Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Earth Science 1A EARTH1001

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 1 (SCQF level 7)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

An introduction to Earth Science, focusing on geological and environmental processes occurring at the Earth's surface and their associated hazards. Topics covered include volcanoes and their hazards, landscape change and evolution by weathering, erosion and depositional processes, and sources of pollution and its environmental impact and remediation. The basic principles of Earth Science are conveyed using 3D and 4D visualisation.


Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday - 9.00 am; weeklylaboratory; fortnightly tutorial; one day of fieldwork.

Requirements of Entry

There are no pre-requisites for entry to the course, although students normally have "A" or "B" passes in two or more Science subjects at SQA Higher or equivalent.

Excluded Courses



None, but students are strongly encouraged to co-enrol for EARTH1001 and EARTH1002.


One ninety-minute examination at the end of the teaching period - 60%

Poster - various components totalling 30%

and online assessments  - 10%.

Main Assessment In: December

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade.


The in-class assessments cannot be retaken nor can the group Poster

Course Aims

The aims of this course are to:

■ Provide an introduction to the study of geosciences.

■ Synthesize information on geological and environmental processes occurring at the Earth's surface and use this information to understand and evaluate hazards and human interactions with the planet

■ Identify rocks and minerals in hand specimen, thin section and in the field.

■ Develop skills in interpreting 3D geodata to reconstruct geological and environmental histories, and challenges to be addressed today and in future by Earth Scientists.

■ Develop problem solving, presentation and group working skills through logical scientific approach.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

At the end of this course, students should be able to:

■ Explain volcanic processes and their hazards, and the formation of igneous rocks

■ Explain the weathering of rocks and transportation, deposition and lithification of sediments to form sedimentary rocks,

■ Explain the development and evolution of landscapes and how the combination of surface processes and geology can generate hazards such as slope failure and flooding,

■ Identify and deduce the origin of different varieties of rocks, sediments and their textures

■ Explain sources of pollution at the Earth's surface, their environmental impact and remediation

■ Research geological and environmental topics using a variety of resources and present information concisely and effectively in a poster format.

■ Describe geological and environmental features in the field and use this information to interpret their formation

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Normally, attendance at field class and online tutorials as well as 75% completion of fortnightly assessments and 75% total submission of assessments.