Study Geology in Scotland: a semester of heritage

Spending a semester at the University of St Andrews affords the opportunity for non-graduating geology students to gain field training experience in some of the classic geological localities in Scotland.

This module offers extensive and diverse training in field geology and has been designed especially for visiting students.

ES3099 Field Methods in Geology (Credits: 30)

This module is for non-graduating overseas undergraduate students seeking advanced training in geological field methods. The key skills developed in the module include the ability to observe and record in great detail a wide variety of geological data from sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks, to produce geological maps and cross-sections, to integrate data over a range of time and space scales, and to be able to use and comprehend incomplete datasets. Much of the field training is based in classic geological sites that have shaped current geological thinking. In previous years, excursions have included the Northwest Highlands and the Moine fold and thrust system, the Buchan and Barrovian metamorphic zones, the ophiolite and accretionary prism sequences in southern Scotland, and the Mull Tertiary volcanic centre. An 8-day excursion to central Spain focuses specifically on geological mapping skills.

The module is field-based with over 35 days spent on excursions, and is accompanied by introductory lectures, laboratory practicals, and tutorials. Students receive the same financial benefits as UK/EU students and all excursions are subsidised to help reduce costs. The course is continuously assessed through reports, maps, and field notebooks. Advanced methods of data capture include remote geophysics and differential GPS, and GIS is used to analyse the 3D and 4D data sets. The module involves extrapolating the field-based compositional and structural analysis to regional-scale geological histories, and develops science writing skills through the generation of reports.

More: University of St Andrews Study Abroad: Incoming Students

I was drawn to the Geology program at St Andrews because of the small friendly department, proximity to world famous geology, and week long fieldwork trips offered for undergraduates. This experience has put me far ahead of my colleagues back home and I can’t wait to share the incredible opportunities I have enjoyed during my time at St Andrews. “I would strongly recommend a Junior Semester Abroad at St Andrews if you wish to gain hands on experience in the field of geology.

Nina Butler

Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, USA. , Spent a Junior Year semester abroad at St Andrews, during her studies at Wellesley College in Massachusetts (USA).