Course Overview

The Diploma in Scientific Studies (Earth & Ocean Sciences) aims to provide students with a broad introduction to the study of the Earth’s solid geology and its coastal ocean, with hands-on, practical experience of the techniques employed within the fields of geology, oceanography, and Earth observation.

The course will appeal to those with an interest in our natural environment and the outdoors. It may be professionally beneficial for geography teachers, environmental scientists, engineers, archaeologists.

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via the NUI Galway Applications System. This course is listed under Adult Learning & CPD Courses Application.

Please visit our How to Apply page for Application tips and Supporting Documents information.


Who Teaches this Course

Requirements and Assessment

All modules in the Diploma are individually assessed by continuous assessment (practical exercises) and assignments.

Notice: with the ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 coronavirus, we have decided to move classroom-based courses and blended learning seminars to a fully online teaching mode for the academic year 2020/21. The teaching schedule for the 2021/22 academic year will be reviewed over the coming months in line with government restrictions and social distancing guidelines. This decision has been made to ensure the safety of students & staff and our desire to continue to provide upskilling and professional development opportunities for all. If you have any queries regarding the format of online delivery mode, please contact your course administrator for further details.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Entry requirements for part-time students can be found in our FAQs section (i.e. age, english language requirements etc.). 

There are no specific entry requirements for this course.

Additional Requirements


2 years, part-time

Next start date


A Level Grades ()

Average intake


Closing Date


NFQ level


Mode of study

Blended Learning

ECTS weighting



Diploma in Scientific Studies (Earth & Ocean Sciences)


Course code

Course Outline

The course will be delivered in a blended learning format, with 3 weekend workshops and/or fieldtrips every semester (either Saturday or Saturday + Sunday) accompanying the online/remote lecture material and exercises. The modules will study the Earth’s origins, materials and processes at all scales from the atomic to the planetary level; internal and external; and locally, nationally, and internationally.

One module will deal with our coastal ocean, examining the interaction of geology, ground- and surface water, and the marine environment. Another will focus on Earth observation and remote sensing, and how these are used to help understand the physical, chemical, and biological processes acting on the Earth’s surface.

A common theme throughout will be the interaction of people with the planet we inhabit. Fieldtrips (within Ireland) are an integral part of the course.

Course Content – Year 1

  • Planet Earth
  • Earth Materials
  • Our Coastal Ocean

Course Content – Year 2

  • Geology of Ireland
  • The Peopled Planet
  • Observing Earth

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Several graduates from an earlier version of this diploma (in Geology) have since gone on to study full time for a BSc in Earth & Ocean Sciences. Others have used it to enhance their professional life (e.g. as archaeologists, teachers), or their enjoyment of the outdoors. Many of the graduates are actively involved in the Galway Geological Association, which was set up by them to enable their continuation of the study of earth sciences with lectures and field trips.  

Who’s Suited to This Course

You will choose this course if you have an interest in learning more about the planet we inhabit, and about the techniques earth scientists use to identify events, processes and products deep in time and space. The course will also look at the challenges life on earth is facing (e.g. climate change, resource depletion) and how earth scientists are working towards understanding how to mitigate the risks associated with these challenges.   

Learning Outcomes


Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€990 p.a.

Fees: Tuition

Fees: Student levy

Fees: Non EU

€1,490 p.a.

A fees scholarship of up to 30% may be available for students who wish to upskill for the purposes of re-employment.  Students must be registered as unemployed and in receipt of one of the following: 

  • Job-seekers Benefit
  • Job-seekers Allowance
  • One-parent family allowance
  • Disability allowance
  • Community Employment Scheme
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Signing for social insurance contribution credits

Please download the 2021_22 Fees Scholarship Form for more information.

Find out More

Dr. Sadhbh Baxter

Department of Earth & Ocean Sciences
Tel: 091 495962

What Our Students Say



Paula Gleeson |   Past Student

As a mature student, I enrolled in the Adult and Continuing Education diploma course in Geology, and I can honestly say that I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The lectures are interesting and stimulating, and the friendly staff couldn’t be more helpful. The course has opened up a whole new understanding of earth dynamics and geological time., and, within the class–a group of like-minded people-the common bonds of mutual interest have created new, lasting friendships. I would highly recommend this course to anyone who has a questioning mind about earth science.


  • Adult Learning Prospectus

    Adult Learning Prospectus PDF (3.4 MB)

  • Short Courses Series 2021

    Short Courses Series 2021 PDF (4.5 MB)

  • Postgraduate Prospectus 2021

    Postgraduate Prospectus 2021 PDF (11.3MB)