Palaeontology (BSc (Hons))

the United Kingdom

For more information about Palaeontology at University of Portsmouth, please visit the webpage using the button above.

The award
BSc (Hons)

How long you will study
3 - 4 Years

Domestic course fees
find out

How you will study

Course starts

International course fees
find out

All study options

About Palaeontology at University of Portsmouth


Are you interested in studying the processes of how life on Earth began, evolved and diversified? Do you enjoy getting your hands dirty as well as spending time in the lab?

Get ready to dig up the past on our BSc (Hons) Palaeontology degree course. You’ll learn the theory and methodology of palaeontology and get a solid foundation in geology. By using our comprehensively equipped labs and journeying to the past on field trips, you’ll graduate with skills to apply your knowledge in a range of scientific roles in areas from oil exploration to museum curation.

What you'll experience

On this course you'll:

  • Become a skilled palaeontologist (you don't need any previous experience in palaeontology or geology)
  • Expand your understanding of the evolution of life and geological processes
  • Do fieldwork in locations such as the Isle of Wight, Lulworth Cove, Lyme Regis (and other parts of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site), the Welsh Borders and Germany
  • Work alongside our active academic research team on the latest theories and models
  • Stay up to date with the latest theories in palaeontology, as our team of active researchers integrate new ideas and data into teaching
  • Use our newly refurbished facilities, with specialist petrology and palaeontology laboratories, stocked with rock, mineral and fossil specimens
  • Learn how to use our specialist kit, such as transmitted light, polarising and scanning electron microscopes


Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • laboratory work
  • fieldwork

How you're assessed

You’ll be assessed through:

  • laboratory reports
  • oral and poster presentations
  • reports on field-based projects
  • computer-based assessment

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

The way you’re assessed may depend on the modules you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year 1 students: 55% by written exams, 13% by practical exams and 32% by coursework
  • Year 2 students: 29% by written exams, 8% by practical exams and 63% by coursework
  • Year 3 students: 39% by written exams, 9% by practical exams and 52% by coursework

Careers and opportunities

When you finish the course, our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills to work in the industry. If you want to continue your studies we can also help you identify relevant courses or research opportunities.

What can you do with a Palaeontology degree?

Previous students on this course have gone on to work and study in areas such as:

  • oil exploration
  • museum curation
  • teaching
  • academic research

After you leave the University, you'll get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.

Placement year

After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in the broad earth sciences sector.

Previous students from the School have enjoyed placements at organisations such as civil engineering, mining and quarrying companies and the Dinosaur Isle museum on the Isle of Wight.

We can help you look for a work placement that fits your aspirations. If you do a placement you’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

Work experience and career planning

To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course.

We can help you identify placements, internships and voluntary roles that will complement your studies and build your CV.

Study options for this course

  • The award How you will study How long you will study Course starts Domestic course fees International course fees
  • The awardBSc (Hons)How you will studyFull-timeHow long you will study3 - 4 years
    Course startsSeptemberDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out

Notes about fees for this course

Entry requirements

112-128 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent, with 72 points from 2 Science subjects (Applied Science, Archaeology, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science/Studies, Geography, Geology, Mathematics or Physics).

English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

Don't meet the entry requirements?

Consider a Foundation or Pathway course at University of Portsmouth to prepare for your chosen course:

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