The Department of Earth Sciences participates in a range of activities to make our subject accessible to school pupils, teachers and the wider public.

Visits and Talks

Our students and academics can visit local primary schools to support aspects of the KS1 and KS curriculum, for example rock formation; adaptation and evolution; and earth hazards such as earthquakes and volcanoes.

In collaboration with Access and Outreach Officers in the various colleges, we can occasionally welcome school visits to the department, particularly Year 12s wishing to explore university options for those with A-Level Maths and Sciences, though we do recommend where possible that students visit on Open Days.

Students from backgrounds with little or no experience of Oxford or Cambridge are encouraged to apply to the UNIQ programme. The flagship event is a week-long residential in the summer, offering an opportunity to experience different aspects of undegraduate life, from college accommodation, meals and events, to academic lectures, practicals and tutorials. Due to the huge numbers applying for limited spaces, those unable to join the summer course are offered a short residential over Easter (UNIQ Spring), a 1-day taster course in the department, or access to the exclusive online platform. UNIQ offers a great way to experience Oxford, and the programme is entirely free.

Our academics present at the Oxford and Cambridge Regional Conferences, staged at venues around the UK, in order to bring a flavour of our two universities to those who might not be able to visit us. We also give taster talks alongside other science departments at the annual Maths & Science Teachers Conference, Further Maths What’s Next, Lesser Spotted Science, and Pathways events in Oxford.

Online resources

Oxplore is an innovative new digital outreach portal from the University of Oxford. As the ‘Home of Big Questions’ it aims to engage those from 11 to 18 years with debates and ideas that go beyond what is covered in the classroom.

Oxford Sparks is the place to explore and discover science research from the University of Oxford, through short animations, podcasts, interviews with researchers, and more. Each topic is backed up with peer-reviewed teacher resources to assist with lesson planning, from Key Stage 3-5.

Our latest animation explores evolution through mud:

One of our earliest animations explains subduction zones:



A growing bank of short videos on YouTube help explain our research and teaching, alongside longer lectures on the University’s Podcasts and iTunesU channel.

If you are interested in “reading around the subject” but don’t know where to start, try our ‘Recommended Reading‘ list.