Palaeontology BSc (Hons)


Are you interested in studying the processes of how life on Earth began, evolved and diversified? Do you enjoy getting your hands dirty as well as spending time in the lab?

Get ready to dig up the past on our BSc (Hons) Palaeontology degree course, which is accredited by The Geological Society of London.

What you'll experience

On this course you'll:

  • Reveal the secrets of ancient life in our petrology and palaeontology laboratories, stocked with rock, mineral and fossil specimens
  • Work alongside our active academic research team on the latest palaeontological theories and models, as they integrate new ideas and data into teaching
  • Unearth your own discoveries on field trips in locations such as the Isle of Wight, Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site locations Lulworth Cove and Lyme Regis, and other famous fossil localities

Work experience and career planning

After you graduate, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability Service as you advance in your career.

Placement Opportunities

After your second year, you can do an optional work placement to get valuable longer-term work experience in the industry. Placements give you the opportunity to apply what you've learnt so far in a real workplace, boosting your employability and making you attractive to employers after graduation.

You can work for a company or organisation here in the UK or overseas, or you could go independent by setting up and running your own business with other students. 

Previous students have enjoyed placements at civil engineering, mining and quarrying companies and the Dinosaur Isle museum on the Isle of Wight.

Whichever route you choose, you'll receive support and guidance. Our specialist team of Science and Health Careers advisors can help you with finding a work placement and improving your employability skills. They'll provide you with a database of placement vacancies, support with your job search – including help with applications and interviews – and support throughout your placement.

Module Details

Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, four modules worth 20 credits and one module worth 40 credits.

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional modules may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

Programme Assessment

You’ll be assessed through:

  • laboratory reports
  • oral and poster presentations
  • reports on field-based projects
  • computer-based assessment

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

The way you’re assessed will depend on the modules you select throughout your course. Here's an example from a previous year of how students on this course were typically assessed:

  • Year 1 students: 55% by written exams, 13% by practical exams and 32% by coursework
  • Year 2 students: 29% by written exams, 8% by practical exams and 63% by coursework
  • Year 3 students: 39% by written exams, 9% by practical exams and 52% by coursework

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • laboratory work
  • fieldwork

Student Destinations

Palaeontology is the study of ancient life, from the earliest algae to the biggest dinosaurs and our first human ancestors. It seeks to uncover the ways in which life on Earth evolved through the ages, and in turn, how this can help us better understand the natural world today.

Studying fossilised lifeforms can reveal facts about biology, ecology and evolution vital to many modern environmental issues, including climate change.

On this BSc (Hons) Palaeontology degree, you gain the knowledge and expertise to become a skilled palaeontologist, without any previous experience in palaeontology or geology. 

When you graduate, you’ll have a strong set of transferable skills suitable for a range of scientific roles, in areas such as energy resources and exploration, environmental consultancy, teaching and museum curation.

You could also continue your studies with our research master's programme in Palaeontology, which would enable you to spend a year working on a dedicated project in an paleontological area that interests you. Many of our MRes students publish papers in scientific journals by the time they complete the programme.

Previous students have gone on to work and study in areas such as:

  • energy resources and exploration
  • environmental consultancy
  • museum curation
  • teaching
  • academic research

They've gone on to work in the following roles:

  • researcher of vertebrate palaeontology
  • geographic information systems (GIS) editor
  • science teacher
BSc (Hons) Award
September Start
Full-time, Sandwich Study Mode
3 years Duration

Entry Requirements For This Course

112-128 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent, with 32 points from a Science subject (Applied Science, Archaeology, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science/Studies, Geography, Geology, Mathematics or Physics).

English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

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