Online Courses in Plate Tectonics

Plate tectonics is the study of Earth's outermost layer and theories behind its constant movement. Learn about topics covered in online courses in this field. Schools offering Geographic Information Systems degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is Included In Plate Tectonics Coursework?

Plate tectonics topics are incorporated into various earth science courses such as historical geology, physical geology, geology education and plate tectonics. A historical geology course might include subject matter such as the Earth's age, radiometric dating, relative dating and the geologic time scale. You can also take a physical geology course covering topics like plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes and mountain formation. Geology education courses encompass methods used to teach the physical science of the earth to primary and secondary school students. A plate tectonics course will focus on the Earth's seven plates and the theories behind how they converge, diverge and transform. Here are some course topics to consider:

Geology and Plate Tectonics

This course will teach students about the causes and effects of earthquakes around the globe. Topics include continental drift, the forces that drive plate tectonics and planet motion.

Earth Systems

Explore the basic concepts associated with Earth's systems, including the chemical and physical composition of the planet. Environmental issues and the current health of Earth's environment will be discussed.

Environmental Obstacles

Students will explore the current research trends in earth science. Additional topics include the challenges associated with dwindling water resources, global warming and its anthropogenic effects on Earth systems.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Development

This course will help students learn about GIS software and how it's used for data analysis. Students can study how these systems are used for the management of natural resources, map modeling and the evaluation of landscape patterns.


Areas of study in oceanography courses will cover a variety of topics including the morphology of the sea floor and ocean basins. Students will also learn about the ecology of the oceans and marine geophysics and geology.

Are These Strictly Upper-Level Courses?

Because the subject of plate tectonics is covered by several related courses, from introductory to advanced, they are available at all undergraduate levels as well as the graduate level. Courses like historical and physical geology can be applied toward numerous associate degree programs in various fields. Geology education courses can be taken as part of a Bachelor of Science in Physical Science degree program. In addition, if you are working toward your Master of Education in Earth Sciences, a course covering plate tectonics would probably be required.

What Is Involved In Online Plate Tectonics Courses?

You will need to be able to study independently to complete online courses; however, some of the courses may require you to take proctored exams. In addition, coursework may include participation requirements which are usually fulfilled through online bulletin boards, chats or e-mail. Many course instructors are available to help you via telephone or e-mail. You typically need to purchase all of the workbooks and textbooks to successfully complete the courses. Online course participation requires you to have a personal computer with a recent operating system, personal e-mail account and high-speed Internet service. Some courses may also require additional retail software, such as Microsoft Word, or downloads, such as Adobe Reader, to complete the course assignments.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Walden University

    Walden University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Walden University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Boston University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Boston
  • University of Utah

    Campus Locations:

    • Utah: Salt Lake City
  • University of Wyoming

    Campus Locations:

    • Wyoming: Laramie
  • Oregon State University

    Campus Locations:

    • Oregon: Corvallis
  • Western Washington University

    Campus Locations:

    • Washington: Bellingham
  • Stanford University

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Stanford
  • Texas Tech University

    Campus Locations:

    • Texas: Lubbock