Studying this Palaeontology and Geology BSc degree course will give you a rigorous training in palaeontology, enabling you to use the fossil record to understand the evolution and diversity of ancient life, from dinosaurs to microfossils.
You will be taught by lecturers from one of the largest and strongest palaeobiology research groups in the UK, and our focus on research-led teaching will provide you with exciting opportunities to carry out your own cutting-edge research projects. The rich fossil collections of our Lapworth Museum of Geology provide a unique resource that supports our teaching and research.
This course will provide you with the skills necessary to develop a career as a professional palaeontologist engaged in research and teaching or in museum curation, or as an applied palaeontologist/biostratigrapher within the oil industry. Your core training in geology will also provide opportunities for a potential career as a geoscientist, if this is the career path you would like to take.
All first year modules are compulsory and span the breadth of Earth Sciences and include contributions from the Biology group. From year two onwards, there is more focus on palaeontology and an increasing amount of choice that allows you to select modules following your interests.
In year three (and four) you will also complete independent Earth Science research projects based on primary data collected in the field/laboratory or museum developing your practical, analytical and communication skills.
In addition to lectures and practical classes, you can look forward to fieldwork training in palaeobiological and geological techniques. This work is undertaken both in the UK and abroad, and is assessed by means of field-driven reports, presentations and field notebook.
Getting out of the lecture theatre and into the field is an exhilarating experience. Whether you’re sampling, mapping or collecting data, the subject matter really comes alive. There’s no better way to learn about the natural and the built world than by being in the great outdoors.
Fieldwork is an essential element of our degree programmes, and Earth Sciences at Newcastle has an outstanding reputation for providing its students with high quality field training. It offers you the chance to travel, work independently as well as in a group and learn valuable technical skills. We will make the necessary arrangements to accommodate students with disabilities for field courses throughout your time at Newcastle.
Basic fieldwork kit for all new starters
When you start in Newcastle, we will provide you with the basic field supplies (worth ~£85) that you will need for your degree program. Please note that you are responsible for providing suitable outdoor clothing for fieldwork.
In year one, semester one there is a one-week residential field course to Northern Ireland. In semester two, there is a one-week residential field course to Pembrokeshire in SW Wales. For more details please see the Modules tab. These courses will provide you with practical skills and theory spanning the breadth of Earth Sciences. All students taking Earth Sciences courses do these trips together giving you the opportunity to get to know those on the Geology, and Geology and Physical Geography Courses.
In year two, we continue to develop your core Geology skills but with an increasing emphasis on bespoke content relevant to your degree – in this case developing your field skills in Palaeontology. There is a one-week residential field course to NW Scotland. The first half of the week focuses on Palaeozoic and Quaternary Geology, and in the latter half of the week the evolution of Mesozoic terrestrial and marine ecosystems, and associated palaeoenvironmental change. In semester two, there is a one-week residential field course to SW England working along the world famous “Jurassic Coast. Between year two and three you will also complete approximately one week of fieldwork contributing towards your year three dissertation.
In year three, there is a residential fieldcourse to Utah, USA that will teach students about the processes involved in finding, collecting, preparing, studying and exhibiting fossils.
Why Study this Course?
There are plenty of reasons to study Palaeontology and Geology BSc at Newcastle:
- Employability – Our Earth and Environmental Science graduates are highly employable with 100% in jobs or further study within six months of graduation (DLHE 2016/17)
- 4th for Earth and Marine Sciences in The Guardian University Guide 2019
- The Lapworth Museum of Geology – one of the oldest and finest specialist geological museums in the UK, housing more than 250,000 specimens. Reopen following a £2.7m redevelopment project, it is an invaluable study resource.
- Accreditation – Our Earth Sciences degree programmes are accredited by the Geological Society of London, highlighting that they offer sound training for a professional career in the geosciences, and satisfy the academic requirements of Fellowship and Chartered Geologist status.
- Scope – Be taught by enthusiastic and world-class lecturers from one of the largest and strongest palaeobiology research groups in the UK, with expertise spanning Paleozoic to modern ecosystems on land and in the oceans utilising traditional field based palaeontology as well as the latest in statistical and digital techniques. Our focus on research-led teaching will provide you with exciting opportunities to carry out your own cutting-edge research projects.
