Science

Geoscientist

Geoscientists study the Earth's structure and formation, and analyse rocks to explore its natural mineral and energy resources.

Annual Salary

£22,000 to £75,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

Variable

3%
Future employment

There will be 3% more Geoscientist jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • assessing the ground for building suitability on engineering projects like dam or tunnel building
  • advising on suitable sites for landfill or storage of nuclear waste
  • searching for energy resources and minerals, like gas and oil
  • designing projects to search for new water supplies
  • studying volcanic and seismic activity to develop early warning systems for communities living close to earthquake zones

University

To work as a professional geoscientist you'll need a degree in a relevant subject. Courses often combine theory with fieldwork and practical training. Degree subjects include:

  • geology
  • geoscience
  • geophysics
  • Earth science

It's becoming more common for new entrants to hold or be working towards postgraduate qualifications like an MSc or PhD.

Integrated postgraduate master's qualifications like a MGeol or MSci can be studied at university. These courses include more independent research and are designed to lead directly onto further study like a PhD.

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English, maths and a science
  • 2 or 3 A levels, including a science, for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

£22,000 to £75,000

Starter salary: £22,000 to £35,000

Experienced salary: £50,000

You may earn a higher salary if you work in remote areas or in the oil and gas industries.

These figures are a guide.

Variable

Some jobs involve working 9am to 5pm in an office or laboratory, but you may work longer hours in areas like drilling or testing. 

If you’re based on an oil rig, you’ll spend several weeks on an offshore platform.

Your working environment may be you'll travel often, physically demanding and outdoors in all weathers.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

You could work in a laboratory, on a rig or in an office.

Your working environment may be you'll travel often, physically demanding and outdoors in all weathers.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

With experience, you could progress towards a consultant position, or move into teaching or management.

You can discover more about careers in geoscience through The Geological Society.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of geography
  • analytical thinking skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • knowledge of physics
  • knowledge of chemistry including the safe use and disposal of chemicals
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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