Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Geosciences and Mathematics

Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Geosciences and Mathematics

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Course information

Course title Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Geosciences and Mathematics
Postnominal B.Sc. (Hons)(Melit.)
Level of qualification First Cycle
National Qualifications Framework level Level 6
Duration 4 Years
Mode of attendance Full-time
Total ECTS credits 240
Coordinator Geosciences (Joint Area)
Pauline Galea

Mathematics (Joint Area)
David Buhagiar
Delivered by Faculty of Science
The Course shall consist of two parts, namely, Part One comprising the first three years and Part Two comprising the fourth year.

(1) Part One shall consist of study-units to which 180 credits are assigned and indicated in the programme of study and divided as follows:

First Year: in addition to the compulsory and elective study-units outlined in the programme of studies of the chosen areas (not less than 26 credits in each of the two areas), students are required to register for optional study-units to bring their total for the year to 60 credits,

Second Year: 30 credits in each of the two areas of study,

Third Year: 30 credits in each of the two areas of study.

At the end of Part One, students who obtain 180 credits as specified in paragraph (1) but who either opt not to proceed with the Course leading to the Honours Degree, or having proceeded, do not successfully complete the Course, shall be eligible for the award of the degree of Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.).

(2) Part Two shall consist of study-units to which 60 credits are assigned divided as follows:

(a) 40 credits in one area of study, of which 18 credits are assigned to a dissertation, and

(b) 20 credits in the other area of study,

provided that in the case of Mathematics, the dissertation may be substituted by one or more additional taught study-units.


The Geosciences are at the core of many of today’s global issues, such as natural resources and their exploration/exploitation, climate change, geohazards and environmental problems. The Department of Geosciences aims to develop a new generation of highly skilled geoscientists, who will have a rigorous scientific education in the natural and earth sciences, field and computational proficiency, as well as hands-on experience with modern equipment and facilities. Geoscience graduates have a holistic understanding of how the Earth works and how to solve real-world problems. The Geoscience course is a four-year programme, in which the first two years consist of compulsory study-units, which provide a sound scientific foundation in a number of geoscience areas, while the last two years contain a wide choice of elective study-units that allow the students to study specialised areas of geosciences.

The necessary physics, mathematics, chemistry and computational requirements are thoroughly covered through purposely designed units, study-units offered by the joint subject area, or by other departments. The first two years introduce core areas in the Geosciences, such as geology, geophysics, fundamental oceanography and atmospheric studies, environmental physics and environmental management principles as well as GIS and Matlab skills, giving the student a multidisciplinary overview of the Earth and its processes. Elective study-units in the third and fourth years include more specialised topics in solid earth, ocean and atmospheric sciences. Thus the course will provide the opportunity to select an elective "pathway" according to the student's preference, for example in geology and geophysics, atmospheric science or oceanography, without however being too rigid to allow a choice of units from the other streams. The fourth year independent research project will be compatible with the chosen study-units.

Throughout the course, whenever possible, study-units are designed to include laboratory/field/computational components so as to give the students a hands-on experience of modern geoscientific methods and tools, and a sound preparation for an eventual career with geoscience applications. Assessment will be through a mixture of examinations, progress tests, lab and field reports, practical, computational and theoretical assignments such that the students’ understanding and application of the taught subject matter can be continuously assessed.


Mathematics underlies the pursuit of every scientific endeavour as it equips the learner with the necessary body of knowledge, skills, strategies and competences. The Department of Mathematics within the Faculty of Science acknowledges this perspective and responds to it by contributing to joint Honours degrees with other disciplines such as Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geosciences, Statistics and Operations Research, Banking and Finance, Computer Science and Philosophy.

Most of the Mathematics study-units in the first two years of the degree are compulsory. In the third year, students are asked to choose a stream from four available options. The four options are in line with the main research areas of the academic staff within the Department of Mathematics, namely Graph Theory and Combinatorics, Functional Analysis and Topology, Applied Mathematics, and Biomathematics. Since subareas of mathematics are becoming more interwoven, core study-units have been identified by the Department and are included in each stream, alongside the more specific study-units pertaining to each stream. The chosen stream will be carried on to the fourth year of the degree, during which a student can also choose a topic to undertake an undergraduate dissertation.

