MEarthSci Earth and Planetary Sciences with Industrial Experience / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

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Course description

Reasons why you should study at the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

We are one of the largest Earth and Environmental Sciences departments in the UK, with global reach.

This creates excellent learning, research and employment opportunities for our students.

Mike Burton / Head of Department, Professor of Volcanology

Our MEarthSci Earth and Planetary Sciences with Industrial Experience course is a 4 year degree programme which allows you to spend the third year of your degree developing real-world expertise in industry, all whilst earning a salary and completing your third year of study.

Industry input into the development of our cutting-edge course content ensures real-world relevance, and thanks to our close contacts and research collaborations with major employers, we can offer you a wide variety of roles in destinations across the globe.

In recent years companies our students have undertaken placements with include GE Oil and Gas, Bosch Thermotechnology, Unilever, ATKINS, Mott MacDonald, O2 and Manchester Airport.

On our course you will learn to read the 4.5 billion-year record of the Earth, including the formation of our solar system, the evolution of living systems and changing environmental conditions, while also studying the sustainable development of Earth's energy and resources. And on your doorstep will be some of the UK's wildest settings, ideal for outdoor learning.

During your time with us you will be a part of a dynamic community trying to answer some of the most pressing global issues that we all face. Your work could make a contribution to solving some of the world's greatest challenges.

Course structure

The course offers you the flexibility to tailor your interest in Earth and Planetary Science in one of three pathways:

  • Geochemistry;
  • Geology with Physical Geography;
  • Energy and Resources.

After your year of Industrial Experience you will return to Manchester and take Year 4 courses, including an independent research project.

The department

We are a Department of environmental scientists, geologists, chemists, mathematicians, biologists, physicists and computer scientists, who work together to study the Earth and planets. Our degrees cover the full breadth of earth and environmental sciences, reflecting the main research themes that are fundamental to the work we do in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

The reputation of Earth and Planetary Science at The University of Manchester's Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences rests on our world-leading interdisciplinary research into processes operating on, within and beyond the Earth. This research incorporates biological, chemical, physical and environmental aspects of the world and solar system we live in. The close alignment between our teaching and research ensures that units are delivered by scholars who are at the forefront of their disciplines.

Skills

Our course will equip you with an armoury of skills to take into the world of work, including the ability to analyse problems, to work collaboratively as part of a team, and to develop field, laboratory, numeracy and communication skills.

Special features

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences students explore Kinlochleven
Head to geologically and environmentally fascinating locations in the UK and abroad.
  • Spend Year 3 gaining invaluable, paid experience in industry and stand out in a competitive job market. Our close ties with industry and research collaborations input heavily into the development of our cutting-edge course content, ensuring real-world relevance. Previous company placements include: GE Oil, Unilever, Manchester Airport and O2;
  • An integrated natural science first year, tailored to the Earth, planets and their environments, allows you to discover where your interests lie;
  • Our flexible course structure allows you to customise your studies to your interests, following one of three pathways after Year 1, providing an ideal gateway to your career;
  • Field trips are a key component of our undergraduate degrees, providing you the opportunity to travel to fascinating locations in the UK and abroad in every year. Fees include all compulsory, taught field courses. Previous locations include: Spain; France; Guatemala; Italy; Montserrat; Nicaragua; Scotland; USA and Wales;
  • Undertake a final-year research project of your choice working alongside world-leading scientists using state-of-the-art research facilities.

Teaching and learning

How will you learn?

We take pride in our excellent teaching standards, our distinguished lecturers and research staff ensure that you have all the support available to develop your learning, skills and employability prospects.

You will benefit from a wide range of teaching and learning methods that suit the content and aims of each course unit, including:

  • Formal lectures;
  • Laboratory classes;
  • Field classes;
  • Small-group tutorials.

Two-thirds of your contact time will be focussed on the development of practical skills. Teamwork, problem-solving and field work play a key role in integrating all the elements of your subject, and will also develop transferable skills across areas of specialisation, enabling you to succeed in your future career.

Field work

Field work is a key component of our undergraduate degrees and is an essential part of all our courses and provides a unique learning experience:

  • Field work gives you the chance to apply knowledge learned in lectures and practical classes to real settings, allowing you to develop the skills of a professional earth and environmental scientist, such as observing, collecting, recording and interpreting a range of data;
  • Venues vary from classic areas of the British Isles to locations across the globe. Field courses are tailored to meet the needs of each pathway;
  • Most field courses are residential and provide a great chance to form friendships with staff and your fellow students in an informal setting, and to travel and experience different cultures.

Industrial placement

Your third year is spent gaining valuable paid experience in industry. An Academic Advisor will keep in contact throughout the year and visit you at your placement. You will undertake core Earth and Planetary Sciences units by distance learning over the web, for which tutorial support is provided. Assessment will also involve reports marked by the Academic Advisor and the industrial supervisor.

Lecturers and world-leading researchers

Our department has a diverse mix of respected lecturers and research staff who are at the forefront of their fields. Find out more about our  lecturers, researchers and support staff in the department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, including information about their  specific areas of interest and research, qualifications and publications.

Personal Academic Advisor

Throughout your degree course, you'll be assigned an Academic Advisor, who is there to support you and give advice about any academic issues throughout the duration of your course. Your advisor will be able to help you with the transition from school or college to university, and can help you get to grips with studying and learning more independently. They'll also be able to help you develop your skills in academic writing or research, making presentations, or any other skills that are specific to your degree programme.

