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The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre SouthamptonUndergraduate study


You will gain a lot from our field work modules, including the ability to apply the knowledge you have learned in lectures to real-life environments. That’s why practical work is at the heart of all our degrees in Ocean and Earth Science.

Benefits of fieldwork

Because you are based at our unique Waterfront campus, you can go from classroom to boat in minutes and put the skills you learn in the classroom into practice as you learn. Experience module work in the wet and dry labs onboard our Research Vessel Callista or travel the world to experience different training and working scenarios.

Southampton is also just a short distance from areas of classic British geology such as the World Heritage Site of the Dorset coast (Lulworth Cove, Kimmeridge Bay), and the dinosaur-rich Isle of Wight and south west England.

Where will you learn?

All of our marine science students taking one of our six oceanography or marine biology degree programmes enjoy regular module related fieldwork onboard our Research Vessel, Callista, throughout their degree, which will boost your boat work and laboratory skills. These include residential field courses, the longest being a 10-day boat work focused module at the end of year two. In addition, many will take courses in first aid at sea and sea survival, as well as experience in small boat handling providing qualifications that will allow you to work offshore during vacation periods or when you qualify.

If you are taking one of our three ‘Marine Biology’ programmes, you will also be involved in an intertidal ecology fieldwork module based at Dale in Pembrokeshire. Exclusive to the final year MSci students, there will also be an option to travel to either Galapagos or Thailand to experience a unique tropical marine ecology field course.

woman snorkelling

Marine Biology and Biology, and Marine Biology students can also engage in an intertidal ecology fieldwork course based at Dale in Pembrokeshire. Exclusive to the MSci degree’s in your final year, you’ll travel to either the Galapagos or Thailand to experience a unique tropical marine ecology field-course.

Geology, Geophysics and Environmental Geoscience students will experience a wide range of field-work opportunities including residentials in Yorkshire, Wales, Spain or Cyprus. Fieldwork is an essential part of any geoscientist’s training and our field courses involve a variety of independent and teamwork exercises designed to help you develop field, equipment-based and investigative skills.

Student in Tenerife at the top of a hill

Geology students will have the opportunity to travel on residential field courses to explore physical volcanology in Tenerife and tectonics, sediments and mineralisation in Southern Spain (Cabo de Gata). You will also be able to join residential courses closer to home which could include SW Wales (Tenby), Yorkshire (Ingleton) and North Wales (Anglesey). MSci students also carry out a residential field course in Cornwall. Both BSc & MSci students undertake an independent mapping project and recent destinations have included parts of Eire, Scotland, Cyprus and Spain.

Geophysics students need to be experienced in a wide range of data acquisition and analytical techniques in the field, both on land and at sea. At Southampton you’ll take part in residential field courses to develop your geological mapping skills and gain experience in geophysical surveying. Your first year will give you the opportunity to attend a week-long field trip to Tenby in South Wales and a further two-day geophysics field courses in the UK in the summer term, introducing exploration techniques or marine surveying and meteorology.

Student holding up Geophysics tools

At the end of your first year you’ll be required to attend a seven-day residential field course, in North Yorkshire. You’ll also travel to Brittany in year two for a week-long field trip to gain training in the use of geophysical instrumentation and devising and carrying out your own surveys.

If you are studying our new MSci/BSc Geophysics and Geology degrees, you will also participate in a two-week field trip to Spain. Our MSci Geophysics and Geology students will also complete a 5-week long independent mapping project, which has previously taken place in destinations such as Scotland, Ireland, Spain or Cyprus.

Links to industry

As part of your degree you will also be able to get first-hand insights into the industries you hope to graduate into. You will also benefit from unique guest lectures from industry experts and graduates who often come back to share their journeys into employment and the jobs they love.

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