Head of Department

Dr S A H YoungBSc, MSc, PGCE, PhD


Geology is the scientific study of the history and structure of the Earth, looking at questions such as –

How was our planet formed?

What is the chemical and physical nature of our home world?

How has the Earth changed over time?

How can we make best use of its resources?

What processes are responsible for modern and ancient landscapes?

It should be stressed that this is a Science and that a degree of numeracy and analysis form a fundamental part of both the curriculum, and the assessment.  However, nothing that should deter anyone with a reasonable set of sciences at GCSE.

Lower School (IGCSE)

Geology is only available in the Sixth Form.

Upper School (AS and A Level)

Our course follows the OCR specification. At the moment most students take the AS, as a fourth subject over two years.  However, the A2 is available and has been taught successfully.

At the moment the course is split into three components:

  • F791 – Global Tectonics – 30% of the AS – Assessed in a 1 hour paper.  This deals with Geophysics, the origin and structure of the Earth, its place in the solar system and the mechanism of plate tectonics.
  • F792 – Rocks, Processes and Products – 50% of the AS – Assessed in a 1 hour 45 min paper.  In this we study the nature and formation of minerals and the main rock types (igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary), looking at how we can use this information to interpret ancient environments and conditions.
  • F793 – Practical Skills – 20% of the AS – Assessed in a series of internally marked practicals, done under exam conditions.

This scheme will still be in place for the academic year starting in September 2016, but is currently being reviewed for 2017.

Who should study Geology?

The simple answer is, of course, everyone! However, as well as the obvious students with an interest in studying Earth Sciences at university, Geology makes an excellent support subject for anyone studying Geography, Chemistry or Physics. Universities also like to see it from those applying to read Archaeology. For the academic year starting in September 2016 Geology AS is to be studied in the place of the EPQ.

Trips and events

Field trips are essential to enhancing student’s geological understanding of the world and play a large part in the departmental teaching. Along with regular UK field trips, the department also offer some very popular, non-compulsory, experiential trips to Iceland and Morocco on a biennial cycle.