Ms N Fallon (Subject Co-ordinator)

Subject Overview

Geology is the science of studying the earth, both in its present state and in its long term evolution. Geology investigates the composition and evolution of our dynamic planet and its living organisms. It embraces the study of such diverse topics as volcanoes, meteorites, earthquakes and dinosaurs. It also deals with the origin and concentration of the materials on which our society is based such as oil, gas and ore deposits.

Key Skills

Geology is uniquely placed to develop a range of skills and capabilities in preparing pupils for life and work including a keen sense of observation and the ability to extrapolate meaningful analysis of the subject matter.

Form 4 - Transition Year programme

Students are introduced to Geology in Transition Year over a six week period as part of the Science revolving modules option. They are given an introduction to the key concepts covered in the Senior Cycle Geology course.

Senior Cycle

Geology is offered to students in Forms 5 & 6 who intend sitting the University of Dublin (T.C.D.) Matriculation Examination. This examination is recognized as an important means of obtaining points towards entering Trinity College, Dublin and is also recognized by some British universities. The syllabus followed is that put forward by the Department of Geology at Trinity College and covers a wide range of basic Geology. Branches included are: Earth’s Structure, Plate Tectonics, Groundwater, Glaciation, Geological Time, Mineralogy, Petrology (the study of rocks), Palaeontology (the study of fossils) and Economic Geology (Oil, Ores etc).

Does Geology relate to other subjects at Leaving Certificate Level?

Geology is one of the five natural sciences therefore in its teaching it draws upon student’s knowledge of some of these subjects (notably Chemistry, Biology, and Physics). The study of geology also gives students a more in depth understanding of the physical processes which are shaping the planet. This compliments and enhances the knowledge of students also studying geography, as a large part of the Geology curriculum is centered on teaching physical geography.


The matriculation examination takes place in Trinity College on the Monday after Easter Sunday. Assessment will take the form of a written examination. The written examination will have an assessment weighting of 100%. The form of assessment will reflect the Trinity syllabus content and the overall learning outcomes specified in the course outline. The format of the paper requires the students to answer five out of a total of ten questions in a three hour period. The results are released in May giving students the knowledge of having gained valuable points before commencing the Leaving Certificate examination in June.

Degree Courses

Geology is a core element of many third level options including Natural Science, Earth Science and Engineering.  The knowledge gained from studying Geology in High School will provide students with a solid base to excel in these third level options.

Career Opportunities related to Geology

Environmental Geology:

You can be involved in water and soil testing, assessment of sites for pollution, clean-up of toxic chemicals from the water and/or soil.

Engineering Geology:

Engineering geologists work with other professionals to oversee the planning and construction of buildings, bridges, roads, dams, landfills and tunnels. Geological engineers are experts in rock strength, stability of slopes and the mechanics of soils.

 Geological Education:

You can specialize in Secondary Education, bringing Earth Sciences to children of a broad spectrum of ages.

Petroleum Geology and Economic Geology:

This involves searching for and helping to mine or exploit Earth’s resources, including ore minerals, oil, natural gas and coal. This career is especially suited to people who wish to travel.

Field Geology:

You can make maps, assess areas for geological activity and monitor environmental remediation.

Environmental Law:

With background in the earth sciences, you can go on to study and litigate various aspects of the impact of humans on the physical environment.

Additional Information

Students interested in Geology at Senior Cycle will have the opportunity to attend a talk presented by a Professor of Geology & Earth Science from Trinity College, Dublin which is held at The High School. Students will also be given the opportunity to attend a school trip to geological regions. Recent excursions included Iceland and the Mezzogiorno in Southern Italy.