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Geological Sciences*

Programme Specification: Part II Geological Sciences

This course is taught by the Department of Earth Sciences


  1. to develop a working understanding of advanced 'core' concepts in a number of areas of Geological Sciences (in the Michaelmas Term) that are further developed in specialised options in the Lent and Easter terms;
  2. to further develop appropriate practical, quantitative and interpretative skills and field;
  3. to allow the students to develop skills of data analysis, map production and interpretation and report writing through the completion of their independent mapping projects;
  4. to develop advanced IT skills including use of computer graphics and GIS packages and other computer-based data analysis programs;
  5. to become familiar with locating, reading and critically evaluating the high-level scientific literature by following up reading lists, using bibliographic search tools, and completing essays for supervisions.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students should:

  1. have developed an advanced understanding of several specialised areas of geological science;
  2. be appropriately prepared either to continue to a more research-oriented fourth-year course in Geological Sciences (M.Sci), or to graduate as a geologist with a broad scientific training and an advanced understanding of a number of areas of Earth Sciences.

Teaching and learning methods

The course is taught through lectures and practical classes, field trips and supervisions, and through a program of seminars. Students develop their independent learning skills through their mapping project, and develop their communication skills through both report-writing and presentation of short seminars.


Assessment for this course is by:

  • unseen written examination: students sit three written papers (for aims 1 and 3-5 and learning outcomes 1-2);
  • unseen practical examinations, or continuously assessed practical tests (for aims 2-4 and learning outcomes 1-2);
  • submission of a report of a piece of independent project work (usually based on a field mapping exercise) (for aims 3-5 and learning outcomes 1-2);
  • an oral examination with an external examiner (for aims 1-5 and learning outcomes 1-2).

Courses of Preparation

Essential: NST Part IB Geological Sciences A and/or NST Part IB Geological Sciences B.

Additional Information

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