WHY SHOULD I STUDY A LEVEL GEOLOGY (EARTH SCIENCE)?
Students fascinated by earthquakes, volcanoes, resources, engineering, materials science and fossils will find Geology especially appealing. This course allows students with an interest in The Earth to discover how it formed and how it works. Geology is a subject that can usefully be studied in combination with any of: Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Geography, Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Science, Physics. With the increasing importance of sustainability, it has grown in popularity and The Sixth Form College has taught OCR A Level Geology to the largest cohort of students in the UK for the last two years.
Fieldwork is an essential part of a geologist’s experience so four days fieldwork are required to be completed by the exam board. There is a UK-based residential trip at the end of year one to cover fieldwork requirements; providing important opportunities to practice skills examined by the Practical Skills paper.
We have strong links with many universities, including Exeter, Portsmouth, Manchester, Leeds, Hilo (Hawaii), Laurentia (Ontario) and Tucson (Arizona). We have lecturers/speakers visit college along with ex-students working professionally in fields such as; structural engineering, palaeontology, mineral exploration and geochemical engineering to talk about careers and higher education progression.
The first year of the course consists of five topics:
- The Formation of the Solar System and the Structure of The Earth – including the techniques geologists can use to infer what is inside the planet.
- Plate tectonics and Earthquakes - how we study The Earth’s interior, how we can understand earthquakes and use seismographs to locate them, how they can teach us about plate movements and the creation of mountain ranges.
- Minerals - how to recognise them in rocks and in thin sections under the microscope.
- Formation of the Main Rock Groups: Igneous, Sedimentary and Metamorphic.
- Residential four-day field trip to Cornwall.
PROGRESSION ONTO YEAR 2
Progression to year two of the A Level course depends on having made satisfactory progress in the first year, including achieving at least an E grade in a formal spring assessment, along with maintenance of a good level of attendance and commitment throughout the year.
The second year of the course consists of four modules:
• Structural Geology – investigates how rocks are deformed by tectonic stresses and the resulting effects on landforms and resource formation.
- Economic Geology – management and extraction of metals, fossil fuels and water.
- Geohazards has a large focus on the study of earthquakes, how we can predict them using theories such as the seismic gap theory as well as how we can safely try to plan for them by adapting our infrastructure.
- Basin Analysis involves work from all of the units and focuses upon case studies of areas and the issues which can arise and includes a major study of evolution and palaeontology.
FINAL ASSESSMENT AT END OF YEAR 2
There are three written examination papers taken at the end of the second year and a separate practical endorsement that is earned throughout the two years of the course.
MINIMUM ENTRY CRITERIA
Standard College entry requirements and a minimum of:
GCSE English Language or English Literature
Both 1st and 2nd grades in GCSE Combined Science
|if triple science is taken
Two of either GCSE Biology, Chemistry or Physics
Please note that GCSE Applied Science or Level 2 BTEC qualifications are not acceptable as alternative GCSE science qualifications for A Level Geology.
Core Mathematics (Mathematical Studies) is a very useful complementary course for this subject and is recommended as a further (4th) course choice for students who are not taking A Level Mathematics or A Level Statistics options.
WHAT CAN I DO AFTER STUDYING A LEVEL GEOLOGY?
Geology can lead to a variety of careers, for example; the energy industries; resource exploration, managing the sustainability of reserves and engineering/geotechnics. Other careers include palaeontology, volcanology, geophysical research, hydrology, construction, surveying, conservation, environmental management, teaching and geological research.
College is equipped with an expansive collection of rocks, fossils and minerals to aid teaching.