Are you thinking of studying Geology?



Image shows the ripples and patterns in sandstone.Geology is the study of the physical structure and substance of the Earth, giving an insight into the history of the Earth going all the way back to the formation of the solar system, and into the processes that are acting upon it even today.

It’s a subject that is surprisingly relevant and important for a wide range of exciting careers, from the oil industry to earthquake safety. Geologists and other geoscientists are in demand; there is a shortage of their particular skills. Studying geology also sets you on a path that enables you to make a difference through your career, whether in combatting the effects of climate change, maximising water supplies or mitigating the impact of flooding.

What kind of things can I expect to study?

Image shows a not-to-scale view of Jupiter and one of its moons, Ganymede.

You might look at the geology of planets and moons other than Earth.

Geology is a more focused subject than some related subjects like Geography and Environmental Science, but it still covers a broad range of subjects. Aside from picking up specific skills like research skills and mapping, you might expect to cover:

What do I need for a Geology degree?

Image shows a marked piece of Maths work.

Don’t throw away your Maths notes just yet.

As far as A-levels are concerned, Geography is absolutely essential. Many universities will also require you to take one or two of Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Geology. Geology isn’t compulsory, though, as only a minority of schools teach it. As this list shows, a scientific mindset is required. Many university courses incorporate modules such as ‘Mathematics for Science Students’ or ‘Physics for Earth Scientists’ – so while it’s not a problem if you don’t want to take these subjects at A-level, you won’t be able to avoid them entirely.

Geology is a practical, analytical subject that suits people who are keen to acquire knowledge through research and deduction. You’ll need to have a high tolerance for getting outside in the cold and the mud, too, as field trips are a vital component of studying Geology.

What skills will I acquire?

Geology graduates gain lots of solid scientific skills and abilities, both in fieldwork and in laboratory experiments. These will include skills in data collection, analysis and interpretation, as well as how data is processed and presented. You’ll gain presentation and report-writing skills, as well as the standard skills in academic writing, self-motivation and time management that can be expected of almost all graduates.

Will I get to travel as part of my degree?

Image shows the beach in Cyprus.

Cyprus is a popular fieldwork destination for Geology students.

Fieldwork is a vital part of any Geology degree, so not only will you get to travel, you’ll have to – so prospective geologists should budget accordingly. Most British universities keep field trips within the UK for the first couple of years, and then in your third or fourth year, you can choose whether you want to go abroad or not.

There is a range of possible destinations – Leicester, for instance, takes students to Spain, Sicily or Tenerife, whereas both Southampton and Exeter opt for Cyprus, which lies on the southern margin of the Anatolian Plate, where it is in collision with the African plate – something that makes it highly interesting to geologists. Special projects might take you even further afield: a group of geology students from Swansea, for instance, recently carried out a project on the Colorado Plateau.

What careers are possible with a Geology degree?

As there is a shortage of qualified geologists, Geology graduates stand a good chance of entering professions directly related to their degree, which can range from the groundwater industry to oil, gas and petroleum companies to the construction industry. Environmental engineering and geological surveying are among the roles to which Geology graduates are particularly suited. You might be employed by anyone from BP to the British Geological Survey. Geologists also stand a good chance of gaining employment overseas, if travelling appeals to you.

Related degrees

Image shows the USA lit up at night.

If you’re as interested in the effects of humans on the planet, you might want to consider studying Geography.

If you’re considering study Geology, you might find these other subjects are also of interest:

A final thought on Geology

Geology has a lot to recommend it for a prospective university student, particularly at the moment with its healthy career prospects. For those who enjoy travel, getting outdoors regardless of the weather and close, analytical assessment of data, Geology not only provides that for three or four years of your degree, but also offers you the potential to carry on using much the same skills and enjoying much the same perks for a viable long-term career – which is not something that can be said of very many university subjects.


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Image credits: banner; Jupiter; Maths; Cyprus; USA at night

Comments (31)

  1. Cruz

    Hey Im just a junior high school student and Im planning to take the Geology in college. Can I handle it? Despite math computation is one of my weakness?

  2. Lucas

    Am studying geography,economics and mathematic in the Alevels but am thinking if through this subjects I can do geology in the university

  3. Siphendulwe Dube

    Hey I would like to know which subject besides geography can I use in order to study Geology.
    and also the levels.
    which university in SA is good for studing geology?

  4. nokuthula lukhele

    hi I have just finished high school.I want to knw the subject needed to study geology except geography . because I really need this for my future

  5. Aressa

    hye .i’m still a secondary school student . i want to know that if geology needs biology ? because that will somehow determine my future . thank you

  6. Yvonney Donga

    I’m Yvonne ,a college student majoring in socal studies .Is there a chance for me to study geology …please help

  7. Prospective Student

    Is this comment section full of the “dry British humor” that everyone speaks of? I think I get it.

    Prospective Geology Student

  8. Jessica

    Hi, I haven’t taken up Maths or any science subjects in 11th but I’m studying Geography as my subject. I’m willing to study Geology. Will I be able to take Geology as my subject in collage for further study?

  9. Sumit tirkey

    I am studying geology with the subjects – geology (hons), botony ( subsidary), zoology (subsidary)
    My question is … is there any scope with these subjects because i heard from somewhere that without maths geology will be waste for career purpose..

