Geology and Physical Geography 

(2018 Entry)

BSc (Hons)

This popular combination focuses on the physical structure of the Earth, the processes that shape its surface and interior, and the importance of these to human activity.

Combined Honours

Combined Honours degrees allow you to study two different subjects in one degree. Find out more about Combined Honours degrees.


Study abroad
Learn a language
International year
3 years/ 4 years with international year

UCAS code: FF68

View entry requirements

Course Overview

The course includes a balance of physical geography and geology topics, as well as material from complementary disciplines such as geophysics, meteorology, geomorphology, and environmental science. You will learn about the history of the Earth, its past and present environments, and the planet’s resources and hazards. We look at the Earth as a global system, including the causes and effects of global environmental change. There is strong emphasis on developing both laboratory and fieldwork skills, with field courses in the UK as well as overseas (current students have visited Spain and Iceland).

What will this mean for my future?

Keele enjoys high rates of graduate employment, where in 2016, were recognised nationally as 1st for employability in the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey. As a graduate from this course you will have a wide range of skills that are currently in demand and, given current concerns around environmental change and natural resources, are likely to be in demand for a considerable time to come. You might choose to work in a subject specific role in geological or environmental consultancy, in planning, for a mining company, or in the oil and gas industry. Besides having strong subject specific skills, you will be an articulate communicator and confident problem solver, and these will be valuable attributes in a wide range of different careers.

Indicative modules

First year

  • Introduction to Mineralogy and Petrology (includes fieldwork)
  • Geology: Time and Space (includes fieldwork)
  • Geology: Planet Earth
  • Introduction to Sedimentology and Palaeontology (includes fieldwork)
  • Fundamentals of Physical Geography
  • Geographical Skills
  • The Practice of Physical Geography
  • People and the Environment

Second year

  • Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology
  • Reconstructing Past Environments (includes fieldwork)
  • Advanced Structural Geology and Geological Mapping Training
  • Geoscience Field Techniques
  • Dynamic Geographies
  • Practical PhysicalGeography
  • Regional Landsystems
  • Geographical Research Training

Third year

  • Independent Fieldwork Project
  • Structure and Geodynamics (includes fieldwork)
  • Natural Hazards
  • Hydrological and Engineering Geology
  • Micropalaeontology: Principles and Applications (includes fieldwork)
  • Economic Geology (includes fieldwork)
  • Advanced Topics in Sedimentology (includes fieldwork)
  • Exploration Geophysics for the Hydrocarbon Industry
  • Dissertation
  • Glaciers and Glacial Geomorphology
  • Global Environmental Change
  • Water Resources
  • Inspirational Landscapes
  • Applied GIS
  • Coastal Environments

Course structure

Our degree courses are organised into modules. Each module is usually a self-contained unit of study and each is usually assessed separately with the award of credits on the basis of 1 credit = 10 hours of student effort.  An outline of the structure of the programme is provided in the tables below.

There are three types of module delivered as part of this programme. They are:

  • Compulsory modules – a module that you are required to study on this course;
  • Optional modules – these allow you some limited choice of what to study from a list of modules;
  • Elective modules – a free choice of modules that count towards the overall credit requirement but not the number of subject-related credits.

Modules Summary

The Geology programme is modular in structure and must be taken in Levels 4 and 5 in combination with another principal subject. Students may select to study only Geology modules at Level 6, or transfer to study M. Geology at Levels 6 and 7 (see M. Geology Programme Specification for details), or continue with the Combined Honours scheme at Level 6.

A summary of the total credit requirements per year is as follows, with a minimum of 90 subject credits (compulsory plus optional) required for each year across both of your Principal Subjects. This document has information about Geology modules only; please also see the document for your other subject.

Year

Compulsory

Optional

Electives

Min

Max

Min

Max

1

60

0

0

0

0

2

60

0

0

0

0

3

15

45

45

0

0

3*

45

75

75

0

0

* at Level 6 (year 3) there is the option to choose to specialise in one of your subjects. These are the credits if you choose to specialise in Geology in your final year.

 

Physical Geography A summary of the total credit requirements per year is as follows, with a minimum of 90 subject credits (compulsory plus optional) required for each year across both of your Principal Subjects. This document has information about Physical Geography modules only; please also see the document for your other subject. For Physical Geography Combined Honours:  

Year

Compulsory

Optional

Electives

Min

Max

Min

Max

1

60

0

0

0

0

2

60

0

0

0

0

3*

0

45

60

0

15

* in year 3 there is the option to choose to specialise in one of your subjects, taking a minimum of 90 credits in this subject rather than taking modules from both subjects

 

Modules - Year One

Year 1 (Level 4)

Geology Year 1 (Level 4)

It is assumed that students have no previous geological knowledge and therefore the programme starts from basics. The programme provides a broad-based introduction to geological topics at Levels 4 & 5 with emphasis on the characteristics of rocks, minerals and fossils, together with the processes that govern their formation and development.

