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Unit of study_

GEOS1903: Introduction to Geology (Advanced)

Semester 2, 2020 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

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).

Unit details and rules

Unit code GEOS1903
Academic unit Geosciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6
GEOS1003 or GEOL1002 or GEOL1902
Assumed knowledge

(ATAR 90 or above) or equivalent

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Thomas Hubble,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Skills-based evaluation Field trip report
A half-day excursion to Long Reef beach
10% - One day
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO9 LO11
Final exam (Take-home extended release) Type E final exam Final Exam
Short Essays - Complete Three of Ten Questions Two Compulsory Map Problems
50% Formal exam period 48 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10 LO11
Small test On-line Quiz One
Short On-line Multiple Choice Quiz (Lectures and Practical Material)
5% Week 04
Due date: 18 Sep 2020 at 18:00
30 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Small test On-Line Quiz Two
Short On-line Multiple Choice Quiz (Lectures and Practical Material)
5% Week 06
Due date: 02 Oct 2020 at 18:00
30 Minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Small test On-line Quiz Three
Short On-line Multiple Choice Quiz (Lectures and Practical Material)
5% Week 08
Due date: 23 Oct 2020 at 18:00
30 Minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Small test On-line Quiz Four
Short On-line Multiple Choice Quiz (Lectures and Practical Material)
5% Week 11
Due date: 13 Nov 2020 at 18:00
30 Minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Tutorial quiz hurdle task Rock Identification quiz
20% Week 12 1 hour
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO8 LO2
Participation Practical participation and attendance
See assessment summary
0% Weekly 3 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO11 LO10 LO9 LO7 LO6 LO4 LO2
Tutorial quiz Pre-practical quizzes
See assessment summary
0% Weekly 15 Minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
hurdle task = hurdle task ?
Type E final exam = Type E final exam ?

Assessment summary

  • Pre-practical quizzes: Completion of online multiple-choice questions is required before attending practical classes. Each quiz will be based on that week’s practical exercise in the Practical Manual. 
  • Practical attendance and participation: Practical attendance and participation is based on the completion of the weekly worksheets. Worksheets should be completed during class and checked by your tutors. Feedback will be provided as to the class as appropriate.
  • On-Line Multiple Choice Quizzes – 20% (Weeks 4, 6, 8 and 11): The four compulsory on-line quizzes will be presented via Canvas and will test your understanding of the material presented in lectures and practical classes. They will usually consist of ten multiple-choice or short answer questions and test your knowledge of material presented in the preceding weeks’ lectures and practical classes. Each of the four quizzes will contribute 5% of your final mark (4x5% = 20% of the total marks for the unit). Note that they may include questions that test your rock identification skills and/or your geological map skills.   
  • Field trip (10%): A field exercise requiring you to make geological observations and interpretations focused on examining the Luna Park Fault and the characteristics of the Hawkesbury Sandstone will replace our usual field work exercise this year (due to Covid-19). This item will contribute 10% to your final mark. (More details in Canvas)
  • Rock ID quiz (20%): During the practical classes of week 12 of semester (the last week of the semester), all students are required to sit a Rock ID quiz. This test will focus on the identification and description of a set of unknown geological samples (rocks / minerals). This item will contribute 20% towards your final mark. 
  • Final examination (50%): This year the exam will be presented as an ‘open-book’, two-day, take-home paper that will be submitted via ‘Turnitin’. The exam will be comprised of three sections which will include: A) two long-form ‘essay or extended response’ questions with internal choice (e.g.. answer one of three options); B) one compulsory ‘essay or extended response’ long-form question which the entire class will attempt; and C) a third section focussed on geological maps and geological cross-section interpretation. The final examination will integrate lecture material and concepts together with the knowledge and understanding you acquire in practical classes. All material presented in both lectures and practical classes is potentially examinable in the final exam. The final exam contributes 50% of your final mark for this unit of study. 
  • Lecture attendance: It is expected that you attend lectures weekly. See “Study Commitment” for more details on what is expected of you.
  • Practical exercises: Active intellectual participation is expected during the practical classes, which run for each week of the semester.
  • Trial exams: These exams will not count towards your final mark but will to assist students in passing the course. It is in your interest to attempt this task.
  • Self-test quizzes: Completion of these quizzes, which will be available on the Canvas Site, will not count towards your final mark. They are provided to assist students to understand the course content. It is in your interest to attempt this task as it will provide you with feedback on your progress in understanding the practical and lecture material.

