Environmental Geology (BSc): 4-year, part-time evening/distance learning

Year of entry

2018

Start date

October 2018

Location

Central London or by distance learning

Status

Fully Approved

Duration

Four years part-time

Attendance

Two to three evenings a week (plus some weekends and field trips), October to July

Are you interested in geology and environmental issues? Are you concerned about the natural environment of our planet? Perhaps you work, or want to work, in the environmental or civil engineering industries. This course allows you to combine your studies and consider issues such as pollution, water resources, planning and waste disposal. As well as attending the course at Birkbeck in central London, you can also study by distance learning via our online learning environment, so you can access course materials and recordings of lectures wherever you are in the world - and whenever it suits you.

We are one of the few departments that meets the Geological Society's recommendation of a minimum of 100 days of fieldwork in a BSc programme. This is a commitment that many full-time courses do not match and, at present, we are the only part-time geology programme that does.

Each year, students attend a major residential field course of 10-14 days. They also attend numerous one-day and weekend field trips and are encouraged to undertake a substantial amount of independent field research.

Field courses are designed to complement the lecture programme and laboratory-based practical classes. In the field, students have the opportunity to cement their theoretical understanding of geology with practical experience. At the same time, they develop the skills they need to pursue independent research. We regularly update our field itineraries to keep up with changes in our curriculum. Currently, we take students to the Isle of Skye (Year 1), North-West Scotland (Year 2), and Cyprus and Spain (Years 3 and 4).

Find out more about our fieldwork opportunities.

Read more

Highlights

  • Our Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences has been offering evening study courses for over 70 years.
  • You will learn in an environment of active research and be taught by lecturers who are working at the forefront of their specialisms.
  • Our teaching is informed by considerable research into environmental issues, which is ongoing in the Department. Current research focuses on areas such as metal pollution, coastal erosion, mineralogy, earthquake prediction and palaeontology.
  • We retain close links with UCL's Department of Earth Sciences, sharing expertise, facilities and events across the two institutions, including live streaming of lectures and digital lecture notes. In our joint submission with UCL, Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences at Birkbeck were rated sixth in the UK in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF).
  • We are part of the joint UCL-Birkbeck Institute of Earth and Planetary Sciences (IEPS).
  • We offer residential field trips to sites in Greece, Morocco, Scotland, Spain and Wales.
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Course structure

In Years 1 and 2, you will share compulsory modules with the BSc Geology. Once these are completed, you choose from a range of option modules that concentrate on specific environmental aspects. You may also choose modules in other subjects offered by Birkbeck to complement your geological studies or to broaden your scientific background and skills. You will also complete an environmental project.

Read more about modules

Year 1 compulsory modules

Year 2 compulsory modules

Years 3 and 4 core/compulsory modules

Years 3 and 4 option modules

  • Entry Requirements We welcome a wide range of qualifications, from the UK and abroad, and we will also consider your non-academic achievements.

    Entry requirements

    We welcome applicants without traditional entry qualifications as we base decisions on our own assessment of qualifications, knowledge and previous work experience. We may waive formal entry requirements based on judgement of academic potential.

    Alternative entry routes

    Access to Higher Education Diploma with a minimum of 15 credits achieved at Merit or Distinction in a science-based subject.

    Students who successfully complete Birkbeck's Certificate of Higher Education in Earth History and Palaeontology, Forensic Geology, Geology, Mineralogy and Volcanology or Planetary Geology will be considered for a place on the BSc, with the possibility of exemption from the first-year modules.

    International entry requirements

    If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

    If you don’t meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

    Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.

    Credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

    If you have studied at university previously, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.

    Find out more about credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL).

  • Fees We are committed to doing everything we can to help you finance your studies.

    Fees (2017/8)

    Part-time home/EU students: £ 6935 pa
    Part-time overseas students: £ 9750 pa

    Additional costs

    As well as fees, you should expect to pay other study-related expenses, for travel to and from College, books, stationery, etc. Birkbeck provides advice and financial support for students who experience hardship in meeting the travel costs of essential fieldwork or study visits.

