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    I'm applying to study a geology degree (starting in 2018 because I have a load of saving up to do/debts to pay off) and I was wondering what it's like to study geology on a daily basis at university.
    I dropped out of my crappy PAIS & Sociology in March so I'm familiar with university a humanities degree sense.

    My main interest is in the following:
    - What are practicals like/how frequent are they
    - Essays
    - What lectures/seminars are like
    - Field trips
    - Industry work/internships
    - Average timetable
    - Group projects (*gasp* the horror!)

    Thanks in advance guys!
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    (Original post by wolfieblob)
    I'm applying to study a geology degree (starting in 2018 because I have a load of saving up to do/debts to pay off) and I was wondering what it's like to study geology on a daily basis at university.
    I dropped out of my crappy PAIS & Sociology in March so I'm familiar with university a humanities degree sense.

    My main interest is in the following:
    - What are practicals like/how frequent are they
    - Essays
    - What lectures/seminars are like
    - Field trips
    - Industry work/internships
    - Average timetable
    - Group projects (*gasp* the horror!)

    Thanks in advance guys!
    Hi wolfieblob

    I've just finished my first year of a BSc Geoscience degree, which is basically geology but with extra topics like geophysics and geochemistry thrown in.

    In the first year, the course had approximately 16-18 hours of contact time per week: three 3 hour practical classes per week (with an extra 3 hours of lab time and 2 lectures during one module which was focused on environmental chemistry), and 6 or 7 one-hour lectures per week for most modules. Practical classes, as you can probably imagine, are much more interactive than the lectures, and often involve completing exercises which involve rock and mineral identification, but also maths, physics and aspects of computing which are relevant to geology. Each lecture normally focused on one or more topics, e.g. faults and fault systems, lineations and foliations, igneous petrology, metamorphic petrology and so on, and often we had more than one lecture on one topic.

    We haven't had to do many 'proper' essays yet, written work has been mostly in the form of geological reports, accompanied by geological maps, geophysical data and field observations recorded in survey notebooks.

    Field trips are a big part of geology degrees, as they allow you to put what you learn in lectures and practicals into practice. You learn and develop skills in geological mapping, sedimentary logging, and generally improve your ability to recognise rocks, minerals and structures in the field. Field trips can range anywhere from 1 day to more than a week, and independent mapping projects, which typically take place during the third year of the degree, may be up to 5 weeks in length (at least, mine will be!).

    So far we haven't had to do any group projects, thankfully, though I doubt we'll get away with it next year

    I'm afraid I'm not very knowledgeable on things like internships, but I hope my answer is still helpful
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    (Original post by wolfieblob)
    I'm applying to study a geology degree (starting in 2018 because I have a load of saving up to do/debts to pay off) and I was wondering what it's like to study geology on a daily basis at university.
    I dropped out of my crappy PAIS & Sociology in March so I'm familiar with university a humanities degree sense.

    My main interest is in the following:
    - What are practicals like/how frequent are they
    - Essays
    - What lectures/seminars are like
    - Field trips
    - Industry work/internships
    - Average timetable
    - Group projects (*gasp* the horror!)

    Thanks in advance guys!
    This will to a large extent depend on what university and what course you're doing, but I'll try to answer these from my perspective.

    Practicals
    These would typically last two hours and we have anything from zero to four of them per week, depending on what modules we're doing. There are a range of practicals, from optical mineralogy to fossil identification to sedimentary structure analysis to computer labs to working on problem sheets.

    Essays
    We don't get set a lot of essays. I've just finished my second year and I've only really been set one major essay.

    Lectures and seminars
    Not sure what to say about this really, you sit down in the lecture theatre and you make notes! Is there anything specific you want to know?

    Industry work/internships
    There are many opportunities available, I am constantly bombarded with opportunities from my university's careers service. In my first year I arranged a research internship in my department after expressing my interest with a professor of mine. I'm not able to do an internship this summer because of the undergraduate mapping project, but I am looking forward to next summer's work!

    Average timetable
    It varies a huge amount but I'd say in a typical week there might be 12 lectures and 4 hours of practical work.

    Group projects
    Really the only group project we have is the undergraduate mapping project which isn't even really a group project because you're supposed to be doing it independently anyway.
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    (Original post by Leviathan1741)
    Hi wolfieblob

    I've just finished my first year of a BSc Geoscience degree, which is basically geology but with extra topics like geophysics and geochemistry thrown in.

