Planet Earth: The Big Picture

University of Queensland

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Planet Earth: The Big Picture

  • Host University

    University of Queensland

  • Location

    Brisbane, Australia

  • Area of Study

    Environmental Studies, Field Component

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    *This course has a field trip component. Additional fees, paid directly to the university, may apply.

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Host University Units

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Course Description
    Introduction to earth systems; earth in space; geochemical structure; rock cycle; plate tectonics; geological time; landscape evolution; ocean environments; surface & ground waters; palaeobiology; earth resources; geological hazards; environmental geology; palaeoclimatology; social implications of earth sciences. Includes one day field trip.
    Course Introduction
    This course deals with the evolution, composition, structure, and physical environments of planet Earth, with a strong emphasis on natural hazards, Earth resources, human impacts on the environment, and the delicate balance between humans and the physical environment. It provides an entry level overview of modern Earth Science. The course is compulsory for BSc students who intend to major in Geological Sciences, and strongly recommended for those who intend to specialise in environmental sciences, environmental management (Sustainable Development), and marine sciences. The course spans one semester and is worth 2 units.
    Learning Objectives
    After successfully completing this course you should be able to:
    • Know about the structure and character of the Earth?s core, mantle, and crust, geological materials, plate tectonics, geological hazards, Earth resources, geological time, the fossil record, and human impacts on the environment. The importance of Earth Sciences in the understanding and management of the natural environment will be emphasized. Examples of environmental management, civil engineering, atmospheric chemistry, toxicology, etc. are presented during the lectures, and some practical activities build on these examples.
    • Use library resources and produce written and oral reports on specific topics. Both individual and group activities will be encouraged. These include the solution of numerical problems, the assessment of studies on specific topics, and the open discussion of specific issues related to Earth Sciences and their impact on society and economy, both in Australia and overseas.
    • Evaluate the extent of human impacts related to geological activities (e.g. air pollution in Brisbane; responsibilities of geologists in assessing slope stability in landslide accidents). Philosophical and historical developments of key geological principles and concepts (e.g. plate tectonic theory, evolution of life, concept of geological time) are covered in the lectures. Past and present mining practice and resource management are illustrated and discussed for Australia and other countries (specific examples from several eastern and western European countries, south-east Asia, Africa, and the United States).
    Class Contact
    3 Lecture hours, 2 Contact hours

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.