UCC Undergraduate courses


About This Course

Fact File

Course Outline

Geology is the study of the history of the Earth and other planets in our solar system, their chemical and physical composition, and their structure and evolution.

It includes investigations into the nature and composition of the Earth’s outer crust, as well as a study of its deep interior. These studies allow us to understand the formation and occurrence of important natural resources such as coal, oil, gas, groundwater and mineral deposits.

The study of geology allows us to understand natural geohazards such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. It also allows us to look back in time at terrestrial climate.

The BSc Geology course assumes no previous knowledge of the subject, but by taking this course, you will learn something of the processes that have formed this planet – spanning 4,500 million years – and those that allow humans and life, as we know it, to exist on Earth.

Geology is the principal degree taken by students within the Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES) stream. Aside from the core modules, fieldwork forms an integral part of all geology courses at UCC. In the summer of Year 3, and before the start of Year 4, you will undertake a major field-based research project in an area of your choice, in Ireland or abroad. In Year 4, you study Geology only, and work towards completing your research project. Several aspects of Geology are treated up to specialised levels.

Refer to CK404 for more details.

Year 1

Core modules:

  •  Biology
  •  Chemistry
  •  Earth Science
  •  Environmental Science
  •  Geography
  •  Mathematics
  •  Physics
  •  Geology

A four-day field course to north Antrim takes place in Year 1.

Year 2

Core modules:

  • Mineralogy
  • Petrology
  • Palaeontology
  • Geodynamics
  • Structural
  • Sedimentology.

A field course in southwest Ireland takes place in Year 2.

Year 3

Core modules:

  •  Environmental Geology
  •  Geological Evolution of Britain and Ireland
  •  Metamorphism
  •  Geochemistry
  •  Igneous
  •  Geohazards.

A field course in west Scotland takes place Year 3.

Year 4

Core modules:

  • Geology (students study eight modules)

Students also undertake a field-based research project on an aspect of:

  •  Petroleum Geology
  •  Environmental Geophysics
  •  Economic Geology
  •  Hydrogeology Micropalaeontology.

A field course in Greece takes place in Year 4.

See the Academic Calendar entry for this programme and the Book of Modules for Geology for further details.

Course Practicalities


A hard hat and hand lens will have to be purchased for field trips in Year 1. A geological hammer and compass clinometer will be needed in Year 2 and a high-visibility vest in Year 3. 


Written exams will take place before Christmas and in May. Not all modules will have formal examinations. Many modules use other types of assessment including essays, assessed practical exercises, field reports, multiple-choice questionnaires, assessed presentations and project work. The range of assessments provides a broad skills base of relevance to future employment.

Why Choose This Course

The Geology staff are friendly and helpful, going above and beyond to help you.

Hannah Mcguillycuddy

BSc Geology (2013)

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In October 2009 [after working in Western Australia for 15 months] I returned to UCC to start a PhD in Geology.

William McCarthy

BSc Geology (2008)

View Student
  • The course has a strong focus on field skills, which makes graduates highly employable.
  • A combination of instruction and assessment methods are used to bring out the best in students.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

As part of the course, opportunities exist to take relevant geology modules at the University of West Virginia, USA.

Skills and Careers Information

There is currently a global shortage of geology graduates. In recent years, graduates have gained employment in the area of environmental geology and have worked at home or abroad in diverse fields such as infrastructure and engineering projects, geotechnical site investigations, hydrogeology, landfill management and environmental impact and protection.

Currently our graduates are in high demand and are being actively recruited by hydrocarbon and mineral exploration companies, guaranteeing unrivalled opportunities to work overseas. 

Jobs taken by UCC Geology graduates include: 

  • coal exploration geologists in Australia
  • open pit geologist in Western Australia
  • exploration geologist in Western Australia
  • PhD Geochemistry in New Zealand
  • mine geologist in Australia
  • hydrogeologist in the UK
  • exploration geologist in Western Australia and Zambia


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

Refer to CK404.

Non-EU Fees

The Undergraduate Fees Schedule is available here.

How Do I Apply

Refer to CK404.

Non-EU applicants

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