UCC Undergraduate courses

Earth Science

About This Course

Fact File

Course Outline

Earth Science investigates the functioning, development and use of Earth’s physical environment and involves the study of its atmosphere and oceans, its surface processes, and its crust and interior. It also involves the study of Earth's natural and physical resources, and incorporates interdisciplinary subjects across the traditional disciplines of geography, geology, geophysics, oceanography and biological sciences.

The course focuses on applying knowledge of these disciplines to understanding and solving problems. The subject’s growth has been in response to changing demands in industry and the practical needs of interdisciplinary scientific research, together with the needs arising from an increased community awareness of the Earth, its environment stresses and patterns of change.


Refer to CK404 for more details.

Year 1 Modules:

  • BL1002 Cells, Biomolecules, Genetics and Evolution (5 credits);
  • BL1004 Physiology and Structure of Plants and Animals (5 credits);
  • BL1005 Habitats and Ecosystems (5 credits);
  • CM1003 Introductory Chemistry for Environmental Scientists (10 credits);
  • ER1006 Applied Earth Systems (5 credits);
  • EV1002 The Environment (5 credits);
  • GG1010 Introduction to Physical Geography (5 credits);
  • GL1001 Introduction to Geology (5 credits);
  • GL1004 Geological Evolution of Ireland (5 credits);
  • MA1001 Calculus for Science I (5 credits);
  • PY1009 Physics for the Environment Sciences I (5 credits)

Year 2 Modules:


Field Training;  Quaternary Environments and Geomorphology;  The Atmospheric Environment; Biogeography;  Geographical Research Methods;  Crystallography, Optics and Mineralogy; Sedimentological Processes and Sedimentary Petrology;  Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology;  Structural Geology;  Fossils as Living Organisms;  Geohazards and Research Skills


The Environment and Human Health;  Environmental Archaeology;  Calculus for Science (part 2);  Ecological Plant Physiology;  Fluids;  Physics for the Environmental Sciences; Introduction to Biostatistics;  Introductory Programming in Python

Year 3 Modules:


Field Training;  Earth Science Literature Review;  Geoinformatics;  Geographies of Environment and Sustainability;  Coastal and Marine Geomorphology;  Climate Variability and Change; Environmental Economic Geography;  Applied Structural Geology;  Sedimentary Environments;   Micropalaeontology and Palynology;  Geological Map Interpretation


Introduction to Biostatistics;  Introduction to Environmental Archaeology;  Heritage Management and Archaeology; Introduction to Energy Engineering;  Human Remains for Archaeologists;  Archaeo-palynology; Conservation Biology;  Valuing the Environment

Year 4 Modules:


Research Project;  Advanced Geographical Information Systems;  Environmental Remote Sensing;  Applied Geophysics;  Climate Variability and Change


Practical Offshore Marine Science;  Earth Science Work Placement;  Petroleum Geology and Basin Analysis;  Regional and Local Planning Issues and Policies;  Food Geography; Geohazards and Research Skills;  Advanced Field Geoscience Techniques;   Exceptional Glimpses of Ancient Life;  Stratigraphy;  Geological Map Interpretation;  Geography as Human Ecology

See the College Calendar for additional information on the Programme and the Book of Modules for further details on modules. 



Course Practicalities

Lecture/lab/practical hours: Daily lectures, laboratory and computer classes and small group teaching take place throughout your four years of study.

Field trips: Field trips take place during term time and on occasion during the holidays — such field trips are compulsory and you are expected to attend. Fieldwork for the research project takes place during the summer holiday and into Year 4 as necessary, and can be in Ireland or overseas, depending on the subject area. 



Why Choose This Course

One of my favourite aspects of this course is the fieldtrips.

Roisin Mulvey

BSc, Earth Science

The great mix of varied subjects, field trips, group and independent projects gave me a background that has prepared me for a career.

Brigitte Crowe

BSc, Earth Science

This course provides a unique approach to studying the physical system of planet Earth – how it functions, how it can be wisely managed and how it might change under different environmental conditions.

Students undertake a range of field studies each year of study in different geological and geographical locations, allowing them to gain the practical skills required of Earth scientists in the workplace.

The research project encourages students to develop and test their own ideas and to gain independence in thinking and reaching conclusions based on data they have collected.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

No formal work placement is undertaken in the course, although you will be encouraged to seek such opportunities to develop your skills in a commercial environment as part of the independent research project.

Several successful partnerships have been developed in this way, resulting in students having access to data and knowledge not available in-house, and enabling them to undertake novel and innovative research that directly supports the work of a commercial or government enterprise.

Skills and Careers Information

Earth scientists are involved in a variety of environmentally based careers that draw upon their wide laboratory and computing skills and experience. Typical careers for Earth Science graduates include:

  • mineral and water exploration
  • geological
  • geophysical and ground surveying
  • geotechnical services
  • natural resource conservation
  • mapping
  • management and planning
  • oceanography and marine science

Many transferable skills are also fostered through different learning approaches, including critical thinking, problem solving, report writing, oral presentations, statistical analysis, independent research and time management.


Refer to CK404.

Non-EU Candidates

Non-EU candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. In addition, where such candidates are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language.

To verify if you meet the minimum academic and language requirements for this programme please visit our qualification comparison pages.

For more detailed entry requirement information please refer to the International website.

Mature Students Requirements

Please refer to the mature student entry requirements for details. 

Fees and Costs

Full-time EU/EEA/Swiss State undergraduate students may be exempt from paying tuition fees. The State will pay the tuition fees for students who satisfy the Free Fees Criteria. In 2021/22 the Student Contribution Fee will be €3,000 and the Capitation Fee will be €130.
Some modules incorporate practical laboratories and for these you may be required to purchase basic safely items such as a laboratory coat or goggles. Other modules may require a kit of components to be purchased. There will be a cost of €1,000 over the course of the four years for field trips.

Non-EU Fees

The Undergraduate Fees Schedule is available here.

How Do I Apply

Refer to CK404.

Non-EU Applications

Applicants who are interested in applying for the programme can apply online.

For full details of the non-EU application procedure visit our how to apply pages for international students.


**All Applicants please note: modules listed in the course outline above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course, but these are subject to change from year to year. Please check the college calendar for the full academic content of any given course for the current year. 

In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools and departments. 

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact