Unit description

Introduces students to basic fundamentals in geology and geomorphology, with a focus on the outer shell of the Earth. The unit outlines the composition, structure and dynamic nature of the lithosphere and the processes acting upon it that lead to the evolution of the landforms we see today. The unit seeks to develop basic geological knowledge and field skills useful to environmental science and management professionals.

Unit content

Origin and internal structure of the lithosphere

Minerals, rocks, and the rock system

The plate tectonic system

Igneous rocks

Sedimentary rocks

Metamorphic rocks

Weathering and erosion

Evolution of landforms

Geological time and history

Geological evolution of the Australian continent and northeast New South Wales

Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and other geological hazards

Earth resources

Learning outcomes

Unit Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a unit. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes. The unit learning outcomes and graduate attributes are also the basis of evaluating prior learning.

Learning outcomes and graduate attributes

Prescribed texts

Session 1

  • Smith, GA & Pun, A, 2010, How Does Earth Work?, 2nd edn, Pearson Education Inc, New Jersey. ISBN: 978-0-13-600368-7.
Prescribed texts may change in future study periods.

Teaching and assessment


Teaching method
Lecture on-site 2 hours (11 weeks)
Laboratory session 3 hours (10 weeks)
Field work 6 hours (1 day)
Exam: practical25%
Exam: open book50%


Teaching method
Laboratory session 6 hours (2 Days over 1 week)
Field work 6 hours (1 day)
Exam: practical25%
Exam: open book50%

Intensive offerings may or may not be scheduled in every session. Please refer to the timetable for further details.

Southern Cross University employs different teaching methods within units to provide students with the flexibility to choose the mode of learning that best suits them. SCU academics strive to use the latest approaches and, as a result, the learning modes and materials may change. The most current information regarding a unit will be provided to enrolled students at the beginning of the study session.

Fee information


Commonwealth Supported courses
For information regarding Student Contribution Amounts please visit the Student Contribution Amounts.
Commencing 2015 Commonwealth Supported only. Student contribution band: 2

Fee paying courses
For POSTGRADUATE or UNDERGRADUATE full fee paying courses please check Domestic Postgraduate Fees OR Domestic Undergraduate Fees


Please check the international course and fee list to determine the relevant fees.