Plagioclase
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Geology and Earth Sciences
2018 Applicants Thread


Welcome to the 2018 Geology and Earth Sciences Applicants Thread! This is a discussion thread for those of you applying to Geoscience courses for 2018 Entry.

You may want to leave your details here using the following format:
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A Levels taken: (+optional: predicted grades)
Courses applied for:
  • University A (Course 1)
  • University B (Course 2)
  • University C (Course 3)
  • University D (Course 4)
  • University E (Course 5)

Application outcomes:
Favourite rock/mineral:

Useful Links

GeolSoc's Pathways website

Reading lists:

Good websites:

Useful A Levels for Geoscience
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Most useful:
  • Maths (essential for Geophysics)
  • Physics (essential for Geophysics)
  • Chemistry
  • Geology

Also useful:
  • Further Maths (particularly for Geophysics and courses at Oxbridge)
  • Geography
  • Biology
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Leviathan1741
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This looks great Plagioclase :yep:
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blurryskies
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I take Chemistry, Biology and Psychology and predicted A*, A, A respectively.

I want to do geology and I am intending to go into mineral exploration, I've heard that the best are Oxford, Imperial and St Andrews. I can't apply to Oxford as they require math A-level and also they only offer geoscience bachelor of arts anyway. Imperial requires an A in GCSE math but I got a B so that's off the list despite chemistry developing my mathematical dexterity quite a bit.

I've done as much background research as I could and I figured that these were the best for graduate prospects and future salaries:

St Andrews AAB
Durham AAB
Bristol ABC contextual (I go to bottom 20% college)
Leeds
PLACEHOLDER

Bristol will be my insurance and either Durham or St Andrews my firm, I've heard St Andrews is a better choice but it's 4 years instead of 3... which is devastating and despite being able to do 3 years this is only available to students that took Geo A level.


N.B. my GCSE's were TERRIBLE and I did them 3 years ago and left education for 2 years (half way through my first AS) I've just returned and will be 21 first year in Uni, my first year A-Levels (this year) turned out excellent as this is the first time I've ever revised and I think I can do far better than my predictions. I will also have good work experience to put on my personal statement etc

So finally do any of you know the BEST unis (in some sort of order) for geo in regards to mineral exploration salary and prospects other than Oxford or Imperial as I think I have pretty much free pickings of wherever I want to go?
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Plagioclase
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(Original post by blurryskies)
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Exeter has a long history in mineral exploration because it's one of the two old mining schools in the UK (along with Imperial). I don't know a huge amount about their geoscience department but I would have thought that they'd have plenty of links with industry because of their history in the subject. If I recall correctly they even offer specialist degrees for mineral exploration? Potentially worth a look.

Durham, Leeds, St Andrew's and Bristol are all good from what I've heard. UCL also has a lovely geoscience department. I'm not aware that any of these universities have some established specialism in minerals (Imperial and Exeter are the two that come to mind) but all geoscience courses will offer relevant modules.

Also FYI, Oxford does an integrated masters (MESci) course like most of the other choices you've selected, the BA is optional and barely anybody does it.
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blurryskies
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(Original post by Plagioclase)
Exeter has a long history in mineral exploration because it's one of the two old mining schools in the UK (along with Imperial). I don't know a huge amount about their geoscience department but I would have thought that they'd have plenty of links with industry because of their history in the subject. If I recall correctly they even offer specialist degrees for mineral exploration? Potentially worth a look.

Durham, Leeds, St Andrew's and Bristol are all good from what I've heard. UCL also has a lovely geoscience department. I'm not aware that any of these universities have some established specialism in minerals (Imperial and Exeter are the two that come to mind) but all geoscience courses will offer relevant modules.

Also FYI, Oxford does an integrated masters (MESci) course like most of the other choices you've selected, the BA is optional and barely anybody does it.
I'm not allowed to apply to ox as they require A-Level mathematics which I don't take, but for curiosity sake what is a BA as that doesn't seem very prestigious and additionally are you saying that if one did go to oxford they either do a 4 year 'geoscience' MSci or rarely a 3 year 'geology' BA? I've looked as CSM but no matter how good it seems I don't think I could spend three years of my life there when there are similar alternatives with much more beautiful universities. It is a great uni don't get me wrong..

Other than CSM, Imperial and Oxford what uni do you think is the most likely to get me a mineral exploration geologist position even if just increases probability a few % higher?

(Also I could be wrong but I'm aware that MSc is more important then where you did your BSc for geo but I'm not thinking about that right now)
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Plagioclase
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(Original post by blurryskies)
I'm not allowed to apply to ox as they require A-Level mathematics which I don't take. I've looked as CSM but no matter how good it seems I don't think I could spend three years of my life there when there are similar alternatives with much more beautiful universities. It is a great uni don't get me wrong..

