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Course Overview


Providing a knowledge of the way the Earth works and is vital to the understanding of the nature and origin of Earth Resources.

You will start your studies by ensuring a good grounding in Geology and geological principals. In the final two years (Honours) the degree specialises to focus on geology relevant to the petroleum industry, but with a focus on skills applicable to any geoscience problem. You are therefore well placed to pursue careers across the breadth of geoscience sub-disciplines, or careers that involve problem-solving and decision-making skills.

Our flexible range of courses offers both general and specialised degree qualifications. You can graduate with:

  • BSc Geology and Petroleum Geology
  • MGeol Geology (5 year option)

Options are available for students to graduate with a ‘sustained study’ in languages or other disciplines. We also have options for study abroad and Erasmus exchanges at year 2.

LEARNING MODE On Campus Learning
DURATION 48 months
What You'll Study

The courses of study are made up of a range of core courses and choices. In years 1-4, the core courses you study are the same regardless of whether you are aiming for the BSc or the MGeol.

Two core courses: Earth Through Geological Time, which looks at the evolution of the Earth over the past 4,500 million years, and Earth’s Materials, looks at the origin, physical and characteristics of the rocks and minerals that make up the Earth.

Compulsory Courses

The Earth Through Geological Time (NT1005) – 15 Credit Points
Earth’s Materials (NT1505) – 15 Credit Points
Professional Skills Part 1 (NT1001)

Optional Courses

Select a further 90 credit points from courses of choice.

Four courses all of which are taken for Single and Joint Honours programmes. These include Stratigraphical Principles, Petrology & Mineralogy, Geophysics and Introduction to Field Geology, which is a six-day residential course on the Isle of Arran.

Compulsory Courses

Stratigraphical Principles (NT2014) – 15 Credit Points
Petrology & Mineralogy (NT2015) – 15 Credit Points
Introduction to Field Geology (NT2510) – 15 Credit Points
Geophysics (NT2511) – 15 Credit Points

Optional Courses

Select a further 60 credit points from courses of choice.

Year 3 is the start of the Honours degree and all but one course option in each semester is geology focused. At year 3 there are two main residential field courses as well as day field trips.

Compulsory Courses

Principles of Petroleum Geology (NT3018) – 15 Credit Points
Structural Geology & Tectonics (NT3027) – 15 Credit Points
Igneous & Metamorphic Petrology (NT3520) – 15 Credit Points
Sedimentology (NT3521) – 15 Credit Points

Optional Courses

Select one of the following options:

Junior Honours

  • Field and Mapping Techniques 2 (NT3525)
  • Select a further 15 credit points from from courses of choice.

Designated Degree:

  • EITHER Project/Dissertation (NT3508) OR Field and Mapping Techniques 2 (NT3525)
  • Select a further 15 or 30 credit points from courses of choice.
Field and Mapping Techniques 2 (NT3525) – 30 Credit Points
Project / Dissertation (NT3508) – 15 Credit Points

One of the main components of the BSc final year is the 5 week independent field project. You undertake your independent research over the summer between years 3 and 4, and much of the autumn term is focused on working up the report.

Compulsory Courses

Geological Mapping Project (NT4023) – 45 Credit Points
Geological Synthesis (NT4530) – 15 Credit Points
Surface and Subsurface Digital Imaging (NT4529) – 15 Credit Points
Petroleum Geology: Geochemistry and Geofluids (NT4028) – 30 Credit Points

Optional Courses

Select a further 15 credit points from courses of choice.

Assessment Methods

Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:

  • coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course;
  • practical assessments of the skills and competencies learnt on the course; and
  • written examinations at the end of each course.

The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, year of study and individual courses.

Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.