The number of students taking Mathematics as a principal subject for their B.Sc.(Hons) has now stabilised at about 70 per year.

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Applicants must satisfy the General Entry Requirements for admission, namely, the Matriculation Certificate and Secondary Education Certificate passes at Grade 5 or better in Maltese, English Language and Mathematics.

Applicants must also satisfy the following Special Course Requirements:

For Geosciences:
either passes in Physics (Advanced, grade C or better) and Pure Mathematics (Intermediate, grade C or better)
or passes in Pure Mathematics (Advanced, grade C or better) and Physics (Intermediate, grade C or better),
or passes in Chemistry (Advanced, grade C or better) and Pure Mathematics (Intermediate, grade C or better) and Physics (Intermediate, grade C or better),
or passes in Computing (Advanced, grade C or better) and Pure Mathematics (Intermediate, grade C or better) and Physics (Intermediate, grade C or better).

For Mathematics: An Advanced Level pass at Grade C or better in Pure Mathematics.

Applicants must satisfy the Special Course Requirements of both areas.

Applicants who possess a grade D when the minimum specified grade is C in only one of the required subjects, whether at Advanced or Intermediate Level, of the special course requirements indicated above, shall be admitted under those conditions as the Board may impose to compensate for the qualification deficiency. If, by the end of the first year, such students do not successfully complete all the requirements to progress regularly to the second year of the Course, they shall be required to withdraw from the Course, and shall neither be entitled to repeat the year nor to progress conditionally as normally permitted under the Principal Regulations.

The admission requirements are applicable for courses commencing in October 2020.

For more detailed information pertaining to admission and progression requirements please refer to the bye-laws for the course available here.

UM currently hosts over 1,000 full-time international students and over 450 visiting students. The ever-increasing international students coming from various countries, in recent years, have transformed this 400-year old institution into an international campus.

Our international students generally describe Malta as a safe place, enjoying excellent weather and an all-year varied cultural programme. Malta is considered as the ideal place for students to study.

You can compare your national qualifications to the local requirements by visiting our qualifications comparability webpage.

Access more information about our admission process and English language requirements.

After you receive an offer from us, our International Office will assist you with visas, accommodation and other related issues.

Local/EU/EEA Applicants: No fees apply

Non-EU/Non-EEA Applicants: Fee per academic year: Eur 10,800

At the end of the course, the students should be able to:
• Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the structure, physical properties, processes and interactions within the various spheres making up our planet.
• Use acquired mathematical, physical and computational skills to formulate, model and solve a variety of problems relating to earth science, dynamic systems and the environment.
• Demonstrate familiarity with a number of instrumental techniques and computational software related to geoscientific investigation, and develop adaptability to a number of outdoor situations and tasks.
• Demonstrate a critical understanding of topical environmental and geoscientific issues (such as climate change, geohazards, Earth resources, air and sea pollution, etc) and an ability to evaluate geoscience publications and literature.
• Have a fundamental understanding of geological principles and integrate different data into geological models, using a variety of IT and computational tools.
• Design and implement basic geophysical investigations for environmental, archaeological, and developmental purposes.
• Present and communicate the results of studies and investigations in a clear, comprehensive and informative manner, and in a variety of formats, including oral and poster presentations, written reports, maps, tables etc.
• Identify an appropriate problem or field of inquiry and design and implement a research project, using suitable research methods and techniques for data collection, analysis and interpretation.
• Develop a team working ethic and engage in scientific discussion with peers and seniors.
• Develop an appreciation for sustainable practices and social responsibility in environmental issues.


At the end of the course students will be able to:

Critical Thinking
• Understand and employ the basic rules of logic, including the role of axioms or assumptions
• Appreciate the role of mathematical proof in formal deductive reasoning and exercise it effectively in solving problems
• Distinguish a coherent argument from a fallacious one, both in mathematical reasoning and in everyday life
• Articulate the differences between inductive and deductive reasoning
• Proficiently construct logical arguments and rigorous proofs
• Formulate conjectures by abstracting general principles from examples
• Assimilate and understand a large body of complex concepts and their interrelationships.

