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

The Earth System
Plate tectonics and the lithosphere
Geological time and history
Minerals, igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks and the rock cycle
Weathering and erosion
Evolution of landforms and landscape development
Geological hazards
Geological evolution of the Australian continent

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

  • Grotzinger, J.P. & Jordan, T.H., 2014, Understanding Earth, 7nd edn, W. H. Freeman and Company, New York, US. ISBN: 978-1-4641-3874-4.
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 8 hours (1 day)
Exam: practical20%
Short written response25%
Exam: open book40%


Teaching method
Laboratory session 6 hours (2 Days over 1 week)
Field work 8 hours (1 day)
Exam: open book40%
Short written response25%
Exam: practical20%

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 2017 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.