    • Audrina Oakes-Cottrell

      Dear Sumit,
      Thank you for your query.
      Without knowing more about your personal academic situation, the best advice we can give you is to approach your school/university guidance counsellor, or a tutor, and ask their opinion on whether you will need to study maths.
      We can also refer you to this link to the Geological Society. They seem to imply that maths is required, but if you contact them directly, they may be able to give you more advice on which subjects to focus on.
      We wish you all the best.
      Kind regards,
      The Oxford Royale Team

  10. mutsa

    Hello ,
    I take Environmental Management, Geography, Economics and I was wondering if l would be accepted into uni to study geology with these subjects? If not what course can I do that will guarantee me a job in the mining industry?

  11. Godwin

    I am very interested in joining bsc geology
    Many of my nearby colleges have many complimentary subjects such as
    Chemistry with maths
    Chemistry with statistics
    Chemistry with physics
    Can you suggest me which is the best complimentary subject

  12. Shrestha Roy

    Hello …
    Well I m a student studying in the 11 th standard …and I have my subjects as geography …english language ..and economics ..plzzz kindly suggest me that which course of geography will be the best for me …since I have scored 90s in geography in my boards and I have an interest to take up geography as my career …plzzzz reply me …..as soon as possible …i will be highly thankful to you ….sir

  13. pudi simhadri naga peddi raju


    I am (Simhadri) complete my inter with 60%in mpc group I am totally contused to join degree so please help me

  14. Sushanth

    Hello sir

    I am studying Bsc geology and I’m interested in Planetary science . Do planetary science require Mathematics

  15. ishna bhagat

    which subject should i choose in 11th standard for getting a profession in physical geography: PCM or PCB

  16. saffy

    Hi, I didn’t write chemistry in my O’level subject,am asking if I can I study geology with this Jamb comb subject English maths and biology.

    • Olayimika

      Yh, u can add Geography
      My own jamb combination was English, Geography, Physics and Chemistry

  17. John


    I’m completed my Engineering(Electrical Electronics Engineering) in India and passed out on 2013. Recently i’m getting very interested with Geology.How much possibilities are there to have a study of Geology?

  18. Maurice

    i realy enjoyed being here, i wish to study chemistry,biology and geology. what are the careers in what i wish to study?.

  19. Asemahle

    Hey I’m Asemahle .
    you have very useful information on this page. But I’d like to know if is it compulsory to have pure maths to study geology?

  20. Rahul

    Can i do bsc with geolozy ? if i am failed in maths but passed with extra subject IP ?

  21. Zintle

    hello my name is Zintle Dube i just wanted to study geology but my matric subjects like maths has level 2 physics has level 3 geography has level 4 and English….. so I’ve decided to upgrade maths physics n geography this year…. So plz advise me what can I do to continue further n fulfill my dream.? plz i need help…. like which levels can make me be a geologist of tomorrow n at which university …

  22. movort

    thank you very much for the guidelines that you have offered, I want to study geology I have completed my geography degree and I just need help on how I can pursue my geology. thanks in advance

  23. Nia

    hello, I was a science student but I can’t get along with chemistry, so I decided to take math, english, geography & history. is there any chance for me to further my studies in geology if I’m not taking any science subjects? (I rlly want to be a geologist). if there is not, what careers await me in the future?

    • Abir

      > hello ,
      2017 is my first year in studying at college , but I still confused Abt what am I going to study ?? I really really like geology but my parents don’t , because they think that there’s no available job opportunities in my country ! And they hardly recommend to study biology , now I like biology too this is really confusing I can’t make a final decision ! I really need any kind of help right now ! Thanks

  24. Sara

    im thinking of study geology..and this year i have to chose 4 lessons for my a levels..im thinking of choosing Chemistry, Biology, Geography/or further maths(not sure yet) and media(bcs i also want to do a 3 year degree in photography..Is this a good combination?

    • ORA Admin

      Dear Sara,

      Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately it is always difficult to give students specific advice concerning A-Level choices, as we do not know a sufficient amount about the individual. You say you would like to study both geology and photography, so it might be worth considering whether one of these has the priority for you (or, indeed, whether you’d like to combine the two in your future career – geophotography is a field you might wish to consider). In the meantime, have a look at our article on selecting A-Levels if you haven’t already.

      Best of luck!

      The ORA team

  25. Jamila

    I am interesting to studying Geology at university now i am studying human geography, chemistry and politics in Advance foundation I want to know if this subject are relevant to receive an offer from university
    also which subject do you advice it is good for this course?
    kind regards

    • ORA Admin

      Dear Jamila,

      Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately it is difficult for us to give you any specific advice regarding your studies, although these subject choice do sound well suited to a degree in Geology. However, we do have some articles regarding A-Level choices and degree subjects that may be useful to you.
      Subjects You Are Ruling Out with your GCSE and A-level Options
      How to Choose the Right A-levels: a Guide for GCSE Students
      Additionally, we recommend talking to someone at school, a careers advisor or head of year.

      We hope this helps, and best of luck with your studies!

      The ORA Team

  26. KEITH

    hello i was wondering if geography as a subject at A level has similarities to geology because i studied geography at A level…also i was meaning to ask can i study geology if i only have Maths and Geography apart from chemistry and physics


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