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Accreditation of Undergraduate and Postgraduate Degree Programmes

Updated March 2022

Background

The Society has operated a scheme to accredit undergraduate and taught postgraduate degree programmes in the Earth Sciences since 1997 and 2006, respectively. As of 2022, the Society accredits nearly 200 undergraduate programmes, and 16 postgraduate programmes, across the UK and overseas.

In acknowledgement of the substantial changes in Earth Sciences over the last two decades, the undergraduate accreditation scheme underwent a major review between 2018 and 2022. Following a consultation with graduate employers, in 2020 the Society established an Accreditation Review Panel. This was initially chaired by Professor Nick Rogers (Open University, and President of the Society). The Panel was later chaired by Professor Mark Anderson (University of Plymouth), who led the review to completion.

During the review, consultations were made with the Accreditation Committee and all University departments offering geoscience degrees via their representatives on Universities Geoscience UK. Importantly, the review was undertaken in close parallel with, and informed by, the update of the QAA Subject Benchmark Statement for Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences and Environmental Studies (5th Edition, 2022).

Members of the Accreditation Review Panel:

• Professor Mark Anderson (Plymouth) (Chair 2020-2022)
• Professor Angela Coe (Open University)
• Professor Siân Davies-Vollum (University of Derby; Executive Secretary of Universities Geoscience UK)
• Dr Stewart Fishwick (University of Leicester)
• Dr Jacqueline Houghton (University of Leeds )
• Dr Cedric John (Imperial College, London)
• Dr Linda Kirstein (University of Edinburgh)
• Dr Alicia Newton (Director of Science and Communications, Geological Society)
• Dr Huw Richards (Nordgold)
• Professor Nick Rogers (Open University) (Chair 2019-2020)
• Dr Ivan Sansom (University of Birmingham)
• Professor Andy Saunders (Accreditation Officer, Geological Society)
• Dr David Shilston (Atkins)
• Dr Andrew Smith (Forterra Building Products; Chair of the Accreditation Committee)
• Dr Owen Sutcliffe (Halliburton)

The new scheme was fully approved by Council in February 2022.

Aims

The aims of the accreditation schemes are to:
1. provide quality assurance and recognition of degree programmes in Earth Sciences for students, employers, external examiners, higher education institutions and other professional bodies;
2. demonstrate that the degree programme offers a minimum standard of training, knowledge and skills provision agreed by the Geological Society Accreditation Committee and QAA Subject Benchmark;
3. facilitate and drive good practice for instance with regard to equality, diversity and inclusion within the training;
4. provide the initial step on a career path to professional Chartership (Appendix 1); and
5. provide a quality kite-mark for graduates to use with a wide range of professional (graduate) Earth Science employment.

How to apply for accreditation

There are two application streams, one for undergraduate degree programmes and one for postgraduate degree programmes.

Please select from the links below, where you will find the application forms and guidelines to help you to complete them.

Accreditation of Undergraduate Degree (Bachelors and Integrated Masters) Programmes

Accreditation of Postgraduate Degree (MSc) Programmes

The Society’s accreditation process is governed by Regulation R/FP/*
Version March 2022