 

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Minerals, Rocks and Fossils †

30

None

 

Earth Structure and History †

30

   

† Module contains fieldwork

Physical Geography Year 1 (Level 4)

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Fundamentals of Physical Geography

15

None

 

Geographical Skills

15

   

The Practice of Physical Geography

15

   

People and the Environment

15

   

Modules - Year Two

Year 2 (Level 5)

 

 

Geology Year 2 (Level 5)

During Level 5 particular attention is paid to first hand observation, recording and interpretation of geological phenomena in the field and laboratory. This year includes a major overseas field course. By the end of the level you will have been given a complete grounding in geology that will allow you to carry out your own independent studies.

 

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Petrology

30

None

 

Field Techniques

30

   

† Module contains fieldwork

 

Work Placement Year

Students taking the 4-year with ‘Work Placement Year’ undertake their work placement between Year-2 and Year-3 of their degree programme.  During the work placement year, students undertake a work placement (minimum 30 weeks full time (1,050 hours) or equivalent) with a geologically-focussed company or organisation. Students take the year-long, non-credit bearing module:

 

Core modules

Credits

Work Placement Year

n/a

 

International Year

Information relevant to students taking the International Year is available in Annex A.

Physical Geography Year 2 (Level 5)

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Dynamic Geographies

15

None

 

Practical Physical Geography

15

   

Regional Landsystems

15

   

Geographical Research Training

15

   

 

 

Modules - Year Three

Year 3 (Level 6)

Geology Year 3 (Level 6)

This year starts during the summer vacation when you will carry out an independent field project, which normally takes 3 weeks. During the autumn semester you will prepare a dissertation based upon this field project. In addition, there is a choice of option modules from a wide range of geological subject areas. The method and approach to teaching changes emphasis from staff-centred instruction at Levels 4 & 5 to more student-oriented activities, with components of several modules based upon independent or team-based project work.

 

There is also a change from modules based upon pure aspects of geological study to more applied aspects. It is intended that students should select their option modules according to their interests and career aspirations. Much of the content of these Level 6 option modules is based on research at the forefront of the discipline and helps to strengthen links between teaching and research.

 

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules (Choose 45 Credits)

Credits

Independent Fieldwork Project (ISP)

15

Structure and Geodynamics

15

   

Natural Hazards

15

   

Hydrological and Engineering Geology

15

   

Exploration Geophysics for Hydrocarbons

15

   

Micropalaeontology: Principles and Applications

15

   

Economic Geology

15

   

Advanced Topics in Sedimentology

15

 

Physical Geography Year 3 (Level 6) (Combined Honours)

Students take either 60 credits from the options below, or 45 credits from this list plus 15 credits from an elective outside this list. Students may take no more than one of the ISPs on this list, and do not need to take a Geography Independent Study Project (ISP) as long as there is an ISP included within their overall combined honours module diet.

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

None

 

Double Dissertation ISP

30

   

Single Dissertation ISP

15

   

Glaciers and Glacial Geomorphology

15

   

Inspirational Landscapes

15

   

Global Environmental Change

15

   

Water Resources

15

   

Applied GIS

15

   

Coastal Environments

15

   

Environment and Sustainability Case Study

15

   

Natural Hazards

15

 

 

Modules - Year Four

If you choose to specialise in Geology in your final year you will study the following modules:

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules (Choose 75 Credits)

Credits

Independent Fieldwork Project (ISP)

15

Structure and Geodynamics

15

Geological Communication Skills

15

Natural Hazards

15

Volcanic and Magmatic Processes

15

Hydrological and Engineering Geology

15

   

Exploration Geophysics for Hydrocarbons

15

   

Micropalaeontology: Principles and Applications

15

   

Economic Geology

15

   

Advanced Topics in Sedimentology

15

   

Glaciers and Glacial Geomorphology *

15

   

Global Environmental Change *

15

   

Water Resources *

15

   

Coastal Environments *

15

* No more than two of these Physical Geography modules may be taken

† Module contains fieldwork

 

If you choose to specialise in Physical Geography in your final year you will take either 120 credits from the list below, or 105 credits from this list plus 15 credits from an elective outside this list. Students must take one of the two Dissertation ISP options below.

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

None

 

Double Dissertation ISP

30

   

Single Dissertation ISP

15

   

Glaciers and Glacial Geomorphology

15

   

Global Environmental Change

15

   

Water Resources

15

   

Natural Hazards

15

   

Inspirational Landscapes

15

   

Applied GIS*

15

   

Coastal Environments

15

   

Trees in their Environment*

15

   

Contemporary Topics in Environmental Science

15

   

Environment & Sustainability Case Study

15

 

For further information on the content of modules currently offered, including the list of elective modules, please visit: www.keele.ac.uk/recordsandexams/az