Chlorophile
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So I'm intending to apply for Geophysics/Earth Sciences in the next UCAS cycle. I've been hearing a lot about people talking about University 'specialisms', like Imperial's apparently excellent for petrochemicals. So I've got a couple of questions.

Firstly, how do you find out these specialisms?

Secondly, how much of an impact would this have on the undergraduate course? I really want to apply to Imperial but I have detest the idea of having anything to do with petrochemical engineering. I'm much more interested in climatic and tectonic modelling. Which universities would be best for this?

Sorry if I sound really ignorant!
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FlyHigh_er
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(Original post by Chlorophile)
So I'm intending to apply for Geophysics/Earth Sciences in the next UCAS cycle. I've been hearing a lot about people talking about University 'specialisms', like Imperial's apparently excellent for petrochemicals. So I've got a couple of questions.

Firstly, how do you find out these specialisms?

Secondly, how much of an impact would this have on the undergraduate course? I really want to apply to Imperial but I have detest the idea of having anything to do with petrochemical engineering. I'm much more interested in climatic and tectonic modelling. Which universities would be best for this?

Sorry if I sound really ignorant!
Specialisms can be seen in the MSc courses that they offer. They can only do an MSc on something that they have specialists on.

In terms of what you want to do, specialisms could be important because of your fourth year project if you are doing the four yr course, you can only do the project in a uni's specislism areas, but I don't think it's important enough to give up a uni you prefer for the specialism at another uni. You'll find that you will find something that you like enough to do a project on since all undergrad courses in earth sciences are homogenous with the same course at other unis. For the first two years anyway.

In terms of what you want to do, I think Leeds Bristol or Birmingham, look at some more unis because I don't know about Leicester for example, are good for your interests. Imperials specialism won't interrupt you too much, I would just say that it would be better, if you want to go there, to do the three yr course then apply for an MSc elsewhere.

This is from my post for someone else:

As for universities: (depending on your grades). * = I applied

• Imperial: great uni, great for petroleum geology
• UCL: great uni, great for hazards etc (AAB)*
• Bristol: great uni, great for volcanology, glaciation, palaeontology (AAB)*
• Manchester: great uni, great for petroleum geology, palaeontology, chemical geology etc (MSci: AAB; BSc: ABB)*
• Birmingham: great uni, best uni on the country for mapping and exploration, great for palaeontology, hazards (ABB)*
• Durham: great uni (AAA)*
•Southampton: great uni, specialist in ocean sciences, so geology of the ocean etc (MSci: AAB; BSc: ABB)
• Leeds: great uni, I think great for structural geology etc (A*AA-AAB)
• Leicester: good uni (ABB I think)

These are the best, aside from Scotland. If you've got the grades to go to an RG uni, go, it's more important than people think. Even the students at uni told me that you need to start thinking about what you want to do after uni. It's important because geology is a subject that unis always have a specialism in, therefore, what they specialise in is what you can do your 4th yr project in and also where they have the best links in industry.

UCL tends to be more academic and less employable but not by all means (after going there I've concluded with others that the dept at UCL is not for everyone, I wouldn't actively recommend it, it seems to lack). Imperial and Manchester have the best links with oil companies. Bristol and Birmingham tend to have graduates off exploring and doing stuff in geological basins in counties like southern American ones and wierd places lol.
Southampton is the best in ocean sciences, most other unis don't even have even one module dedicated to it, do if your interested in it then go go go.
Everyone loves Leeds, the uni is very good at geology overall, but very good at stuff like plate tectonics and drift ect. Would have applied but my brother goes there.

Pick out of these, Liverpool is so so, the course is a bit mmm. But lancaster is great! But geology is not one of its strong points that's the only thing.

Hope this helps!


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Chlorophile
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(Original post by FlyHigh_er)
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Thank you so much for this really helpful response! I've got a few more questions too, if you don't mind answering them.

