Junior Units of Study

Semester 1

GEOS 1001 Earth, Environment and Society
GEOS 1901 Earth, Environment and Society Advanced

Semester 2

GEOS 1002 Introductory Geography
GEOS 1902 Introductory Geography Advanced
GEOS 1003 Introduction to Geology
GEOS 1903 Introduction to Geology Advanced
GEOL 1501 Engineering Geology

Students are encouraged to commence their studies of Geography, Geology & Geophysics, Environmental Studies or Marine Science by enrolling in GEOS 1001 (Earth, Environment and Society). This Unit of Study provides an overarching introduction to issues and themes taught across the School of Geosciences. In the second (July) semester, Geography students should enroll in GEOS 1002 (Introduction to Geography); Geology & Geophysics students need to enroll in GEOS 1003 (Introduction to Geology). Entry into any of these units of study does not require any prior knowledge.

Students please note: The prerequisite Unit of Study for entry into the Intermediate core Geology Unit of Study, GEOS 2114 Volcanoes, Hot Rocks and Minerals is GEOS 1003. It is recommended however, that students take both GEOS 1001 and GEOS 1003 if they wish to enrol in Intermediate Geology Units of Study.

Advanced Units of Study
Advanced units have the same objectives as the standard unit and are suitable for students who wish to pursue aspects of the subject in greater depth. Entry is restricted and selection is made from the applicants on the basis of their performance to date. Students that elect to take these units will participate in alternatives to some aspects of the standard unit and will be required to pursue independent work to meet unit objectives. These units may be taken as part of the BSc (Advanced).

Semester 1

GEOS1001/1901 Earth, Environment & Society


GEOS1001 Earth, Environment & Society
Credit points: 6
Coordinator: Assoc Prof Bill Pritchard
Teachers: Assoc Prof Bill Pritchard, Mr Sabin Zahirovic and Assoc Prof Dale Dominey-Howes
Lead Tutor:
Session: Semester 1
Classes: One 2 hour lectures and one 2 hour practical per week.
Assessment: Assignment, Essay, Group presentation and Exam (100%)

Earth, Environment & Society provides an entry-level introduction to the two disciplines of Geography and Geology & Geophysics. The lecture program is modularized and built around the big queations of the future of life on planet Earth. Building on the strengths and interests of our staff, we examine a series of issues pertinent to these concerns.

Reflecting the integrative character of the School of Geosciences, the lecturers in GEOS 1001 come from across the disciplines of Human and Physical Geography and Geology and Geophysics. Material presented through the semester covers a range of themes and issues, with the goal to provide an over-arching perspective on the future of the planet, whether that relates to its geological evolution, its changing environment, or the fate of its people.

See the Course Outline.

Questions? Please email:


GEOS1901 Earth, Environment & Society Advanced

Credit points: 6
Coordinator: Assoc Prof Bill Pritchard
Teachers: Assoc Prof Bill Pritchard, Mr Sabin Zahirovic and Assoc Prof Dale Dominey-Howes
Lead Tutor:
Session: Semester 1
Classes: One 2 hour lectures and one 2 hour practical per week.
Prerequisites: An ATAR above 93 is normally required for admission. This requirement may be varied and students should consult the unit of study coordinator.
Assessment: Assignment, Essay, Group presentation and Exam (100%)

Note: Special permission required for enrolment. You can apply online for Special Permission by accessing Sydney Student via your MyUni page, using your UniKey and password.

Advanced students will complete the same core lecture material as for GEOS1001, but will be required to carry out more challenging practical assignments.

See the Course Outline.

Questions? Please email:

Semester 2

GEOS1002/1902 Introduction to Geography


GEOS1002 Introduction to Geography

Credit points: 6
Coordinator: Dr Dan Penny
Teachers: Dr Dan Penny and Dr Josephine Gillespie
Session: Semester 2 Classes: One 2 hour lecture per week and eight 2 hour practicals during semester.
Assessment: One 2 hour exam, one 2000 word essay, two online quizzes (100%)

This Unit of Study provides a geographical perspective on the ways in which people interact with each other and the physical world, focussing on the processes that generate spatial variation and difference. This Unit will consider the development and characteristics of natural environments across the globe, and will explore how these environments both constrain, and are influenced by, humans. Therefore, the Unit of Study will consider the political, economic, cultural and urban geographies that shape contemporary global society. Each of these themes will be discussed with reference to key examples (such as Hurricane Katrina, the Earthquake in Haiti/Dominican Republic, the conflict in Darfur, and sea-level rise in the Asia-Pacific), in order to consider the ways in which the various processes (both physical and human) interact. The Unit of Study will also include a short field trip to localities surrounding the University to observe processes of spatial change and conflict. The Unit of Study is designed to attract and interest students who wish to pursue geography as a major within their undergraduate degree, but also has relevance to students who wish to consider the way geographers understand the contemporary world.


