Geology: The branch of science concerned with the physical structure and substance of the Earth, the processes which act on these, and the Earth’s development since its formation.
During their relatively short lifespan, Geology and geologists have been reduced to being labelled as ‘rocks and the nerds who study them’.
In reality, this unassuming field of science underpins much of today’s society and provides the very fuel on which it runs, literally! From the water in our taps and petrol in our cars, to the batteries in our phones and changes in climate, geology is as deeply embedded in our daily lives as it is in the natural environment around us. Though the pursuit of geological knowledge truly took off during the 1600s, it was through the work of men like James Hutton and William Smith, two Brits often referred to as the fathers of modern geology, during the 18th and early 19th centuries that it became known as a legitimate field of study. 200 years later the subtle science is still going strong, though it’s not just rocks and fossils anymore.
As global development and Earth’s growing population propel forward at unprecedented rates, so does the need for geologists. Yet the number of young people opting for a degree in Geology or Earth Science remains low. Perhaps as a result of the dusty stereotype, which is well overdue an upgrade, or simply a general lack of awareness about the subject itself.
In actual fact, Geology makes for a degree like no other, encompassing elements of physics, maths, chemistry and biology (though often of a posthumous nature) along with substantial amounts of time spent in the field, both on UK soil and abroad, as well as a lengthy independent field project offered by most universities. Not to mention that volcanoes and earthquakes aren’t going anywhere; energy from oil, coal, nuclear and renewable sources will remain a necessity and, with the ever-growing uncertainty around climate-change, the need for geologists can only increase, resulting in guaranteed employment for the foreseeable future.
Today, you are likely to find geologists at the heart of many of society’s major industries. For those who like to get their hands dirty, a career in risk management of natural hazards, the groundwater industry or exploration geology can take you around the world. This could mean monitoring volcanoes or areas of high seismic activity, testing water quality in areas wholly dependent on groundwater, or helping oil and mining companies locate minerals and petroleum; natural resources crucial to the functioning of modern civilisation. Alternatively, for those less keen on a life in the field, there are numerous opportunities within academia and research, consultancy work ranging from the environment to the construction industry, civil engineering, policy-making and government; the list goes on…
Geology is a fascinating and fundamental science upon which we are all, often unknowingly, dependent, and a degree in the subject can open up a world of opportunities.
For more information about a degree or career in Geology:
https://www.bgs.ac.uk/vacancies/Studying.htm?src=topNav – British Geological Survey guide to studying Earth Sciences
https://www.geolsoc.org.uk/~/media/shared/documents/policy/Geology%20for%20Society%20final%20version%20v3%20March%202014.pdf – Detailed report by The Geological Society about the importance of Geology
https://www.timeshighereducation.com/student/subjects/what-can-you-do-geology-degree – Times Higher Education article on Geology degree and career prospects
https://www.ucas.com/explore/subjects/geology – UCAS’s Geology subject guide