Earth science covers everything from the formation of rocks and minerals to the impact of human activity on the environment.
You'll study the Earth at the molecular, micro and macro-scale, from the chemistry of a single element to the processes that shape the continents.
Your key areas of study include:
Understanding how these areas interact and combine to create the complexity of the Earth system is what makes Earth science a fascinating area to study.
The practical skills you develop in geomatics – the fourth element of the degree – allow you to collect and analyse data about the world. This prepares you for diverse and in-demand careers.
Field days and residential field courses allow you to experience the Earth in action. You'll develop practical skills and network with Earth science professionals.
BSc or MEarthSci?
Our Earth Science degree is offered at two levels:
- Bachelor of Science (BSc)
- Master of Earth Science (MEarthSci)
Our MEarthSci degree includes an additional year of advanced study at master’s level, where you will undertake a research project and work with leading researchers.
Please rest assured we make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities described. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption, for example in response to COVID-19.
See our terms and conditions for more information
View our Frequently Asked Questions
Your course during COVID-19
Whilst things will not be the same when you join us in September, this course page is intended to give you insight into what to expect from your course and your learning experience for the duration of your degree.
We have updated all course information where there are specific changes in the first semester.
Most of our student services are now available online. As COVID-19 restrictions lift, we'll be opening up our on-campus facilities as soon as it is safe to do so, so that you can get the best out of your studies.
Your learning experience
Your teaching will be a mixture of online and in-person on-campus teaching. In semester one, as a result of physical distancing requirements, all lecture materials will be delivered online along with many tutorials, workshops and labs.
Our aim, if Government guidance allows us, is to deliver up to three hours of labs, seminars and tutorial teaching in-person on campus where this is possible and safe to do so. We'll review this regularly and plan to return to full in-person, on-campus teaching in semester two if restrictions allow.
In semester one, we will not be running face-to-face, on-campus examinations. We will instead use different approaches to assessment. These will test and support your learning.
We will be running some but not all of our planned field trips. Some of those that do run, will be run virtually. For those that do not run, we will be offering alternative learning activities. These learning activities will give you the opportunity to achieve the same learning.
Terms and conditions and student complaints
The University has terms and conditions which create a positive environment for learning and academic achievement.
Our COVID-19 Study page gives more information about your Newcastle University 2020 study experience.
Given the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the commitments outlined are subject to the guidelines that may be in place at the time.
Quality and ranking
4th in the UK – The Guardian University Guide 2020 (in the Earth and Marine Sciences category)
Modules and learning
The information below is intended to provide an example of what you will study.
Most degrees are divided into stages. Each stage lasts for one academic year, and you'll complete modules totalling 120 credits by the end of each stage.
Our teaching is informed by research. Course content may change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback.
Optional module availability
Student demand for optional modules may affect availability.
Full details of the modules on offer will be published through the Programme Regulations and Specifications ahead of each academic year. This usually happens in May.
To find out more please see our terms and conditions.
You’ll cover a broad range of topics to provide you with a solid foundation of knowledge in Earth Science. This foundation will help you understand more complex challenges and solutions as you progress in your degree.
You'll also be introduced to key concepts of geology, remote sensing, GIS and geochemistry.
|Natural Science Research Impact||10|
|Fundamentals of Surveying I||10|
Stage 2 advances your skills and knowledge. You'll be introduced to further complexity in the Earth system and explore the impacts that human activity has on the environment.
The residential field mapping course to the Isle of Arran provides training in how to identify and map geological formations in the field.
|Dissertation and Research Preparation||10|
|Minerals and their Instabilities||10|
|Global Element Cycling||10|
|Geological Field Mapping||20|
|Research Methods in Environmental Pollution||20|
|Pollution of Air, Water & Soil||10|
|Geographic Information Systems: Theory and Application||10|
|Applied Remote Sensing and Image Processing||10|
You are ready to explore advanced aspects of Earth science, taking advantage of our world-leading research. Specialist topics such as geomicrobiology and biogeochemistry will present new insights and opportunities.
Stage 3 also has an international residential field course that consolidates your learning with practical experience at an advanced level.
|Earth Science Dissertation||30|
Teaching and assessment
During your studies, you'll be taught through a variety of methods including:
- laboratory practicals
- research vessel practicals
- field work
- research project
- small group tutorials
You'll be assessed through a combination of:
Assignments – written or fieldwork
Examinations – practical or online
Skills and experience
With miles of coastline and the Northumberland countryside on your doorstep, you’ll enjoy a unique learning experience at Newcastle.
You'll be challenged to put theory into practice out in the field.
Field trips are vital as you explore Earth Science. Locations include:
- the Lake District
- the Isle of Arran
- Sorbas Basin, Spain
You'll have access to our world-class analytical laboratories, supported by our research expertise in fields such as petroleum geochemistry, biogeochemistry, global imaging systems, remote sensing and environmental impact.
You'll be able to conduct high-quality research, alongside our expert academic staff, to complement the teaching and practical classes delivered during your degree.
Chat to a student
The five-day fieldwork trip applying many of the skills we’d learnt in classes was one of the highlights of my year as I developed a much more in depth understanding of what I’d already learnt.
Experience life in another country by choosing to study abroad as part of your degree. You’ll be encouraged to embrace fun and challenging experiences, make connections with new communities and graduate as a globally aware professional, ready for your future.