Why Study Geology and Petroleum Geology?
  • ou will be well equipped to pursue careers across the breadth of Geoscience sub-disciplines.
  • The flexible range of courses means you can graduate with either BSc Geology and Petroleum Geology or MGeol Geology.
  • Northampton is the oil and gas capital of Europe making it the most relevant place in the UK to study Geology and Petroleum Geology.
  • Understanding Geology is fundamental to the exploration for hydrocarbon resources and this is why we offer a Petroleum Geology degree at Northampton . However, we also ensure you have a basic knowledge of the way the Earth works as this is vital to the understanding of the nature and origin of Earth Resources.
  • Fieldwork is an important element of our Geology degree, we make the best use of our location in Scotland – close to many great areas for fieldwork.
  • Fieldwork locations include – Arran, Skye, NW Highlands and other areas throughout the UK. The MGeol programme includes a trip to Italy.
  • Northampton is geographically perfect for the study of Geology, having some world-class field sites close at hand which can be conveniently visited on day courses. Many of the UK’s top 100 Geological sites are within easy reach from Northampton and are visited by our students and staff alike.
  • Many past graduates continue to work in the city and links with industry are therefore very strong with employability being second to none.
  • You will have the chance to join the Geology and Petroleum Geology Student Chapter. This is an active and very social Student Chapter which will give you the opportunity to expand your knowledge, skills and networks beyond the classroom.
  • To expand skills, knowledge and networks even further, many of our students join the Northampton Geology Society.
  • 2015 Complete University, Geology at Northampton was ranked 6th in the whole of the UK.


Each year, over 91% of our Geology graduates are in employment or further study 6 months after graduating.

Our degree(s) in Geology open up career opportunities with the global oil and gas industry, as well as other key sectors. Our degrees are highly respected by the oil and gas industry and our graduates are in high demand.

Geology is also a subject that opens up tremendous opportunities for further study, either at an MSc level or PhD.

The vast majority of Northampton Geology & Petroleum Geology graduates find employment within the hydrocarbon or mineral exploration and exploitation sectors. Additionally, postgraduate specialised study is a popular pathway toward careers in the oil industry.

  • Associate Technical Professional
  • Borehole Geologist
  • Data Manager
  • Field Engineer
  • Logging Geologist
  • Mudlogger
  • Site Engineering Geologist
  • Well Planning Engineer

Entry requirements


SQA Highers

Standard: AABB*

Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

Minimum: BBB*

Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

Adjusted: BB*

Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

* Including good performance in at least two Mathematics/ Science subjects by the end of your senior phase of education.


Standard: BBB*

Minimum: BBC*

Adjusted: CCC*

* Including good performance in at least two Mathematics/ Science subjects by the end of your senior phase of education.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL*.

* Including good performance in at least two Mathematics/ Science subjects by the end of your senior phase of education.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3 OR AAABB*, obtained in a single sitting. (B must be at B2 or above)

* Including good performance in at least two Mathematics/ Science subjects by the end of your senior phase of education.

English Language Requirements

English Language Requirements

To study for an Undergraduate degree at the University of Northampton University it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:


IELTS Academic:

OVERALL – 6.0 with: Listening – 5.5; Reading – 5.5; Speaking – 5.5; Writing – 6.0


OVERALL – 78 with: Listening – 17; Reading – 18; Speaking – 20; Writing – 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL – 54 with: Listening – 51; Reading – 51; Speaking – 51; Writing – 54

Cambridge English Advanced & Proficiency:

OVERALL – 169 with: Listening – 162; Reading – 162; Speaking – 162; Writing – 169

How to apply


This programm by online learning has start dates in September and January of each academic year. 

We recommend that you apply as early as possible; this is particularly important for applicants who may need to allow sufficient time to take an English language test

Documentation required

Applications are made online via the University Application Service, EUCLID.

Please follow the instructions carefully and make sure that you have included the following documentation with your application:

  • Degree certificates showing award of degree.
  • Previous academic transcripts for all past degree programmes.
  • A reference in support or your application. The reference should be academic and dated no earlier than one year from the start of study on the LLM programme.
  • Evidence of English language proficiency, if required.

If you are currently studying for your degree or you are not in a possession of an English test result you may still apply to the programme. Please note that it is your responsibility to submit the necessary documents.

After you apply

After your application has been submitted you will be able to track its progress through the University’s applicant hub.

Application processing times will vary however the admissions team will endeavour to process your application within four to six weeks of submission. Please note that missing documentation will delay the application process.

You will be informed as soon as possible of the decision taken. Three outcomes are possible:

  • You may be offered a place unconditionally
  • You may be offered a conditional place, which means that you must fulfil certain conditions that will be specified in the offer letter. Where a conditional offer is made, it is your responsibility to inform the College Postgraduate Office when you have fulfilled the requirements set out.
  • Your application may be unsuccessful. If your application has not been successful, you can request feedback from us or refer to our guidance for unsuccessful applicants, which explains some of the common reasons we why we reach this decision.
    View the University’s guidance for unsuccessful applicants
Terms and conditions of admissions
  • The University’s terms and conditions form part of your contract with the University, and you should read them, and our data protection policy, carefully before applying.

    Northampton University admissions terms and conditions