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. You’ll learn the theory and methodology of palaeontology and get a solid foundation in geology. By using our comprehensively equipped labs and journeying to the past on field trips, you’ll graduate with skills to apply your knowledge in a range of scientific roles in areas from oil exploration to museum curation.

What you'll experience

On this course you'll:

  • Become a skilled palaeontologist (you don't need any previous experience in palaeontology or geology)
  • Expand your understanding of the evolution of life and geological processes
  • Do fieldwork in locations such as the Isle of Wight, Lulworth Cove, Lyme Regis (and other parts of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site), the Welsh Borders and Germany
  • Work alongside our active academic research team on the latest theories and models
  • Stay up to date with the latest theories in palaeontology, as our team of active researchers integrate new ideas and data into teaching
  • Use our newly refurbished facilities, with specialist petrology and palaeontology laboratories, stocked with rock, mineral and fossil specimens
  • Learn how to use our specialist kit, such as transmitted light, polarising and scanning electron microscopes

Work experience and career planning

To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course.

We can help you identify placements, internships and voluntary roles that will complement your studies and build your CV.

What you'll study 

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, 4 modules worth 20 credits and 1 module worth 40 credits.

Year 1

Core modules in this year include:

  • Biodiversity & Vertebrate Anatomy
  • How the Earth Works
  • Mineralogy and Petrology
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Science for Earth Systems
  • Sedimentology and Palaeontology

There are no optional modules in this year.

Year 2

Core modules in this year include:

  • Early Vertebrate Evolution
  • Invertebrate and Analytical Palaeontology
  • Micropalaeontology, Palaeobotany, and Palaeoenvironments
  • Palaeontological Techniques
  • Professional Skills for Palaeontologists
  • Sedimentary Processes and Facies Analysis

There are no optional modules in this year.

Placement year (optional)

On this course, you can do an optional work placement year between your 2nd and 3rd years to get valuable experience working in industry.

We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your situation and ambitions. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

Year 3

Core modules in this year include:

  • Palaeontology Project and Study Tour

Optional modules in this year currently include:

  • Applied Sedimentology & Petroleum Geology
  • Dinosaurs and Mammals
  • Industrial Applications of Palaeontology
  • Introduction to Teaching
  • Oceans, Climates and Environments
  • The Fossil Record


Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • laboratory work
  • fieldwork

How you're assessed

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 may depend on the modules you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • 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

Careers and opportunities

When you finish the course, our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills to work in the industry. If you want to continue your studies we can also help you identify relevant courses or research opportunities.

What can you do with a Palaeontology degree?

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

  • oil exploration
  • museum curation
  • teaching
  • academic research

After you leave the University, you'll get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.

BSc (Hons), BSc (Hons) Award
September Start
Full-time, Sandwich Study Mode
3 years Duration

Entry Requirements For This Course

104-120 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent, with 40 points from a single Science subject, or 64 points from 2 Science subjects (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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