Studying Geology in 2020: Student Blog by Hazel Knight – September

The Scottish Geology Trust would like to offer students involved with Scottish geology the chance to share their educational experience of studying geology with a wider audience.


Hello and welcome to my blog!

Welcome everyone! I’m Hazel, a MSci Geology student at the University of Birmingham and this is the first instalment of my new monthly blog with the Scottish Geology Trust. Each month I will be sharing a little of what I’m up to, so if you’re interested in what it’s like to be a geology student, hopefully you’ll find this interesting. For my first post I thought it would be best to introduce myself and explain a little about what I’m studying.

A photo of me on a fieldtrip near Loch Assynt in the North West Highlands Geopark. Here I learnt how to create a geological map in preparation for my mapping project.

I first started studying geology at A-level and by the end of the course I knew I wanted to be a geologist. One of my favourite things about geoscience is the wide range of fascinating things I get to study, from global tectonics and volcanos to environmental sustainability. Outside of the more typical geology fields, I’m also interested in planetary science and love learning about the geology of other planets – I’m even the secretary for the university’s astronomy society in my spare time. I personally really enjoy fieldwork.


A Geology Degree

The university course I’m taking is an undergraduate master’s course, meaning I will graduate with a master’s level degree (an MSci) after 4 years of study. It’s quite shocking to think that next week I begin my 4th year. The last three years really have flown by! As this is the master’s year of my course, alongside taking taught modules and attending fieldtrips, half my time will be spent completing an independent research project.

For my project, I will be looking at how regional tectonic processes are recorded by magnetic minerals within large granite intrusions. Tectonic and igneous processes have definitely been the most interesting things I’ve studied during the first three years of my degree, so I’m really excited to be able to do a project combining both (though I will get back to you as to whether I’m still just as excited when I’m halfway through the long write up!).

Alongside this I will be taking modules on a range of geoscience topics including volcanology, engineering geology, hydrogeology and the transition to a sustainable energy system. It’s going to be a busy year! Hopefully, I will also be going on a volcanology focused field trip to Tenerife later this year, though obviously at the moment travel and trips are not possible. Either way, there is certainly plenty of geology that can be done without being out in the field, so, whatever happens, I will have a lot to learn and study.


It’s not all fieldwork! This is a photo of me during a practical class last year conducting an analogue experiment to study how faulting forms when continents collide.

Why the Scottish Geology Trust?

Despite studying in England, Scotland has had a large impact on my geological training. In common with many geology students across both countries, I’ve done fieldwork on the Isle of Arran and learnt how to create a geological map on the shores of Loch Assynt in the Highlands. I also spent 6 weeks last summer in Scotland doing field work for my third-year research project (a required project for most geology degrees known as a ‘mapping project’), something I plan to write a blog about in the future.

Anyway, that’s probably enough of an introduction for my first post! I will be posting here each month, so keep an eye out for the next post in October. You can also follow @scottishgeologytrust on Instagram for my monthly takeover, which runs the week my blog is posted. Here I’ll share more insight on studying geology, photos and videos of what me and my peers are up to just now. It’s going to look a bit different this year, given COVID-19, but I’m excited to see how our studies will adapt to these challenging times.


If you’re interested in writing a student blog for the Trust, please email