Careers with Geoscience

Careers with Geoscience | Getting into University | Working in Antarctica |

Careers with Geoscience

Geoscience degrees (Geography, Geology, Geophysics or associated) are an excellent choice for undergraduate students, and offer graduates a wide range of opportunities. Geoscience graduates have well developed transferable skills, such as verbal reasoning skills, time management, debating skills, are literate and numerate, and can construct arguments, summarise complex situations, and write persuasively. With a good Geoscience degree, students can go on a wide number of careers, including graduate schemes, law (following a conversion course), accounting, marketing, media, business, finance, banking, tourism, industry, manufacturing and so on.

Of course, Geoscience graduates have more to offer than this. Specific skills learnt at university may include (depending on courses taken):

  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS), map making and cartography
  • Laboratory and field skills
  • Illustrative and graphic design skills
  • Good IT, writing and numeracy skills
  • Environmental, political and social awareness
  • Independent researcher

Professions that use these skills could include: environmental management, town or civic planning, GIS specialist (working in a huge number of sectors), geology, risk and hazard assessment, conservation, housing and social planning, chartered surveying, development, teaching, research, academia etc. Many of these will, however, require further training and often will require a masters degree or a PhD.

There are lots of things you can do to enhance your employability beyond your degree. Employers are looking for commitment, work experience, intelligence, responsibility, ability to work in a team and unsupervised. Think about voluntary work or work experience you could do enhance your employability beyond your degree, such as being the president of a student society. However, bear in mind that if your voluntary work looks like a holiday, employers will probably treat it as such.

There is more useful information available from the Royal Geographical Society.

Getting into University

If you’re thinking about studying Geography, Geology or another Geoscience degree at University, you’re probably thinking about your UCAS form and possibly even an interview. What can you do to make sure you ace it and get that all-important offer? Well, here are some thoughts straight from the horse’s mouth.

Undergraduate admissions tutors are looking for passion, excitement and committment to their degree programme. You may be playing Rubgy for England, in the National Youth Orchestra and President of the Debating Society, but if you’re not really interested, it’ll show and they won’t be impressed. So write and think about why you want to study this particular degree. Have you done any field trips or anything else that is relevant? What about Gap Year experiences or expeditions, such as with British Exploring Society or World Challenge? Why is Geography/Geology important to you, and what is its role in the wider world? Show that you think the subject is interesting, important and relevant to society, and you’ll fly through the application procedures.

Working in Antarctica

This is all very well I hear you say, but how do I get to go to Antarctica? In Britain, there are two obvious ways to go to Antarctica: as a researcher at a university, or by working for the British Antarctic Survey. BAS needs people to run their bases (base commanders, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, doctors, engineers, weather forecasters, communications managers, builders, aeroplane pilots, chefs, field assistants, general base assistants and many others) as well as scientists.

The breadth of science carried out in Antarctica is breathtaking, and far broader than that covered in this website. There are oceanographers (who mainly work from ships), marine and terrestrial biologists (including penguinologists), atmospheric scientists, physicists, geologists, as well as numerical ice sheet modellers, glaciologists and glacial geologists. If you’d like to know more about academia, take a look at my blog post: Doing a PhD.

Further reading

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