So how come I’m on a 4 year course?

Most bachelor degrees are 3 years, so if I’m not taking a year abroad how come my course is 4 years long?

Lots of people ask me this question – they say is it like a bachelors? Or is it like a Masters? And the truth is that its rather in the middle.

Its definition is an undergraduate Masters, i.e a Master’s degree that counts towards your degree and you complete it before you graduate. So you don’t get both a BSc and an MSc, in fact you come out with something quite different depending on your subject. For instance I will graduate with an MGeol, whereas a chemist might graduate with an MChem etc etc.

In December of your 3rd year (if you are studying for the MGeol) you will be given a huge list of different projects to choose from, most lecturers will submit a few projects that they think would be interesting to students and then we apply for them. The rules go; if you apply you get it, unless there are other people who want it. Then you have to submit a personal statement explaining why you would be the best person for it, kind of like getting a job. The master’s project is important – I mean hugely important! It counts for 25% of your entire degree, so you’ve got to get it right.

Here are a few examples of things you might be able to study as your project:

Volcanic eruptions

Mining gold, silver and other rare elements

The chemistry of lavas

Studying events in Earth’s history and trying to apply them to the Earth today, such as mass extinction events
Looking at the diets of fossil dolphins

Early carboniferous eco-systems

Ice ages

Rock structure using seismic equipment


And that’s just a few of the projects available! The deadline for submission is later on in February so stay tuned to find out what project I’ll be undertaking next year.


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About Eleri

Eleri has now graduated from the University of Leicester. Hello! My name is Eleri Simpson and I'm a 4th (and final!) year geology student at the University of Leicester. The parts of my course that I love the most are: mapping, igneous and metamorphic processes, geochemistry and volcanology. Outside of learning I'm part of the First Aid society and the University concert band, where I play the clarinet. I enjoy evenings at the pub, cooking, walking in the countryside and a good cup of tea.

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