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Geology A Level at Thomas Rotherham College (TRC)

Course description

Geology will be a new subject to most students. If you are interested in the origins of the Earth, how it was formed and what has happened to the landscape and inhabitants of our planet through geological time, then it may be for you. Geology is central to locating the resources that maintain our society and is implicit in contemporary issues from global warming through to the exploitation of these resources. 

A Level Geology follows the new WJEC/Eduqas specification and builds upon topics covered at GCSE in Geography and Science.  The specifications are designed to provide an opportunity to study a range of issues of geological significance and are delivered through theory and practical modules.


Course content

Year 1

In the first year of the course - Fundamentals of Geology - allows students to develop their knowledge and understanding of earth science and acquire new skills.
Topics covered include :
Minerals, Rocks, Fossils, Composition of the Earth, Plate Tectonics, Geological Time, Structural Geology, Mapwork  and GeoHazards – natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes and landslides along with man-made hazards involved in quarrying, mining, waste disposal and civil engineering projects.

Year 2

Interpreting the Geological Record enables students to further develop their skills and understanding of geological topics with topics including:  rock forming processes; rock deformation; past life and past climate; earth materials and natural resources and Geological Themes – geological map applications (use of colour BGS maps); and one optional theme (likely to be Geological Evolution of Britain) giving further depth on plate tectonics and the development of the key rock types in the UK.
Embedded within all the modules are “specified practical” activities which will give students an extra grading on their certificate for competency.


Fieldwork is an essential component of the course. A level Geologists MUST complete a minimum of 5 days in the field. Fieldwork is assessed through various practical investigations in the field.

There is currently a 2-day residential fieldtrip to North Yorkshire (March) and a 5-day residential field trip to Devon (June).

Day trips to local exposures (e.g. Derbyshire & Boston Castle) are also included.


Entry requirements

GCSE Science (2 x Grade 4).  Grade 5 Maths.



External A level examinations comprise of :

Three written examination papers (2¼ hours, 1¾ hours, 2 hours); stimulus response questions requiring short and structured answers, a wide variety of data (hand specimens, photographs, a black and white and a colour geological map) and some extended answers.

Financial information

Residential trips are to be confirmed. In 2018 the 5 day residential to Devon cost £230 and the 2-day residential to North Yorkshire cost £80.

Day trips cost no more than £10 per day trip.

All geological equipment is supplied by the department but students are expected to have suitable outdoor gear.  Students will be advised on the nature of this in due course but it does not need to be expensive.

Future opportunities

This course could lead onto higher education in areas of Geology or more general higher education courses. With further training, you could go into a job related to geology such as a Geologist, Engineer Geologist, Environment Consultant, Seismic Interpreter or Archaeologist.


Complemented by other sciences courses, Geography and Maths. 

Further information

Visit us on one of our our Open Evenings to find out more. 

How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 20 December 2018
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    • The College is situated on Moorgate in Rotherham, about a 15 minute walk from the centre of Rotherham.  Buses leave the central Rotherham Interchange every 10 minutes and the journey takes approx. 5 minutes. 

      We also run dedicated bus services to ease your journey to and from College.  See for details and route information. 

      The College also has on-site permit parking for students, with priority given to students with the greatest distance to travel.