    In the first year, the course had approximately 16-18 hours of contact time per week: three 3 hour practical classes per week (with an extra 3 hours of lab time and 2 lectures during one module which was focused on environmental chemistry), and 6 or 7 one-hour lectures per week for most modules. Practical classes, as you can probably imagine, are much more interactive than the lectures, and often involve completing exercises which involve rock and mineral identification, but also maths, physics and aspects of computing which are relevant to geology. Each lecture normally focused on one or more topics, e.g. faults and fault systems, lineations and foliations, igneous petrology, metamorphic petrology and so on, and often we had more than one lecture on one topic.

    We haven't had to do many 'proper' essays yet, written work has been mostly in the form of geological reports, accompanied by geological maps, geophysical data and field observations recorded in survey notebooks.

    Field trips are a big part of geology degrees, as they allow you to put what you learn in lectures and practicals into practice. You learn and develop skills in geological mapping, sedimentary logging, and generally improve your ability to recognise rocks, minerals and structures in the field. Field trips can range anywhere from 1 day to more than a week, and independent mapping projects, which typically take place during the third year of the degree, may be up to 5 weeks in length (at least, mine will be!).

    So far we haven't had to do any group projects, thankfully, though I doubt we'll get away with it next year

    I'm afraid I'm not very knowledgeable on things like internships, but I hope my answer is still helpful
    Oh my goodness that sounds so much better than what I was previously studying!
    Thank you for giving me some insight on this too
    May you never know the abhorrent horrors of 3000 word Marxism essays, it is hell, the answers are so vague and annoying, and goodness forbid you go against the markers political opinions.

    Could you possibly recommend some reading please?
    I currently have the Geology for Dummies book which I find useful for recapping areas I'm rusty on but it lacks the depth I was looking for as it covers a lot of stuff I did in my A-levels, I also have a handful of books that are tad dated from 1997 and before then. Most of the textbooks I've seen are so expensive even the second hand first editions, is it worth splashing out some money on some? :/

    I'm so glad that I changed my mind now, thank you for helping me get on track with this because everything you said is exactly how I pictured it, the field trips sound amazing, and actual lab work and reports! Wow, it sure as heck beats sitting in a seminar room making up nonsense about neoliberalism, I mean I got under 10 hours of contact time at Warwick too with over 30 books to read a week in my spare time, it was nuts. I would've stayed if they had an geoscience/earth sciences department which for some reason they don't? (strikes me as odd seeing as it's a Russell group uni with a massive amount of funding dedicated to its science faculty)

    But yes, thank you so much!
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    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    This will to a large extent depend on what university and what course you're doing, but I'll try to answer these from my perspective.

    Practicals
    These would typically last two hours and we have anything from zero to four of them per week, depending on what modules we're doing. There are a range of practicals, from optical mineralogy to fossil identification to sedimentary structure analysis to computer labs to working on problem sheets.

    Essays
    We don't get set a lot of essays. I've just finished my second year and I've only really been set one major essay.

    Lectures and seminars
    Not sure what to say about this really, you sit down in the lecture theatre and you make notes! Is there anything specific you want to know?

    Industry work/internships
    There are many opportunities available, I am constantly bombarded with opportunities from my university's careers service. In my first year I arranged a research internship in my department after expressing my interest with a professor of mine. I'm not able to do an internship this summer because of the undergraduate mapping project, but I am looking forward to next summer's work!

    Average timetable
    It varies a huge amount but I'd say in a typical week there might be 12 lectures and 4 hours of practical work.

    Group projects
    Really the only group project we have is the undergraduate mapping project which isn't even really a group project because you're supposed to be doing it independently anyway.
    My optimal first choice is Birmingham, followed by Bangor, Keele, Glasgow and Aberystwyth. Anything Geological Society accredited and earth/geoscience (not physical geography, although I was considering physical geography until a lovely lady at Durham pointed out that my steadfast passion for vulcanology would be better addressed through geology or a similar science degree)

    On lectures, I wasn't sure if they would be more interactive than listening to someone banging on about poststructuralism. Humanities lectures are quite dull and unengaging from my exp, I wasn't certain if science lectures would be slightly different or not (I really should've snook into my friends chemistry lectures when I had the chance XD).

