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Diploma of Higher Education in Geology - Learning outcomes

Educational aims

This qualification aims to give you:

  • a lifelong interest in geology and Earth science through modules that are accessible to people of all educational backgrounds
  • knowledge of core geological concepts and phenomena in a global scientific context
  • opportunities to apply knowledge and develop a range of professional skills, including practical skills from undertaking geological investigations
  • opportunities to practise and develop creativity and innovation through problem solving
  • an understanding of how scientific knowledge develops, with an appreciation of the limits of geological knowledge
  • support and guidance to develop as an independent learner and acquire a range of skills applicable to a variety of careers within and beyond geoscience.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of this qualification, you’ll have knowledge and understanding of:

  • the fundamental facts, concepts, principles, processes, methods and terminology, as well as current theories and developments, in geology and the broader Earth sciences
  • the variety of geology and Earth science applications that address global issues such as climate change, resources, sustainability and geohazards.

Cognitive skills

On completion of this qualification, you’ll be able to:

  • apply knowledge and skills acquired through your studies to address/investigate interdisciplinary problems in geology and Earth science, including making informed decisions/interpretations based on multiple lines of evidence and incomplete data
  • critically assess and synthesise complex scientific information from multiple sources, in a variety of formats and at a range of temporal and spatial scales, so that you can propose and test hypotheses and make informed decisions.

Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of this qualification, you’ll be able to:

  • initiate, design, conduct and report on independent practical work and ensure that the work is undertaken in a responsible, safe and ethical manner, taking account of relevant health and safety regulations as appropriate
  • build an adaptable, professional approach to the changing context of Earth science in society, considering different perspectives, cultures, strategies and risks.

Key skills

On completion of this qualification, you’ll be able to:

  • communicate complex scientific concepts and issues effectively in a range of formats and to a variety of audiences
  • reflect on your personal and transferable skills to plan your future professional development and guide your personal learning journey
  • locate, obtain and work with numerical and graphical geoscience information and data, appropriately citing published and other sources, while bearing in mind issues of quality and quantity, accuracy, precision, uncertainty, sampling, replication and repeatability
  • work independently and collaborate with others to achieve joint outcomes, playing an active role in facilitating effective interaction – including influencing and leading where appropriate – and using initiative, organisational and communication skills.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

You’ll acquire knowledge and understanding throughout each stage of the diploma by studying specially prepared teaching materials that we’ve created referencing the most recently available scientific research. You’ll use a variety of learning resources, which could include:

  • web-based materials
  • computer-aided learning packages
  • online forums
  • directed reading
  • self-assessment questions.

You’ll work independently with the teaching materials, supported by your tutor in a variety of ways: predominantly online, although some modules may offer optional face-to-face field days. You’ll also be encouraged to form study groups with fellow students, where you can talk in online forums, over the telephone, by email, or face-to-face.

You’ll further develop your understanding of the acquisition, interpretation and analysis of data and scientific papers through practical work. Practical work is an important component of science – we’ll introduce you to a range of scientific methods. Some modules will also include group work and offer opportunities to interact with other students.

Assessment will be by a combination of tutor-marked assignments (with problem-solving responses or answers ranging from short to essay length, and project reports) and computer-marked assignments (multiple-choice questions). Written tutor feedback on assignments will provide you with individual tuition and guidance. Each module will conclude with a final examination or end-of-module assessment.