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

Annual Salary

£28,000 to £42,000

Average UK salary in 2023 was £34,963
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

39 to 41 variable

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; away from home

Future employment

There will be 2.4% more Geoscientist jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

In the field you could:

  • travel to investigate rocks in their natural setting
  • assess the ground for suitability on engineering projects like dam or tunnel building
  • sample rocks and record information to search for energy resources and minerals, like water, gas and oil
  • study volcanic and seismic activity to develop early warning systems for communities living close to earthquake zones
  • supervise site teams
  • advise on suitable sites for landfill or storage of nuclear waste

In the laboratory you could:

  • use a microscope to study rock samples
  • test for things like strength or pollution levels
  • use software modelling programmes
  • analyse data and write reports

Working environment

You may need to wear protective clothing.

You could work in a laboratory, visit sites or in an office.

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

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship

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.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

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

If you want to work in the engineering sector using geoscience, you could do a Geotechnical engineer integrated degree apprenticeship.

Employers look for graduates with a degree in subjects like:

  • engineering
  • science
  • geoscience
  • maths

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • a degree in a relevant subject
For more information

More information

Career tips

It's useful to get some work experience through an internship or year in industry placement while you are at university. Your university careers service can help you find opportunities. Organisations like Geology for Global Development also run projects and placements to help you gain skills.

Experience of specialist geological software and software modelling packages can be an advantage when you are applying for roles.

Since many employers of geoscientists operate internationally, having additional language skills can also be useful.

Further information

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

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

You may also be able to apply for chartered environmentalist status. You can find out more about being a chartered environmentalist from the Society for the Environment.

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 thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications
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