From the spectacular igneous geology of the Lake District World Heritage Site and Northumberland National Park to the Yorkshire Jurassic ‘Dinosaur Coast’ and the mineral wealth of the Pennines, the North has an incredible geological history spanning almost 500 million years.
Concentrating solely upon the geological evolution of northern England, you will analyse and interpret key geological features and concepts to integrate regional knowledge into the interpretation of larger scale Earth processes and structures.
You will assess the region’s importance in current and historical Earth science controversies and study human interactions with the rocks and landscapes of northern England from the Stone Age to the present day.
Undertaking this multidisciplinary qualification will equip you with a breadth of transferable skills including advanced research, science communication and palaeoenvironmental analysis.
"It is not often that something exceeds one’s expectations by a very wide margin – but this course did."Ken Madrell, Final Year, PGDip The Geology of Northern England.
Read more from our students.
Broaden your academic horizons alongside enthusiastic staff and students.
Access the flexible modules from anywhere, at any time, and shape your own learning experience.
Challenge your geological knowledge and field skills in an academically rigorous environment.
This Postgraduate Diploma is a part-time programme taught over two years. Throughout the course, you will explore the geological history and scientific importance of northern England and its global significance in the development of the Earth sciences from the Stone Age to the present day.
You will take six diverse modules that are delivered by the Centre for Lifelong Learning. In year one you will study the main Palaeozoic and Mesozoic geological units present in northern England. In your second year, you will learn how to conduct an advanced integrated palaeoenvironmental analysis. You will also examine the Cenozoic and recent geological history of northern England to gain an understanding of human interactions with, and exploitation of, the geological resources and landscapes.
At the beginning of each year, you’ll attend a five-day residential week in York where you will have the opportunity to study several classic sites of national and international importance.
Should your circumstances change, you can end your studies after one year and graduate with a Postgraduate Certificate.
You will take a total of 120 credits, which are split into three 20 credit core modules across the two years.
In the first year of the course you are introduced to the key tenets and sub-disciplines of geology by focussing on the geological evolution of northern England.
During this year's residential you will acquire the skills and knowledge required to analyse and interpret regional geology at postgraduate level. You will extrapolate and integrate your own observations of geological features from fieldwork sessions in Yorkshire.
The first year core modules are:
In the second year of study, you will further develop your palaeoecological and palaeoenvironmental interpretation skills through field and class-based exercises and case study investigations. You will assess and interpret the history of human interactions with northern England's rocks and landscapes as well as exploring the origins and changing value of economic resources in the region.
This year's residential week will allow you to develop your evaluative abilities and focusses primarily upon advanced and integrated palaeoenvironmental analysis skills. It includes a full-day workshop at the National Geological Repository at the British Geological Survey headquarters where you will examine key rock cores from several sub-surface boreholes of northern England.
The second year core modules are:
Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.
|Part-time, distance learning (2 years)|
Fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation.
year 1 fee
year 1 fee
Students on a Tier 4 Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.
For courses which are longer than one year, the tuition fees quoted are for the first year of study. Fees for subsequent years are subject to increase (no more than 2% each year).
We strive to make reading materials available digitally within licensing agreements. When this is not possible, students may have to obtain some key texts themselves.
UK-based students are encouraged to utilise the SCONUL Access scheme which allows students to borrow reading materials from other libraries belonging to the scheme.
The annual residential weeks at York are included in the course fees but you should expect to pay for food, accommodation and travel, which will vary in price depending on your location and the standard of accommodation you choose to book.
UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.
The Yorkshire Philosophical Society is offering a bursary of £100 towards travel and field trip expenses to students undertaking the PGDip in Geology of Northern England for professional development. To find out more information about this bursary contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.
You will study online for an average of 15 hours per week. You can decide when you choose to work, as all activities can be completed around your schedule.
At the heart of the University's approach to distance learning are small cohort sizes. This enables your academic lecturer to provide a high level of support and guidance throughout.
You'll learn through a combination of directed reading and guided online tasks that will challenge you to develop your independent learning, research, analysis and communication skills. There will also be regular virtual discussions and group debates where you can apply your new knowledge and understanding of key concepts within a collaborative and friendly environment.
The two five-day residential weeks based in York will allow you to study several significant geological sites in northern England and gain an understanding of key geological concepts in a practical and interactive manner. This hands-on experience will also equip you with essential field-based skills and techniques.
You will have the opportunity to publish your weekly coursework articles and supplementary research in leading geological magazines, such as Earth Heritage and Deposits. You'll also be encouraged to make links with local and regional geological groups to further strengthen your knowledge and fieldwork skills, and provide you with access to workshops and events such as the Yorkshire Fossil Festival and the Yorkshire Geology Month.
Your learning will take place within a supportive Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Blackboard which will give you access to study resources, discussion forums, the University of York Online Library and your University email account.
Within the VLE you will have access to a personal journal for talking to your lecturer on a one-to-one basis, and an online social space for conversing with other students about programme material and interests or to organise social events.
You'll also have access to a number of resources including:
You’ll be assessed through a combination of formative and summative assessments.
Formative assessments include informal presentations, quizzes and recording field-based research and observations in lab and field notebooks.
Summative assessments contribute towards your final mark. They consist of scientific reports and blog posts in which you are expected to demonstrate scholarship and follow academic referencing conventions.
Whether you're looking to pursue a geological career, support current employment, or evidence continuous professional development, this course offers a strong foundation for any vocational or geological/non-geological career path.
The programme has a strong emphasis on the development of research, analytical, writing and science communication skills. As a result, you will acquire and reinforce the key attributes required of an accomplished geologist. You’ll also obtain the scholarly foundation with which to progress to further education in geology or a related subject area at Masters or PhD level.
Outside industrial and academic environments, you will have the opportunity to explore your personal geological interests.
On completion of the programme, graduates are well-prepared for pursuing geological careers within:
Graduates are also excellently equipped to pursue employment within a variety of industries, including:
You will develop a range of transferable skills during the course including:
"The two five-day residential weeks were academically rigorous and challenging, but also exciting, interesting and inspiring. They are delivered in an engaging, supportive and friendly environment."
Typically, you'll be a graduate in a related subject area.
We favourably consider students with a BA/BSc award in any subject and evidence of recent higher education level of study in this area. The University of York reserves the right to ask students for academic work to support their application, and any student may be called to interview.
We are committed to ensuring open access and will seek to ensure those without the qualifications highlighted above, but with evident ability to succeed, have the opportunity to study. In such instances, you may be asked to submit a 1,500 word critical essay in the field of Geology for consideration of the admissions panel.
Applicants are assessed on a case-by-case basis following the University's Equal Opportunities Policy.
You will require access to a personal computer with a broadband internet connection and Office software suite, compatible with Word and Excel formats.
If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. You must have:
Full details of the requirements for distance learning students.
You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.