - includes data collection, teamwork and site investigations.
In this module, students rank their preferred field mapping areas and are allocated one based on their choices. They live in small groups for a minimum of four weeks in their second year, creating a geological map of a 15-25 sq km area. The chosen areas meet safety and academic requirements, offering diverse opportunities to apply theoretical knowledge in earth science. Students familiarise themselves with base maps, remote sensing data, and area risks before the fieldwork. Field supervision is initially provided by academics, followed by independent work to produce a field map and record. In the third year, students discuss and analyse field data, notebooks, maps, and interpretations with supervisors and staff. They also study rocks and data from the field area. By the second term of the third year, students submit a written report and geological map, aiming to understand the area's stratigraphy, structure, and geological history.
In addition to mandatory modules, there will be a number of optional modules available during year 2 and year 3 of your degree.
Teaching & assessment
In your Foundation Year, teaching methods include a mixture of lectures, practical classes and workshops, laboratory classes, individual tutorials, and supervisory sessions. Outside of the classroom you’ll undertake guided and independent practice. You will be assigned a Personal Tutor in the Department of Earth Sciences and will have regular scheduled sessions. In the Foundation Year, you’ll also be assigned a Personal Tutor in the Centre for the Development of Academic Skills (CeDAS). Assessments are varied; practical exercises, weekly problem sheets, set exercises, written examinations, laboratory reports. In addition the Foundation Year offers a full range of skills-based training.
For your degree course, teaching methods will include a mixture of lectures, seminars, individual tutorials, and practical field and laboratory work. Outside the classroom, students will be expected to undertake study to understand the taught material, and to carry out the assessed coursework. Assessment tasks are viewed as complementary opportunities for students to show how they have achieved module objectives, and may be carried out through a combination of reports, projects, examinations and/or tests to assess coursework. Your Personal Tutor will be supportive for your academic progress and wellbeing throughout your studies.
A Levels: CCC
This course is suitable for non-standard entrants, including mature returners to study, those without Science qualifications or with Science qualifications below the standard required for entry to a degree.
We accept T-levels for admission to our undergraduate courses, with the following grades regarded as equivalent to our standard A-level requirements:
- AAA* – Distinction (A* on the core and distinction in the occupational specialism)
- AAA – Distinction
- BBB – Merit
- CCC – Pass (C or above on the core)
- DDD – Pass (D or E on the core)
Where a course specifies subject-specific requirements at A-level, T-level applicants are likely to be asked to offer this A-level alongside their T-level studies.
Other UK and Ireland Qualifications
English language requirements
All teaching at Royal Holloway is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.
The scores we require
- IELTS: 6.5 overall. No subscore lower than 5.5.
- Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 54. No subscore lower than 51.
- Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.
For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please visit here.
Undergraduate preparation programme
For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, for this undergraduate degree, the Royal Holloway International Study Centre offers an International Foundation Year programme designed to develop your academic and English language skills.
Upon successful completion, you can progress to this degree at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Your future career
The Integrated Foundation Year will lay the foundations for further undergraduate study of Earth, Environmental, Energy, Climate, Geological, and Planetary Science, which will equip graduates for employment within the environment, energy, and space sectors, or indeed for research studies.
Geologists develop knowledge and a set of transferrable skills that prove attractive to a wide range of employers. Our jobs fairs, skills workshops and visits from industry representatives provide students with excellent career development opportunities.
Fees, funding & scholarships
Home (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £9,250
Eligible EU students tuition fee per year**: £25,200
Foundation year essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course.
How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students who have already taken out a tuition fee loan for undergraduate study should check their eligibility for additional funding directly with the relevant awards body.
*The tuition fee for UK undergraduates is controlled by Government regulations. Fees for the first year of an Integrated Foundation Degree (i.e. the Foundation year) will be charged at the same amount as the accompanying UG degree course, unless otherwise indicated by the government. For students starting a degree in the academic year 2024/25, the fee is £9,250 for that year.
** This figure is the fee for EU students starting a degree in the academic year 2024/25.
Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees annually for overseas fee-paying students. Please be aware that tuition fees can rise during your degree. The upper limit of any such annual rise has not yet been set for courses starting in 2024 but will advertised here once confirmed.
***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree at Royal Holloway during the 2024/25 academic year, and are included as a guide. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.
Year 1 discount for Foundation Year students: Your Foundation Year counts as Year 0. In Year 1, Home (UK) students taking an Integrated Foundation Year degree benefit from a 10% discount off the standard Home (UK) tuition fee for that year. Find out more