A Level

Course code
Type of study
Examination board

Apply now


Geology is the study of Earth, its structures, evolution and dynamics. If you’ve ever wondered how Earth was formed, why dinosaurs didn’t survive, if a Supervolcano could erupt or whether fracking should be allowed then A Level Geology is for you.

What is on the course? A- level Geology or Geoscience covers a comprehensive study of the whole earth including;
• Geohazards
• Earths structure and global tectonics
• Geology of the lithosphere
• Past life and past climates
• Time and change
• Earth materials and natural resources
• Elements minerals and rocks
• Rock forming and processes
• Rock deformation
• Geological evolution of Britain

A minimum of five GCSEs at grades A*-C, including English Language and Mathematics at grade 4 or above. You will also need at least a grade C in two sciences.

Geology is a science qualification that bridges the gap between the disciplines. On this course you will study:

Fundamentals of Geology

  • Elements, minerals and Rocks
  • Surface and Internal processes
  • Time and change
  • Earth Structure and global tectonics

Interpreting the Geological Record

  • Rock forming processes
  • Rock deformation
  • Past life past climates
  • Earth materials and natural resources

Geological themes

  • Geohazards
  • Geological map applications
  • Geology of the Lithosphere

South Downs College is the only place to study Geology in the Portsmouth area.

South Downs College has a dedicated Geology laboratory with excellent facilities, including a learning zone that includes key Geology terminology support, extension articles and exam skills. You will have access to an extensive range of Mineral and Rock samples, alongside high quality teaching resources to enhance your learning.

This Geology course is taught be a specialist Earth Science lecturer, with over 11 years teaching experience and a teaching Geoscience qualification accredited at Masters level.

Learning will take place though a variety of activities including lectures, practical investigations, discussions and presentations. You will also have the opportunity to take part in a number of trips. Locations include Lulworth cove, The Isle of Wight, Bracklesham Bay, Local Chalk pits and Kimmeridge Bay. You will also be able to join an optional expedition to Iceland in the second year of your course.

You will complete three written examinations and a practical endorsement.

Written exams Include:
Component 1: Geological Investigation 2hr 15min worth 35%
Component 2: Geological Principals and Processes 1hr 45mins worth 30%
Component 3: Geological Applications: 2hrs worth 35%

Apply now

Contact us

I’m really happy and pleased with my grades. I really loved my time at South Downs, I have also made lots of friends, it’s a really nice place to be, I don’t want to leave.

Lauren Piper, A Level student

My experience at South Downs was great, it’s very different to school, and I think it’s a good step to going to University. The support was amazing, I loved all of my teachers, they helped me through everything. The College is friendly and you will succeed.

Heidi Adamson Brattland, A Level student

You’re here to learn and you want to learn, and the lecturers make it fun. You don’t have to come to college but you want to come to college.

Natalie Thorpe, A Level student


You may progress onto higher education courses and employment in Mining and Exploration, Oil and Water companies, Engineering, Volcanology or Hazard Management.

There are a number of STEM degrees that you can progress to following this course. These include;

Engineering: Chemical Engineering with Oil and Gas Technology, Civil Engineering, Coastal engineering, Environmental engineering, Geotechnics and Mining engineering.

Geology: Marine Science and Oceanography, Palaeontology, Applied Geology, Geophysics, Geology with Physical Geography, Environmental Science, Geological Hazards, Archaeology and Earth Science.


Marine Biologist
Exploration Geologist
Environmental Engineer
Geotechnical Engineer
Engineering Geologist

What to do next

Apply now Contact us