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Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Birkbeck, University of London

Welcome to Birkbeck

Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

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Extensive fieldwork opportunities

We provide opportunities for students to participate in fieldwork at locations around the globe.

At postgraduate and MPhil/PhD level we support your independent fieldwork projects.

Planetary geology is a key part of our research

Our researchers are investigating the potential for mining the Moon and the search for life in the universe.

Study with us through distance learning

The option to study through distance learning for our undergraduate and selected postgraduate courses, helps students to combine study with their work and family commitments.

REF2014 research excellence

REF 2014 results ranked the department (in a joint submission with UCL) 6th in the UK. Research impact was considered outstanding and 90% of the department's research output was described as of high international standing.

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Distance learning degrees

We offer the only distance learning degrees (BSc Geology, BSc Earth Sciences, BSc Environmental Geology, BSc Planetary Sciences with Astronomy) and certificates supported by full lecture videos (streamed over the web) and digital lecture notes.
Sample our free online taster course: Structural Geology (module 1)


We have 5 active research grants among our 13 academic staff. (1 NERC grant, 1 Leverhulme grants, 2 STFC grants, 1 Royal Society ) Find out more.

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Funding and awards

STFC Studentship in Planetary Science starting 1 October 2018 - applications are now closed - project description for reference only.

We are one of the research centres for the PhD London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP). Applications for 2018 have now closed - information about Birkbeck-led projects for reference only.

Emily Paige Short Pioneer Fund Financial assistance for students in their academic activities beyond normal study in the area of petrology and related fields.

Tim Newling Fund Funding for field classes for both undergraduates and postgraduates.

Public Engagement Awards celebrate Birkbeck research achievements

The awards ceremony honoured research work from Birkbeck academics and PhD researchers that is finding a wider audience.

Study shows oxygen loss could be a huge issue for oceans

International study reveals role of oxygen depletion in global warming.

Geologists discover 60 million-year-old meteorite impact

Birkbeck’s Simon Drake, Andy Beard, Hilary Downes and Jergus Baca were part of a team of geologists who discovered the meteorite impact on the Isle of Skye, including mineral forms never before reported on Earth.

New research sheds light on one of the world’s earliest urban civilisations

An international team, including Birkbeck’s Professor Andy Carter, uncovered new evidence on the rise and fall of the Indus Civilisation.

Jenna and Ross explain why studying at Birkbeck was a good career move and a great experience