You can choose to spend up to a year studying at a partner institution overseas.
If you choose to study abroad, it will extend your degree by a year.
This earth science degree is also available with a year's work placement, as a four-year programme.
You'll apply to spend 9 to 12 months working in any organisation in the world, and receive University support from our dedicated team to secure your dream placement. Work placements take place in Stage 3.
You'll gain first-hand experience of working in the sector, putting your learning into practice and developing your professional expertise.
Placements are subject to availability.
Facilities and environment
You will be based on campus at the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences. As a student of Earth and Environmental Sciences you'll have access to our world-class facilities and analytical laboratories, including:
- gas chromatography
- gas chromatography mass spectrometry
- high pressure liquid chromatography mass spectrometry
- inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry
You will be taught in the new, and unique, teaching space of the Houston Laboratory: part of a £2m redevelopment of Newcastle University’s Drummond Building.
You'll benefit from the Great North Museum on campus. It's home to over 9,000 geological and mineralogical specimens. The Mining Institute, with one of the world’s most comprehensive collections on mining engineering, is just a short walk away.
As a new student, you'll receive a tablet so you can download online learning resources, helping to make our campus more sustainable.
You'll have the support of an academic member of staff as a personal tutor throughout your degree to help with academic and personal issues.
Peer mentors will help you in your first year. They are fellow students who can help you settle in and answer any questions you have when starting university.
There's also a staff-student committee, to give you an opportunity to have a say in how your degree works.
Earth science graduates are well qualified to enter a wide range of careers and the geoscience industry has a shortage of graduates with the skills taught on this course.
You will be able to enter the global geology industry with potential careers in:
- water supply
- environmental sectors
The emerging alternative energy industry also needs these skills.
You will also develop a portfolio of graduate transferable skills that are highly valued by a wide range of employers outside the earth science sector, and which can open the door to graduate-entry programmes with major employers, such as:
- team working
- data analysis
- data interpretation
Employability at Newcastle
96% of Newcastle University graduates progressed to employment or further study within six months of graduating, with 85.5% in graduate-level employment or further study.
Take a look at the most recent data available for our graduates. See what they have gone on to achieve and be inspired to follow in their footsteps.
Statistics are based on what graduates were doing on a specific date, approximately six months after graduation (Destinations of (undergraduate and postgraduate UK domiciled) Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2016/17).
Our Enterprise Challenge gives students the opportunity to work with industry on a project that tackles real-world issues. Watch the above video to find out more.
Our award-winning Careers Service is one of the largest and best in the country, and we have strong links with employers. We provide an extensive range of opportunities to all students through our ncl+ initiative.
Defence Technical Undergraduate Scheme
This degree is approved by DTUS, a Ministry of Defence sponsorship programme for students who wish to join the Royal Navy, British Army, RAF, or Defence Engineering and Science Group (DESG) as technical officers after graduation.
All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2020 entry.
Other UK qualifications (and PARTNERS)
Qualifications from outside the UK
English Language requirements
Through our PARTNERS programme, you could receive an offer up to three grades lower than the typical requirements, and get support throughout the application process. To apply through PARTNERS, you must be based in the UK and meet our eligibility criteria.
Entrance courses (INTO)
International Pathway Courses are specialist programmes designed for international students who want to study in the UK. We provide a range of study options for international students in partnership with INTO.
This policy applies to all undergraduate and postgraduate admissions at Newcastle University, including Newcastle University London. It is intended to provide information about our admissions policies and procedures to applicants and potential applicants, to their advisors and family members, and to staff of the University.
Tuition fees and scholarships
Tuition fees for 2020 entry (per year)
The maximum fee that we are permitted to charge for UK students is set by the UK government.
As a general principle, you should expect the tuition fee to increase in each subsequent academic year of your course, subject to government regulations on fee increases and in line with inflation.
You will be charged tuition fees for each year of your degree programme (unless you are on a shorter exchange programme).
The tuition fee amount you will pay may increase slightly year on year as a result of inflation.
Year abroad and additional costs
For programmes where you can spend a year on a work placement or studying abroad, you will receive a significant fee reduction for that year.
Some of our degrees involve additional costs which are not covered by your tuition fees.
Find out more about:
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Open days and events
The situation with Covid-19 means that we're unable to hold Open Days on campus. However, you don’t have to visit in person to experience Newcastle.
We will be holding a virtual event on:
• Saturday 19 September
From the comfort of your sofa you'll be able to:
• explore our beautiful campus
• find out about our vibrant city
• discover what students think about studying at Newcastle
You'll also have the opportunity to speak to academic staff and find out more about the subjects you're interested in.
How to apply
Apply through UCAS
To apply for undergraduate study at Newcastle University, you must use the online application system managed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). All UK schools and colleges, and a small number of EU and international establishments, are registered with UCAS. You will need:
- the UCAS name and institution codes for Newcastle University (NEWC/N21)
- the UCAS code for the course you want to apply for
- the UCAS 'buzzword' for your school or college
If you are applying independently, or are applying from a school or college which is not registered to manage applications, you will still use the Apply system. You will not need a buzzword.Apply through UCAS
Apply through an agent
International students often apply to us through an agent. Have a look at our recommended agents and get in touch with them.