Palaeontology and Geology BSc (Hons)
Undergraduate, Single Honours
How long it takes:
Undergraduate (3 Years)
Distance learning/ Campus
Find out more about
Newcastle Law School
The first year provides you with a broad training in topics spanning the breadth of Earth Sciences, through compulsory modules. We don’t assume any prior knowledge; the chemistry, physics and maths that you require is taught in the context of individual modules, and applied to the problems that you’re investigating. Residential trips to Northern Ireland and South West Wales will train you in key skills in geological observation, data recording and interpretation.
- Earth History and Life
- Introduction to Evolution and Animal Biology
- Earth Systems
- Atoms to Volcanoes
- Earth Structures & Tectonics
- Geoscience Project
- Introductory Field and Research Skills
- SW Wales Field Course
The Year 2 content builds on the first year, covering a range of specialised topics. Compulsory modules cover sedimentology, past environments and resources, and you can also choose two additional options from a diverse selection. The Year 2 field courses take you to North West Scotland and to SW England, where you will cover a wide range of exercises with an emphasis on palaeontology.”
- Micropalaeontology and Palaeoenvironments
- Field Skills and Project Planning for Independent Projects
- Resource Geology
- NW Scotland Field Skills
- Oceans Through Time
Optional modules (select two of the following):
- Animal Biology: Principles and Mechanisms
- Evolution of Humans and Other Animals
- Ecological Systems
- Genetics 1
- Geomorphology and Palaeoenvironments
Compulsory modules in Year 3 include your dissertation where you will undertake fieldwork the previous summer and an additional palaeontologically focussed field-based module that will expand your field and technical skills within your chosen field.
- Earth Sciences Research
- Palaeontology Field and Museum Skills
- Evolutionary Palaeobiology
- Evolution of Vertebrates
- Conservation Practice: Genes to Ecosystems
- Human Evolution
- Adaptation to Changing Environments
- Biodiversity and Conservation Management
- Genetics II
Applicants should normally have one of the following:
- A non-law bachelor’s degree (from a UK university or recognised by the BSB if you wish to study the BPTC), or
- A ‘stale’ law degree, where five or more years have elapsed since graduation, or
- An academic or professional qualification at degree equivalent level
If English is not your first language, you will also need to demonstrate your English Language proficiency. For example, you should have IELTS 7.5 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in all components.
If you intend to become a Solicitor
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has reduced its requirements for pre-authorisation this year. For details of the current arrangements, see the SRA website. You should pay special attention to the Character and Suitability section. If you think you may have a character or suitability issue, you may wish to clarify with the SRA before proceeding with the GDL.
See further details of our English Language requirement
USA,UK & EU students, 2019/20 (per year)
International students starting 2019/20 (per year)
You’ll show your progress through a combination of written essays, problem-solving assignments and presentations.
All students take our core modules, but please note that the availability of optional modules is subject to demand.
Where could a degree in Earth Sciences take you?
This course will provide you with the skills necessary to develop a career as a professional palaeontologist engaged in research and teaching or in museum curation, or as an applied palaeontologist/biostratigrapher within the oil or engineering industry. Your core training in geology will also provide opportunities for a potential career in a range of geology and geology-related industries, if this is the career path you would like to take. You will also acquire a wealth of generic transferable skills. From data analysis and problem solving to communication and team-working, these transferable skills are highly valued by employers and will enhance your employability in the competitive job market.
Recent graduates have found employment in a wide range of fields. Our most recent student survey showed that many students from Earth Sciences were engaged in work or study directly related to their first degree, with the remainder choosing career paths in areas outside of the subject where the transferable skills gained on the programme prove invaluable.
Careers in Earth Sciences and Geography are exteremely diverse, with students going into a wide range of professions. Increasing numbers of our graduates are employed in environmental planning, land remediation hydrogeology and pollution control. Opportunities in some fields, notably the oil and minerals industries, vary from year to year. Other employers include the British Geological Survey (BGS), local authorities, museums, government organisations and engineering and construction companies. Other graduates decide on a career in teaching either from primary or right through to further education. Many students also go on to careers around the world in locations including Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Increasingly, a successful career in geology is helped by having a higher qualification. Nearly half of our graduates go on to further study before taking a job, either by completing a one-year MSc course or researching for a PhD.
You will acquire sought-after skills that will enable you to forge a career in a range of geology and geology-related industries, from the environmental through to engineering sectors, as well as a host of generic transferable skills. From data analysis and problem solving to communication and team-working, these transferable skills are highly valued by employers and will enhance your employability in the competitive job market.