Earth Sciences (Geology): Overview and Entrance Requirements

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The Earth Sciences course at Oxford delves into the comprehensive study of our planet, which combines disciplines like physics, chemistry, biology, geology, geography, and palaeontology. This robust training also equips students with a strong scientific foundation to explore the Earth’s origins, evolution, and future. 

Through a blend of theory and interdisciplinary approaches, the course unveils the inner workings of our world, addressing vital contemporary issues. These include the solar system’s inception, the planet’s development, climate systems, and the destiny of glaciers.

Students in this programme also master the interpretation of geological materials and phenomena while drawing from diverse fields. In turn, they foster a deep understanding of the Earth and its environment. 

Fieldwork is a cornerstone of this course, enhancing the practical application of concepts explored in lectures. From Scotland to Spain and even Bermuda, students engage in immersive field courses that culminate in independent mapping projects. 

Notably, the Department covers expenses for these field experiences, ensuring accessibility for all students, providing essential safety and geological equipment. Thus, this programme offers a unique opportunity to explore the Earth’s intricacies firsthand. It also merges theory with practical exploration on a global scale.

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UCAS CodeF642 (Geology)F644 (Earth Sciences)
Minimum Entrance Requirements A-levels – A*AA/AAAA
Advanced Highers – AA/AAB to include Mathematics plus Physics or Chemistry. 
IB –  39 (including core points) with 766 at HL to include HL Maths plus HL Chemistry or HL Physics. 
Admission Test for Earth Sciences (Geology) at OxfordNone
Subject Requirements for Earth Sciences (Geology)at OxfordMaths, plus Chemistry or Physics, are Essential
Chemistry or Physics is also Recommended 
Biology, Geology, Further Maths may be Helpful
Extras things admission tutors look forApplication/Interest: Highly motivated & intellectually competent students.
Furthermore, you might be asked to comment on geological specimens, or carry out simple calculations during interview.
Duration3 years (BA Geology)
4 years (MEarthSci)
Admissions StatisticsInterviewed: 89%
Successful: 28%
What is Earth Sciences (Geology) at Oxford?This course equips students with a solid scientific foundation to understand the planet’s origins, evolution, and future. 
Through interdisciplinary approaches, students also learn to interpret geological materials, tackle pressing issues like climate change, and engage in immersive fieldwork worldwide. 
What Colleges offer Earth Sciences (Geology) at OxfordExeter College, St Anne’s College, St Edmund Hall, St Hugh’s College, St Peter’s College, University College, Worcester College
Structure of the Earth Sciences (Geology) Course at OxfordYear 1-3
The course is divided between lectures, tutorials, and practical classes.
Year 1: Lectures 55%, Practicals 45%
Students take all courses in five parallel streams: Planet Earth, Fundamentals of geology I, Fundamentals of geology II, Physics, chemistry and biology for Earth Sciences, Mathematics Field courses, Pembroke field course, Arran field course, Local field courses
Year 2: Lectures 55%, Practicals 45%
Students take all courses in five parallel streams: Earth deformation and materials, Palaeobiology/Evolution, Geology and petrology, Geochemistry and ocean chemistry, Mathematical and geophysical tools
Field courses: Dorset field course, Assynt field course
Year 3: Lectures 60%, Practicals 40%
Students take a combination of core and optional papers, which currently include the following: Natural resources, Sedimentary basins, Biological and physical oceanography, Climate, Seismology and Earth structure/Vector calculus, Geodynamics, Volcanology, igneous processes and petrogenesis, Quantitative palaeobiology, Plate tectonics
There is also one field course, previously taking place in Spain and Cornwall and an Independent field mapping project. This is conducted over summer break between Years 2 and 3.
There is also an extended essay on a topic of your choosing.
Year 4: Project 50%, Seminars 50%
Opportunity for independent work on special topics or in a research laboratory. Students also choose four options (out of eight to ten), generally two in each term.           These are subject to change, but currently include: Anatomy of a mountain belt, Planetary chemistry, Structure and dynamics of the Earth’s mantle, Coevolution of Earth and life, Palaeobiology, Environmental, rock and palaeomagnetism, Topics in oceanography, Topics in volcanology
Field courses: optional field courses as announced each year.
Previous destinations include Greece and Bermuda.
Independent work: research project over 2 terms.
Common Careers after Earth Sciences (Geology) at OxfordGraduates of Earth Sciences (Geology)at Oxford secure opportunities in 
Energy industry, Mining industry, the environmental sector, and engineering/ technical consultancies
Some also continue to study for Masters or PhD. and pursue a career as Scientists/Researchers, Policy Advisors, and/or Sustainability professionals.
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