Structural Geology | Free Online Course | Alison

The New Alison App has just launched Download Now

Advanced Diploma in Structural Geology

In this free online course learn about the deformation of rocks and their development over geological time scales.

Free Course
This free online course provides an introductory level understanding of the main concepts in structural geology. Deformed rocks and structures conceal a series of tales, the decoding of which challenges the structural geologist in presenting evolutionary theories of our planet's development. Start this course and learn about the architecture of rock formations and their development over geological time periods.
  • Duration

    15-20 Hours
  • Certification

  • Mobile Friendly

  • Publisher

  • Accreditation






View course modules


This free online course introduces you to the main concepts in structural geology. You will learn about the architecture of rock formations and their development over geological time periods, and how deformed rocks and structures conceal a series of tales.

It begins with structural elements, measurements and stereographic projections of linear and planer features. You will learn about the concepts of stress, strain and rheology of rocks. This course provides insights into the deformation mechanisms of rocks, folds, foliation and lineation, boudinage, faults and joints, ductile shear zone and much more. The course also examines how rocks deform and change shape and how we can recognise and use structures within rocks, to determine ancient magnitudes and the orientations of stress fields.

Students of this course will be introduced to the techniques of recording and analysing structural data. They will be taught how to map rock sequences in the field and interrogate a region, to determine how it formed and what has happened to the area since formation. This course will be of interest to students studying geology-related subjects, laypersons interested in the topic and for career-development purposes. Start this course today and learn more about structural geology and its applications.

Start Course Now


Introduction and Basic Concepts

Structural Elements

Concept of Strain

Concept of Stress

Rheology of Rocks

Deformation Mechanism of Rocks

Foliation and Lineation

Folds and Mechanisms

Boudinage and Related Structures

Fractures, Joints and Faults

Ductile Shear Zone

Structural Mapping, Summary and Discussion

Course assessment

Learning Outcomes

Having completed this course you will be able to:

  • Discuss the concepts of structural geology, tectonics and geodynamics
  • Describe the role of the structural geologist
  • Recognize the models for studying earth structures
  • Explain the planar, linear and angular features of deformed rocks
  • Discuss the basic concepts and construction of stereographic projection
  • Explain how to plot structural data on stereonet
  • State the concepts of homogeneous and heterogeneous deformation
  • Describe how strain analysis is done in different dimensions
  • Explain the concepts of mechanics, force and traction
  • Discuss why stress on a surface is vector and stress at a point is tensor
  • Explain how eigenvalues and eigenvectors are calculated mathematically


All Alison courses are free to enrol, study and complete. To successfully complete this Diploma course and become an Alison Graduate, you need to achieve 80% or higher in each course assessment. Once you have completed this Diploma course, you have the option to acquire an official Diploma, which is a great way to share your achievement with the world. Your Alison Diploma is:

Ideal for sharing with potential employers - include it in your CV, professional social media profiles and job applications
An indication of your commitment to continuously learn, upskill and achieve high results
An incentive for you to continue empowering yourself through lifelong learning

Alison offers 3 types of Diplomas for completed Diploma courses:

Digital Diploma - a downloadable Diploma in PDF format, immediately available to you when you complete your purchase
Diploma - a physical version of your officially branded and security-marked Diploma, posted to you with FREE shipping
Framed Diploma - a physical version of your officially branded and security-marked Diploma in a stylish frame, posted to you with FREE shipping

All Diplomas are available to purchase through the Alison Shop. For more information on purchasing Alison Diplomas, please visit our FAQs. If you decide not to purchase your Alison Diploma, you can still demonstrate your achievement by sharing your Learner Record or Learner Achievement Verification, both of which are accessible from your Dashboard. For more details on our Diploma pricing, please visit our Pricing Page.


    You have received a new notification
    Click here to view them all