    On this programme, you will also have to pay for the following additional costs.

    There are four field trips available as optional elements of this programme, as follows:

    • The field trip to the Isle of Skye, Scotland, includes costs for 11 nights’ accommodation (approximately £517, including evening meals), return flights to Inverness (from £100) and a minibus deposit (£120).
    • The field trip to Scourie, Scotland, includes costs that usually total around £700.
    • The field trip to Greece includes costs for return flights (approximately £300), hotel (approximately £470) and vehicle hire (approximately £100).
    • The field trip to Morocco includes costs that usually total around £700 for flights and accommodation.
    • In addition, students will need to equip themselves with field-note books and stationery, compass and hammer, and GPS equipment (both optional), hand lens, walking boots and all-weather clothing for Skye and Scourie.
  • Teaching and assessment Our innovative, engaging teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments.

    Teaching

    At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.

    Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading.

    Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.

    In addition, you will have timetabled meetings with your Personal Tutor.

    Methods of teaching on this course

    Your study will include a considerable number of laboratory classes supported by web-based learning, and fieldwork.

    Over the four years of the programme, you will spend about 100 days on field studies, including 10-14 days over the Easter period each year, an average of three weekend classes a year (one to three days each) and time spent on your own choice of project on an environmental geology theme.

    Face-to-face lectures are supplemented by our online learning environment, where you can access course materials and recordings of lectures. Distance learning students can attend field classes alongside students taking the BSc degree by evening study.

    Find out more about our study support and student facilities.

    Timetables

    Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).

    Indicative class size

    Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to large groups, with 30 to 100+ students in attendance, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups of 10 to 30 students, led by an academic.

    Academic support

    Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:

    • academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
    • written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
    • numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).

    Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.

    Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.

    Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short– or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.

    Assessment

    Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations. You will be given time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

    Unseen written examinations are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June, and, in most cases, are held during the day on a weekday – if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance. Exam timetables are published online in March each year.

    Find out more about assessment at Birkbeck, including guidance on assessment, feedback and our assessment offences policy.

    Methods of assessment on this course

    A combination of reports on field-based projects, laboratory work and written examinations. Some modules include continuous assessment through written work.

    Feedback

    As well as a mark for your coursework and exams, you will also receive feedback from your marker(s) to help you learn, improve and succeed. We encourage you to discuss feedback with your module tutor.

    Feedback can come in different forms: notes via Moodle (our online learning environment); a paper copy of a completed feedback form; or in-class or face-to-face feedback. The College Policy on Feedback on Assessment sets out what you can expect from your feedback.

    Your department will usually provide you with your marked coursework within four weeks of submission. Your initial mark is provisional until the relevant Board of Examiners has confirmed it.

    Your official coursework and exam results will be made available to you via your My Birkbeck Profile online.

  • Careers and employability To help you get ahead in your career, we offer free advice and training and our recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, can connect you with employers.

    Careers and employability

    Graduates can pursue careers in the oil, mineral and groundwater industries, geology or academia. This degree may also be useful in becoming a higher education lecturer, geologist or researcher.

    Find out more about the destinations of graduates in this subject.

    We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

    Graduate Destinations

    Average salary six months after the course: £26000

    Go on to work and/or study:

    Go on to work and/or study
    Now working: 50%
    Doing further study: 25%
    Studying and working: 5%
    Unemployed: 0%
    Other: 15%

    Read more of the statistics for this course on the Unistats website.

  • How to apply Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck.

    How to apply

    You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application link. Please note that online application will open in October 2017.

    Birkbeck offers a range of free face-to-face advice and support to help you make a successful application.

    Birkbeck can give you all of the information and help you need to complete your application form, including our online personal statement tool, which will guide you through every step of writing your personal statement.

    Application deadlines and interviews

    We suggest you apply as early as possible.

    Interviews June to September.

Visit the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences