2020 entry

Welcome to Geology at Keele

Welcome to Geology at Keele University. Our past and present students often tell us how much they have enjoyed themselves and learnt from their experience at Keele, and as you start your degree, I am sure that you will gain as much from your time here as they have. Whether you are embarking on our Single Honours Geology degree programme or studying geology with another subject, you will gain a thorough understanding of the Earth in terms of its structure, formation, composition, history, processes, resources, hazards and materials. You will learn, via a combination of fieldwork, practical classes, tutorials and lectures, about rocks, minerals and fossils, how they were formed, how they are exploited sustainably as a resource, and what they tell us about the history of the Earth. Emphasis will also be placed on the development of research skills: you will learn to collect, analyse and interpret different types of data, and to carry out your own research using specialist software and equipment. Fieldwork will play an important part in this experience, with field courses based not only in the UK but also overseas. Importantly, you will gain a wide range of skills that are currently in demand and, given current concerns around environmental change and natural resources, are likely to continue to be in strong demand in the future.

Whether you are new to Keele or have progressed from the Foundation Year, my colleagues and I look forward to meeting you at the start of the new academic year and we hope that you make the most of your opportunities here.

Best wishes

Dr Stuart Egan  - Geology Course Director  

Image of Dr Stuart Egan

You can also follow Keele Geology on Twitter and our GGE Facebook page

It is not necessary that you carry out any specific preparation for your degree studies in Geology during the summer vacation as all aspects of the subject will be covered from basics. If, however, you are keen to get started, then visit your local library and borrow a few books on general geology. Obviously, this may have to wait until access restrictions due to Covid-19 are relaxed further, but any texts on the topics of rocks, minerals, fossils and the solid Earth will help you become familiar with some of the main geological concepts and processes, as well as the terminology. The list at the end of this section contains a selection of the main textbooks that we recommend in order to enhance your understanding of the topics that you will study in year 1. You do not have to buy these texts as multiple copies are available in the University library, some are also available in ebook format.

In addition, the British Geological Survey (BGS) offer some excellent online resources. In particular, see the ‘Discovering geology’ section of the BGS web site . Also, if you haven’t already downloaded it, the BGS iGeology App is excellent. You could also look at the resources that the Geological Society of London has to offer.

Other essential equipment to bring:

  • An electronic calculator (with basic scientific functions suchas tan, sin, cos).
  • Basic drawing equipment, including coloured pens and pencils, a protractor and a stapler.
  • Fieldwork equipment (see ‘Fieldwork’ section).
Selected Year 1 recommended textbooks:
  •  Benton, M. & Harper, D. 1997. Basic Palaeontology. Pearson Prentice Hall.
  •  Collinson, J.D., Mountney, N.P. and Thompson, D.B. 2006. Sedimentary structures. Terra Publishing, England, third edition.
  •  Doyle, P., Bennett, M. R. & Baxter, A.N. 2001. The Key to Earth History – An Introduction to Stratigraphy. John Wiley & Sons.
  •  Fossen, H. 2016. Structural Geology. Second Edition, Cambridge University Press.
  •  Fry, N. 1991. The Field Description of Metamorphic Rocks. Open University Press.
  •  Grotzinger, J., Jordan, T.H., Press, F. and Siever, R. 2006. Understanding Earth Sixth Edition. Freeman.
  •  Jerram, D. and Petford, N. 2011. The Field Description of Igneous Rocks. Wiley-Blackwell.
  •  Kearey, P., Klepeis, K.A. and Vine, F.J. 2009. Global Tectonics. Third Edition. Wiley-Blackwell.
  •  Klein, C. and Phillpots, T. 2017. Earth Materials: Introduction to Mineralogy and Petrology. Cambridge University Press.
  •  Lisle, R.J., Brabham, P. & Barnes, J. 2011. Basic Geological Mapping (5th Edition). Wiley-Blackwell.
  •  MacKenzie, W.S. and Adams, A.E. 2016. Rocks and Minerals in Thin Section: A Colour Atlas. Manson.
  •  Marshak, S. 2015. Earth Portrait of a Planet. Norton & Co. (Fifth Edition)
  •  Nichols, G. 2009. Sedimentology and Stratigraphy (2nd Edition). Wiley.
  •  Park, R.G. 1997. Foundations of Structural Geology, Routledge.
  •  Tucker, M.E. 2001. Sedimentary Petrology: An Introduction. Third Edition. Wiley-Blackwell.
  •  Tucker, M. 2011. Sedimentary Rocks in the Field: A Practical Guide. Wiley-Blackwell.
  •  Winter, J.D. 2013. An Introduction to Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology. Second Edition.Prentice Hall.

fieldwork geology

We plan to ease you gently into life at Keele with a series of introductory sessions in the first week of semester. On Monday, 28th September 2020. there will be an introductory talk on the Geology degree programme. Due to social distancing measures this talk will be delivered online; you will receive a link to access the talk at a later date. On Tuesday 29th September, we have set up a group project entitled ‘Volcano’. My colleague Dr Ian Stimpson is organising this project and will be in touch with you with guidance on how to engage with this project. More information on these activities will be provided in the Geology introductory talk.

It is essential that you attend ALL of the introductory sessions and come prepared to take notes (either on paper or electronically), as important information will be provided on all aspects of your degree course and it will help you settle in.



students on mapping exercise

For many Geology students, the fieldwork they undertake is the highlight of their geological education. In fact, fieldwork is an essential part of a geologist's training and is intended to supplement formal class teaching and develop the skills of observing and recording. 

Classic geological areas within the British Isles are within easy reach of Keele and, together with an overseas field course, enable you to study the geological evolution of fundamentally different geological regimes.

The provisional field course programme for 2020-21 is provided in the following table:



Duration / Date*

Ercall Quarries, Shropshire

24th October 2020

Lapworth Museum, Birmingham University

One-day; March 2021 (TBC)

Wenlock Edge, Shropshire

20th March 2021

Pembrokeshire, South Wales

One-week; April 2021 (TBC)

Llangollen, North Wales

24 – 25th April 2021

Snowdonia, North Wales

18 – 25th September 2021

*The dates of the above field courses are currently provisional due to Covid-19 and will be finalised as soon as possible.

Implications of Coronavirus: At the moment, we are being optimistic and hoping that the above field courses can go ahead as planned. Obviously, these field trips will only take place if official guidelines on travel and social distancing allow, and it may be necessary to postpone trips and/or replace some components of field courses with on-line teaching. Further updates will be provided as more information becomes available.

Fieldwork Equipment: All year 1 Geology students are provided with a field equipment pack, including a hard hat, high vis vest, safety goggles and whistle. A compass-clinometer will be provided on loan from the School. The following equipment is also essential for geological fieldwork and it is recommended that you try to purchase these items in time for your first field course:
  • A hard-bound field notebook*
  • Hand lens*
  • Grain size chart*
  • Drawing pens (0.35 mm or less, black, blue, red and green waterproof ink).
  • Waterproof jacket and over-trousers (essential).
  • Strong walking boots (essential).
  • A clipboard (at least A4-size) or a plastic map case for protection against the weather.
  • A standard propelling type pencil and coloured pencils
  • Small first aid kit.
  • A day sack for use in the field.
  • A digital camera or phone camera is also useful for recording features of interest.
* These items can be purchased at cost price from the department.


Feel free to contact the Geology course director, Dr Stuart Egan, if you have any specific questions.

female student in labs

Accreditation logo for Geological Society Accreditation logo for IEMA Accreditation logo for IES Accreditation logo for RGS Accreditation logo for Athena Swan Bronze

*Accreditation is dependent on the degree route and modules taken