GEOS1902 Introduction to Geography Advanced

Credit points: 6
Coordinator: Dr Dan Penny
Teachers: Dr Dan Penny and Dr Josephine Gillespie
Session: Semester 2
Classes: One 2 hour lecture per week and 8 2 hour practicals per semester, plus independent group work. Prerequisites: An ATAR equivalent) above 93 is normally required for admission. This requirement may be varied and students should consult the unit of study coordinator.
Assessment: One 2 hour exam, one 1000 word essay, two online quizzes, one practical report (100%)

Note: Special permission required for enrolment. You can apply online for Special Permission by accessing Sydney Student via your MyUni page, using your UniKey and password.

Advanced students will complete the same core lecture material as for GEOS1002, but will be required to carry out more challenging practical assignments.

GEOS1003/1903 Introduction to Geology


GEOS1003 Introduction to Geology

Credit points: 6
Coordinator: Assoc Prof Tom Hubble
Teacher: Prof Geoff Clarke, Dr Samantha Clarke
Session: Semester 2; Summer Main Classes: Three 1 hour lectures and one 1 hour practical per week.
Prohibitions: GEOL1501
Assessment: Blue Mountains Excursion, 2 quizzes, practical class continuous assessments, whole of semester practical class test, final examination (100%)
Excursion: Compulsory one day Blue Mountains Excursion

The aim of this unit of study is to examine the chemical and physical processes involved in mineral formation, the interior of the Earth, surface features, sedimentary environments, volcanoes, and metamorphism. Lectures and laboratory sessions on mountain building processes and the formation of mineral deposits will lead to an understanding of the forces controlling the geology of our planet. Processes such as weathering, erosion and nature of sedimentary environments are related to the origin of the Australian landscape. In addition to laboratory classes there is a one-day excursion to the western Blue Mountains and Lithgow to examine geological objects in their setting.

Textbooks: The recommended text is Stephen Marshak, Earth: Portrait of a Planet. W. W. Norton & Company (2007) - Paperback - 832 pages - ISBN 039393036X

View the GEOS 1003/1903 course outline


GEOS1903 Introduction to Geology Advanced

Credit points: 6
Coordinator: Assoc Prof Tom Hubble
Teachers: Prof Geoff Clarke
Session: Semester 2
Classes: Three 1 hour lectures and one 1 hour practical per week.
Prerequisites: Departmental permission is required for enrolment. A UAI (or ATAR equivalent) above 93 is normally required for admission. This requirement may be varied and students should consult the unit of study coordinator.
Assessment: Blue Mountains Excursion, 2 quizzes, practical class continuous assessments, whole of semester practical class test, final examination (100%)

Note: Special permission required for enrolment. You can apply online for Special Permission by accessing Sydney Student via your MyUni page, using your UniKey and password.

This unit has the same objectives as GEOS1003 and is suitable for students who wish to pursue aspects of the subject in greater depth. Entry is restricted and selection is made from the applicants on the basis of their ATAR or UAI and/or their university performance at the time of enrolment. Students that elect to take this unit will participate in alternatives to some aspects of the standard unit and will be required to pursue independent work to meet unit objectives. This unit may be taken as part of the BSc (Advanced).

Intermediate units of study:
Students are recommended to take GEOS2121/2921 and at least one of the following units of study:
BIOL2024/2924, GEOS2111/2911, GEOS2115/2915, GEOS2124/2924, GEOG2321, GOVT2228*, LWSC2002*
* Note GOVT2228 and LWSC2002 are not Table 1 units of study

View the GEOS 1003/1903 course outline

GEOL1501 Engineering Geology


GEOL1501 - Engineering Geology

Credit Points: 6
Coordinator: Assoc Prof Tom Hubble
Teachers: Dr Samantha Clarke
Session: Semester 2
Classes: 39 hrs lectures, 26 hrs laboratory. Field excursions in the Sydney region, as appropriate.
Prohibitions: GEOL1002, GEOL1902, GEOS1003, GEOS1903
Assumed Knowledge: No previous knowledge of Geology assumed
Campus: Camperdown/Darlington
Delivery Mode: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) Day
Assessment: Online pre-prac quizzes, 2 take-home class assignments, group project, rock quiz, final examination (100%) and satisfactory completion of practical class work.

This unit of study is designed to give an insight into the way in which geological environments affect decisions about the design and construction of large and small structures. The course will provide a thorough itroduction to Geology and then move on to apply this knowledge to site investigation for construction.

Students will gain rock identification and map interpretation skills, and then apply them to develop an understanding of the behaviour of the rock mass in the context of construction. Lectures will also be given that describe the tools commonly used to undertake subsurface investigations of construction site geology. Other geological topics presented during the course will include an introduction to hydrogeology; geophysical techniques in site investigation; and case studies in engineering geology with an emphasis on the construction of dams, bridges, roads, port infrastructure, tunnels as well as underground openings and large buildings. The course will present many examples from the Sydney area.

Textbooks
Approved readings will be provided via WebCT

See the Course Outline.