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Department of Earth Sciences


For people intending to read the third and fourth year courses, taking both Part IB Earth Sciences A and Part IB Earth Sciences B is highly recommended. It is possible to proceed to Part II Earth Sciences from only one of the IB courses, but choices in Part II will be limited, and this route needs careful thought.

Note for Physicists
The timetable allows students to combine Earth Sciences A with Physics A and Physics B. This may be particularly attractive to those interested in geophysics, or who want to keep their options open at the expense of having a reduced choice in Part II.

For those intending to take both Earth Sciences A and B there is a wide range of complementary subjects from which you can choose your third subject:

    • for intending palaeontologists, Animal Biology will be most useful, and does not require biological options in Part IA.
    • for those interested mainly in petrology, Materials Sciences is a possibility.
    • for geochemists and climate scientists, Chemistry A is useful.
    • Mathematics is a fairly good choice for any area, particularly for those intending to do further work in geophysics.
    • History and Philosophy of Science is an interesting choice for those wanting a wider perspective on science.
    • Experimental Psychology is not an appropriate choice as it does not usefully complement courses leading to Part II Geological Sciences.

For those intending to take only one Earth Sciences option:

    • for biologists Earth Sciences A is recommended.
    • for those interested in earthquakes, plate tectonics, structures and sediments, again Earth Sciences A is recommended.
    • for those interested in physical and chemical properties of minerals and rocks, their role in volcanism and in forming the core of mountain belts, Earth Sciences B is recommended.
    • either subject would be appropriate for historians of science, although the great 19th century controversies revolved more around the topics in Earth Sciences A.

Combinations not allowed
Because of timetabling clashes, some combinations of courses may not be allowed.  Please check the NST website for any conflicts.



Common links

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All course materials can be found on the Earth Sciences Moodle course pages.

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Health & safety

Whether in the lab or out on fieldwork, you need to be aware of your health and safety, and what responsibilities you have to look after yourself and your colleagues. Please refer to the Safety Handbook.

Safety Handbook

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