Our Geology and Physical Geography MSci course is a flexible degree, supported by an extensive fieldwork programme, that will give you a broad-based knowledge of the Earth sciences.


Institutional Accreditation 

University of Newcastle is accredited by the DETC Higher Learning Commission (DETC), www.detc.org.uk Since , University of Newcastle has been continually accredited by the DETC Higher Learning Commission and its predecessor.

Geology and Physical Geography MSci (Hons)

Course Level:

Undergraduate, Single Honours





How long it takes:

Undergraduate (4 years)

Study Mode:

Distance learning/ Campus

Course cost

Price: US$20,220

Entry requirements

Find out more about


Newcastle Law School

Year 1

Compulsory modules

The first year provides you with a broad training in topics across the subject, through several compulsory modules. We don’t assume any prior knowledge; the chemistry, physics and maths that you require is taught in the context of individual modules, and applied to the problems that you’re investigating.  Residential trips to Northern Ireland and South West Wales will train you in key skills in geological observation, data recording and interpretation.


  • Earth History and Life
  • Earth Systems
  • Global Environmental Issues A
  • Global Environmental Issues B
  • Atoms to Volcanoes
  • Earth Structures & Tectonics
  • Geoscience Project
  • Introductory Field and Research Skills
  • SW Wales Field Course


Year 2

Compulsory modules

The Year 2 content builds on the first year, covering a range of specialised topics. Compulsory modules cover sedimentology, past environments, and a resources module, and you can also choose two or three options from diverse selection. The Year 2 field courses take you to North West Scotland, where you will focus on quaternary processes and geomorphology, and to Dorset and Cornwall, where you will cover a wide range of exercises, from palaeontology to structural geology.

  • Sedimentology
  • Field Skills and Project Planning for Independent Projects
  • NW Scotland Field Skills
  • Resource Geology OR Resources & Exploration

Optional modules

  • Micropalaeontology and Palaeoenvironments
  • Hydroclimatology: Climate and Water
  • Ecological Systems
  • Environmental Pollution
  • Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology
  • Continental Deformation
  • Geological Natural Hazards
  • Geomorphology and Palaeoenvironments
  • Oceans Through Time
  • Catchment Water and Soil Management


Year 3

Compulsory modules

Compulsory modules in Year 3 include your dissertation – a mapping project in an area of your choice, where you will undertake fieldwork the previous summer – and a field based module introducing a variety of new geological environments, processes and rock types.

  • Earth Sciences Research

Select one of the following field based modules:

  • Volcanology
  • Sedimentary Basin Analysis
  • Sustainable Resource Geology

Optional modules

You can specialise further by choosing modules from a wide variety of options, ranging from more applied and resource-based topics through to environmental and ecological modules. Example optional modules may include:

  • Palaeoclimates
  • Climate Change in the Earth System
  • Remote Sensing of the Cryosphere
  • Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology
  • Evolution of Vertebrates
  • Petroleum Geoscience
  • Environment and Landscape Change
  • Weather Climate and Society
  • Landscape and Urban Ecology
  • Environmental Protection
  • River Processes, Deposits and Environments
  • Evolutionary Palaeobiology
  • Tectonic and Magmatic Processes
  • Environmental Protection
  • Evolutionary Palaeobiology
  • Climate change in the Earth System
  • Small-scale and Air Pollution Meteorology


Year 4

The compulsory Year 4 modules include your major research project – in a topic that you will have devised with an academic – and a skills-based field module – training you in research and science communication.

Compulsory modules:

  • Advanced Project

Select one of the following field based modules:

  • Sustainable Resource Geology
  • Sedimentary Basin Analysis
  • Volcanology 

Optional modules:

You also take two optional modules (except those taken in Year 3):

  • Palaeoclimates
  • Evolution of Vertebrates
  • Petroleum Geoscience
  • Evolutionary Palaeobiology
  • Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology
  • Inorganic Chemistry and Groundwater and Borehole Design, Construction and Maintenance
  • Environmental Geophysics
  • Groundwater Organic Contaminant Pollution and Remediation
  • Tectonic and Magmatic Processes
  • Professional Placements for Earth Scientists

Entry requirements


Applicants should normally have one of the following:

  • A non-law bachelor’s degree (from a UK university or recognised by the BSB if you wish to study the BPTC), or
  • A ‘stale’ law degree, where five or more years have elapsed since graduation, or
  • An academic or professional qualification at degree equivalent level

If English is not your first language, you will also need to demonstrate your English Language proficiency. For example, you should have IELTS 7.5 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in all components.

If you intend to become a Solicitor

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has reduced its requirements for pre-authorisation this year. For details of the current arrangements, see the SRA website. You should pay special attention to the Character and Suitability section. If you think you may have a character or suitability issue, you may wish to clarify with the SRA before proceeding with the GDL.

See further details of our English Language requirement

USA,UK & EU students, 2019/20 (per year)


International students starting 2019/20 (per year)




You’ll show your progress through a combination of written essays, problem-solving assignments and presentations.

All students take our core modules, but please note that the availability of optional modules is subject to demand.

Where could a degree in Earth Sciences take you?

Recent graduates have found employment in a wide range of fields. Our most recent student survey showed that many students from Earth Sciences were engaged in work or study directly related to their first degree, with the remainder choosing career paths in areas outside of the subject where the transferable skills gained on the programme prove invaluable. 

Careers in Earth Sciences and Geography are exteremely diverse, with students going into a wide range of professions. Increasing numbers of our graduates are employed in environmental planning, land remediation hydrogeology and pollution control. Opportunities in some fields, notably the oil and minerals industries, vary from year to year. Other employers include the British Geological Survey (BGS), local authorities, museums, government organisations and engineering and construction companies. Other graduates decide on a career in teaching either from primary or right through to further education. Many students also go on to careers around the world in locations including Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Increasingly, a successful career in geology is helped by having a higher qualification. Nearly half of our graduates go on to further study before taking a job, either by completing a one-year MSc course or researching for a PhD.


Transferable skills

You will acquire sought-after skills that will enable you to forge a career in a range of geology and geology-related industries, from the environmental through to engineering sectors, as well as a host of generic transferable skills. From data analysis and problem solving to communication and team-working, these transferable skills are highly valued by employers and will enhance your employability in the competitive job market.