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Geology is the study of the vast, exciting and unexpected history of our planet. We learn how to use rocks as time machines.

With the right knowledge and the right amount of practice we can tell how, when and why deep oceans evaporated to leave nothing but salt, continents collided and mountains the size of Himalayas were built and then eroded to flat. We learn how to identify the tell-tale signs that ancient oceans filled with reptilian monsters once covered much of Somerset. We learn how the evolution of life has changed the climate, how tiny differences in the composition of magma explain why some volcanoes explode with such violence that the planet takes centuries to recover, whilst others dribble out lava without disturbing anyone. We will learn about Geology from the scale of molecules to the scale of the formation of the solar system.

Geology is for anyone with a logical, active and curious mind. We use ideas from the Sciences and Geography along the way so you’ll be better prepared for Geology if you already enjoy those subjects. There are field work visits in the UK and abroad. We go to Spain in the second year to study the spectacular mountain building caused by the collision of North Africa and Europe.

Geology calls on so many skills and ideas that all students can reasonably expect to excel at some part of it. It might very well be true that Geology is all about rocks but it turns out that rocks are all about everything.

Every year about half the students go on to study Geology or related subjects at university. For many, these 2 years at Huish are just the beginning of a life working in a subject they love.

Level 3 standard entry requirements: 5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above including Mathematics and English Language and Literature.

On this course you will study the following topics:

  • What the Earth is made from – mineral and rocks and what they can tell us about the history of our planet
  • How the continents and oceans form and change
  • The internal structure of our planet and how it came to be that way
  • How the earth surface bends, cracks and folds
  • How to make sense of a geological map
  • The history of life and climate
  • How people can find and extract treasures from the rock
  • How a knowledge of what makes the earth move can help us design buildings that don’t!

What subjects does Geology go with?

There are many useful combinations including Environmental Science, Geography, Physics, Maths, Biology and Applied Science.

Do I need to buy any special equipment?

No, we will provide all the equipment you need for fieldwork but the better your outdoor clothing is the warmer you’ll be on field trips!

What are the lessons like?

They vary a lot. Sometimes we do written work, sometimes we do a bit of Maths, sometimes we spend the whole lesson drawing rocks, working out what maps tell us or identifying fossils. Geology is probably more varied than any other subject you have experienced.

How is the course assessed?

There are 3 exams. The exams test you on practical work, geological map reading skills and your knowledge of geology. There are no essay questions.

I would recommend Geology to anyone who likes physical geography, as it gives you a lot of essential knowledge. Field trips add to the subject and help give you real world geology knowledge, along with quality time with some groovy rocks.

Joe Hattersley, Geology student