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.

Applications and Selections

This course is offered every 2 years
The next intake is September 2018

Who Teaches this Course

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).

Basic computer skills will be an advantage. E-mail, internet and NUI Galway's online learning environment are in use throughout the course.

All applicants, whose first language is not English, or who have not been educated through the medium of the English language during their two most recent years of study, must present one of the following qualifications in the English language: IELTS: 6.5 or TOEFL (IBT): 92. Please see this webpage for further information:

Candidates who are 21 years or over on or before January 1 st 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.


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 FAQs section.

Additional Requirements


2 years, part-time

Next start date

September 2018

A Level Grades ()

Average intake


Closing Date

Next start date

September 2018

NFQ level


Mode of study

ECTS weighting



Diploma in Scientific Studies (Geology)


PAC code

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.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

The course is open to everyone and is designed for people with no previous training in geology. It is suitable for all people with a general interest in the natural environment and those who appreciate the outdoors; it is also suitable for those with or without a general scientific background. A number of previous students have since gone on to study Earth & Ocean Sciences as a degree course in NUI Galway, while others use their learning in their own professional work.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes


Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€970 p.a.

Fees: Tuition

Fees: Student levy

Fees: Non EU

€1,470 p.a.

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
  • Community Employment Scheme
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Signing for social insurance contribution credits

Please download the 2017_18 Fees Scholarship Form for more information.

Find out More

 Dr. Sadhbh Baxter

Dept. of Earth & Ocean Sciences
NUI Galway
Tel: 091 495962

Access the Student Launchpad for course outlines, timetables etc.

What Our Students Say


Paula Gleeson |   Past Student

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.

Brendan Arrigan |   Past Student

From a young age I have had an enquiring mind and a fascination for the natural world around me, and so it was wonderful to find the Adult and Continuing Education Geology Diploma Course at NUIG. I cannot praise this course highly enough. There is one 3 hour class per week with an interesting lecture and a short project. The course takes place over two years and is structured to cover all of the usual Geology modules. The lectures are given in a leisurely and enjoyable manner and any questions are answered. Each year there are Field Trips and among other places we travelled to the Mourne Mountains and North Mayo with our inspiring lecturer, seeing the geological formations first hand. From a personal and professional viewpoint I found the course stimulating, enlightening and rewarding, and for those who complete the two years there is a Diploma and 30 ECTS credits. More courses of this type are needed and I urge everyone with a passing interest to attend.