Qualification: A-Level

Awarding Body:
Length of Course:
2 Years

Geology aims to help understand how society makes decisions about geological issues and how geology contributes to the success of the economy and society.

Year 12 Year 13
OCR AS Level in Geology OCR A-Level in Geology

Module 1: Development of Practical Skills in Geology

Practical skills in the field and laboratory.

Module 5: Petrology and Economic Geology.

Applied sedimentology, Fluids and Geological Processes,

Igneous Petrology/Metamorphic petrology, Mining Geology.

Module 2: Foundations in Geology

 Minerals and Rocks, Fossils and time

Module 6: Geohazards, Engineering Geology


Module 3: Global Tectonics.

Earth Structure, Plate tectonics, Geological structures

Module 7: Basin analysis


Module 4: Interpreting the past.

Sedimentary environments in time, Geochronology

Assessment Assessment
Assessed by 1 Paper Assessed by 3 Papers
Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes

  • Marks:120
  • % of AS: 100%

Two sections

  • A: multiple choice
  • B: short answer questions

10% Level 2 Maths weighting overall

Fundamentals of Geology

Written exam: 2 hours 15 minutes

  • Marks: 110
  • % of A Level: 41%

Two sections

  • A: multiple choice
  • B: short answer questions up to six marks
 Scientific Literacy in GeologyWritten exam: 2 hours 15 minutes

  • Marks: 100 marks
  • % of A Level: 37%

Short answer questions up to six marks

 Practical Skills in GeologyWritten exam: 1 hour 30 minutes

  • Marks: 60
  • % of A Level: 22%

Short answer questions up to 6 marks

10% Level 2 Maths weighting overall


Relevance to Further Studies and Careers

Advanced Geology is not essential for entry to a degree course in Earth Science or Geology, but the majority of geologists who progress to university have studied the subject to this level. Why study Geology? If you have a fascination for natural events such as earthquakes or volcanic eruptions, if you want to know why dinosaurs died out, or if you like shiny or bright coloured crystals or minerals! There is active recruitment at present in the oil and mining industries due to the demand for fuels and metals. Shortage occupations include geophysicist, geologists, geoscientist and geotechnical engineers. In addition the search for water supplies means that hydrogeologists are needed.

Past students are currently employed in teaching, the oil industry, the offshore wind industry and related environmental fields. Graduates often work in laboratories and research and they possess skills which are transferable to a range of occupations eg. Forensic Scientists, Environmental Scientists. Geology is a science subject which meets the admissions requirements for courses at degree level, including Biomedical Science, Chemistry and Biology. Geology also links well with Physics as geophysicists are always in demand. Geologists are known for their skills of working in multi-disciplinary teams. The department has links with the geology department of Durham University.

Practical fieldwork takes place on the local and Northumberland coast and in the Dales. Practical and fieldwork counts for 15% of the assessment, is examined within the written papers and is therefore compulsory. Residential fieldwork is planned.

The exam papers at both AS and A-Level include a multiple choice section. At AS there are short answer questions and only one exam paper. At A Level there are three examination papers.

Entry Requirements

Previous knowledge of Geology at GCSE is not necessary. GCSE in two Sciences at Grades 6 and 5