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Geology – A Level

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About the course

“The future of humanity and indeed all life on Earth depends on us” (Attenborough, 2001). Our planet is rapidly approaching a climatic tipping point where global warming will lead to irreversible changes to our planet. For us to tackle what is arguably the largest challenge in human existence, we must first understand how Earth works.

Geology is a practical science where we will journey through the last 4.5 billion years, using evidence from the rock and fossil record to reconstruct the key events that have occurred. We will reconstruct past climates, as Earth has experienced regular greenhouse and icehouse conditions, to identify the triggers of climatic change. By understanding the climatic changes of the past, we may be able to predict what will happen in the future and try and implement strategies to reduce the impacts of climate change.

The UK is aiming to be at the forefront of the green and sustainable revolution but in order to do this we need more people with geological knowledge and understanding. We need people to be able to locate the resources we will need to create the green technology; we will need people to engineer the environment to protect us from extreme weather events, coastal erosion and flooding. This means we need geologists more than ever before.

Geology also allows you to discover the organisms that have evolved and become extinct throughout Earth’s history. The lifeforms we will study range from bivalves/brachiopods to dinosaurs and even human evolution. We will study the causes of the five mass extinction events and try and predict if we are about to enter the sixth mass extinction.

Billions of people around the world are at risk from volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis. Studying geology will provide you with an understanding of the causes of these natural hazards and where natural disasters are likely to occur. By obtaining this fundamental understanding of natural hazards you will be able to conclude if natural disasters can be predicted and how we can limit the destruction caused by them.

Geology is different to many other subjects you can choose at A Level as it focusses on practical skills. You will be taught the fundamentals in the classroom, but you will then be given lots of opportunity to utilise your knowledge in a practical setting. There will be regular lab-based practicals and the use of virtual/augmented reality combined with fieldwork. We offer optional and compulsory fieldwork opportunities – there will be compulsory residential fieldwork in your first and second year of study situated in the UK. There may even be the possibility to utilise your geological skills abroad, with a visit to Iceland.

If you are somebody that wants to understand our planet and join the fight to mitigate climate change, then this is the course for you. Only through more people having knowledge of our planet can we hope to tackle the challenges ahead.

Topics and units

Fundamentals of Geology

  • Elements, Minerals and Rocks
  • Surface and internal processes
  • Time and change
  • Earth structure and global tectonics

 

Interpreting the geological Record

  • Rock forming processes
  • Rock deformation
  • Past life and past climates
  • Earth materials and natural resources

 

Geological Themes 

  • Geohazards
  • Geological map applications
  • Quaternary Geology

 

Geology is assessed via three examinations at the end of the second year of study:

  • Paper 1 – Geological Investigations (worth 35% of the qualification)
  • Paper 2 – Geological Principles and processes (worth 30% of the qualification)
  • Paper 3 – Geological Applications (worth 35% of the qualification)

There is also a practical endorsement which assesses practical competency via 20 practical assessment activities.

Careers and progression

Work placement opportunities:
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Forestry Commission, British Field Studies Council, National Trust properties

Progressing to:
University studies with geology, environmental science, geophysics or geochemistry degrees, or environmental/geological survey jobs

Aspirational careers:
Environmental scientist, laboratory technician, geologist, archaeologist, hydrologist, and senior posts with the British Geological Survey, or Environment Agency

Entry requirements

5 GCSEs at grades 9-4, including English, maths and 2 GCSEs in science.

Additional information

The UK residential fieldwork opportunities are compulsory as part of the course. Local day trips and any possible trips abroad are optional.

To have a holistic view of Earth and society, it is highly recommended to study geology alongside geography. Geology also combines well with chemistry, physics and maths.

All students enrolled on A Level Geology and/or Geography will also be enrolled in the Geoscience Community.

What to do next

If you are interested in applying for this course, please click ‘apply now‘ on this page or at the top of any page, and create an website account or sign in an account you have already created and complete the application form. 

To find out more information about our courses and college life, you can visit an open event to meet our team and check out our facilities for yourself.

Type

Full Time

Duration

2 Year

Campus

Haybridge Road, Telford

Support

We understand that there are many barriers when you look at coming to college. Find out more information about the support we offer.

Talk to us

If you need some more information you can contact our course information, advice and guidance team using our online form.

Upcoming events

Taster Event – Step into Health and Social Care for Care Leavers (Shrewsbury)
24 June 2024
10.00am — 12.00pm
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Taster Event – HND Healthcare Professions’ Support
25 June 2024
6.00pm — 8.00pm
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T-Level Employer Information Event & Shropshire Chamber Business Expo
02 July 2024
4.30pm — 7.30pm
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