Birkbeck, University of London
Earth Sciences BSc (Hons)
Birkbeck, University of London

Course modalities offered

Key Course Facts

Course Description

Many of the major challenges facing our planet, such as climate change, future energy production or living with natural hazards, require a thorough understanding of how the Earth has behaved in the past and how it works today. Our BSc Earth Sciences provides all the key skills you need to understand the inner workings of our planet. You can choose from a range of subjects, from geophysics and palaeontology through to volcanology and sedimentology.

In structure, this degree is similar to our BSc Geology degree, but without the requirement for compulsory fieldwork and the ability to conduct a laboratory or computational research project rather than a field-based map and thesis. You will develop skills in the manipulation of scientific data, critical assessment of scientific hypotheses, and experience actual scientific research during project work.

Our teaching philosophy is based around flexibility, allowing you to fit the degree around your lifestyle. We embrace new technology and methods to make our degrees accessible to all and have been running remote as well as face-to-face lectures for more than 20 years. This means you can attend classes with our internationally distinguished researchers in our world-class laboratories in London or you can watch live streams/recorded lectures at home using our cutting-edge online teaching platform. You are free to mix both these methods to find the best balance for you. This includes the option to study 100% online from anywhere in the world and receive a University of London degree.

While not compulsory, there are opportunities to participate in residential field trips as part of the degree. Currently, we take students to Pembrokeshire (Year 1), North-West Scotland or Greece (Year 2) and Morocco (Year 3). You may also attend weekend field classes as part of individual modules.


  • We offer you flexible teaching methods, balancing face-to-face and online learning.

  • Exciting fieldtrip opportunities to famous geological sites in the UK, Greece and Morocco.

  • We are part of the joint UCL-Birkbeck Institute of Earth and Planetary Sciences (IEPS) meaning we share laboratories, expertise and events, all open to students for research projects. Find out more about our research facilities.

  • In our joint submission with UCL, we were rated sixth in the UK for Earth Systems and Environmental Science research (in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF)).

  • Our Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences has been offering evening study courses for over 70 years and distance learning for more than 20 years.


Salary of all UK Graduates of Earth Sciences

  15 months after graduation 3 years after graduation 5 years after graduation
Median salary £22593 £22910 £26699
25-75 percentile range £19101 - £26635 £17239 - £29571 £20463 - £33631

Jobs & Career Perspectives

15 months after graduation, graduates of this course were asked about what they do and, if they are working, about their current job and their perspectives.

Grading & Study Time

Assessment Methods

Study Time Distribution

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

Entry Requirements / Admissions

Requirements for international students / English requirements

IELTS academic test score (similar tests may be accepted as well)

    • 6.5
    • Mphil / PhD

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-
Do you not fulfill the minimum requirements in terms of UCAS score, A levels, or English language requirements?
Get advice on which foundation courses are best for you to still be able to join Earth Sciences, BSc (Hons).


Tuition Fees Earth Sciences BSc (Hons)

England UK £6935 year 1
Northern Ireland £6935 year 1
Scotland £6935 year 1
Wales £6935 year 1
International £10920 year 1

Additional fee information

Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases.

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.

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.

Average student cost of living in London

Rent £518
Water, gas electricity, internet (at home) £50
Supermarket shopping £81
Clothing £35
Eating out £33
Alcohol £27
Takeaways / food deliveries £30
Going out / entertainment (excl.alcohol, food) £24
Holidays and weekend trips £78
Transport within city £17
Self-care / sports £20
Stationary / books £13
Mobile phone / internet £13
Cable TV / streaming £7
Insurance £51
Other £95
Average student cost of living £1092

London costs approx 34% more than average, mainly due to rent being 67% higher than average of other cities. For students staying in student halls, costs of water, gas, electricity, wifi are generally included in the rental. Students in smaller cities where accommodation is in walking/biking distance transport costs tend to be significantly smaller.

University Rankings

Positions of Birkbeck, University of London in top UK and global rankings.

Rankings of Birkbeck, University of London in related subject specific rankings.

Natural Sciences

    • #44 
    • #601 
    Physical Sciences
    THE World University Rankings by Subject
    [Published 26 October, 2022]

Social Studies & Humanities

    • #30 
    • #176 
    Social Sciences
    THE World University Rankings by Subject
    [Published 26 October, 2022]

See all university rankings of Birkbeck, University of London

What students say about studying Earth Sciences in the UK?

  • Welcome to the Department of Earth Sciences
  • An Oxford Earth Sciences Postgrad
  • Why I chose my major: Earth Sciences
  • Why Earth and Planetary Sciences?

About Birkbeck, University of London

Birkbeck, University of London (BBK) was established in 1823, and takes a different stance towards admissions than many other universities. Applicants are encouraged by BKK to apply even if they don’t possess the traditional qualifications normally required, as applications here are also considered based on an assessment of your knowledge on the subject, and any work experience you might have. Being located in the very centre of London, students will have all the advantages of the city’s public transport connections, as well as the chance to live in such a diverse and vibrant city with all that it offers.

  • Stella’s Starting Study Vlog
  • “How has the Birkbeck experience been for you?”
  • Birkbeck's Student Experience
  • Studying for a PhD at Birkbeck - Veronika Akhmadieva
  • Top reasons why students choose Birkbeck, University of London

Where is this programme taught

Birkbeck College - Bloomsbury Campus
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Main Site - Malet Street
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