Earth''s Dynamic Systems

University of Newcastle

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Earth''s Dynamic Systems

  • Host University

    University of Newcastle

  • Location

    Newcastle, Australia

  • Area of Study

    Climatology/Meteorology, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • 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
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview


    The Earth is an evolving and dynamic planet. Changes that take place and at the rate at which they occur have the potential to dramatically affect the way we live. Understanding past evolutionary changes in the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere that shape our planet, and the crucial interactions between these systems, is fundamental in predicting the course and impact of future changes. Topics covered provide the necessary grounding for continuing studies in Earth and Environmental Sciences, including Geology and Physical Geography.

    Learning Outcomes

    1. a foundation for further studies in the Environmental Geosciences (Environmental Science, Geology, Physical Geography);

    2. received a basic theoretical introduction to the major themes in Earth System Science: Geosphere, Hydrosphere, Atmosphere and Biosphere;

    3. developed practical skills in: manipulation & interpretation of scientific data; development of interpretive skills in space/time relationships, map and aerial photograph interpretation; basic field observation, interpretation and note-taking; selected laboratory analyses; use of computer statistical packages for data analysis and presentation.


    The course examines the evolution and dynamics of Earth and the environment, covering topics that are grouped under the term Earth Systems Science. Topics are broadly categorized into the major themes of Geosphere, Hydrosphere, Atmosphere, and Biosphere. These themes illustrate the dynamic and evolutionary nature of our planet and the breadth of the science.

    An emphasis is placed on the development of concepts from observations made on our environment and by using modern processes to understand past environments. Specific topics include:

    Planetary Geology
    Earth formation & evolution
    Evolution of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and life
    Relative & absolute time
    Plate tectonics
    Oceanography and coastal processes
    Mountain building & continental growth
    Weathering of the continents: fluvial (river), glacial & aeolian (desert) environments
    Climatic systems and the impact of climatic change

    Assessment Items

    Formal Examination: Formal Examination

    Report: Practical reports

    Report: Excursion report

    Compulsory Requirements

    In order to pass this course, each student must complete ALL of the following compulsory requirements:
    General Course Requirements:

    Field Study: Induction Requirement - Students must attend and pass the induction requirements before attending these sessions. - In order to participate in this course, students must complete a compulsory fieldwork induction.

    Contact Hours

    Field Study

    Face to Face Off Campus 16 hour(s) per Term

    Up to two one-day field trips will be held on weekends during the semester as part of the practical component.


    Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


    Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

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.