    But yes like Leviathan1741 you have perfectly addressed my query, thank you so much! I genuinley cannot wait to study this in a years time and now I have so much time to gain some additional foundational knowledge
    And may you never know the horrors of sociology essays.
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    (Original post by wolfieblob)
    Could you possibly recommend some reading please?
    I currently have the Geology for Dummies book which I find useful for recapping areas I'm rusty on but it lacks the depth I was looking for as it covers a lot of stuff I did in my A-levels, I also have a handful of books that are tad dated from 1997 and before then. Most of the textbooks I've seen are so expensive even the second hand first editions, is it worth splashing out some money on some? :/
    Don't bother getting textbooks - there's absolutely no point. They're very expensive and you'll have access to them at university. The possible exception I'd make is How to Build a Habitable Planet (Broecker and Langmuir) which is a kind of half-textbook-half-popular science book which gives the most comprehensive overview of the modern Earth Sciences that I've ever read. It is not light reading, but it is recommendable.
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    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    Don't bother getting textbooks - there's absolutely no point. They're very expensive and you'll have access to them at university. The possible exception I'd make is How to Build a Habitable Planet (Broecker and Langmuir) which is a kind of half-textbook-half-popular science book which gives the most comprehensive overview of the modern Earth Sciences that I've ever read. It is not light reading, but it is recommendable.
    I thought that was the case, I'll look into getting a copy of that when I can, thank you!
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    (Original post by wolfieblob)
    Oh my goodness that sounds so much better than what I was previously studying!
    Thank you for giving me some insight on this too
    May you never know the abhorrent horrors of 3000 word Marxism essays, it is hell, the answers are so vague and annoying, and goodness forbid you go against the markers political opinions.

    Could you possibly recommend some reading please?
    I currently have the Geology for Dummies book which I find useful for recapping areas I'm rusty on but it lacks the depth I was looking for as it covers a lot of stuff I did in my A-levels, I also have a handful of books that are tad dated from 1997 and before then. Most of the textbooks I've seen are so expensive even the second hand first editions, is it worth splashing out some money on some? :/

    I'm so glad that I changed my mind now, thank you for helping me get on track with this because everything you said is exactly how I pictured it, the field trips sound amazing, and actual lab work and reports! Wow, it sure as heck beats sitting in a seminar room making up nonsense about neoliberalism, I mean I got under 10 hours of contact time at Warwick too with over 30 books to read a week in my spare time, it was nuts. I would've stayed if they had an geoscience/earth sciences department which for some reason they don't? (strikes me as odd seeing as it's a Russell group uni with a massive amount of funding dedicated to its science faculty)

    But yes, thank you so much!
    You're welcome

    I would suggest waiting until you begin your course to see which books they recommend, rather than buying any beforehand. Geology degrees tend to start from basics as there will inevitably be students who have never studied it before, and the majority of recommended reading books will be available in the university library (or available to read online) so there's no need to spend money on them now. I would recommend however getting a copy of the Oxford Dictionary of Earth Sciences (I think this is the latest edition - I have the third edition); personally I have found it very useful for looking up definitions which I've been unsure of
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    wolfieblob


    I also noticed that you're considering doing your degree at Keele - this is my uni! If you have any questions about the geology/geoscience courses or the uni in general, then I should hopefully be able to help
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    (Original post by Leviathan1741)
    wolfieblob


    I also noticed that you're considering doing your degree at Keele - this is my uni! If you have any questions about the geology/geoscience courses or the uni in general, then I should hopefully be able to help
    I'm in the middle of making an inquiry to Keele about the MGeoscience degree right now, the requirements are ABC/BBB and I have A*BBC grades with 2 sciences.
    I really hope they'll consider me if I apply through UCAS

    Does Keele have decent sports facilities? I love rock climbing and I noticed it's super close to the Peak District too which is handy (I live in Tamworth which isn't far away you see so I could potentially commute unless it's too expensive)
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    (Original post by wolfieblob)
    I'm in the middle of making an inquiry to Keele about the MGeoscience degree right now, the requirements are ABC/BBB and I have A*BBC grades with 2 sciences.
    I really hope they'll consider me if I apply through UCAS

    Does Keele have decent sports facilities? I love rock climbing and I noticed it's super close to the Peak District too which is handy (I live in Tamworth which isn't far away you see so I could potentially commute unless it's too expensive)
    I don't use the sports facilities myself, so I can't comment on how good they are, but looking at the Keele website, there is a wide range of indoor and outdoor facilities available, and also a huge variety of sports clubs and societies to join :yep:
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    (Original post by Leviathan1741)
    I don't use the sports facilities myself, so I can't comment on how good they are, but looking at the Keele website, there is a wide range of indoor and outdoor facilities available, and also a huge variety of sports clubs and societies to join :yep:
    Oh that's neat then thanks, what would you say that's bad about Keele?
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    (Original post by wolfieblob)
    Oh that's neat then thanks, what would you say that's bad about Keele?
    Well, some students aren't too keen on the fact that it's a bit out of the way, i.e. it's not in a city and you need to get the bus if you want to go clothes shopping, go to the cinema etc. I personally like the fact that it's in the countryside, there's not much traffic noise or pollution and I enjoy the greenery on my way to lectures. Many of the buildings, such as William Smith (where geology, geography etc are taught), are also quite dated, but that's just an aesthetic personal preference I guess - though it is annoying when the pharmacy students have comfy modern lecture theatres, and us geologists are (mainly) stuck with old lecture theatres where the desks seem to be miles away from the seats :lol:

    Overall I think the main thing that puts people off is Keele's location, but if you like being out in the country and/or don't mind a short journey to get to Newcastle under Lyme and other main shopping areas nearby, then in my opinion Keele is a great place to be
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    (Original post by Leviathan1741)
    Well, some students aren't too keen on the fact that it's a bit out of the way, i.e. it's not in a city and you need to get the bus if you want to go clothes shopping, go to the cinema etc. I personally like the fact that it's in the countryside, there's not much traffic noise or pollution and I enjoy the greenery on my way to lectures. Many of the buildings, such as William Smith (where geology, geography etc are taught), are also quite dated, but that's just an aesthetic personal preference I guess - though it is annoying when the pharmacy students have comfy modern lecture theatres, and us geologists are (mainly) stuck with old lecture theatres where the desks seem to be miles away from the seats :lol:

    Overall I think the main thing that puts people off is Keele's location, but if you like being out in the country and/or don't mind a short journey to get to Newcastle under Lyme and other main shopping areas nearby, then in my opinion Keele is a great place to be
    The location sounds perfect for me, I live in the middle of nowhere myself and I'm not a fan of loud/city universities
    I've been in fancy new theaters with crap lecturers, as long as I get taught well I really don't mind

    The negatives sound decent to me XD
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    (Original post by wolfieblob)
    The location sounds perfect for me, I live in the middle of nowhere myself and I'm not a fan of loud/city universities
    I've been in fancy new theaters with crap lecturers, as long as I get taught well I really don't mind

    The negatives sound decent to me XD
    That's why I chose Keele to be honest, I visited a lot of city universities when applying and didn't like the idea of having to navigate busy roads to get from accommodation to lectures and so on. Keele Hall is a lovely place to go and spend time, and the views from the gardens are stunning
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    (Original post by Leviathan1741)
    That's why I chose Keele to be honest, I visited a lot of city universities when applying and didn't like the idea of having to navigate busy roads to get from accommodation to lectures and so on. Keele Hall is a lovely place to go and spend time, and the views from the gardens are stunning
    Ugh so awesome, Warwick backs onto some amazing countryside paths that I used to cycle down loads, the only downside was the high crime rate what with it being in Coventry. (there's loads of break-ins, muggings and bike theft, although I bet it's the same at most uni's)
    I'm torn between studying at Birmingham where my grades are only good enough for a normal undergrad degree at a lovely Russell uni which is next to a city that I live 30 mins away from.
    Or Keele where I can do an accredited Mgeo Bsc, that's in a lovely area, sort of close to home and still a great uni but not a russell group one?
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    (Original post by wolfieblob)
    Ugh so awesome, Warwick backs onto some amazing countryside paths that I used to cycle down loads, the only downside was the high crime rate what with it being in Coventry. (there's loads of break-ins, muggings and bike theft, although I bet it's the same at most uni's)
    I'm torn between studying at Birmingham where my grades are only good enough for a normal undergrad degree at a lovely Russell uni which is next to a city that I live 30 mins away from.
    Or Keele where I can do an accredited Mgeo Bsc, that's in a lovely area, sort of close to home and still a great uni but not a russell group one?
    That's a tough choice! Have you tried weighing up the pros and cons of each (course content, accommodation, distance from home etc)? That's how I decided on Keele - I also had offers from UCL and Liverpool, among others, but ultimately the countryside location and relatively short 2 hour distance from home swung it for me
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    inspecting and befriending rocks obvs
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    (Original post by Leviathan1741)
    That's a tough choice! Have you tried weighing up the pros and cons of each (course content, accommodation, distance from home etc)? That's how I decided on Keele - I also had offers from UCL and Liverpool, among others, but ultimately the countryside location and relatively short 2 hour distance from home swung it for me
    Not completely, I'm heading to Keele's open day next week though
    I like visiting to see what vibes I get from the place, so I combine that with your factors you see
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    (Original post by wolfieblob)
    Not completely, I'm heading to Keele's open day next week though
    I like visiting to see what vibes I get from the place, so I combine that with your factors you see
    Definitely, I found open days really useful when deciding where to apply. Visiting them in person really helps you get a feel for what it might be like to live and study at each one
 
 
 
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