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Postgraduate Diploma in The Geology of Northern England

    Centre for Lifelong Learning Logo
  • Study Type

    Distance learning & Part time available

  • Subject Areas


    History & Archaeology

  • Start Date


  • Course Duration

    2 years distance learning

  • Course Type


  • Course Fees

    For 2018/19, the cost of the first year will be £3,030. Fees in subsequent years are subject to confirmation.

  • Last Updated

    21 November 2018


From the spectacular igneous geology of the Lake District World Heritage Site and Northumberland National Park to the Yorkshire Jurassic ‘Dinosaur Coast’ and the mineral wealth of the Pennines, the North has an incredible geological history spanning almost 500 million years.

Concentrating solely upon the geological evolution of northern England, you will analyse and interpret key geological features and concepts to integrate regional knowledge into the interpretation of larger scale Earth processes and structures. 

You will assess the region’s importance in current and historical Earth science controversies and study human interactions with the rocks and landscapes of northern England from the Stone Age to the present day.

Residential Week Courses

At the beginning of each year, you will also attend a five-day residential week course at the University of York where you will have the opportunity to study several classic field sites of national and international importance. You will also view and assess key borehole cores from the subsurface of northern England during a core workshop at the British Geological Survey National Geological Repository.

The residential week in Year 1 is generally in Week 1, and the residential week in Year 2 is generally in Week 3.

Why study for the PG Diploma?

Undertaking this multidisciplinary qualification will equip you with a breadth of transferable skills including advanced research, science communication and palaeoenvironmental analysis. 

In The Geology of Northern England, students will obtain a regional geological understanding with which to interpret larger-scale Earth processes and structures. The programme will provide students with training in advanced palaeoenvironmental analysis and science communication skills. Students will also assess Northern England's importance to current controversies in Earth sciences, from fracking to climate change, and acquire an understanding of the region's vital role in the history of geology.

This is a part-time Postgraduate Diploma delivered wholly online in a fully supported learning environment. The programme starts in late September/early October each academic year, and places are limited to ensure a constructive atmosphere for discussions. Students can exit with a Postgraduate Certificate after successful completion of the first year if their circumstances change.


The programme will aim to:

-Introduce the key tenets and sub-disciplines of geology, focussing particularly on the geological evolution of northern England

-Provide students with a holistic understanding of the geological origins and history of northern England

-Introduce students to field and laboratory geological analysis, and the skills and techniques required to interpret geological features accurately

-Describe the main geological units present in northern England, their composition, distribution and formation

-Explore the geological history of northern England and its global significance in the development of Earth Sciences

-Examine and interpret the Palaeozoic and Mesozoic geology of northern England

-Explain the scientific importance of northern England's rocks, and the role they have played in our understanding of the evolution of the Earth.

-Further develop students' palaeoecological and palaeoenvironmental interpretation skills

-Examine the Cenozoic and recent geological history of northern England

-Provide students with an understanding of human interactions with, and exploitation of, the geological resources and landscapes of northern England

-Further develop students’ knowledge of northern England's role in the evolution of global geological hypotheses


This part-time two-year programme will comprise six 20-credit modules:

Year One

-Origins – the Development of Geology in Northern England

-Dales and Vales – the Palaeozoic of Northern England

-Moors and Coast – the Mesozoic of Northern England

Year Two

-Advanced Palaeoenvironmental Analysis

-Fire and Ice – the Cenozoic of Northern England

-People and Landscape - The Human Geology of Northern England

Students will be required to complete all these modules in the first instance, though additional modules may be added in the future to accommodate future programme growth and offer a broader learning experience.


End of module summative assessments comprise a balance of short and long critical essays.

The formative assessments consist of i) in Module 1, an assessment of field-notebooks and lab-books from class-based projects during the Year 1 residential week course, ii) in Modules 2 & 3, they are generally mid-module questionnaires, iii) in Module 4 student's are required to prepare for and deliver a presentation during the Year 2 residential week course and iv) in Modules 5 & 6, they are generally mid-module questionnaires. Please note that these may change going forward.

Online Study

Our approach to e-learning is distinctive and may be different from your general perceptions about online study:

-Flexible, fully supported, modular delivery

-Taught exclusively online

-Two stages: Certificate and Diploma. Each stage typically takes 12 months

-Comprises six distinct modules

-Part-time study (approximately 15 hours per week) allows participants to structure their learning around the other life circumstances

Visit the Postgraduate Diploma in The Geology of Northern England page on the University of York website for more details!





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