Peer Support scheme

Our peer support scheme is one of the largest in Europe. Peer mentors are higher-year students on the same degree programme as you, who will help you find your feet when you arrive here and adjust to student life. As they'll have already been a student at Manchester for at least a year, they should be able to help you with anything you might be worried or unsure about.

Research project

You'll also undertake an independent project in Year 4 that is tailored to your chosen pathway.

Coursework and assessment

This course is assessed by a variety of methods, including:

  • Exams;
  • Essays and written assignments;
  • Projects;
  • Oral and written presentations;
  • Field assessment.

We place a strong emphasis on practical skills and project work. Around one-third of your assessment in year 3 and half in year 4 will be based on independent research projects.

Course unit details

Our Earth and Planetary Science course covers all major aspects of the earth system. The course has a common first year, allowing you to choose your degree specialisation that you will follow in years 2, 3 and 4. You will develop core knowledge alongside a choice of optional units.

Course content for year 1

Our first year will introduce you to the modern way we study the Earth. The emphasis in the first year is on building foundational knowledge in the natural sciences, tailored to the Earth, planets and their environments, and on developing practical and transferrable skills.

During this year you will study the principles that underlie all our pathways and will receive one-on-one advice to help you choose your preferred pathway at the end of the first year.  Every first year student will be supported by our peer mentoring schemes and small group work with an academic tutor.

The first year units will develop your theoretical knowledge, your numerical, field and laboratory skills, and aid your professional development:

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Understanding the Earth EART11100 40 Mandatory
The Natural Scientist's Toolkit EART11200 40 Mandatory
Practical and Professional Skills Development EART11300 40 Mandatory

Course content for year 2

In year 2 you will tailor your studies to your own academic interests by focusing on a particular aspect of the Earth and planetary sciences.  Each pathway  consists of the series of core units and extends topics from your first year, introducing new areas in your area of specialisation.

For an indicative list of the course units for each pathway, please click on the links below:

Geochemistry Understanding the chemistry of the Earth is fundamental to challenges such as managing resources like precious minerals and oil, understanding climate change at the molecular level, and the control of pollution. In this pathway you will also study the composition and evolution of the planets, melting and mineral reactions in Earth's interior, and Earth's (bio)geochemical cycles.

Energy and Resources  In this pathway you'll study units that are focussed on resource formation, ranging from metal and hydrocarbon resources, to nuclear energy and groundwater resources. You will also study sustainable and efficient extraction of resources, while acquiring the skills suitable for a thriving energy and resources job market.

Geology with Physical Geography  -  In this pathway you will study the processes that have shaped the Earth's surface and its landforms, and how humans and societies have learned to exploit and protect themselves from these phenomena.

Students on the Year in Industry programme are responsible for finding their placement during the second year. You will be supported in this by our careers service and the industrial placement academic tutor, who will offer help in finding a placement and advice on CV preparation, the application process and interview/assessment centre preparation. Our annual careers fair involves many placement providers and you will also have the opportunity to receive advice from students who have been successful in obtaining placements in previous years.

Eligibility for continuation on this MEarthSci programme is at our discretion, based on your general performance and your second year mark. If you are not eligible you will be transferred to the BSc programme.

Course content for year 3

Your third year will be spent undertaking a year-long placement. Students who take this degree will find themselves in the role of a real employee within a company working on an agreed project. During these placements, students are paid as a normal employee would be and are subject to the internal structures and normal pressures of the workplace. Whilst on placement you will be supported by a visiting academic tutor, who will keep in contact with you and your placement supervisor, as well as visiting you during the year. There will be a small element of core earth and planetary science material to keep you up to speed with your pathway topics, taught by online distance learning units and supported remotely by specialist subject tutors. At the end of your placement, you will be assessed by your academic tutor and industrial placement supervisor.

Course content for year 4

On returning to Manchester for your fourth and final year, you'll carry out an extended individual research project working alongside world-leading scientists using state-of-the-art research facilities, study subject-related units, and attend specialist lectures.

Scholarships and bursaries

William Boyd Dawkins scholarship

UK and EU students who achieve AAA at A-level (or the EU equivalent) will be awarded our prestigious William Boyd Dawkins Scholarship. To be eligible, offer holders will need to have put The University of Manchester as their firm choice. Successful recipients will receive a one-off payment of £3,000 during their first year of study.

Facilities

We teach our practical sessions in custom-designed, well-equipped laboratories with enough space for you to have your own microscope and work comfortably on your own or in a group.

All our courses are driven and inspired by the latest research in the department, so we also give you access to our most advanced and sophisticated research facilities:

Teaching resources

  • Innovative, research-led, eLearning tools to enhance your understanding;
  • A well-equipped, dedicated undergraduate study area providing a place for relaxation and somewhere to work with your fellow students within the Department;
  • Close supervision and pastoral care by an academic staff member during the whole degree course.

World-leading research facilities

  • Analytical geochemistry unit, for analysing water and solid geological matter;
  • Scanning Electron Microscope - for imaging a wide range of samples, from polished rock sections to bacteria to Egyptian mummies;
  • Cameca electron probe - used for the quantitative analysis of a wide variety of geological samples In-situ and remote sensing instrumentation for the study of clouds, aerosols, radiation and dynamics;
  • Advanced isotope geochemistry and cosmochemistry suite.

The Manchester Museum

The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences has close links with the Manchester Museum and its extensive geological collections.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk