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Geology A-Level at Priestley College

Course description

Geology is a scientific A-Level course and combines well with all science subjects, Archaeology and Geography. Geology introduces students to events past and present at the Earth’s surface and the processes that create the present pattern of continents and oceans and the formation of economic deposits of metals and energy resources. Geology also helps you to understand natural geological hazards, as well as those caused by human activity and the means of predicting and controlling them.

Course content

AS – Structure of the Earth, plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes and how rocks respond to stress. We also study the three major rock groups in detail to find out what they tell us about the Earth’s history. There are also assessed fieldwork visits to the Wirral and Stoke on Trent, and several non-assessed study visits to complement the understanding of field Geology.

A2 – You apply the knowledge gained from the AS modules. You will study fossils including dinosaurs and ammonites and use them to look at how former life evolved and what they can tell us about Earth’s history. There is also a focus on engineering geology, water supply, energy resources and metals. There are also assessed fieldwork visits to North Wales and Heysham.

Entry requirements

To study this course your average GCSE grades will need to be Cs and Bs or above. The ability to learn and recall factual information is essential. The course will develop scientific knowledge from the three major disciplines and therefore you must also have at least a grade C in GCSE Science. We would encourage students considering taking Geology A-Level to take the Core Maths course, as this will support the work they undertake in Geology.

Our minimum entry requirements remain 5 GCSEs at grade C or above, however there are now a number of restrictions on the type/range of programmes you can take at Priestley which will reflect your overall GCSE grade profile.

If you do not have a GCSE Grade 4 or the old Grade C in English Language and/or Mathematics by the time you join Priestley you will be required to continue working to improve in these subjects so you may find your programme options more limited.


In both your AS and A2 courses there will be two papers, amounting to 30%and 50% of the final grade respectively. There is an assessed practical activity (fieldwork + lab work) worth 10% of the final grade and an evaluative paper sat at an appropriate point during the course worth the final 10%) There is no coursework component.

Future opportunities

Many students have gone on to study Geology at University. Possible careers include Environmental Management, travelling the world working with natural resources, civil engineering, natural and artificial hazard management, and of course academic research. Geology is a science course and will also help you obtain a place on all science-related degree courses. It is also possible to obtain an apprenticeship with organisations like the Environment Agency or Centrica.

Further information

Potential visits to Iceland, Sicily and Costa Rica are being considered. In all three cases we would be visiting active volcanoes and many other examples of the natural power of Planet Earth.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 10 October 2016
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