Earth Sciences at St Andrews spans topics from the current climate change to the formation of the planets, integrating chemistry, physics, and biology to understand the world around us. Our degrees will equip you with a fundamental understanding of natural processes, ranging from the formation of major mountain belts to modern ocean acidification, and volcanic eruptions to management of Earth’s natural resources.

St Andrews is in many respects the ideal place to study Earth Sciences, being surrounded by beaches, the sea, and world-famous geological outcrops. Our undergraduate programmes take advantage of this with over 100 days in the field, both locally and across Europe.  All our compulsory field trips are fully subsidised and include associated travel, accommodation and subsistence costs.   This extensive field training, combined with the research and industry experience that our degrees offer, allows our graduates to enjoy some of the best employment prospects of any Earth science programme in the country. Our placement record has been consistently above 80% and graduates have gone on to jobs across the industrial, environmental, and academic sectors.

Most of our students haven’t studied Earth Sciences at school, and choose Earth Sciences based on a love of the environment, the outdoors, and science. If you’re interested in the processes that shape our planet and its environment, a degree in Earth Sciences is likely the right choice. Our relatively small class sizes create a culture of camaraderie between students and staff that fosters and encourages intellectual curiosity and independent thinking. The flexible degree structure at St Andrews also has the advantage of allowing you to take modules and maintain interests in other subjects in your first two years (sub-honours) before deciding on your final degree option for your third and fourth years (honours).

We offer 3 undergraduate degree programmes, and more detailed information on each can be found at the links below:

Joint honours options are also available, including Geology and Biology, and Geology and Chemistry.

Much of the first two years of study is core to all our degree programmes, allowing students the flexibility to develop new interests before deciding on their honours degree option at the end of second year.

I’ve always been interested in climate change, and wanted to find a degree that would teach me more about the science of the environment. At school I loved the bits of physical geography that dealt with landscapes and how they were made, and I also liked science and the great outdoors. I applied for Earth Sciences hoping that it would combine these different interests, and it was exactly what I’d wanted! In fact, I liked it so much that I’m still studying Earth Sciences, but now as a research fellow and lecturer!

Dr James Rae

Research Fellow and Lecturer, SEES, University of St Andrews