Geology will be a new subject to most students. If you are interested in the origins of the Earth, how it was formed and what has happened to the landscape and inhabitants of our planet through geological time, then it may be for you. Geology is central to locating the resources that maintain our society and is implicit in contemporary issues from global warming through to the exploitation of these resources.
A Level Geology follows the new WJEC/ Eduqas specification and builds upon topics covered at GCSE in Geography and Science. The specifications are designed to provide an opportunity to study a range of issues of geological significance and are delivered through theory and practical modules.
In the first year of the course -
Fundamentals of Geology - allows students to develop their knowledge and understanding of earth science and acquire new skills.
Topics covered include: Minerals, Rocks, Fossils, Composition of the Earth, Plate Tectonics, Geological Time, Structural Geology, Mapwork and GeoHazards – natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes and landslides along with man-made hazards involved in quarrying, mining, waste disposal and civil engineering projects.
Interpreting the Geological Record enables students to further develop their skills and understanding of earth science and includes topics: Rock forming processes; Rock deformation; Past life and Past climates; Earth materials and Natural resources and Geological Themes – Geological map applications (use of colour BGS maps); and one optional theme (likely to be Geological Evolution of Britain) giving further depth on plate tectonics and the development of the key rock types in the UK. Embedded within all the modules are “specified practical” activities which will give students an extra grading on their certificate for practical competency.
Fieldwork is an essential component of the course. A level Geologists MUST complete a minimum of 4 days in the field. Fieldwork is assessed through various practical investigations in the field. There is currently a 2-day residential fieldtrip to North Yorkshire (Y12 June) and a new 3-day residential field trip to Anglesey (Y13 March). Day trips to local exposures (e.g. Derbyshire & Boston Castle) are also included.
External A level examinations comprise of :
Three written examination papers (2 hours, 1 hours, 2 hours); stimulus response questions requiring short and structured answers, a wide variety of data (hand specimens, photographs, a black and white and a colour geological map) and some extended answers.
GCSE Science (2 x Grade 4). Grade 5 Maths.
This course could lead onto higher education in areas of Geology or more general higher education courses. With further training, you could go into a job related to geology such as a Geologist, Engineer Geologist, Environment Consultant, Seismic Interpreter
Oil exploration, nuclear waste disposal and landfill management and as Engineering Geologists, Seismic Interpreters, Environment Consultants as well as teaching and lecturing or further postgraduate study abroad and in the UK.
Demand for geologists and geoscientists is strong and growing, and recent news articles have shown that Geology is the most lucrative STEM course (with new graduate in the petroleum industry earning up to £70,000 for their first job). Earth Science and related Engineering (civil, geotechnical, petroleum, environmental) have twice as many university places as the life sciences courses, and the government’s job shortage list is full of Geology based careers in most sectors(engineering, oil and gas, mining, environmental).