UCC Undergraduate courses


About This Course

Fact File

Course Outline

Geoscience at UCC centres on the study of the history of the Earth, its chemical and physical composition, its structure and evolution. The course allows the following of one of three themes in third and fourth year, these are geoscience, environmental geoscience, and palaeobiology.

The core of the course investigates the functioning, development, and use of Earth’s physical environment and involves the study of its crust and interior, its atmosphere and oceans, its surface processes, paleo-climatic and environmental changes and the fossil record. It also involves the study of Earth's natural and physical resources and incorporates interdisciplinary subjects across the traditional disciplines of geology, geography, geophysics, geochemistry, oceanography, and biological sciences.

The study of Geoscience is centre to a number of highly important challenges to human-kind in the 21st Century. These include the search for natural resources e.g. minerals required for battery production and clean groundwater: the predication and mitigation of geohazards e.g. earthquakes, flooding, and tsunamis: the production of green energy from Earth process e.g. tidal energy, onshore and offshore windfarms: the sustainable development of infrastructure e.g. contaminated ground remediation and geotechnical site investigation.

The BSc Geoscience 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 human-kind and life, as we know it, to exist on Earth.

Geoscience investigates the past, measures the present, and models the future behaviour of our planet. But it also involves the study of other planets, asteroids, and solar systems, both to better understand the Earth and to expand our knowledge of the universe.

Aside from the core modules, fieldwork forms an integral part of all geoscience 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 Geoscience only and work towards completing your research project. Several aspects of Geoscience are treated up to specialised levels


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)

After Year One (of the common first year in CK404) there is a core 2nd year for all three Geoscience themes.

Year 2 Core Modules

  • Geoscience
  • Geography
  • Chemistry
  • Environmental Science
  • Statistics
  • Physics

A 5-day field course in southwest Ireland takes place in Year 2.

Year 3 Core Modules

  • Mineralogy
  • Sedimentology
  • Structural Geology
  • Literature Review
  • Earth Systems
  • Data Analysis
  • Paleontology

Elective Modules (Electives depend on which theme opted for - see list of themes above)

  • Hydrogeology
  • Evolution
  • Geochemistry
  • GIS
  • Climate Change
  • Pollution Prevention
  • Vertebrate Diversity
  • Marine Biology
  • Plant Science

A 14-day field course in west Scotland takes place in Year 3.

Year 4 Core Modules

  • Frontiers in Geoscience
  • Igneous geology
  • Structural geology
  • Sedimentology

Elective Modules (Electives depend on which theme opted for - see list of themes above). You are required to follow the same theme as opted for in Year 3

  • Paleontology
  • Neotectonics
  • Work Placement
  • Marine Geoscience
  • Economic Geology
  • Environmental Remote Sensing
  • Coastal & Marine Geomorphology
  • Applied Environmental Geoscience
  • Environmental Impact Assessments
  • Evolutionary Ecology
  • Biodiversity and Biogeography

Students also undertake a field-based research project.

In Year 4 students normally attend a 7-day field course in Greece. 


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

Studying Geoscience at UCC was an incredible experience. It gave me the opportunity to travel to amazing places around the world and make lifelong friends...

Siobhan Burke, BSc Geoscience

My experience throughout my undergraduate geoscience degree was a positive and rewarding one. I would happily go back and do it all again...

Chloe Sullivan, BSc Geoscience 2019

Geoscientists are critical for the sustainable exploration and management of the Earth’s raw materials upon which society depends. Environmental geoscientists are in increasing demand as we witness the deleterious effects of pollution and geohazards on humans and the environment.

Geoscience skills and expertise are essential to drive the green economy, which requires expertise in a number of areas, such as the siting of onshore and offshore wind farms, and locating critical metal resources necessary for hybrid batteries, solar panels and wind turbines. 

Placement or Study Abroad Information

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

Skills and Careers Information

There is currently a global shortage of geology graduates. In recent years, graduates have gained employment in both the areas of environmental geology and mineral exploration, careers have been based both in Ireland or abroad in diverse fields such as infrastructure and engineering projects, geotechnical site investigations, hydrogeology, landfill management, environmental impact and protection, marine geology and mineral exploration in the field.

Currently, our graduates are in high demand and are being actively recruited by environmental geoscience, marine geoscience mineral exploration companies, guaranteeing unrivalled opportunities to work both overseas and in Ireland. 

Jobs taken by UCC Geology graduates include: 

  • Hydrogeologist in Ireland, UK
  • Engineering geologist in Ireland, UK
  • Environmental geoscientist with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Exploration geologist in Western Australia and Zambia
  • PhD Palaeontology in Antarctica


Refer to CK404.

Non-EU Applicants

Non-EU applicants are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. In addition, where such appicants 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 visit our qualification comparison page and refer to our International Office page for more information.

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. Some modules incorporate practical laboratories and for these, you may be required to purchase basic safety items such as a laboratory coat or goggles. Other modules may require a kit of components to be purchased. There will be an approximate cost of €1,000 over the course of the four years for field trips.

For International Fees see our Fees Schedule page.

How Do I Apply

Refer to CK404.

EU Applicants

The Central Applications Office (CAO) processes applications for undergraduate courses in Irish Higher Education Institutions. Refer to the CAO page for further information.

Mature Applicants (age 23 or over)

All interested mature applicants must make an application through the Central Applications Office (CAO). See the CAO Mature Applicants and the Mature Students Admissions Pathway (MSAP) pages. Visit our Mature Student Entry page for more information.


See our QQI/FET Applicants page for information on the Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI)/Further Education and Training (FET) application process.

Non-EU Applicants

Non-EU applicants apply online via the UCC Apply portal. See our International Office page for more information.

All Applicants

Please note that the modules listed are indicative of the current set of modules for this course and are subject to change from year to year. Check the College Calendar for the full academic content of any given course for the current year. 

  • In UCC, we use the terms 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