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Geological Sciences A

Programme Specification: Part IB Geological Sciences A

This course is taught by the Department of Earth Sciences.


  1. to investigate the processes - physical, biological, and chemical - that form and deform sedimentary rocks, as well as the geophysical aspects of plate tectonics;
  2. to provide practical experience of the description of sedimentary rocks and their application to resolving climatic, depositional, and burial histories, as well as tectonic analysis;
  3. to promote the development of field skills necessary for the independent mapping project to be undertaken by students carrying on to Part II;
  4. to explore the regional geology of southwest England in lectures, practicals, and fieldwork.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students should have:

  1. developed skills relevant to field work to a level where independent mapping may be undertaken;
  2. recognised the links between the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and lithosphere and how together they impact the sedimentary and climatic history of Earth;
  3. attained a reasonable working knowledge of the geology of the southwest of England;
  4. progressed from the more guided learning of NST Part IA Earth Sciences to the independent learning required of students carrying on to Part II Geological Sciences.

Teaching and learning methods

The course is taught through lectures, practical classes, supervisions, and field courses, including ten days in southwest England and nine days in Cumbria.


Assessment for this course is through:

  • two unseen written examinations, based on material from all teaching methods (for aims 1 and 4 and learning outcomes 1, 3 and 4);
  • two unseen practical examinations, based mainly on material from practical and field classes (for aims 2-4 and learning outcome 1).

Courses of Preparation

Essential: NST Part IA Earth Sciences.

Additional Information

Further information on each subject is available in the Subject summary and on the Course Websites pages.