A degree is needed to become a professional geoscientist, and is offered by university departments of geology, geoscience or Earth science. Many employers now ask for a postgraduate qualification such as an MSc or PhD as well. However, there is a job market for those who do not have a degree – see ‘Options for non-graduates’.
You may wish to choose a more specialised kind of degree course which concentrates on a particular aspect of geoscience such as Environmental Geology or Geophysics. It is also possible, as with other subjects, to combine your study of geoscience with other subjects in joint degree or modular degree programmes.
The degree accreditation page lists currently accredited courses, which provides you with added assurance that a department's teaching is of the highest quality, and has been approved by an independent body of academics and industrialists.
What do I need and how do I apply?
For students entering full-time geoscience courses from school, evidence of basic competence in science is normally required (eg two A/AS level/Scottish Higher passes in sciences). Preferred subjects are physics, chemistry, biology, geology and a mathematical subject. Geography is acceptable for some courses; geology is welcomed but not essential. You should check precise admissions requirements with the departments that interest you and/or with the guidance offered by the University Central Admissions Service (UCAS). If you know that you wish to pursue a geoscience career but cannot be more specific present, you are advised to study a single subject degree or to restrict a joint degree to other related science subjects. This will make it easier to progress to a further degree (MSc, PhD) later if you wish.
Your careers advisor or sixth form teacher will advise you on how to apply for a university place via UCAS. Note that applications can only be made on-line, either by individuals or through a school group. There is a deadline of January in the year of intended entry for most subjects, with a clearing system in the summer for last minute or amended applications, dependent on exam results.