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Part II - Course format and general information

Part II - Course Synopses - 2017-18

Michaelmas Term: 2 courses available, each 24 lectures + 16 practicals + 4 seminars
Lent Term: 3 courses available, each 24 lectures + 16 practicals + 4 seminars
Easter Term: Revision sessions, 4 hours per course

You are required to take three courses. Two courses will be taught in Michaelmas term (Geophysics and Tectonics, Ancient Life and Environments), and three in Lent term (Petrology, Earth’s Climate System, and Mineralogy). You may take any combination of courses, regardless of the term in which they are taught. Each course is associated with four seminars, which will be examined in a separate paper.

Each course has four seminars associated with it. These seminars give an insight into the cutting-edge research being undertaken in the subject areas you have been learning about in the main courses. There is an exam paper, taken by all students, that examines the content of the seminars associated with the courses the student has taken.

You are also encouraged to attend some the wide range of research seminars given in the Department.

Part II Physical Sciences half subject Earth Sciences Part II are examined in two courses, the seminar paper, and a dissertation. The dissertation should be a critical review of a topic either suggested by the candidate subject to approval by the head of teaching or chosen from a pre-approved list. The candidates are also examined in a IB subject.

Thin Sections

Seven thin sections per mapping pair (10 from a group of three) of key rocks associated with your project can be made through the Department. These sections are expensive to make, so please only choose rocks that are likely to be instructive in thin section and ask for advice.  Please give your rocks to reception and complete the thin section form with details of your requirements (see Appendix N) as soon as possible after you return from the field and by Tuesday 10 October at the very latest. Order normal size and thickness, covered or uncovered sections (not impregnated or polished) unless you have a special reason otherwise. The thin sections and accompanying hand specimens should then be catalogued after the examinations and handed in at Reception.

Field Trips

There is a one-week field trip to Greece in early December, which may be split into two groups to accommodate numbers in the hotels. Please ensure you have an EHIC form to cover medical emergencies while in Europe. If you will need a visa you should start the application procedure as soon as possible. There is also a weekend trip to Norfolk and Suffolk for those who chose to study C2, Ancient Life and Environments.


All Part II students wishing to continue to Part III must attend the Part III Project Safety Seminar with Lucy Matthews on Friday 2 March, 12.30-1.15pm.