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Earth sciences

B.A.; 19 places

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What is Earth Sciences?

Earth Sciences combines the study of geography, geology, environmental science, chemistry and physics, to provide a complete understanding of how the Earth works. It is centred on the concept of Earth System Science which views the planet as a complex system of interconnected parts and considers the flows of matter and energy operating within and between these components. The changes occurring within and among elements of the Earth system, along with the role that humans play as part of this process, are key topics of study.

Earth Sciences@ Trinity

At Trinity you will learn from internationally renowned earth scientists whose current research is integrated into the course. Traditional lectures are complemented by practical training in laboratory classes, which provide hands-on experience, employing a range of techniques and equipment. Fieldwork, including two overseas field courses, is an integral part of the programme, with further opportunities to work outside the classroom as part of your independent research project. This project will introduce you to the exciting world of scientific research and the process by which new knowledge is developed.

Our final year students research topics that are drawn from across the full spectrum of Earth Science and have included: reconstructing environmental and climate change by analysing ancient vegetation, land surfaces and ocean temperatures around Ireland; probing African lakes to understand the frequency of volcanic eruptions and causes of vegetation change; analysing images from Martian landers and satellites to understand the physical process operating on another planet; hunting for economic trace metal deposits in discarded mine waste; and analysing the geochemistry of individual mineral grains to understand the plumbing of an active volcano.

Graduate skills and career opportunities

There is currently a global shortage of geoscientists. Careers leading directly from Earth Sciences include work in: environmental, engineering and geological consultancies; mineral exploration companies; the oil industry; environmental planning; government geological surveys; teaching and research. Many of our graduates have gone on to work in research in Ireland and abroad. Others have chosen to further develop their skills in particular specialist areas such as petroleum exploration, hydrology, GIS and Earth Observation and have been admitted to a range of postgraduate taught programmes. Further information on life after an Earth Sciences degree is available on our Facebook page (see below).

Your degree and what you’ll study

The first two years of this course cover the foundation modules, while students may tailor the degree to their own preferences in the final two years. The Freshman (first two) years provide a grounding in the physical and geosciences with particular emphasis on physical geography, geology and human-environment interactions. In the third year, you will begin to deepen your knowledge in particular subject areas, whilst developing a range of practical and technical skills. This year culminates with your selection of a specialist area of research that will form the focus of your final year project, and your participation in an overseas field course. In the fourth year, you will complete a significant piece of independent research on your chosen specialism (dissertation) as well as broadening your field experience during the final overseas field course. You will complete your studies by building your own programme, comprising advanced, research-led modules taught by staff in geography and geology.


Introduction to Geography I: Physical Geography and Earth System Science; Introduction to Geography II: Environmental Geography; Junior Freshman Geology; Foundation Physics for Life and Earth Sciences; General and Physical Chemistry; Mathematical Methods.


Dynamic Earth 1: Rocks and Evolution; Dynamic Earth 2: Structure and Microscopy; Earth Sciences Field Course; Geochemistry for Earth Scientists; Physical Geography: Changing Environments; Human Geography: Changing Worlds; Physics for Earth Scientists; Broad Curriculum Module (see Broad Curriculum).


Advanced Research Methods in Earth Science; Geological Field Skills 2; Practical Physical Geography; Deserts of our Solar System; Sedimentology; Glacial Geomorphology; Periglacial Geomorphology; Microscopy and Crystalline Rocks; Human Origins; Hydrology and Water Quality; Quaternary Oceans and Climate.


Earth Sciences Research Project; Earth Sciences Sophister Field Course; Understanding Environmental Change; Glacial Geomorphology; Periglacial Geomorphology; Human Origins; Reconstructing Ocean and Coastal Change; Global Igneous Petrology; Analysis in Geological, Earth and Environmental Research; Micropalaeontology and Evolution; Organic Petrology, Palynology and Palaeobotany; Planet Formation and the Early Earth.

If you would like more detailed information on all the modules offered, see: 




Tel: +353 (0)1 896 1074

What our current students say

Clare Stead

“The small class size made us a close-knit group from the start which made for a friendly atmosphere. The strong practical element of the course was great, both for reinforcing what we learnt during lectures and bringing the class together as a group. The final year fieldtrip to Sicily was a highlight for me – we got to see the beautiful Turkish Steps, stand inside an old lava tube, and even watch glowing lava flows at night as they erupted from Mount Etna!”

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Admission Requirements

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Leaving Certificate H6 or O4 Mathematics H4 In two of: physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, physics/chemistry, geology, geography, applied mathematics or agricultural science GCSE criteria Grade B Mathematics Advanced GCE (A-Level) Grade C In two of physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, geology, geography or applied mathematics Combinations of subjects not permitted: Physics/chemistry with physics or chemistry Agricultural science with biology Applied mathematics with mathematics


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EU Applicants

Read the information about how to apply, then apply directly to CAO.

Non-EU Applicants

Advanced Entry Applications

Read the information about how to apply for Advanced Entry, then select the link below to apply.