Geology (GEOL) 200

Introductory Physical Geology (Revision 7)

GEOL 200

Revision 7 is closed for registrations, replaced by current version

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online with a home lab component. This course is charged a lab fee.

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Science

Prerequisite: None

Centre: Centre for Science

GEOL 200 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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GEOL 200 introduces the field of physical geology, discussing materials that make up the Earth, processes that occur at the Earth’s surface, and processes that occur within the Earth’s interior. Laboratory exercises accompanied by supplementary reading help students to apply the course concepts, and the term project increases a student’s exposure to a variety of rocks and minerals.


Geology 200 consists of 15 units, divided into four major sections.

Part A: Introduction

  • Unit 1: Introduction to Theory

Part B: The Earth’s Materials

  • Unit 2: Minerals and Rock Types
  • Unit 3: Igneous Rocks
  • Unit 4: Weathering, Soil, and Sedimentary rocks
  • Unit 5: Metamorphic Rocks

Part C: Earth Surface Processes

  • Unit 6: Mass Wasting
  • Unit 7: Surface Water
  • Unit 8: Groundwater
  • Unit 9: Glaciers and Glaciation
  • Unit 10: Deserts and Wind Action
  • Unit 11: Waves, Beaches, and Coasts

Part D: The Earth’s Internal Processes

  • Unit 12: Structural Geology and Earthquakes
  • Unit 13: The Earth’s Interior
  • Unit 14: Plate Tectonics
  • Unit 15: Mountain Belts and the Continental Crust


To receive credit for GEOL 200, you must complete all of the assignments, achieve a course composite grade of at least “C-” (60 percent), and achieve a grade of at least “60” percent on each of the examinations. Lab assignments range in value from two percent to five percent each of the final course grade and you are required to attain a lab average of 60 percent. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Lab Exercises (12) Course Project Midterm Exam Final Exam Total
40% 10% 20% 30% 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Plummer, C. C., Carlson, D. H., & Hammersley, L. (2016). Physical Geology (15th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill. (eText)

Busch, R. M. (Ed.), & Tasa, D. (Illus.). (2015). Laboratory Manual in Physical Geology, (10th ed.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Other Materials

The course materials include a Study Guide, a Course Orientation and a set of assignments, which are all provided online. A Mohs hardness scale kit, a pocket stereoscope, Athabasca University set of mineral chips, Athabasca University set of rock chips, and a maps kit are included in a course package sent to the student.

Challenge for Credit Course Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university level course.

Full information for the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the GEOL 200 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least “C-” (60 percent) on the examination.

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 7, June 1, 2017.

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