Problem Solving
• Formulate and solve abstract mathematical problems
• Recognize real-world problems that are amenable to mathematical analysis, and formulate mathematical models of such problems
• Apply mathematical methodologies to open-ended real-world problems and to problems stemming from mathematical-related careers
• Use symbolic and numerical software as part of practical computation
• Recognize and exploit connections between different branches of mathematics
• Identify and appreciate the connections between theory and applications
• Be lifelong learners by carrying out an independent investigation using textbooks and other available literature, searching databases and interacting with colleagues and other experts to extract and utilise important information.

Effective Communication
• Acknowledge the fundamentals of mathematics as a living discipline in its own right
• Present mathematics clearly and precisely to an audience of peers and faculty
• Appreciate the role of mathematical proof as a means of conveying mathematical knowledge
• Differentiate between rigorous proofs and other less formal arguments
• Make vague ideas precise by formulating them in mathematical language
• Describe mathematical ideas from multiple perspectives
• Explain fundamental mathematical concepts or analyses of real-world problems to non-mathematicians
• Work independently, use their initiative, organize themselves to meet deadlines, plan and execute an extended project
• Work in groups, interacting constructively with others.

The course is intended for students with good post-secondary science qualifications, who would like to pursue a career in science, but who have an interest in the application of science, particularly physics, mathematics and chemistry, to study the Earth and how it works, and to pursue a career in the geosciences.


The course is intended for students who want to:

• Develop and unceasingly exercise their analytical abilities to responsibly live within and participate in the transformation of a rapidly changing, complex and interdependent society
• Learn how to logically question assertions, recognize patterns, and distinguish between the essential and irrelevant aspects of problems.
• Learn how to think deeply and precisely, nurture the products of their imagination to fruition and share their ideas and insights while seeking and benefiting from the knowledge and insights of others.
• Enjoy doing mathematics and take pleasure in experiencing its intrinsic beauty, preciseness, truth and artistry.

Geoscience is a highly rewarding and interdisciplinary field of study which exposes the students to a wide array of interesting methodologies, field, laboratory and computational experiences, providing them with a highly flexible skill set that can be applied in a choice of career options. Graduates will thus be prepared to work on some of society’s most challenging problems. This programme represents the Department’s aim of producing a new generation of skilled, flexible and scientifically trained graduates who will contribute to a much needed geoscience workforce, in line with modern developments in resource exploration and management, the understanding and mitigation of geohazards and georisks, the challenges of climate change and climate modelling, atmospheric science and pollution modelling, physical and operational oceanography, marine geology and seafloor investigation, and the science of environmental management.
Related Job Opportunities
• geo- , marine-, and atmosphere- related industries and services
• the energy industry
• environmental consulting
• resource management and planning
• policy making – climate change, ocean governance, building policies
• legislative fields and governance
• environmental and science education
• fundamental and applied research in various geoscience areas

The degree in Geosciences provides an excellent platform for pursuing postgraduate research in the Earth Sciences, both locally and abroad, in particular the Department’s taught Masters courses in Applied Oceanography or Petroleum Studies, as well as M.Sc. by research. Well-qualified graduates may also proceed to M.Phil/Ph.D. programmes.


Mathematicians may work in the public sector, such as in the Central Bank of Malta, Ministry for Finance, Economic Policy Department, National Statistics Office, Malta Financial Services Authority; and in the private sector such as in insurance companies, banks, financial institutions, gaming companies, and consultancy firms. Mathematicians may also find employment in the academic, manufacturing, logistics or IT sectors.

The Department of Mathematics also offers postgraduate degrees, both at masters and doctoral levels (M.Sc. and Ph.D.), in Mathematics. Based on world-wide recognition of University of Malta degrees, our graduates and postgraduates have been accepted to continue their studies in a wide range of overseas institutions in Europe, the United States of America and elsewhere.
Students who wish to participate in an ERASMUS exchange are encouraged to do so during the second semester of the third year of the course.
Click here to access the Programme of Study for Geosciences (Joint Area) applicable from 2020/1.
Click here to access the Programme of Study for Mathematics (Joint Area) applicable from 2020/1.

Last Updated: 30 September 2020

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
Unless for exceptional approved reasons, no changes to the programme of study for a particular academic year will be made once the students' registration period for that academic year begins.