Geology BSc

Geological Synthesis and Application EARTH4091

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  • Credits: 30
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

A synthesis of methods applied to the  interpretation of regional to global-scale geology. The course will provide further concepts around uncertainty in geological datasets, and how these are communicated. Students will be introduced to critical reading, writing and orally presenting discussion and hypotheses.


Three classes per week for 5 weeks (1.5 hr lecture and 1.5 hr lab per class) and one seminar session. Four days content of a 1-week residential UK-based field class, followed by another 3-day residential UK-based field class.

Excluded Courses

EARTH4024 - Stratigraphy

EARTH4081 - Stratigraphy and Regional Tectonic Synthesis


Map interpretation exam (33.33%), presentation (16.67%), portfolio of field-based activities and report (25%), set exercise based on independent field data collection (25%)

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will 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. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The primary aims of the course are to:

■ Explain and critique methodologies employed to interpret geology on a regional to global scale for academic and applied purposes, and the uncertainties associated with such methods.

■ Apply, together with data from the literature, map construction and interpretation, cross section construction to evaluate stratigraphic and structural relationships.

■ Use critical reading to develop and critique geological arguments, either pure or applied, and develop a research proposal to address a hypothesis related to such arguments.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


■ Explain how geological methods, including geochronology, igneous geochemistry, sedimentology, metamorphism, stratigraphy, structure and geophysics, as appropriate, are applied in both global and regional contexts to solve geological problems, either pure or applied.

■ Discuss the causes of uncertainties in geological datasets and critically assess the implications such uncertainties have for our geological interpretations.

■ Discuss controversial geological arguments based on critical evaluation of multiple geological datasets.

■ Construct and interpret geological maps and cross-sections and interpret 3D geology to solve practical and applied geological problems.

■ Work effectively in a team environment and critically reflect on their personal contribution.

■ Write to a specified format to coherently communicate scientific discussion and write a research proposal for future study.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.