Firstly, the concern that I've got is that most geophysics courses are very much rock-based, whereas I'm more interested in the entire earth as a system. It's really important to me that I have the opportunity to study the climate. The issue with this is that Oxford appears to be more or less the only 'top' university to offer this as a major component of their course.

I really don't want to give the impression of snobbishness or anything, but some of these standard offers get me a bit nervous. I've always been really academic and I'm on track for a 95%+ UMS at AS and A*s at A2, which is why I'm slightly concerned that so many of the standard offers in this field are AAB or lower. I don't want to go onto a course that doesn't do my grades justice, if you see what I mean. Whereas subjects like Maths have tons of extremely competitive courses, the only three places that seem to be of this kind of calibre are Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial. Again, I'm sure this is really ignorant and sounds awful, but from someone who was until fairly recently planning to go into Engineering, it's a worry for me.

So I'm sort of stuck, really. My first choice will definitely be either NatSci at Cambridge or Earth Science at Oxford, both of which look absolutely brilliant for me. But obviously, it's extremely hard to get into them so I need to be realistic for the rest of my options. Imperial is great for me because it's close and their ESE department has links with the Natural History Museum which I love, but again there's a big 'rock' emphasis and the whole petrochem thing worries me. And for the rest of them, the concerns I mentioned above apply. I looked at Leeds and thought their course sounds interesting, but I'm not that keen on going to a Uni that's that far away for the moment. And again, the grades... Same thing with Southampton.

What I want is a very academic course (I'm much more interested in the theory than fieldwork) that gives me a very holistic understanding of the Earth (i.e. not limited to rocks) that will leave my options open. I'm interested in the humanitarian applications of the Earth Sciences, so things like hazard prediction, climatic modelling (and museum curatorship!) interest me. I don't want to do a course that's just geology based because that's not what I want to do afterwards.

Ugh, I know I'm in a complete mess. I only found out about this as an option recently and I'm getting stressed. Sorry :/
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FlyHigh_er
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(Original post by Chlorophile)
Thank you so much for this really helpful response! I've got a few more questions too, if you don't mind answering them.

Firstly, the concern that I've got is that most geophysics courses are very much rock-based, whereas I'm more interested in the entire earth as a system. It's really important to me that I have the opportunity to study the climate. The issue with this is that Oxford appears to be more or less the only 'top' university to offer this as a major component of their course.

I really don't want to give the impression of snobbishness or anything, but some of these standard offers get me a bit nervous. I've always been really academic and I'm on track for a 95%+ UMS at AS and A*s at A2, which is why I'm slightly concerned that so many of the standard offers in this field are AAB or lower. I don't want to go onto a course that doesn't do my grades justice, if you see what I mean. Whereas subjects like Maths have tons of extremely competitive courses, the only three places that seem to be of this kind of calibre are Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial. Again, I'm sure this is really ignorant and sounds awful, but from someone who was until fairly recently planning to go into Engineering, it's a worry for me.

So I'm sort of stuck, really. My first choice will definitely be either NatSci at Cambridge or Earth Science at Oxford, both of which look absolutely brilliant for me. But obviously, it's extremely hard to get into them so I need to be realistic for the rest of my options. Imperial is great for me because it's close and their ESE department has links with the Natural History Museum which I love, but again there's a big 'rock' emphasis and the whole petrochem thing worries me. And for the rest of them, the concerns I mentioned above apply. I looked at Leeds and thought their course sounds interesting, but I'm not that keen on going to a Uni that's that far away for the moment. And again, the grades... Same thing with Southampton.

What I want is a very academic course (I'm much more interested in the theory than fieldwork) that gives me a very holistic understanding of the Earth (i.e. not limited to rocks) that will leave my options open. I'm interested in the humanitarian applications of the Earth Sciences, so things like hazard prediction, climatic modelling (and museum curatorship!) interest me. I don't want to do a course that's just geology based because that's not what I want to do afterwards.

