Geology (GEOL) 201

Introductory Historical Geology (Revision 3)

GEOL 201 course cover

Revision 3 is closed for registrations, see current version

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

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Science

Prerequisite: GEOL 200 is strongly recommended.

Centre: Centre for Science

GEOL 201 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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Historical geology is involved directly or indirectly in most aspects of geological studies. There are direct links with astronomy, biology, chemistry, and physics. GEOL 201 involves discussion of the basic aspects of the discipline, the techniques and evidence used in reconstructing the evolution of Earth, and current research in mass extinctions and global change.


  • Unit 1: Introduction to Historical Geology
  • Unit 2: Sedimentary Rocks and Historical Geology
  • Unit 3: Life Through Time
  • Unit 4: Geological Concepts of Time
  • Unit 5: Planetary Beginnings and the Origin of the Earth
  • Unit 6: The Evolution and Structure of the Earth
  • Unit 7: Precambrian Time
  • Unit 8: The Paleozoic Era
  • Unit 9: The Mesozoic Era
  • Unit 10: The Cenozoic Era
  • Unit 11: Historical Geology Today and Tomorrow


To receive credit for GEOL 201, you must complete all labs and achieve a minimum lab average of 60 percent, 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. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Lab Assignments 30%
Midterm Exam 30%
Final Exam 40%
Total 100%

The midterm and final examinations for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

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

Course Materials


Levin, H.L. The Earth Through Time, 10th ed. New York: Wiley, 2013.

Rhodes, F. T., H. S. Zim, and P. R. Shaffer. Fossils: A Guide to Prehistoric Life. New York: St Martin Press, 1990.

Other Materials

The course materials include a study guide, a student manual, a laboratory manual, a reader, and a geological time scale.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you 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 about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the GEOL 201 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 3, June 13, 2016.

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