Geology A Level

About the Course

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 is ideally suited to fulfil the educational purpose of demonstrating the relevance of science to society. Geology applies physical, chemical and biological principles to the investigation of the Earth. It also involves a distinctive scientific methodology, invoking internal and external Earth processes to explain the evolution of the Earth through geological time. There is a broad range of key skills addressed within the specification.

Exam Board

WJEC. The specification is divided into a total of three examined components with a practical endorsement that does not contribute to the final grade. The qualification is linear and is assessed at the end of a two year course. The specification lends itself to a variety of teaching and learning styles and offers learners of all abilities an enjoyable and positive learning experience. Practical work within the specification is vitally important in developing a conceptual understanding of many topics and it enhances the experience and enjoyment of geology.


Level 5 in English language or literature and a Level 5 in mathematics

Course Content

Component 1: Geological Investigations. Written examination: 2 hours 15 minutes, 35% of qualification. Section A: Two stimulus response questions requiring short and structured answers. Section B: An investigation of the geology of an area shown on an accompanying simplified geological map involving: the interpretation of hand specimens and photographs of minerals, rocks and fossils; map interpretation and cross-section construction; the completion of questions using short, structured and extended answers. Component 2: Geological Principles and Processes. Written examination: 1 hour 45 minutes, 30% of qualification. Six stimulus response questions requiring short, structured and extended answers. Component 3: Geological Applications. Written examination 2 hours, 35% of qualification. Section A: Geohazards. Two stimulus response questions requiring short and structured answers. Section B: Geological map applications. An investigation of the geology of an area shown on a Geological Survey map extract using stimulus response questions requiring short, structured and extended answers. Section C: Learners answer questions on Geology of the Lithosphere. Three questions requiring short, structured and extended answers. Practical Endorsement Non-examination assessment of practical competency is reportedseparately and does not contribute to the final grade. (This is a requirement of the exam board and will be checked externally). Modules studied The WJEC Eduqas A level in Geology provides a comprehensive coverage of the knowledge and understanding required for the study of the Earth, its structures, evolution and dynamics. The core aspects of this specification introduce eight geological concepts: elements, minerals and rocks, surface and internal processes of the rock cycle, time and change, Earth structure and global tectonics, rock forming processes, rock deformation, past life and past climates, Earth materials and natural resources. There are three themes which integrate and develop the knowledge, understanding and skills acquired in the core aspects. These are: geohazards, geological map applications, geology of the lithosphere.

Beyond the Classroom

There is ample opportunity for fieldwork in Geology. Visits will include sites in the Peak District, Anglesey and possibly the Isle of Arran. Fieldwork is an integral part of the course and students will be assessed on their practical skills in examinations. Field work will also provide evidence for the practical endorsement portfolio. Students will be expected to do background reading in order for them to develop their knowledge in the subject, enabling them to answer the longer response essay style questions in components 1 -3. Students will be expected to share findings with peers via email and the VLE. The department has a twitter page that students are encouraged to interact with.

Your Future

The course is primarily a science based subject; however it does have a link with Humanities. The specification units extend a science course by study of the application of scientific principles to the investigation of the Earth and by the use of scientific techniques and skills to develop enquiries. Students will develop numeracy, literacy, problem-solving and interpretation skills, preparing them for Higher Education courses. Geology is a well respected A level subject amongst higher education institutions. Future careers include: Petroleum Geologist, Hydrogeologist, Mining Geologist, Paleontologist, Academic Research, Geophysicist, Teacher, Geochemist, Engineering, Environmental Geologist, Volcanologist and Seismologist. Recent research has shown Geology graduates emerge as the top-earners amongst graduates. Geologists at Imperial College London have emerged as the top-earners in a league table of graduate salaries published in September alongside the Sunday Times Good Universities Guide. Their average wage of £73,267 six months after leaving university surpasses that of medics and engineers. Many have been recruited for lucrative posts in the oil and nuclear industries. (Source: The Times Sept 2016)

Contact Department

Staff Contact: Mr C Planchant
A paper copy of the information on our website is available on request to the School.