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.

Teaching and assessment

We’re currently reviewing teaching and assessment of our modules in light of the COVID-19 situation. We’ll publish the latest information as soon as possible.

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 46 hours of contact time and about 104 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

This module is running in the academic year 2021/22. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. However, we are constantly looking to improve and enhance our courses. There may be changes to modules in response to student demand or feedback, changes to staff expertise or updates to our curriculum. We may also need to make changes in response to COVID-19. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: