Environmental Geoscience BSc (Hons)

Key information


earth-sci-1

Module details

Programme Year One

ENVS117 is a compulsory module for those without A2-Level Maths or Physics at grade C or above. ENVS153 is a compulsory module for those without A2-Level Chemistry at grade C or above. You must discuss this with your Programme Director at the start of the academic session.

Year One Compulsory Modules

  • Experiments in Physical Geography (ENVS120)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    For students to learn:

    Careful observation, appropriate handing of liquid and solid samples, and correct use of analytical instruments.

    Approaches to measurement quality control via replication and reference materials.

    Appropriate use of descriptive and inferential statistics using MINITAB.

    Succinct and clear presentation of experimental results in poster form (Powerpoint)

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) A deeper understanding of processes that underlie the interaction between people and the physical environment.

    (LO2) Specific knowledge in the use of selected important analytical instrument; and general knowledge about the principles and practice of accurate and precise measurement.

    (LO3) Appropriate treatment of data, including quality control, graphical representation, and statistical analysis.

    (S1) Problem solving skills

    (S2) Numeracy

    (S3) Teamwork

    (S4) Organisational skills

    (S5) IT skills

  • Introduction to Geoscience and Earth History (ENVS123)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
    Aims

    Provide a broad introduction to the geosciences, emphasising the interdisciplinary nature of the subject. Assuming no prior knowledge of geoscience, this module is accessible for non-geoscience disciplines (as an optional module);
    Equip students to understand the relevance of the more detailed geoscience material following in the rest of their programmes;
    Begin to equip students with key practical skills across a range of geoscience disciplines;
    Begin to expose students to an indicative range of research expertise in the School of Environmental Sciences;
    Develop skills for learning by group interaction and guided research.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Explain current models for the origin and structure of the Earth, and summarise supporting evidence

    (LO2) Explain, with examples, the nature of most common Earth materials, with basic knowledge of why they are important

    (LO3) List processes that are modifying the Earth and its biosphere, including human processes

    (LO4) Define the time and spatial scales involved in the Earth structure and evolution

    (LO5) Relate the 3D structure and evolution of regions of the Earth's crust using typical geological media such as geological maps and cross sections

    (LO6) Introduce the problem of a sustainable biosphere for a rapidly growing human population and the role the geoscience has in defining and tackling this problem

    (S1) Communication, listening and questioning respecting others, contributing to discussions, influencing, presenting work

    (S2) Learning skills online studying and learning effectively in technology-rich environments, formal and informal

    (S3) Numeracy (application of) manipulation of numbers, general mathematical awareness and its application in practical contexts (e.g. measuring, weighing, estimating and applying formulae)

    (S4) Problem solving/ critical thinking/ creativity analysing facts and situations and applying creative thinking to develop appropriate solutions.

    (S5) Team (group) working respecting others, co-operating, negotiating / persuading, awareness of interdependence with others

  • Sedimentary Rocks and Fossils (ENVS118)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
    Aims

    The aim of this module is to provide an introduction to the study of sediments and sedimentary rocks and to introduce the main groups of common fossil.

    The module aims to cover the basic language used to describe sediments and fossils and gives an introduction to a range of physical, chemical and biological concepts.

    The students are introduced to the economic significance of sediments and sedimentary rocks and how fossils provide information on geological time, evolutionary history and ancient environments.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) On successful completion of this module, a student will be able to describe sediments and sedimentary rocks at outcrop, hand specimen and thin section scales, identifying and naming key structures and fabrics.

    (LO2) On successful completion of this module, a student will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the relationships between process and product for both depositional and diagenetic features, and be able to discuss the utility of sedimentary rocks to determine processes and, to a lesser extent, environment.

    (LO3) On successful completion of this module, a student will be able to describe, identify and interpret the main features of common invertebrate and plant fossils.

    (LO4) On successful completion of this module, a student will be able to demonstrate an understanding of how organisms are preserved as fossils, and of the utility of fossils to identify ancient modes of life, environments and relative ages of rocks.

    (S1) Problem solving skills - practical work aimed at development of logical interpretation

    (S2) Collecting, recording and analysing data using appropriate techniques in the laboratory

    (S3) Commercial awareness - lecture and practical course content covering economic applications of sedimentology and palaeontology

    (S4) Communicating appropriately in written and graphical forms

    (S5) Analysing, synthesising and summarising information.

    (S6) Applying knowledge and understanding

  • Introduction to Field Geology (ENVS109)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    To introduce students to field geology and enable students to apply knowledge and understanding that they have developed previously in lab-based modules.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) On successful completion of this module, students should be able to demonstrate competence in rock, fossil, and mineral identification, and the identification and measurement of characteristic features of rock outcrops.

    (LO2) On successful completion of this module, students should be able to complete hazard assessments of geological field localities based on topography, access, tide times, etc.

    (LO3) On successful completion of this module, students should be able to record observations and interpretations in a scientific notebook.

    (LO4) On successful completion of this module, students should be able to perform sedimentary analysis through the construction and interpretation of sedimentary logs.

    (LO5) On successful completion of this module, students should be able to perform geometrical analysis of geological structures through the use of stereonets.

    (LO6) On successful completion of this module, students should have grasped the rudiments of geological mapping, GVS construction, and cross section construction.

    (LO7) On successful completion of this module, students should be able to use geological field observations as a basis to interpret outcrop features in terms of geological processes and environments.

    (LO8) On successful completion of this module, students should be able to summarize the geological history of a field area, derived from the synthesis of multiple days of field observations and interpretations.

    (S1) Problem solving skills developed in field exercises where students need to gather appropriate data to interpret geological processes and environments.

    (S2) Teamwork - working in groups during field exercises and post-fieldwork poster creation

    (S3) Ethical awareness - understanding need to respect natural environment and minimise impact

    (S4) Adaptability - understanding need to carry out fieldwork appropriate to weather and tidal conditions, and adapt accordingly

    (S5) Organisational skills - organization and maintenance of own field equipment including PPE

    (S6) Time management - students need to meet deadlines for transportation, completion of exercises in the field, and after fieldwork

  • Introduction to Structural Geology and Geological Maps (ENVS156)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    To introduce small- and large-scale geological structures.

    To introduce the principles of stress and strain.

    To introduce stereographic projection techniques.

    To introduce the expressions of geological contacts on maps.

    To introduce the representation of geological features on maps.

    To introduce the analysis of geological maps histories.

    To introduce the skill of creating geological cross-sections.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Knowledge and understanding

    On completion of this module you should:

    Know the geometry and nomenclature of geological structures;

    Understand the appropriate classification schemes for geological structures;

    Understand how selected small - scale structures may be used to interpret the geometry of large - scale structures.

    (LO2) Intellectual abilities

    On completion of this module you should:

    Have developed strategies for the description and identification of geological structures;

    Have developed strategies for the analysis of geological contacts displayed on maps;

    Have an appreciation of stress and strain, and the differences between them.

    (LO3) Practical skills

    On completion of this module you should be competent in:

    The use of a compass - clinometer;

    The plotting and manipulation of orientation data using a stereographic projection;

    The portrayal of three - dimensional structures in two - dimensions;

    The interpretation of two - dimensional representations of three - dimensional structures;

    The preparation of cross - sections and generalised stratigraphical columns from the information displayed on geological maps;

    The analysis of stratigraphical, structural and temporal relationships from the information displayed on geological maps.

    (LO4) General transferable skills

    On completion of this module you should have:

    Learned to incorporate independent research and reading into your studies.
    Practised how to cite research material in your academic writing.
    Developed a beginning skill in academic writing.
    Learned how to engage in effective group work.

    (S1) Problem solving skills

    (S2) Adaptability

    (S3) Numeracy

    (S4) Communication Skills

  • Study Skills and Gis (earth Science) (ENVS101)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterWhole Session
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    This module aims to develop essential study and disciplinary skills required by Earth Scientists, both for their current studies and future employment.

    It introduces students to key approaches/concepts and ideas in the Earth Sciences.

    The module seeks to help students identify and effectively employ appropriate sources of data and information.

    The module inroduces students to the application of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to Environmental Science and introduces students to computer programming.

    Develop students' personal and transferable skills.

    An overarching aim is to develop students' study skills and provide essential training for subsequent years

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Record field observations and ideas, and write a reflective account.

    (LO2) Plan and structure written work to University standard.

    (LO3) Demonstrate basic GIS interpretation and analysis techniques.

    (LO4) Use IT tools to find accurate and up to date information, including University Library resources.

    (LO5) Develop programming skills for use in later modules.

    (LO6) Develop employability skills through a CV and application letter exercise.

    (LO7) Develop ability to communicate science in a small group.

    (LO8) Demonstrate understanding of UoL Academic Integrity policy.

    (S1) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Academic writing (inc. referencing skills)

    (S2) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Communicating for audience

    (S3) Time and project management - Personal organisation

    (S4) Critical thinking and problem solving - Evaluation

    (S5) Critical thinking and problem solving - Synthesis

    (S6) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Listening skills

    (S7) Information skills - Information accessing:[Locating relevant information] [Identifying and evaluating information sources]

    (S8) Skills in using technology - Using common applications (work processing, databases, spreadsheets etc.)

    (S9) IT skills in use of Microsoft software and in computer programming.

  • Earth Materials (ENVS185)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting75:25
    Aims

    This module aims to:
    • Introduce and consolidate understanding of rock-forming minerals, and other key Earth materials and their properties;
    • Examine environments of formation, occurrence, abundance of key minerals including minerals in various igneous and metamorphic rocks;
    • Explore Earth materials uses and importance, especially in the context of providing sustainable and renewable energy resources and various societal infrastructure;
    • Train students in key practical skills, especially hand specimen description and identification and use of petrological and zoom stereo microscopes for mineral description, identification and interpretations

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Be able to use the properties of common rock-forming minerals and Earth materials identified with a hand lens, a polarising microscope and/or a zoom stereo microscope, to describe, classify and interpret minerals, rocks and Earth materials

    (LO2) Be able to observe, record, interpret and present descriptive information on Earth materials (including minerals) and their properties, and interpret material environments, to infer geological conditions and processes

    (LO3) Be able to develop and demonstrate an understanding of: 1) the economic uses of minerals and other Earth materials, 2) how rare or abundant such materials are, 3) what negative consequences may be associated with the economic use of materials and 4) what action may be taken to develop new materials uses and contribute to addressing energy and environmental challenges

    (LO4) Be able to use basic laboratory equipment to plan and complete an experiment to collect and analyse high quality Earth-material data

    (S1) Improving own learning/performance - Personal action planning

    (S2) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Following instructions/protocols/procedures

    (S3) Critical thinking and problem solving - Problem identification

    (S4) Numeracy/computational skills - Problem solving

    (S5) Personal attributes and qualities - Self-efficacy (self-belief/intrinsic motivation)

Year One Optional Modules

  • Earth Structure and Plate Tectonics (ENVS112)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
    Aims

    The “Earth structure and plate tectonics” module provide an introduction to the Earth and aim to teach students about:
    1) the structure and composition of the Earth, the Earth’s gravitational and magnetic fields, and dynamics within the deep Earth; 2) the physics of Earth material and the geological time scale; and 3) plate tectonics.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) On completion of this module, students should have concepts and knowledge of the physical properties and behaviour of Earth materials.

    (LO2) On completion of this module, students should have concepts and knowledge of the geological time scale and radiometric dating methods.

    (LO3) On completion of this module, students should be able to understand the plate tectonic model and the relationship between plate tectonics and geological and geophysical observations in the major plate tectonic settings.

    (LO4) On completion of this module, students should be able to explain and evaluate the relationships between Earth structure, composition, physical behaviour and Earth dynamics.

    (LO5) On completion of this module, students should be able to explain and evaluate the relationships between plate tectonics and geological and geophysical processes and observations in the major plate tectonic settings.

    (S1) On completion of this module, students should be able to manipulate geological and geophysical data to help understand Earth structure and processes.

    (S2) On completion of this module, students should have developed their skills in problem solving including simple numerical problems.

    (S3) On completion of this module, students should have developed their skills in numeracy through completion of assignments.

    (S4) On completion of this module, students should have developed their skills in information synthesis and collation.

    (S5) On completion of this module, students should have developed their skills in time management through assignment deadlines.

  • Environmental Chemistry (ENVS153)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
    Aims

    This module aims to provide students with a basic understanding of chemistry and this relates to an environmental context.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Describe the structure of an atom, its electronic configuration and predict some of its chemical behaviour based on its position in the periodic table

    (LO2) Understand the inter- and intra-molecular forces that bond molecules and atoms together to form "matter" and thus be able to explain e.g. why water is a liquid at room temperature while oxygen is a gas

    (LO3) Name chemical compounds, write balanced chemical reactions, and understand how the amount of products and reactants can be predicted

    (LO4) Understand what redox reactions are and be able to work them out

    (LO5) Understand basics of aquatic chemistry such as pH, concentration, dilution or equilibrium constants

    (LO6) Know the basics of organic chemistry.

    (S1) Problem solving/ critical thinking/ creativity analysing facts and situations and applying creative thinking to develop appropriate solutions.

    (S2) Numeracy (application of) manipulation of numbers, general mathematical awareness and its application in practical contexts (e.g. measuring, weighing, estimating and applying formulae)

  • Theory and Laboratory Experiments in Earth Surfaces Processes (ENVS165)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
    Aims

    The module uses a lecture and laboratory-based problem-solving approach to explore some of the fundamental physical and chemical processes underlying physical geography. It is designed to provide a foundation for environmental and physical geography modules in the second and third years.

    It also aims to provide training in careful observation, appropriate handing of liquid and solid samples, and correct use of analytical instruments. Throughout there is emphasis on quality control via replication and reference materials, and appropriate use of descriptive and inferential statistics.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Specific knowledge of core processes and landforms underlying major geomorphic systems

    (LO2) A deeper understanding of long term environmental change (Pleistocene and Holocence)

    (LO3) A deeper understanding of processes that underlie the interaction between people and the physical environment

    (LO4) Specific knowledge in the use of selected important analytical instruments; and general knowledge about the principles and practice of accurate and precise measurement

    (LO5) Appropriate treatment of data, including quality control, graphical representation, and statistical analysis

    (S1) IT skills

    (S2) Numeracy

    (S3) Problem solving skills

    (S4) Teamwork

  • Essential Mathematical Skills (ENVS117)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
    Aims

    To create a firm foundation of mathematics relating to pure maths, physics (mechanics) and statistics.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) At the end of the module a student should be able to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of pure mathematics, mathematics mechanics, and statistical mathematics.

    (LO2) At the end of the module the student should be able to;

    - Demonstrate skills in the application of mathematical methods to the solution of problems.

    - Use dimensional analysis and apply it to real world problems.

    (LO3) At the end of the module a student should be able to;

    - Do simple estimations by hand

    - Rearrange algebraic formulae to make the required quantity the subject

    - Insert values in a formula and calculate the correct answer

    - Basic calculus.

    (S1) Problem solving skills

    (S2) Numeracy

  • Climate, Atmosphere and Oceans (ENVS111)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting60:40
    Aims

    Introduce the climate system, the atmosphere and ocean:

    Address how the climate system varies and how climate is controlled by radiative forcing;

    Discusses the net zero carbon challenge;

    How the structure of the atmosphere is determined and how the atmosphere circulates;

    How the structure of the ocean is determined and how the ocean circulates;

    How the atmosphere and ocean vary together in affecting the present and past climate system.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Knowledge and Understanding

    a. Understand how physical processes operate within the climate system, the atmosphere and the ocean.

    b. Appreciate the complexity of the climate system, the effect of radiative forcing, the concept of feedbacks, how rotation affects the circulation; the differences between currents and waves.

    c. Gain awareness of the similarities and differences between the atmosphere and ocean.

    d. Gain an awareness of policies and strategies to move towards achieving net zero carbon on a national stage.

    (LO2) Intellectual Abilities

    a. To be able to evaluate the relative importance of different physical processes in the climate systemb.

    b. To develop critical skills in transferring insight gained from one problem to another problem, such as how the atmosphere circulates from one planet to another planet.

    (LO3) Subject Based Practical Skills

    a. Perform simple order of magnitude calculations and make inferences from the results.

    b. Understand the use of units and dimensions.

    (LO4) General Transferable Skills

    a. Application of numbers, involving order of magnitudes and dimensions.

    b. Time management.

    c. Problem solving.

    d. Group work.

    (S1) Problem solving skills

    (S2) Numeracy

    (S3) Digital fluency : ability to think critically and make balanced judgments, and use digital platforms to collaborate and communicate.