Ugh, I know I'm in a complete mess. I only found out about this as an option recently and I'm getting stressed. Sorry :/
The reason the grades are low is because not many people apply for earth sciences, that's why even UCL's grades are AAB, if the grades were high you'd only get a few people applying.

In terms of courses, Cambridge's course is not a geology course, so if you want a job in the sector, do not go there. Oxford's course is very academic and not geared towards employment so again, if you want a job in the industry it's not the best. Grads tend to go into research or jobs like finance etc. imperials course is very academic but highly employable, UCL's is very academic but less employable.

With what you want, Bristol or Birmingham are the best. All the courses at the RG unis are very academic, especially the ones that are good at maths, eg Bristol Manchester imperial Oxbridge, so there is no worry there. In terms of planetary science, that is one of Manchester's expertises as well as a few others, Manchester have a geology course with planetary science.

Also check out environmental science.

Don't rule out unis just because of grades.

Does this answer your questions?



Ps, if you go back to engineering, do not apply to Oxbridge


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Chlorophile
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(Original post by FlyHigh_er)
The reason the grades are low is because not many people apply for earth sciences, that's why even UCL's grades are AAB, if the grades were high you'd only get a few people applying.

In terms of courses, Cambridge's course is not a geology course, so if you want a job in the sector, do not go there. Oxford's course is very academic and not geared towards employment so again, if you want a job in the industry it's not the best. Grads tend to go into research or jobs like finance etc. imperials course is very academic but highly employable, UCL's is very academic but less employable.

With what you want, Bristol or Birmingham are the best. All the courses at the RG unis are very academic, especially the ones that are good at maths, eg Bristol Manchester imperial Oxbridge, so there is no worry there. In terms of planetary science, that is one of Manchester's expertises as well as a few others, Manchester have a geology course with planetary science.

Also check out environmental science.

Don't rule out unis just because of grades.

Does this answer your questions?



Ps, if you go back to engineering, do not apply to Oxbridge


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Thanks again. Why do you say Cambridge's course isn't Geology? They claim that at the end of the 4 year NatSci course, you will have covered as much geology as someone studying pure geology at another university.

The fact that Oxford's course is so academic is part of the reason why it's so appealing. Obviously I'm not going to rule it out, but I'm not particularly interested in going into industry. That's the whole reason why I decided against going into Engineering: I want to actually contribute to human knowledge and understanding rather than making money for some corporation.

But still, thank you so much. I hadn't even considered Universities like Bristol or Birmingham, so I'll definitely have a look at those courses.

Edit: I just had a look at some Environmental science courses and they look perfect! Especially the course at Leeds.
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FlyHigh_er
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(Original post by Chlorophile)
Thanks again. Why do you say Cambridge's course isn't Geology? They claim that at the end of the 4 year NatSci course, you will have covered as much geology as someone studying pure geology at another university.

The fact that Oxford's course is so academic is part of the reason why it's so appealing. Obviously I'm not going to rule it out, but I'm not particularly interested in going into industry. That's the whole reason why I decided against going into Engineering: I want to actually contribute to human knowledge and understanding rather than making money for some corporation.

But still, thank you so much. I hadn't even considered Universities like Bristol or Birmingham, so I'll definitely have a look at those courses.

Edit: I just had a look at some Environmental science courses and they look perfect! Especially the course at Leeds.
Not really, not enough that you could walk into a good job without doing another year of study. Cambridge's course isn't as focused on geology as need be for a job or further study. That's why oxfords course is better. So if you want to go to Oxbridge I would say go to oxford.

Ahhh, I see, you want to do a PhD etc. Then apply to oxford out of the two but defo check other unis. However make sure the course is perfect because that's what you'd have to do for the next four years.

That's good! If you think enviro sciences are better for you then do that instead, earth sciences is an easy field to navigate as long as your uni is good and the course accredited. Although I'm not sure if enviro science courses require accreditation.

Good luck!




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alice298
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Go to an open day and the lectures usually tell you about their specialisms. Also look at the modules offered in the 3rd year. You can also find out more about these by going to an open day
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