More information on the Unit’s Canvas Site

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Work awarded a high distinction grade will accurately answer the question in an impressive, compelling, or highly persuasive manner or is otherwise exceptional in some other way.


75 - 84

Work awarded a distinction grade will accurately answer the question in a convincing, confident manner or the answers are well written, with clear structure and cogent expression.


65 - 74

Work awarded a credit grade will answer appropriately and will be reasonably detailed. The answers are easily understood with both clear expression and structure if appropriate.


50 - 64

Work awarded a passing grade will have appropriate but superficial answer. The answers can  be understood but may be poorly worded or somewhat flawed due to poor grammar, expression or structure.


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Our Earth - Its Age and Origins Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO9
Common igneous minerals (Ex 1) Practical (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO8
Week 02 Plate tectonics - The mobilist Earth (History) Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO7 LO8
Igneous rock textures (Ex 2) Practical (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO8
Week 03 Igneous Rocks and Processes Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO5 LO8
Classifying igneous rocks (Ex 3) Practical (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO7 LO8
Week 04 Sedimentary Rocks and Processes Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO7
Sedimentary rocks 1 Practical (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO7 LO8
Week 05 Life through the Ages Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO6 LO7 LO9
Sedimentary rocks 2 Practical (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO7 LO8
Week 06 The geological map Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO4 LO7 LO10
Introduction to geological maps Practical (2 hr) LO1 LO4 LO7 LO8 LO10
Week 07 Metamorphic Rocks and Processes Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO7
Metamorphic Rock Textures and Reactions Practical (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO7 LO8 LO11
Week 08 Geological Structures Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO7 LO10
Classifying metamorphic rocks Practical (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO7 LO8 LO11
Week 09 Plate Tectonics and Natural Hazards Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO5 LO7 LO9
Geological maps 2 Practical (2 hr) LO1 LO4 LO7 LO8 LO10 LO11
Week 10 Geological Histories and Past Environments Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO7 LO8 LO9
Online Integrative Fossils and Tectonics Exercise Practical (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO7 LO8 LO11
Self-Directed Field Experience (Luna Park Fault and Cockatoo Island) Field trip (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO11
Week 11 Geology of Australia Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO6
Rock Identification Quiz Preparation Practical (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO8 LO9 LO10 LO11
Week 12 Review, Revision and Exam Preparation Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO8 LO9 LO10 LO11
Practical Test - Rock Identification Quiz Practical (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO8

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. understand the concepts and language of geology and the Earth sciences
  • LO2. identify and name common rocks and minerals
  • LO3. understand the processes that have formed the Earth and currently modify the Earth’s physical features
  • LO4. interpret geological maps, geological cross-sections and geological age data in the context of establishing a geological history for a particular region of the Earth’s crust
  • LO5. understand the relationship between plate tectonic processes and the occurrence of natural Earth hazards such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunami
  • LO6. develop an appreciation of the significance of fossils and the longevity of the geologic record of biotic activity on the Earth
  • LO7. identify and analyse information
  • LO8. demonstrate written, oral and interpersonal communication skills
  • LO9. understand the application of the scientific method to problem solving and evidence based decision making
  • LO10. demonstrate basic skills in computing, numeracy and data handling
  • LO11. develop a sense of responsibility for independent learning that will guide your ongoing professional development and practice.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

In response to these student requests we intend to provide additional worked example answers and lecture summary material in the ‘Resources’ pages of the Canvas site. We have reduced the number of in-semester quizzes from three to two and increased the contribution of an individual quiz from 5% of the final mark to 10% of the final mark. The quizzes will be run in week 6 and week 11.

Work, health and safety

We are governed by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 and Codes of Practice. Penalties for non-compliance have increased. Everyone has a responsibility for health and safety at work. The University’s Work Health and Safety policy explains the responsibilities and expectations of workers and others, and the procedures for managing WHS risks associated with University activities.

General Laboratory Safety Rules

  • No eating or drinking is allowed in any laboratory under any circumstances
  • A laboratory coat and closed-toe shoes are mandatory 
  • Follow safety instructions in your manual and posted in laboratories 
  • In case of fire, follow instructions posted outside the laboratory door 
  • First aid kits, eye wash and fire extinguishers are located in or immediately outside each laboratory 
  • As a precautionary measure, it is recommended that you have a current tetanus immunisation. This can be obtained from University Health Service:


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.