Other than CSM, Imperial and Oxford what uni do you think is the most likely to get me a mineral exploration position hypothetically even if just increases probability a few % higher?
Honestly I don't know, I'd be surprised if there were big differences in that regard between the other places. I think other aspects like work experience and what you actually do with your time at university will be more important than the institution you graduate from. I'd recommend going with the place you think you'd enjoy the most because that's probably the place you'll get the most out of.
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blurryskies
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(Original post by Plagioclase)
Honestly I don't know, I'd be surprised if there were big differences in that regard between the other places. I think other aspects like work experience and what you actually do with your time at university will be more important than the institution you graduate from. I'd recommend going with the place you think you'd enjoy the most because that's probably the place you'll get the most out of.
Durham, St Andrews or Bristol all seem attractive, I'd say the first two are my priority. Do you know which of the 3 involves the most time spent out in the field or which has the most trips abroad?

Lastly I edited my previous comment but you may not have seen -- Is a BA less prestigious than a BSc for geo?
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Plagioclase
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(Original post by blurryskies)
Durham, St Andrews or Bristol all seem attractive, I'd say the first two are my priority. Do you know which of the 3 involves the most time spent out in the field or which has the most trips abroad?

Lastly I edited my previous comment but you may not have seen -- Is a BA less prestigious than a BSc for geo?
I don't know, although you're right that time in the field is probably something you should take into consideration (although do bear in mind that if you decide to do an integrated masters, your fourth year research project can be field based). Those universities ought to have a list of their field trips on their websites so I'd recommend that you look there first and if that doesn't help, you could try emailing them.

I don't know why Oxford awards a BA for the three year course, it makes absolutely no sense but it's also pretty irrelevant because it's still an accredited geology degree like any other. I don't think any other university does that though.
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blurryskies
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(Original post by Plagioclase)
I don't know, although you're right that time in the field is probably something you should take into consideration (although do bear in mind that if you decide to do an integrated masters, your fourth year research project can be field based). Those universities ought to have a list of their field trips on their websites so I'd recommend that you look there first and if that doesn't help, you could try emailing them.

I don't know why Oxford awards a BA for the three year course, it makes absolutely no sense but it's also pretty irrelevant because it's still an accredited geology degree like any other. I don't think any other university does that though.
The modules for Bristol are the only ones of the the 3 I like, Durham doesn't provide any optional modules unless you *don't* want to have an accredited degree and St Andrews doesn't seem to have very geo focused geo degree (more about atmosphere and enviro) but I like the name that Durham and St andrews carry. Also I can't find anywhere that tells me the lecturers for each university and I don't know which will be good. I'll have to email each
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Plagioclase
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(Original post by blurryskies)
The modules for Bristol are the only ones of the the 3 I like, Durham doesn't provide any optional modules unless you *don't* want to have an accredited degree and St Andrews doesn't seem to have very geo focused geo degree (more about atmosphere and enviro) but I like the name that Durham and St andrews carry. Also I can't find anywhere that tells me the lecturers for each university and I don't know which will be good. I'll have to email each
All of those universities will have a staff list for their geoscience departments, e.g. Bristol and Durham, as well as information on module coordinators/leaders in their undergraduate handbooks or module directories (e.g. Bristol and St Andrew's). I'm not sure if you will be able to find out who actually teaches each module as this will often change on a year-by-year basis, particularly for fundamental courses earlier on in the degree.
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Headingtonian
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(Original post by blurryskies)
I'm not allowed to apply to ox as they require A-Level mathematics which I don't take, but for curiosity sake what is a BA as that doesn't seem very prestigious and additionally are you saying that if one did go to oxford they either do a 4 year 'geoscience' MSci or rarely a 3 year 'geology' BA?
[...]
(Also I could be wrong but I'm aware that MSc is more important then where you did your BSc for geo but I'm not thinking about that right now)
A BA is a regular 3 year degree. At Oxford they don't do BSc's so if you do a 3 year degree (no matter the subject) you will get a BA. In Earth Sciences hardly anyone does a 3 year "Geology" degree, most people do a 4 year integrated masters MESci in "Earth Sciences (Geology)". I definitely wouldn't say that a BA from Oxford was "not prestigious", and would not be treated any differently than a BSc from somewhere else, as it is basically the same degree just with a different title. By doing your masters in your undergraduate degree ("integrated") this means that your funding comes as part of your undergrad loan from Student Finance. As often people graduating from a BSc or BA in Geology then want to do some form of Masters, this saves you the application process and needing to find your own funding. Sometimes people want to do a masters in a very specific area, and this might mean that they only do a bachelors degree, and then do a specific masters elsewhere.
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sxeSol
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Never studied geology before but I love science and maths and after reading some books I've found I find the subject really interesting. I think I am going to apply to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester, Bristol (rough order of preference.) I like the idea of the Scottish degree system as it gives me a chance to trial studying geology and I can also try my other interests (I think I might try pharmacology.) Also in Scotland I can study abroad for a year, I'd love to go to Canada. Haven't been to either of the Scottish open days though I'm going in September/October. Don't know how I will decide between Glasgow/Edinburgh from what I've heard Glasgow is more lively whereas Edinburgh is more pretty. Edinburgh is also about an hour closer to me (Sheffield) by train than Glasgow which would be convenient however at Glasgow you only pay for three out of the four years so it would be £9250 cheaper for me!. I'll guess I'll have to see what I think of the place on the open days.

Leeds do an integrated masters with a year abroad which sounds great, the entry requirements are A*AA though and I'm still tentative about dedicating to geology when I have never actually studied it before. Also I'm not sure what it would be like doing an extra year than most people for a masters degree, would I get lonely in my final year?

Currently in the process of writing my personal statement. There's a couple of things I'm not sure whether to put in. I was student of the year in y10 in secondary school but I don't know if it just seems arrogant to mention that. Also should I mention which books I've read or just say I've been reading into the subject?

Really excited for uni though can't believe I've still got to do another year of school haha.
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blurryskies
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(Original post by sxeSol)
Never studied geology before but I love science and maths and after reading some books I've found I find the subject really interesting. I think I am going to apply to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester, Bristol (rough order of preference.) I like the idea of the Scottish degree system as it gives me a chance to trial studying geology and I can also try my other interests (I think I might try pharmacology.) Also in Scotland I can study abroad for a year, I'd love to go to Canada. Haven't been to either of the Scottish open days though I'm going in September/October. Don't know how I will decide between Glasgow/Edinburgh from what I've heard Glasgow is more lively whereas Edinburgh is more pretty. Edinburgh is also about an hour closer to me (Sheffield) by train than Glasgow which would be convenient however at Glasgow you only pay for three out of the four years so it would be £9250 cheaper for me!. I'll guess I'll have to see what I think of the place on the open days.

Leeds do an integrated masters with a year abroad which sounds great, the entry requirements are A*AA though and I'm still tentative about dedicating to geology when I have never actually studied it before. Also I'm not sure what it would be like doing an extra year than most people for a masters degree, would I get lonely in my final year?

Currently in the process of writing my personal statement. There's a couple of things I'm not sure whether to put in. I was student of the year in y10 in secondary school but I don't know if it just seems arrogant to mention that. Also should I mention which books I've read or just say I've been reading into the subject?

Really excited for uni though can't believe I've still got to do another year of school haha.
Does St Andrews do a 3 years paying thing?

What are your reasons for not applying to St Andrews?

In a scottish degree if you did 4 years BSc and planned to do a year abroad will it be 5 years overall or count as one of your 4?

Lastly I thought Leeds had geo entry requirements AAB
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sxeSol
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(Original post by blurryskies)
Does St Andrews do a 3 years paying thing?

What are your reasons for not applying to St Andrews?

In a scottish degree if you did 4 years BSc and planned to do a year abroad will it be 5 years overall or count as one of your 4?

Lastly I thought Leeds had geo entry requirements AAB
Don't know about paying for St. Andrews sorry.

I'm not applying there because I've decided I want to be in a city and St. Andrews seems to small and isolated for me. I want culture and excitement from my uni life.

The year abroad counts as one of your years so still a 4 year BSc

Yes the entry requirements for geology BSc at Leeds are AAB. However they offer an "intergrated masters" which means you can get funding easier and won't have to apply again after finishing BSc. The requirements for this course are A*AA. If you don't achieve these grades but get high enough for the BSc they automatically transfer you to the normal BSc course.
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edog99
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Hi I was wondering if anybody could help. I recieved 9As and and A* in GCSEs and I am hoping to be predicted 2 A*s and 2As in Maths, Chemistry, further maths and physics respectively. However after messing up a module in my further maths as I only recieved a B. I was wondering if I could still apply to oxford to do geology?
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Headingtonian
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(Original post by edog99)
Hi I was wondering if anybody could help. I recieved 9As and and A* in GCSEs and I am hoping to be predicted 2 A*s and 2As in Maths, Chemistry, further maths and physics respectively. However after messing up a module in my further maths as I only recieved a B. I was wondering if I could still apply to oxford to do geology?
I wouldn't worry about having messed up one module. I applied having got a b in one of my further maths modules and it didn't affect my application. It's only one module and having any further maths will still be an advantage compared to many people. They should understand that you can have an off day/exam.
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Plagioclase
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(Original post by edog99)
Hi I was wondering if anybody could help. I recieved 9As and and A* in GCSEs and I am hoping to be predicted 2 A*s and 2As in Maths, Chemistry, further maths and physics respectively. However after messing up a module in my further maths as I only recieved a B. I was wondering if I could still apply to oxford to do geology?
Yes. I know people with lower AS grades that got in.
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Fonzworth
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I'm hopefully a 2019 applicant, but I was 1 mark from a 7 at GCSE Maths, will this stop me from going to Imperial or do you think me getting a good grade in Physics would make up for it? Or doing Maths as an AS?
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Fonzworth
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(Original post by ZYXABC)
A 7 is the equivalent of a lower grade A right? I would think Imperial, a mathsy uni, would seriously question anyone without A*/A in GCSE Maths, unfortunately. Get an A in AS Maths though and that should be alright. What were your other grades like?
I got 7 A’s and 2 B’s
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baranduin
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Predicted 2 A*s and an A in Biology, Geography, and Maths respectively. I've just got a conditional offer (AAB) from UCL for their international MSci Earth Sciences course - is anyone else going to the open day on the 13th of December?
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