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.
Regular 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.
Your course during COVID-19
Please rest assured we make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the programmes, services and facilities described. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption.
Given the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the commitments outlined are subject to guidelines that may be in place from time to time.
View our COVID-19 Study page, which gives information about your Newcastle University study experience for the academic year 2021-22.
See our terms and conditions and student complaints information
Quality and ranking
- 18th in the UK – The Guardian University Guide 2022 (Earth and Marine Sciences)
- Top 200 for Earth and Marine Sciences - QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021
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.
The first year introduces you to the key concepts of geology, remote sensing, GIS and geochemistry. The lectures, practical classes and field days combine to provide a foundation from which you can develop your skills.
The residential field course will enable you to put your newly developed skills into practice by exploring geology and modern mining operations in the Lake District.
|Environment and Land Resources||10|
|Environment and Land use Field Course||10|
|Academic and Professional Skills||20|
|Earth System Science||10|
|Geology and GIS Field Course||10|
|Interpreting Geological Maps||10|
|Geographic Information Systems||10|
|Principles of Remote Sensing||10|
|Natural Science Research Impact||10|
|Fundamentals of Surveying I||10|
|The Marine Environment||20|
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|
|Basin Analysis and Stratigraphy||10|
|Global Element Cycling||10|
|Basin Analysis Fieldtrip||20|
|Research Methods in Environmental Pollution||20|
|Pollution of Air, Water & Soil||10|
|Geographic Information Systems: Theory and Application||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 and Environmental Science Dissertation||30|
We base these figures and graphs on the most up-to-date information available to us. They combine data on the planned delivery and assessments of our courses in 2021-22 with data on the modules chosen by our students in 2020-21.
Teaching time is made up of:
- scheduled learning and teaching activities. These are timetabled activities with a member of staff present
- structured guided learning. These are activities developed by staff to support engagement with module learning. Students or groups of students undertake these activities without direct staff participation or supervision
Teaching and assessment
Teaching is delivered through lectures and practicals in:
- rock and mineral identification
- geological mapping
You'll be assessed through a combination of:
Assignments – written or fieldwork
Examinations – practical or online
Skills and experience
You will develop your hands-on, practical skills with fieldwork opportunities embedded throughout your degree.
You will be equipped with the practical skills that are sought by employers through fieldwork and access to our world-class facilities.
There are lots of opportunities to explore the environment, including:
- frequent field days, reinforcing classroom learning and helping you apply your knowledge to practical contexts
- an annual residential field course, in the UK or abroad
Current field course locations include the Lake District, the Isle of Arran and 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.
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
- two commercial farms near Newcastle
- Dove Marine Laboratory on the coast
- research vessel, The Princess Royal
You'll also have access to two commercial farms near Newcastle.
Our University farms, Cockle Park Farm and Nafferton Farm, will give you an insight into how real-world farms operate, so you're prepared for your future. Our farms are used for research, teaching and demonstration.
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.
To support you in your studies, all new students entering year 1 or year 2 will receive a tablet. You can download the online learning resources you'll need for your course (helping us 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.
Recognition of professional qualifications outside of the UK
From 1 January 2021 there is an update to the way professional qualifications are recognised by countries outside of the UK
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.
This scheme is for 2021 entry only. DTUS will not be running for 2022 entry.
All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.
Other UK and the Republic of Ireland qualifications
Qualifications from outside the UK
English Language requirements
Through one of our contextual routes, you could receive an offer of up to three grades lower than the typical requirements.
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 2022 entry (per year)
Home Fee Students
International Fee Students
The maximum fee that we are permitted to charge for home fee-paying 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.
Depending on your residency history, if you’re a student from the EU, other EEA or a Swiss national, with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you’ll normally pay the ‘Home’ tuition fee rate and may be eligible for Student Finance England support.
EU students without settled or pre-settled status will normally be charged fees at the ‘International’ rate and will not be eligible for Student Finance England support.
If you are unsure of your fee status, check out the latest guidance here.
We support our EU and international students by providing a generous range of Vice-Chancellor's automatic and merit-based scholarships. See our undergraduate scholarship page for more information.
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:
Find out more about:
Open days and events
You'll have a number of opportunities to meet us throughout the year at our on-campus and virtual open days.
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.
Get in touch
Call us on +44 (0) 191 208 3333 and press option 1. Our opening hours are Monday to Friday 10am until 4pm.
Our Ncl chatbot might be able to give you an answer straight away. If not, it’ll direct you to someone who can help.
You'll find our Ncl chatbot in the bottom right of this page.
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