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There are a wide range of careers open to Earth Scientists, and a shortage of well-qualified applicants. As a Cambridge graduate you would be highly sought after, because you have a substantially broader science training than geologists from most other universities, including skills in quantitative analysis, critical thinking and communication. The Earth Sciences Department at Cambridge is also known to be one of the best in the world.

Careers in Earth Sciences

There is a misconception that almost all careers in Earth Sciences are in the petroleum industry. In fact, less than half of geologists work in this field. The full range of job areas includes:

  • Carbon Capture and Storage: finding, developing, and monitoring suitable sites.
  • Environmental geology & geochemistry: natural and industrial risk assessment, nuclear waste disposal.
  • Energy and mineral extraction: exploring for coal, metallic and industrial minerals.
  • Hydrogeology: finding and maintaining subsurface water supply.
  • Geotechnics: detailing rock & soil strength for engineering projects.
  • School teaching: teaching science in schools.
  • University research & teaching: degree-level teaching and research.
  • Museums and libraries: managing collections of geological material.
  • Publishing: commissioning and editing geological books and journals.
  • Science in society: science research and policy in public sector institutes.
  • Finance and consulting: assessing natural resource investment for banks etc.
  • Petroleum exploration & production: finding and developing new oil & gas fields.

Earth Scientists are very well qualified for careers outside geology. Earth Sciences graduates have particularly good problem-solving abilities and a wide range of transferable skills. These qualities are valued by most employers. Earth Scientists are therefore highly competitive in the job market, even where specific geological skills are not required.

Salaries for Earth Scientists vary widely between professions. The salaries for UK jobs advertised for ‘geologist’ average £45,000. The petroleum and mining industries pay higher-than-average salaries, with US pay being the benchmark: starting salaries of £60,000 and pay after 10 years of £90,000. Salaries in the finance sector are even higher than in the petroleum sector.

Careers Event

The Sedgwick Club (the offical student Earth Sciences society) hold career-oriented talks throughout the academic year.

There is also an annual Careers Event, which takes place in mid-November in the Department.  Over the past 3 years we have hosted recruiters and alumni from:

AMEC Commerical, AON, ARK CLS, Atkins, BAS, BEIS, BP, Cambridge University Press, Campbell Reith, Carnstone, CASP, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Element Energy, Environmental Consulting, ESI Consulting, ESRI, Galson Sciences Ltd, Geology for Global Development, GeolSoc East Anglia, GfGD, Guralp, Mott McDonald, Neftex, PalAss, PLOS, Quarry Battery, Riverstone Holdings LLC, RMS, Robertson CGG, Schlumberger, Shell, and the University Environment and Energy Section.

Careers Service

All undergraduates, postgraduates and alumni have access to the University’s Careers Service, located on Mill Lane