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Geology A Level at Cirencester College

Course description

Geology involves the study of the processes that operate on or below the Earth’s surface and covers a wide range of topics: earthquake devastation and the tsunamis it can cause, oil spills and shortages, fracking and dinosaur evolution…If you are interested in why these events take place and the impact they have on us, Geology has the answers.

Course content

The course is broken down into three main areas: Fundamentals of Geology, Interpreting the Geological Record and Geological Hazards.

Fundamentals of Geology:

  • Elements, minerals and rocks – You will look into space to see what evidence planets and meteorites can show us about the structure of the Earth. You will then look at the three main rock types to find out how they form and what they are made of.
  • Surface and internal processes – Investigates the main processes that create sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rock. The processes include weathering and transport of sediments around the planet and how magma forms deep in the Earth and how it can rise with explosive consequences.
  • Time and change – you will study a range of fossil groups and their use as indicators of evolution, past environmental conditions, and as a means of dating and correlating rocks
  • Earth structure and global tectonics – Explores the evolution of the Earth’s structure and the evidence behind it; earthquakes, continental drift, plate tectonics, sea floor spreading, geological structures.

Interpreting the Geological Record:

  • Rock forming processes – You will build on your knowledge to look into more detail of how different magmas have different compositions. You will learn that the properties of minerals will determine the properties of the rock we find.
  • Rock deformation – Faults and folds are some of the most spectacular geological features we see on the Earth surface and you will learn how they form.
  • Past life and past climates – You will use the fossil record and chemical analysis to work out how the climate and organisms within it have evolved.
  • Earth minerals and natural resources – Looks at the area that geologists contribute in engineering, mining, quarrying and exploration.

Geological Themes

  • Geohazards – You will examine the geological hazards presented by earthquakes and volcanoes, looking at how they can be identified and predicted thus allowing us to manage risks and minimise damage and loss of life.
  • Geological map application – You will use real geological maps to work out the geological history of an area and create a timeline of events.
  • Geology of the lithosphere – An in depth look at plate tectonics and what drives internal Earth processes.



Entry requirements

GCSE Grade 5 in Maths.


You will be assessed by three end of second year exams.

Future opportunities

Geology is highly relevant to many subjects, after studying Geology not only do you have an option of continuing the subject into a degree at university but degrees in:

  • Hazard Management
  • Applied Geology
  • Engineering
  • Geophysics
  • Exploration Geology

…are also examples of degrees that Geology A-level could lead on to. Skills acquired through studying Geology could equally support a degree in Archaeology, Geography and Marine Biology.

A graduate of any of these degrees with experience in geology would be highly eligible in careers in their specific fields, be it Hazard Management, Exploration Geography, Oceanography or Engineering.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Cirencester College directly.

Last updated date: 27 January 2017
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