Geology with Foundation Year

BSc, 4 years

This is for you if... you want to study geology, but don’t have the traditional entry requirements.

Course Description

Our integrated Science, Technology and Engineering (STEM) Foundation Year degrees are aimed at students who wish to study a STEM subject, such as geology, but don’t have the traditional entry requirements.

  • By completing the STEM Foundation Year you will automatically progress onto the first year of your chosen degree.
  • You will be taught by our expert academic staff from across a number of departments.
  • The course does not require a maths test for entry, but it will cover the A-level maths syllabus and understanding of this will be measured before you progress.
  • The course strongly emphasises the development of essential professional and personal skills, which are necessary throughout your studies and beyond.
  • During your foundation year you will join our student community and be able to enjoy all aspects of the University of Leicester student experience. You will be able to join the Students’ Union, use our academic and leisure facilities, live in our accommodation and access all our support services.
  • You will have a personal tutor to support you.


In your first year you will receive basic geological field training on the Isle of Arran, one of the most geologically varied spots on Earth. Further field trips will take you to:

  • Spain - field mapping and training in advanced sedimentological techniques in an arid terrain.
  • Anglesey - examining and interpreting structurally complex rocks.

And one from the following:

  • Wales - studying the geology, palaeontology and evolution of this Palaeozoic sedimentary basin
  • The Northwest Highlands - exploring classic areas of British geology such as the Moine Thrust zone and the oldest rocks in the UK
  • Tenerife - studying pyroclastic rocks on the third biggest volcano in the world
  • Cornwall – investigating a classic area of economic mineralisation and the environmental consequences of mining
  • The Midlands – hands-on experience of near-surface geophysics and seismology.

Following additional field training in your second year, you will undertake an Independent Field-based Project. This is an exercise in practical, deductive geology which forms an important part of the degree. You choose the field area, allowing you to develop your geological interests. This will enable you to demonstrate your determination, motivation and ability to solve problems based on your own observations, as well as developing your self-confidence and organisational skills.

There will be no additional charges for your course but you will incur expenses in completing your own independent fieldwork which is a requirement of the course. You will undertake this at the end of the second year of your course and the Department will provide partial financial support for this. Your own expenses will depend upon where you decide to undertake your independent fieldwork.

Key Facts
Typical offer
UCAS code
Start date
September 2018

Admissions enquiries
+44 (0)116 252 5281

Course enquiries: Dr Paul Howes
0116 252 3587

Department of Geology website

View Key Information Sets

Why Leicester?

Our 2016 National Student Survey student satisfaction score of 96% reflects the quality of our accredited geoscience degrees.

We have our own dedicated careers tutor with industry experience who works with the University Careers Service to deliver an exclusive and tailored Careers Development Programme throughout your degree.

The Department is home to SEIS-UK, the UK’s national seismology research facility, and is a leading participant in the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP), the world’s largest Earth science research project.

Our student society organises talks, meetings, field trips and social activities. Four further groups cater for those with interests in economic geology, geophysics, palaeobiology and geoscience for global development.

Course Structure

Foundation Year

Foundation Year


  • Maths: Core A-level content, with an emphasis on developing your competence and confidence at applying mathematics to problems in the physical sciences.
  • Science 1: Materials: Phases of matter (solids, liquids and gases), atomic structure and radioactivity, chemical bonds and chemical reactions, properties of solids (engineering materials, elastic properties, strength, toughness, failure and electrical properties).
  • Science 2: Mechanics: Newton's laws, forces, mass, velocity acceleration, projectiles, momentum, angular momentum, circular motion, simple harmonic motion and resonance.
  • Science 3: Heat and energy: Temperature, heat, power, ideal gases and kinetic theory.
  • Science 4: Electricity and magnetism: Light, optics and the quantum world.
  • Methods and Techniques: Core study skills and professional competences necessary for successful university level study. Reading scientific literature, research techniques, report writing skills, presentation skills, computer programming and algorithms.
  • Physical Science Laboratory: Basic experimental techniques, health and safety in the laboratory, recording data, data analysis and report writing.

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Year 1

Year 1

You will have a broad introduction to geoscience and discover the role of geology and geoscientists in today's society.


    Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

    Year 2

    Year 2

    Year 2 of the BSc course is your third year at Leicester.

    You will learn about more advanced aspects of geosciences such as the structure of the Earth's crust and the applications of geophysical techniques to hydrocarbon exploration.

    Core modules

    Option modules

    Choose one option module from:

    Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

    Year 3

    Year 3

    During your final year you will have the opportunity to take your degree in the direction that you want. The core modules will ensure that you are advancing in the essential areas of geology. Optional modules provide the chance to continue with the fundamental principles of geology at an advance level or specialise in the areas that fascinate you.

    Core modules

    Plus your Dissertation

    Field Courses

    Choose one field course from:

    Option modules

    Choose two option modules from:

    And two option modules from:

    This is the same as Year 3 of the MGeol.

    Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

    Additional Information


    All our degrees are accredited by the Geological Society of London, the professional body for geologists in the UK. Their accreditation panel said that our courses are “excellent” and they were “particularly impressed by the amount of fieldwork undertaken.”

    Teaching and Assessment

    Our courses have a practical emphasis and are based on sound theoretical understanding.

    You will be assessed through a combination of coursework, fieldwork, independent reports and projects, seminars, oral and poster presentations and computer-based tests, as well as formal exams.

    We place a strong emphasis on safety training, time management, and student initiative.

    Your personal tutor will provide you with individually tailored academic support throughout your degree. You will receive non-assessed feedback on every module to help you improve and prepare for your assessed work.

    Through the Student-Staff Committee you can raise any issues relating to your studies and suggest course developments.

    Independent learning

    When not attending lectures, seminars or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. To help with your independent learning, you can access the Library and our social study spaces in halls of residence.

    Overall workload

    Typical workload hours for Geology courses in 2016/17:

    Year 1: 34% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity

    • Teaching, learning and assessment: 408 hours
    • Independent learning: 792 hours

    Year 2: 35% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity

    • Teaching, learning and assessment: 420 hours
    • Independent learning: 780 hours

    Year 3: 44% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity

    • Teaching, learning and assessment: 528 hours
    • Independent learning: 672 hours
    Final year: 41% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity
    • Teaching, learning and assessment: 492 hours
    • Independent learning: 708 hours

    While your actual contact hours may depend on the option modules you select, the above information gives an indication of how much time you will need to allocate to different activities for each year of your course.

    Academic support

    Our Student Learning Development Team provides help in the following areas:

    • study and exam skills
    • academic writing
    • presentations
    • dissertations
    • numerical data skills
    • referencing sources

    Our AccessAbility Centre offers support and practical help for students with dyslexia or other specific learning difficulties, including physical, mental health or mobility difficulties, deafness, or visual impairment.

    Teaching staff

    You will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. PhD research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader. Our teaching is informed by the research we do. You can learn more about our staff by visiting our staff profiles.

    Research Stories

    Entry Requirements

    • A-levels: BBB or points equivalent from your best three A-levels (non-traditional science A-levels considered). You must have taken Maths or Physics at AS-level or hold GCSEs grade A/A* in Maths and Physics.
    • BTEC Diploma: DDM in a science related subject – typically Engineering or a Physical Science discipline.
    • International Baccalaureate: Pass diploma with 28 points minimum.
    • Access to HE courses in Science and Engineering: Pass Diploma with a minimum of 45 credits at level 3, 24 of which must be at Distinction. 

    We welcome applicants with other qualifications. Please contact to find out more.

    NB. This course is only open to applicants from the UK and other EU countries. Applicants outside the EU can apply for our International Foundation Year.

    Selection Process

    When considering your application, we will look for evidence that you will be able to fulfil the objectives of the course and achieve the standards required. We will take into account a range of factors including previous exam results.

    English Language Requirements

    IELTS 6.0 or equivalent. If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. If you do not yet meet our requirements, our English Language Teaching Unit (ELTU) offers a range of courses to help you to improve your English to the necessary standard.

    International Qualifications

    Find your country in this list to check equivalent qualifications, scholarships and additional requirements.

    Countries list

    Fees and Funding

    • Starting in 2018

      • £9,250 in your first year. After 2018/19, the tuition fee you pay may increase annually in line with inflation and is subject to government regulations.


        You can apply for dedicated bursary schemes run by Aggregate Industries and Carl Zeiss Microscopy. These typically have a total value of £13,500 and include work experience with the sponsor. We also offer £1,700 of bursaries funded by the Holloway Trust for students to develop outreach projects. There are competitive prizes and awards in each year for academic achievement and overall performance.

      • Please note this course is not available to International (non-EU) students.

      Career Opportunities

      Our dedicated Careers Tutor is a former industry geologist with many years' experience.

      Our annual Geology Careers Day is attended by a wide range of companies from across the geoscience sector.

      We provide up-to-date information exclusively for our undergraduates on current vacancies, work experience opportunities and options for further study.

      Our excellent links with employers provide great opportunities for vacation or year-out work experience.

      Our graduate employment record is excellent. Around a quarter of our graduates go on to do further study on a diverse range of MSc courses, or studying for a PhD. For those going in to work, over 75% are employed in graduate level occupations; the majority within the geoscience sector.


      Our Career Development Service is here to support you, with advice on interviews, CVs, work experience, volunteering and more. From Freshers’ Week to Graduation and beyond, they are here to help you reach your professional goals.

      Course Qualification Duration UCAS Code Availability
      Geology with Foundation year BSc 4 years full-time F699 Apply Now
      Geology with Foundation year
      4 years full-time
      UCAS Code

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