Academic year: 2021-22
Course: Foundation Course Science
Credits: 3
Period: second semester

Number of hours: 24

Teacher(s): Marco Pasero (

Language of instruction English

Learning outcomes


The student who successfully completes the course will be able to understand the basic concepts about the Earth as a complex system that changed over geological times, about the Earth materials and processes, the unifying theory of plate tectonics and the interactions between geological processes and the human activities.

Assessment criteria of knowledge

The student knowledge will be assessed on his/her demonstrated ability to discuss the main course contents using the appropriate terminology during the final oral exam.


At the end of the course the student will be able to use the basic terminology of geoscience concepts and to understand textbooks and publications related to the subject. He/she will be able to understand the general concepts regarding the main interactions between Earth and Humans with reference to natural hazards and environmental issues at the local and global scale.

Assessment criteria of skills

The student’s skills will be evaluated taking into account his/her capacity to explain with proper terms the main Earth materials, the main processes regulating the Earth system and the main interactions between Earth and Humans with reference to natural hazards and environmental issues.


At the end of the course the student will be able to identify in a critical perspective the main issues related to Earth, such as global changes, natural hazards and environmental issues.
Assessment criteria of behaviors
The student’s behaviour will be evaluated through discussions promoted by the teacher during the lessons.


Basic knowledge of Chemistry, Physics and General Geography at high school.

Teaching methods

Lessons with discussions guided by the teacher; the didactic materials will be available at the beginning of each lesson on the e-learning page of the Course. Preliminary tests aimed at an assessment of the initial knowledges can be proposed to the students in the first lesson, to help the teacher in the preparation of the following lectures.


Fundamental concepts about Earth materials and endogenous versus exogenous processes. The solid Earth and rock cycle. Earth internal structure. Hypsometry of the Earth surface. The unifying theory of plate tectonics. The hydrosphere and water cycle. The atmosphere and carbon cycle. Earth as a changing system in geological time. Natural hazards and risk mitigation. Examples of global and local environmental issues


Didactic material provided by the teacher. Selected parts, indicated by the teacher, of textbooks (e.g., Exploring geology, by Reynolds SJ, Johnson JK, Morin PJ, Carter CM, Shaw C, Mc Graw Hill Education ed., 2019)

Non-attending students info

The non-attending students will be able to follow the lessons using the didactic material loaded on the e-learning platform and the textbook.

Assessment methods
Individual written test composed of 4-5 short essays. In case of restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the written test will be replaced by oral interview.

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