Highly ranked

We are in the UK top ten for Geology (QS World University Rankings by subject 2024).

Research excellence

We are ranked second in the UK for 'Earth systems and environmental sciences' research (THE analysis of REF 2021), with 100% of research assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent (REF 2021).

Hands-on learning

The whole Earth is our laboratory, and fieldwork is an integral part of our teaching. An exciting programme of field trips is included in your tuition fee.

Geology at Bristol

Geology is the study of the solid Earth, the materials of which it is composed, and the processes by which they change. Join a world-renowned research community and learn from experts working to understand issues of global importance, from living with volcanic and seismic hazards to understanding environmental change and our impact on it, to sustainably procuring the resources we need for our society.

We have large geology collections available to students and you will gain practical experience with over 40 days of fieldwork in the UK and overseas, the cost of which is included in your tuition fee. We carefully choose field locations to be directly relevant to your studies, and you'll develop a strong set of scientific and transferable skills by putting theory into action.

You may also be interested in other earth sciences subjects at Bristol, including Environmental Geoscience and Palaeontology and Evolution.

Think Big bursaries of £3,000 are available to support first-year international undergraduate students in this subject area.

Earth scientists will, no doubt, play a vital role in the future as the transition to green energy becomes even more important. Studying geology will equip you with the tools and skills needed to make a positive difference to this planet.

Demi, BSc Geology

Career prospects

A person looking through a microscope in a laboratory.

Geology graduates from Bristol travel the world, working in fields as diverse as natural resources, meteorology, the nuclear industry and geotechnical services, as well as in areas such as journalism and management.

Some graduates go on to further study or careers in scientific media, finance and teaching. The teamwork, problem-solving and quantitative skills acquired by our graduates are highly valued by academic institutions as well as by industry and employers in other sectors.

Course structure

A group of people with backpacks and hard-hats consulting a large rock face.

We focus on developing your enthusiasm for earth sciences and giving you the skills and knowledge to meet the scientific challenges of the future.

Our courses are delivered through lectures, laboratory-based practicals and organised field trips. In addition, small-group tutorials help you to develop essential skills. You will develop independent learning skills and you will assess your progress with the aid of feedback from teaching staff.

An enjoyment of the outdoors is an advantage as we spend a considerable amount of time completing field assignments. We work in many parts of the UK, and everyone will undertake at least one overseas field course.

On our Study Abroad degree, you can spend your third year studying at one of our prestigious partner universities overseas. Current locations include Canada, the US, Iceland and New Zealand. Find out more at the Centre for Study Abroad

There is flexibility to transfer between geology and environmental geoscience courses at the end of the first year, and between BSc, MSci and Study Abroad options.

First-class facilities

An historic map.
The University of Bristol's Earth Science Collection contains over 100,000 palaeontological, petrological and mineralogical samples of scientific and historical importance. Some of the oldest donations go back to 1876, when geology was first taught at Bristol.
The teaching spaces in the School of Earth Sciences are Gold LEAF certified, in recognition of the actions undertaken to improve laboratory efficiency and sustainability."
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