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Geology A level at Prior Pursglove And Stockton Sixth Form College

Course description

Geology is the branch of science concerned with the structure, evolution and dynamics of the Earth and with the exploitation of the mineral and energy resources that it contains in a sustainable way. Geology examines hazards, resources, plate tectonics, past life and extinctions, map and field skills. Geology applies physical, chemical and biological principles to the investigation of the Earth but also involves a distinctive scientific methodology, invoking internal and external Earth processes to explain the evolution of the planet through geological time.


Geology is considered to as a science at Universities and it is good to maintain a science at A level. Do you have an interest in the Earth as a whole and geological history? Unlike most sciences, geology requires out-door study to be fully understood. A number of local and regional field visits are offered from Whitby, High Force and Cauldron Snout to Ingleton waterfalls to name a few.

We have a dedicated Earth Science Laboratory equipped with a very large teaching collection of maps, rocks, minerals and fossils from all over the world spanning 2000 million years!

For the last six years our A2 Geology students have achieved 95%+ pass rate.


Geology students typically will have enjoyed Science and Geography at school and want to learn about volcanoes, earthquakes, fossils and minerals, although you will not be disadvantaged by not having a GCSE in Geography or Geology. You will enjoy a lot of hands on practical work, map work and laboratory tests.

Course content

Currently the first year of the course comprises:

  • UNIT 1 Global Tectonics – introduction to plate tectonics, volcanoes, Earth structure and rocks.
  • UNIT 2 Rocks, Processes & Products – Field Techniques and Skills, using hand specimens of minerals, rocks, photos and geological maps in an exam
  • UNIT 3 Practical Skills in Geology – assessed by in class tests

Currently the second year of the course comprises:

  • UNIT 4 Environmental Geology – Water, mineral resources, engineering (costal, tunnels, etc)
  • UNIT 5 Evolution of Life, Earth & Climate – Long term climate change, fossils and evolution
  • UNIT 6 Geological Investigation, Practical Skills – Field and lab investigations (in class)

It is expected that the course structure will be similar to that as above.

Entry requirements

No prior knowledge is expected or assumed – the course is taught “from scratch”. There is an overlap with Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Geography.

A GCSE Science background is therefore useful. In addition you will need to have GCSE in English and Maths grade C or above.

A reasonable degree of fitness and mobility to participate in moderately strenuous walks, special needs are accommodated for. If in doubt, please consult with us.


This qualification is linear which means that students will be assessed by examinations to cover each module at the end of the course.

Financial information

The course has a heavy emphasis on field visits. However these are non-residential. We do make good use of the college minibus. Local field visits usually cost around £2 - £5, as a contribution towards transport costs.

Future opportunities

Most AS Geologists progress to a full A level in the second year and many choose Geology or Earth Science degrees at university. Geology is considered by most universities as a science. There are many careers that use Geology, in particular; Engineering, Mining, Environmental Services, Law, Accountancy, Armed Services, Planning, Teaching, Oil and Gas industries, Road Engineering, Quarrying and even Medicine to name but a few!

Geologists were named in the ‘Top 10 Earners’ in the Times this year.

Some of the students who studied this course at Prior Pursglove College progressed on to:

  • Hull University – Geography / Geology with Physical geography
  • Keele University – Applied Environmental Science & Geology
  • Leeds University – Geological Sciences
  • Leicester University – Geology
  • Liverpool John Moore University – International Relations & Peace Studies
  • Northumbria University – Environmental Management
  • Nottingham University – Environmental Science

Further information


You will be expected to attend three local field visits as part of the skills section of the course. You should aim for 100% lesson attendance and homework completion to deadlines set. You need to enjoy being outdoors and equipped for walks over moorland and coasts.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Prior Pursglove And Stockton Sixth Form College directly.

Last updated date: 03 January 2017
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