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Department of Earth Sciences

Undergraduate project binding; image credit Kev Wong copyright

Reading Lists

Reading lists for all Undergraduate Earth Sciences courses:

Parts IA & IB

Part II (cores) Part III (options)

Reference Collections

Online reference collections for Undergraduate study: past Tripos papers, part IA rock reference collection, part II/III research paper re-print collection, previous part II/III projects, the digital map library, and library introduction presentations.

Past Tripos Papers

Copies of past Tripos papers can be found on the relevant Moodle course pages, or alternatively use this index page to find past Tripos papers for all of our Undergraduate courses.

Members with access to the ESC Supervisors area of Moodle can also access past Tripos papers for all our Undergraduate courses externally using their Raven login. Anyone who supervises Earth Sciences courses should contact one of the course organisers to gain access to this area of Moodle.

Part IA Collections


The IA Collections website houses photographs and descriptions of specimens from the IA reference series, which is located at the front of the IA lab in the Earth Sciences department. This collection of rocks, minerals, and fossils is a key resource for practical material revision, but is not an exhaustive compilation of all IA practical class specimens.

The IA Collections also contains a glossary of geological terms, key references charts, and links to other useful webpages.

Part II/III Re-print Collection

The part II/III re-print collection includes details of all articles that are available in hard copy, and may be borrowed, from the Library Office. Many of the papers are on course reading lists, but may not be available elsewhere in the Library.

Part II/III Projects

An interactive world map details previous part II mapping projects from the past 20 years, with hard copies kept in the Library Office.

A list of previous part III research projects details the reports held as hard copies in the Library Office.

Digital Map Library

The digital map library presents online resources for students undertaking mapping projects or mapping for research, including details on: mapping apps for smartphones, aerial photographs, and global topographic mapping data. 

Library Inductions

Presentations to introduce Undergraduate students to the Library resources that may be of use to them as they progress through their degree courses:

Virtual Field Trips

A number of websites can take you on virtual exploration of geology in the field. Discover more with:

  • V3Geo
    A purpose-built site specifically designed for the sharing of virtual 3D models within the geoscience community; includes over a hundred high quality virtual outcrop models from across the globe.

  • eRock
    A project from the University of Aberdeen to provide open-source geological data and visualisations for fellow researchers, educational institutions and the general public; includes individual outcrops and field trips.

  • Virtual landscapes
    Virtual reality environments designed by the University of Leeds to develop geological mapping and field skills; includes natural landscapes where the geology can be mapped, and interactive 3D block models of topographic and geological maps.

  • Outcrop video clips
    Video clips from the University of Liverpool, which illustrate some of the practical skills and techniques used when undertaking geological fieldwork.

  • MicroMyEarth
    Access geological outcrops and experiences even when confined at home, as well as other useful resources.

Other Resources

Potentially useful online resources: the Virtual Microscope, CrystalMaker, Moodle, and the Sedgwick Club.

Virtual Microscope

The Virtual Microscope can be used to supplement the material found within the IA reference series, as it contains images of rock thin sections from several interesting collections, including:

  • Rocks from around the UK

  • Apollo lunar mission samples

  • Meteorites

  • Microfossils


CrystalMaker software can be used to visualise the 3-D structure of minerals, and is used in the Michaelmas mineralogy lecture course. A free demo version is available for download online, but can also be found on department computers. Instructions on how to use the software and CrystalMaker files for IA mineral structures can be found on Moodle.


Visit Moodle, the 'virtual collaboration environment', for a range of course support materials, including: lecture notes and slides, practical class sheets and answers, and course feedback forms. Raven login required.

The Sedgwick Club

The Sedgwick Club is the official student Earth Sciences society of the University of Cambridge. As well as running talks weekly during term time, the Sedgwick Club organises a careers event in Michaelmas Term, a student conference in Lent Term, and provides useful guidance for mapping projects and PhD applications on their website.