How do we know where to find oil? Can we predict and manage hazards such as volcanoes and earthquakes? How has the Earth changed since the time of the dinosaurs? Why did the dinosaurs become extinct? A Level Geology will provide answers to these questions, and many more about minerals, rocks, fossils and time. Geologists use aspects of other scientific subjects such as Geography, Chemistry, Biology, and Physics to study the Earth, its history and processes.

Course Outline

Introduction to Geology
• Elements, minerals and rocks
• Geological processes and the rock cycle
• Geological time
• Earth structure and global plate tectonics

Interpreting the Geological Record
• Rock forming processes (igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks)
• Rock deformation
• Past life (palaeontology) and climates
• Earth materials and natural resources (coal, oil, gas, water, minerals, metals)

Geological themes
• Geohazards (volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides and engineering geology)
• Geological maps
• Quaternary Geology (the last 2 million years of Earth history)


Examination (100%)
No coursework but there are compulsory practical assessments
Examining Board – Eduqas

Special Entry Requirements

A minimum grade 6 (B) in Maths and grade 6 (B) in a single science or grade 5-6 in Combined Science is required. Standard A level entry requirements also apply.

Prohibited Options

None. Although Geology sounds similar to Geography, the two subjects are very different in their content and can be studied together as part of an A Level programme.

Career and Progression Opportunities

You can progress to university – Geology is a degree subject in its own right but it also supports degrees and careers in engineering, surveying and construction (particularly civil engineering) and can lead to jobs in the oil industry, in mining and extraction of minerals, and in environmental industries such as waste and water management. It is a science subject, so would also gain credit to support applications to science-based degrees and careers. It is also a useful subject if you are considering Geography or Environmental Science at university.

Teaching Methods

As a practical subject Geology lessons will often involve the investigation of rock, fossil and mineral specimens in addition to geological maps. A problem solving approach will be used so that theoretical ideas can be applied to real geological situations. There will be compulsory local fieldwork to investigate rocks in situ. Visits to local museums and university rock collections will be organised. We have a dedicated ‘rock room’ with an extensive and unique collection of rocks, minerals and fossils to support your studies.

Other Information

Fieldwork is a compulsory part of the course and each student must spend a minimum of four days investigating geological issues outside of the classroom. There will be a small charge for transport to access local geological sites, but we anticipate that this will be less than £60 for the two-year course. There may be opportunities for residential field trips, but these will be on a voluntary basis.

This information is correct for September 2019 entry.

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