BSc (Hons) Geology (Including foundation year)

The foundation course in Geology is designed for applicants who do not meet the entry criteria for the BSc (Hons) Geology degree. You’ll start by completing a foundation year, which provides well structured support, allowing you to develop your scientific skills and knowledge and progress to the degree in Geology.

On this Geology course, you'll explore diverse topics, including how to describe, analyse and interpret rocks, how volcanoes are formed, how ice ages originate, how mountains form, how to search for oil and gas, and what Britain was like 500 million years ago. We pride ourselves on offering some of the most extensive fieldwork of any UK university geology course, at locations in the UK and overseas, which currently include Iceland and Spain. 

Geology is concerned with the Earth's origin, structure, composition and history, as well as the physical, chemical and biological processes that have formed it. By graduation, you'll understand relevant scientific principles and how to apply them to a huge range of geological questions and problems.


UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
028B Full-time 4 Years September Glyntaff A
UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
028B Full-time 4 Years September Glyntaff A

In the first year, you will gain basic geological knowledge and scientific background. In years two and three, you will enjoy more detailed study and develop practical and transferable skills.

Foundation Year: Geology degree

  • Foundation Statistics
  • Foundations of Mathematics
  • Essentials of Science
  • Foundations of Earth Science
  • Rocks in the Field
  • Foundation Ecology and Environmental Science
  • Physical Science

Year Two: Geology degree

  • The Dynamic Earth
  • Rocks, Minerals and Fossils
  • Basic Field Geology 1
  • Basic Field Geology 2
  • Introduction to Data Analysis and GIS
  • Geological Research Techniques

Year Three: Geology degree

  • The Evolving Earth
  • Sedimentology
  • Structural Geology
  • Petrology
  • Geological Expedition
  • Applied Geochemistry (optional)
  • Digital Mapping for Geology (optional)

Year Four: Geology degree

  • Basin Analysis and Hydrocarbon Exploration
  • Geophysical Methods
  • Independent Geological Mapping and Research Project
  • Volcanology
  • Engineering and Mining Geology
  • Hydrogeology



The Geology course is delivered using a combination of lectures, laboratory sessions, tutorials, practicals, and UK field trips. The number of hours of formal teaching will vary depending on your module choice and year of study. The focus of this degree is hands-on learning, so you will gain practical skills that are supported by the study of theory. Most modules are taught through lectures and practical laboratory or fieldwork exercises. The course also includes several residential UK and overseas field-based modules and a dissertation.



Our students are assessed using a range of approaches depending on your module choice and year of study which could include laboratory and field reports of your own work, essays, oral presentations, posters, field notebooks, teamwork projects and examinations. 


This Geology degree is accredited by The Geological Society.

Field Trips

We pride ourselves on offering some of the most extensive fieldwork of any UK university Geology course, at locations in the UK and overseas, which currently include Iceland and Spain. The Geology degree contains around 35% practical work and most modules include a fieldwork element.

Field work is an integral part of the Geology degree and offers exciting itineraries throughout the three years. All compulsory UK and overseas fieldwork is currently free of charge, with the exception of food costs. Independent Mapping (four weeks) in the summer between Years 2 and 3 incurs some extra costs (accommodation, food, travel) but we currently provide £500 towards these expenses if undertaken away from the South Wales area (£100 if undertaken in the local area).

There may be additional costs associated with this course


By studying a Geology degree with us, you will benefit from the huge investment in facilities that has taken place at the University’s Glyntaff Campus in Pontypridd.

USW Geology students enjoy a modern learning environment, with purpose-built labs and industry-standard research and specialist software that currently includes ArcGIS, ERDAS and RockWorks. There are two dedicated laboratories with a large suite of transmitted light petrological microscopes and an extensive rock and fossil collection to support practical sessions. We also have facilities for geochemical analysis using our Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and wet chemistry laboratories.


Entry criteria detail typical offers but USW considers all applications on an individual basis which means that we could make offers based on qualifications, personal profile and experience. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed may also be acceptable.

Typical A-Level Offer

EE to include a relevant Science subject but to exclude General Studies

Typical Welsh BACC Offer


Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Pass Pass Pass or BTEC Diploma Pass Pass in a relevant subject

Typical IB Offer

Pass IB Diploma or two IB Certficates at Higher level to include Science or Maths.

Typical Access to HE Offer

Pass Maths or Science Diploma with 60 credits overall to include 45 level 3 credits all Passes

Additional Requirements

GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 3 GCSEs including Mathematics and English at Grade C or above, or their equivalent but consideration is given to individual circumstances

International Entry Requirements

We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.

English Requirements

In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.

However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

Find out how to pay your tuition fees in full or by payment plan.

This course is eligible under the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme for Ex-Armed Forces personnel.

International Scholarships are available for self-funding international students.

August 2018 - July 2019 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU:  £9000

  • Full-time International:  £12300 

August 2019 - July 2020 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
Kit (Uniform and Equipment) * £100 - £200
Students will need to purchase suitable waterproof and windproof outdoor clothes and boots. Used for field excursions in all years
Field Trips * £50 - £100
Food costs for field trip to Snowdonia.
Please note that students who successfuly secure a placement in industry or abroad to complete their projects would be expected to pay for their own travelling costs to and from the venue during the period of placement. The cost of this will of course vary and some students have also paid for accommodation close to their place of work for the duration of their placement. Many books are available as ebooks. The course uses the many computing facilities of the Glyntaff campus (students are not expected to buy their own computer but having a personal PC will help with their studies). Tuition fees include access to laboratory equipment, field equipment, ICT stations and software. Students are required to purchase a number of required texts amounting to a total of about £200.

UK and EU students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK/EU residing applicant, applying for year one of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly

International students

Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK/EU. 

Admissions statement

For many students, a degree is an important step in achieving their career ambitions. Our Geology degrees generate motivated and able graduates with a range of key skills. They are highly valued by employers for the scope of their knowledge, and have excellent communication and critical thinking skills. Laboratory work and field projects ensure our students have strong research and team working skills.

By the time you graduate, you will understand scientific principles and apply them to geological questions and problems. Graduates from our Geology degree have careers in the site investigation and environmental sectors, land reclamation and commissions in the technical branches of the armed services. A significant number of our graduates continue to taught postgraduate courses or research degrees.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW Geology student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.