A Level Programme

Geology A Level

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About this course

Geology is about understanding how our planet works and its history by the careful recording and interpretation of its rocks. It allows us to predict the likely effects of future earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and climate change, and to locate raw materials for industry. You will have access to the exceptional facilities we have for this subject in a specialist geology laboratory. You will also learn how to interpret rocks and fossils to reconstruct past episodes of Earth history and make accurate records of rocks in the field.

What will I learn?

During the course you will study the following units:

  • Geology Global Tectonics - Written Exam
    • Planetary Geology
    • The structure of the Earth
    • Earthquakes, their causes, effects and mitigation of hazards
    • Plate tectonics and continental drift
    • Geological Structures - how rocks deform when subjected to stress
  • Rock Processes and Products - Written Exam
    • Introduction to the rock cycle, mineral formation and identification
    • Igneous rocks, volcanoes and volcanic hazards
    • Sedimentary environments and interpretation of sedimentary rocks and sequences
    • Metamorphic rocks including the interpretation of the pressure and temperature of formation of metamorphic minerals
  • Practical Skills - Practical Assessments
    • Undertaken throughout the year. Supported by experimental Geology and fieldwork
  • Environmental Geology - Written Paper
    • Water Supply - water storage and groundwater supply & quality
    • Energy Resources - origin, exploration and recovery of oil, natural gas and coal
    • Metallic Mineral Deposits - formation, exploration and environmental aspects of mining mineral deposits
    • Engineering Geology - geological factors to consider when building dams and reservoirs, tunnels, waste and nuclear disposal sites. Landslip and slumping hazards
  • Evolution of Life, Earth and Climate - Written Paper
    • Formation of Fossils
    • Morphology of fossils and the adaptation of organisms to live in different environments
    • Fossil evidence of the evolution of organisms and mass extinctions
    • Dating methods and interpretation of geological maps
  • Practical Skills - Practical Assessments
    • Undertaken throughout the year. Supported by experimental Geology and fieldwork

How will I be assessed?

Assessment will be by a combination of written papers and practical assessments.

What do I need?

General Requirements

  • 5 GCSEs at Grade A*-C including English and Maths at grade 4 (grade C)

Specific Requirements

  • Science and Additional Science (or two separate Science subjects) at grade B

In certain circumstances we will accept variations to this entry guide and create a personalised programme.

Where can it take me?

  • Halesowen College - an exciting range of higher level courses, including Teaching and Applied Biology HNC
  • University - geology, geophysics, earth systems science, physical geography, earth and planetary sciences, applied environmental science, mining engineering, engineering geology and geotechnics, applied and environmental geology, hazard management
  • Careers - oil, gas and mineral exploration, geotechnical engineering, waste disposal, quarry management, education, and research. Geology graduates who are prepared to work abroad command some of the highest starting salaries of any graduates

Additional Information

There are opportunities to participate in a number of field trips and you will need suitable outdoor clothing, including waterproofs, hiking boots and a safety helmet. An optional fieldtrip to the Mediterranean/Iceland is of particular interest to students who combine Geology with Geography. You must have at least two sciences at A Level if you want to study Geology at university. Geology combines well with Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Geography, Biology and the BTEC Subsidiary Diploma in Environmental Sustainability.