What’s it like studying Earth Science?

Isabel Corey

What is Earth Science?

Earth science is the study of the processes, interactions properties and structures within the earth, its oceans, and its atmosphere. Earth Science can be split into several individual branches, such as geophysics, geochemistry, oceanography, geology, climate science, meteorology, and many other areas!!

Why Durham?

Of course, I chose Durham because of its prestigious reputation and its top 10 UK ranking (Guardian 2023), but there is more to Durham than just its reputation. I was drawn to Durham due to its large and inclusive collegiate system, which creates a home away from home when you move to university. You should definitely not be worried about fitting in at Durham, as your college would suit you no matter how sporty, musical, theatrical, religious, introverted or extroverted you are.

As well as the inclusive communities that colleges offer, Durham is also a strong believer in promoting a work-life balance by providing thousands of clubs and societies both within colleges and as a university as a whole. It is your chance to take up ultimate frisbee, learn to ballroom dance or even learn to fly by joining the gliding society!

What makes Earth Science at Durham special?

I am currently in my second year and the Earth Science department is where I spend the majority of my working hours. The small yearly intake creates a close-knit and friendly environment, that makes those periods of academic stress and struggle that little bit easier. Having the ability to know and build friendships with everyone on your course is a privilege that not many other departments and degree paths can offer.

The teaching in the department is taught in a classroom-style environment, where questions can be asked and practical activities take place throughout the three hour lecture slots. It is not your ordinary university experience where you sit in a lecture theatre and then leave with no interaction from staff or peers, it is an environment where you can learn and understand by asking questions and getting hands-on!

My favourite part about the department is the open-door policy that all lecturers and research staff maintain – this means that if you have any questions or troubles you don’t have to wait for a reply from an email, you can just go and knock on their office door, and they are always more than happy to help!

Field trips!

Yes – Earth Science field trips can often involve being outside, wet, and really really cold– but the experiences you gain and the relationships you form with your coursemates are bonds and memories that not many other courses can provide.  Hiking up sides of mountains like mountain goats or risking the tide to get a good look at a rock or fossil is really something you cannot get in a classroom.

If you are even thinking about applying to Durham to study Earth Science, all I can say is stop thinking and just do it! Choosing to move 350 miles away from home to study at Durham is the best decision I have ever made – the friends, knowledge, and memories I have gained at Durham university are like no other!

Discover more

Our Department of Earth Sciences is ranked in the world top 50 by the QS World University Rankings. The department aspires to help shape the future by providing the highest quality education for our students and by undertaking research that is both intrinsically excellent and relevant to society. 

Feeling inspired? Visit our Earth Sciences webpages to learn more about our postgraduate and undergraduate programmes. 

Create your own personalised prospectus here

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Isabel Corey

My name is Isabel and I am currently in my 2nd year following the geophysics path of the 4 year Earth Science MSc. I am co-captain of the Collingwood women’s football team, and also a member of the Durham University women’s 3rd team. I am one of the 2nd year student course representatives for the department of Earths Science and therefore am involved and responsible for communicating concerns between students and staff.

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