Earth Science - Planet Earth

30 credits

Syllabus, Bachelor's level, 1GV004

Education cycle
First cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Earth Science G1N
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
Finalised by
The Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 14 February 2019
Responsible department
Department of Earth Sciences

Entry requirements

General entry requirements

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course the student should be able to:

  • describe the major features of the theory of plate tectonics and the evidence for it; show how this theory connects earthquakes, volcanoes and their products, and their distribution.
  • give an account of the inner structure of the earth and how we know about it, including what lies behind isostasy.
  • give a brief account of how the earth may have formed, and compare the earth to other known planets, inside and outside of our solar system.
  • give an account of the rock cycle and be able to be able to identify common types of minerals, fossils, sedimentary, metamorphic, igneous rocks and ores, with particular reference to those found in Sweden.
  • collect, collate and work with field and laboratory data. Describe the basics of rock deformation including the formation of folds and faults.
  • interpret topographic maps; complete and interpret simple geological maps; draw geological cross-sections and show how they relate to maps; draw simple geological maps in the field.
  • be able to use basic geological equipment including hammer, hand lens and compass clinometer to gather geological data; demonstrate knowledge and application of safety in fieldwork.
  • describe relative and absolute dating methods and the geological time scale as well as the principles of stratigraphy
  • present an evolutionary perspective on the origin of life and development with help of fossils from sedimentary rocks.
  • describe the most important mass extinctions and their possible causes. Give an outline of the pre-Quaternary development of Fennoscandia.
  • describe the processes that affect development of landscape and the landforms that are created by them, including in deserts, rivers and coasts. Describe the major features of the oceans including their density, salinity and temperature together with the distribution of life within them and the importance of ocean in global climate and climate change.
  • describe the evolution of Fennoscandia during and after the last ice ages, the causes for glacial-interglacial cycles, and the evidence thereof, during the Quaternary.
  • describe the various components of the water cycle and how water moves in a catchment area, both as run-off and ground water. Describe the composition of the atmosphere and its systems of movement on different scales, the origin of clouds and precipitation; the earth's climate and how it varies as well as describe important meteorological variables such as temperature, air pressure and humidity.
  • understand and explain from a global perspective the extraction and use of natural resources including oil and gas, as well as environmental impact issues. Explain the difference between renewable and non-renewable resources including energy.
  • give an account of the major issues of sustainability and conservation, including geological and the biodiversity crisis examples.
  • give an account of theories of how the earth will continue to evolve into the future.
  • communicate in both written and oral form and adapt this to different audiences.


Through the entire course there are tasks in collecting, compiling and processing field and laboratory data as well as presenting geoscientific topics and research results both orally and in writing. The course consists of two main themes:

The Earth as a Planet.

  • Structure of the earth and how it compares to other planets; the theory of plate tectonics; volcanism and earthquakes. Introduction to mineralogy. Study in the laboratory and field of the basic types of rock and how they are distributed. The principles of the rock cycle including igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, and weathering. Principles of structural geology. How to read and use topographic and geological maps.
  • The age of earth; relative and absolute dating methods. Principles of stratigraphy. Evolution and the fossil record. Mass extinctions. Introductory knowledge of selected micro- and macro-fossil groups. The deep geological history of Fennoscandia.
  • Earth Sciences in the field: safety and the use of geological equipment; basic field skills including collecting and recording data.

The world we live in.

  • Exogenous processes in their context, including mass movements and erosion, transport and deposition by rivers, glaciers, wind and oceans. The development of landscapes, including coasts and deserts. The formation of soils, practical identification and analysis of sediments. The Quaternary evolution of Fennoscandia and glacial-interglacial climate cycles.
  • Structure of the atmosphere and general circulation. Fronts, clouds and the origins of weather and climate. The Köppen climate classification system and climate variation.
  • The global hydrological cycle, water balance in basins and lakes, evaporation, precipitation, runoff, soil- and ground-water, discharge measurements, water mixing in lakes.
  • Renewable and non-renewable energy sources and their distribution; important natural resources. Sustainability and climate change; the biodiversity crisis. The earth in the future.

Equal opportunities with respect to the Discrimination Act.


Lectures, exercises, group work, seminars, laboratory exercises, field work and excursions. Excursions are obligatory. The course also contains geoscientific communication training with feedback and self-evaluation.


Two written examinations:

1: The earth as a planet (endogenous processes and the rock cycle (5 hp) + earth's history and the fossil record (3hp))

2: The world we live in (exogenous processes (4 hp) + atmosphere and hydrosphere (4hp)).

Practical components are assessed by written tests, hand-in exercises or oral presentations. These include mineral-, rock-, and fossil knowledge (3 hp); maps (2 hp); soils (1 hp); field excursion (2 hp); presentations (2 hp); hydrological processes (2 hp); the atmosphere (2 hp).

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the disability coordinator of the university.

Other directives

Continued studies within the Bachelor programme in earth sciences requires Biologi 2, Fysik 1a/1b1+1b2, Kemi 2, Matematik 4 (områdesbehörighet A11) alternatively Biologi B, Fysik A, Kemi B, Matematik D (områdesbehörighet 14), or Bioscience 30 credits.

Excursions are connected to travel- and living expenses for the student.