Earth Sciences (Geology)

Want to find out more about Earth Sciences (Geology)?

If you like the idea of applying maths and science to problems with huge societal impact – be that climate change, resource management, natural hazards, evolutionary dynamics, or the habitability of other planets, then Earth Sciences could be the course for you. 

On these pages you can hear all about the course from our current staff and students. Learn about the topics covered, what it’s like to study here and to go on field trips. Understand our admissions process (with handy tips from tutors and our 1st years), and get a glimpse of the facilities and experiences you can look forward to while here.  

Earth Sciences at Oxford | Meet the Community | Field Work

Earth Sciences at Oxford

The Department of Earth Sciences is an interdisciplinary applied science department housed in state of the art facilities, which is home to around 120 undergraduate students, 80 graduate students, 30 lecturers, 60 researchers and 30 administrative and technical support staff.

Our aim is to conceive and conduct world-leading research into the processes that shape the formation and history of the solid earth, its oceans and atmosphere, and examine their mutual interactions and effect on the earth’s environment and biosphere. Much of this work is driven by interaction with collaborators across the physical and increasingly the social sciences.

Introduction

A welcome from our Head of Department & Introduction to the Course from our Director of Teaching.

Department Tour

A short overview of our building & the facilities you can access as an undergraduate.

Meet the Community

Hear what it is like being an Oxford Earth Sciences’ student, meet some of the faculty and learn about some of the people you will be speaking to today.

Lucy, 1st year, University College

Picture of Lucy in a hard hat

“I wanted to study Earth Sciences because I always really enjoyed STEM subjects and learning about how science is used to understand how the Earth works, including things like the Greenhouse effect and climate change; how the Earth was formed; how earthquakes work and more! When I visited the department on the open day it seemed like such a friendly environment and the course structure appealed to me more than courses at other unis. I love being an Earth Sciences student at Oxford, the modules are really interesting and are taught by great lecturers, the department is also relatively small so you really feel like part of the community. Having a small year group means you get to know everyone really well- especially in practical classes, on field trips and at OUGS (Oxford University Geological Society) social events!”

Rebecca, University College

Rebecca sitting on a wall by the sea

Growing up, my family would spend countless weekends and summers in Weymouth, in Dorset. We’d spend many days on the beach, where I would just spend the entire day collecting ‘pretty rocks’ and sea glass whilst my family windsurfed. I grew up surrounded by and learning about the Jurassic Coast, and so when I had the opportunity to take geology for A-Level, I knew I had to. But at the same time, it had been a struggle picking the 4 A-Levels I eventually did. Whilst I loved maths, chemistry, and geography; I just couldn’t let go of physics (as I originally wanted to be an astrophysicist when I was younger) and biology. So, when I came across “Earth Sciences”, which allows you to cover all of them, I knew it was perfect for me.

When I looked into the course and what Oxford is like as a university, I knew it was the place for me. The fact that the Earth Sciences cohort is relatively small was a big plus for me. Being able to walk into department and know the names and faces of everyone in your year group, of the Earth Scientists in your college, and potentially some from other years and different colleges makes it a really inclusive, friendly, and safe atmosphere.”

Meet the Students

Meet the Tutors

Field work

Fieldwork is a vital part of an Earth scientist's training. Our field courses are designed to provide a wide range of practical exercises and field experience in geology and geophysics: observing, measuring, recording, mapping, and problem-solving. Students complete up to 90 days of field training throughout the course, including an independent mapping project in the summer after 2nd year. For many, this is the highlight of their undergraduate career. Sadly we have had to cancel some of our trips over the last year but we are now back out in field, and are confident that you will get to experience fieldwork during your undergraduate course.

Fieldwork at Oxford Earth Sciences

Learn about why we do fieldwork & where we go! Associate Professor Stuart Robinson explains all.

Example Field Trip: Santorini

Undergraduates studying Earth Sciences at Oxford go on a field trip to an active volcano. Take a look here to find out what happens.

Student Field Work