Course Description

Course Name

Earth and Ocean Science

Session: VDNS3122

Hours & Credits

18 Contact Hours

Prerequisites & Language Level

Taught In English

  • There is no language prerequisite for courses at this language level.


Evolution of continents and oceans; sea-floor spreading, mountain ranges, plate tectonics; oceanic circulation and global cycles; erosion, landslides and sedimentation on land and sea; marine biological systems; evolution of life through the ages; oceans and climate; the Solar System.

This multidisciplinary paper commences with an overview of our place on planet Earth, the solar system, and deep space. It then covers a vast number of topics by way of the unifying theme of Earth "spheres": Atmosphere; Geosphere; Hydrosphere; Cryosphere, and; Biosphere. Topics such as climate and atmospheric/oceanic circulation, plate tectonics and associated hazards, weathering and erosion/deposition, past and present life, glaciers and ice sheets, and the impact of humans on the planet are covered. Students will finish the course with a holistic understanding of planet Earth, and a good feel for topics worth pursuing at more advanced levels.

Course Structure
This course consists of 4 lectures per week and one 3-hour laboratory. Lectures cover 5 themes:

  • Our place in space: humanity on earth, earth in the universe
  • The geosphere: our dynamic earth
  • Earth's surface: where the geosphere meets the hydrosphere
  • The hydrosphere and the atmosphere: a tightly coupled system
  • The biosphere: life on earth

Learning Outcomes
-Understand and describe the processes that shape Earth's surface, interior and oceans
-Draw connections between the various components of the Earth system
-Apply concepts introduced in lectures and laboratories to field settings
-Understand the concept of geologic time in relation to physical and biological systems
-Understand the physical and biological controls on the distribution of Earth materials and make predictions based on this understanding

*Course content subject to change