Understanding Earth (003GR)

15 credits, Level 4

Spring teaching

Understanding Earth introduces the basic concepts and principles of Earth science. It outlines the main geological processes and products associated with rocks and minerals, crustal deformation, geological time, continental evolution, geobiology and the planets. It also considers the application of earth science to engineering and energy resources. Such understanding of the Earth is essential for considering the nature and management of materials and resources extracted from the Earth, and the impacts of geological processes on society.

Understanding Earth provides a conceptual framework and practical knowledge for studying geomorphology, environmental change, resource management and geohazards in years two and three. The module has a strong practical element that combines laboratory examination of hand specimens of rocks, minerals and fossils; laboratory analyis of sediment and geotechnical properties; desk study of geological maps and stratigraphic sections; and fieldtrips to examine the rocks and landscapes of Sussex. Health and safety protocols for field and laboratory work will be introduced.


48%: Lecture
52%: Practical (Fieldwork, Laboratory, Practical)


50%: Coursework (Test)
50%: Examination (Unseen examination)

Contact hours and workload

This module is 150 hours of work. This breaks down into 46 hours of contact time and 104 hours of independent study.

This module is running in the academic year 2019/20. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. It may become unavailable due to staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of such changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.