Diploma in Geology

College of Science
School of Natural Sciences

Course overview

The Diploma in Scientific Studies (Geology) provides an introduction to the science of geology for people with a general interest in the natural environment. It explores key questions such as:

  • How did the Earth and the landscape form?
  • What is a geological hazard?
  • What are geological materials and how are they exploited?
  • What effect does that have on the environment?

The programme aims to provide students with a broad introduction to the study of the Earth and hands-on practical experience of the techniques employed within the fields of geology. The principles of geology are covered using case studies and physical materials from around the world and the course includes field trips to see in-situ geology in an Irish context.

Key facts

Entry requirements

There are no specific entry requirements for the Diploma in Geology. Candidates who are 21 years or over on or before January 1st of year of entry may gain entry to the programme on the basis of mature years. Candidates under 21 years should meet the minimum matriculation requirements as outlined in the Frequently Asked Questions section.

Duration: 2 years, part-time

Next start date: September 2016

ECTS weighting: 30

Awards: Diploma in Scientific Studies (Geology)

Closing date: This programme will run again in 2016-2017

NFQ level: 7

Course outline

The programme consists of lectures and practical exercises concerning the structure of the Earth from the atomic to the planetary level, internal and external Earth processes and materials, and the interaction between people and the planet they inhabit.


The programme includes the following topics:

  • Planet Earth
  • Structural Geology and Geological Maps
  • Building Blocks of the Earth
  • Crystallography, Mineralogy and Microscopy
  • Irish Geology
  • Virtual Geology Tours
  • Evolution of the Earth
  • Palaeontology
  • Economic Geology
  • Earth's Physical Resources
  • The Human Perspective
  • Hazards and the Environment


There are also two field trips available per semester, usually from a half day to one day in duration. They are are all located in Ireland, in counties Mayo, Galway, Clare and sometimes further afield (e.g. Antrim, Kerry or Waterford) and they are designed to complement the course material.

Applications and selections

Applications have closed for 2014-2015.


A fees scholarship of up to 30% may be available for students who wish to upskill for the purposes of re-employment. Students must be registered as unemployed and in receipt of one of the following:

- Job Seekers Benefit

- Job Seekers Allowance

- One-Parent Family Allowance

- Disability Allowance

- Social Insurance Contribution Credits

- Community Employment Scheme




Maria McHugh

Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development
NUI Galway
T: 091 492144
F: 091 525051
E: maria.mchugh@nuigalway.ie


Requirements and assessment

All modules in the Diploma are individually assessed. Assessment is by examination (written and practical) at the end of each semester and by continuous assessment.


This is a two-year, part-time programme. Classes are held one evening per week (Thursdays).

Find out more

Dr. Sadhbh Baxter

Dept. of Earth & Ocean Sciences

NUI Galway

+353 91 495962


Fees for this course

EU (Total): €970 p.a. 2015/16
Non-EU (Total): €1,470 p.a. 2015/16

A fees scholarship of up to 30% may be available for students who wish to upskill for the purposes of re-employment - see section titled "Applications and selections" below for further details.

Current students

Paula Gleeson

As a mature student, I enrolled in the Adult and Continuing Education diploma course in Geology, and I can honestly say that I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The lectures are interesting and stimulating, and the friendly staff couldn’t be more helpful. The course has opened up a whole new understanding of earth dynamics and geological time., and, within the class–a group of like-minded people-the common bonds of mutual interest have created new, lasting friendships. I would highly recommend this course to anyone who has a questioning mind about earth science.