  • Living With Environmental Change (ENVS119)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
    Aims

    The over-arching aim of this module is to introduce students to the so-called ‘Grand Challenges’ facing society and what is being done to address them. Living with Environmental Change is a key interdisciplinary research theme currently being addressed worldwide; from tackling climate change and carbon emissions to promoting sustainable resource use and energy efficiency. This module illustrates that an interdisciplinary approach is crucial to identifying the underlying problems faced by humanity and to finding holistic and sustainable solutions.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Obtain an understanding of the Grand Challenges facing society;

    (LO2) Develop an appreciation of the significance of interdisciplinary working in addressing the Grand Challenges;

    (LO3) Understand that Geography plays a key role in the Living With Environmental Change (LWEC) research agenda;

    (LO4) Become familiar with the linkages between research, policy and sustainability.

    (S1) Abstraction and synthesis of information

    (S2) Assessing the merits of contrasting theories and explanations

    (S3) Taking responsibility for learning and reflection upon that learning

    (S4) Synthesising, contextualising and critically evaluating information of different styles and from different sources

Year Two Compulsory Modules

  • Applied Geophysics (ENVS216)
    Level2
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
    Aims

    This module aims to enable students to gain an understanding in the basic principles and practise of exploration geophysics.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) On successful completion of the module, students should be capable of explaining the principles of seismic refraction and reflection, electrical and electromagnetic methods, and gravity and magnetic surveying.

    (LO2) On successful completion of the module students should be able to identify which geophysical technique(s) should be applied to the solution of specific geological and environmental problems.

    (LO3) On successful completion of the module students should be able to carry out simple interpretations of data derived from the application of these geophysical methods.

    (S1) Numeracy/computational skills - Problem solving

    (S2) Information skills - Critical reading

    (S3) Critical thinking and problem solving - Synthesis

  • Field Mapping Techniques for Gpg (ENVS270)
    Level2
    Credit level15
    SemesterWhole Session
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    To train students in the techniques required to make geological and geomorphological maps.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Knowledge and Understanding. On successful completion of this module, students should have competence in: the geological/geomorphological history and structural geometry of a mapping area.

    (LO2) Intellectual Abilities. On successful completion of this module, students should have competence in: developing lithostratigraphic models; three-dimensional visualization of geological/geomorphological relationships and developing geometrical models; analysis and synthesis of discrete observations to build an overall solution (map and interpretation of geological/geomorphological evolution).

    (LO3) Subject Based Practical Skills. On successful completion of this module, students should have competence in: Map skills How to locate themselves on a topographic map, both with and without a compass; How to follow a linear feature and mark this on a map; How to record structural measurements on a map; How to record map data in the field; How to ink in a map to make a permanent record; How to keep a notebook to accompany a map, including practical solutions for linking locality information between the two.

    Related skills: How to construct a cross section in the field, How to construct a GVS in the field How to develop lithostratigraphy from lithology, geometry and younging evidence

    (LO4) General Transferable Skills. On successful completion of this module, students should have competence in: Teamwork through initial mapping training in small groups. Time and logistical management constrained by the need to meet regular deadlines and the often unpredictable nature of weather conditions. Conceptual problem solving through repeated observation, analysis and synthesis cycles. Fieldwork hazard assessment and safe conduct in mountain terrain. Graphical communication through the development of graphical representations of geology/geomorphology (map, section GVS).

    (S1) Adaptability

    (S2) Problem solving skills

    (S3) Teamwork

    (S4) Organisational skills

    (S5) Communication skills

    (S6) Leadership

  • Sedimentary Processes and Depositional Environments (ENVS219)
    Level2
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting40:60
    Aims

    Knowledge and skills
    To address aspects of physical, chemical and biological processes of sedimentation in the context of the depositional settings in which they operate. To provide students with the necessary skills and knowledge to understand and interpret structures and textures in sedimentary rocks, and for them to develop independent problem solving skills that allow them to interpret depositional environments from the rock record.

    Soft Skills and active learning
    Students should develop independent problem solving skills through the coursework component of the module. In addition, students will foster small group communication skills and confidence in their own abilities.
    This chimes with UoL C2026 priorities for learning and teaching.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Ability to describe how fluid flow governs sediment transport and bedform configuration

    (LO2) Ability to collect and analyse sedimentary information to infer sedimentary process

    (LO3) Ability to recognise a range of depositional environments from the sedimentary record

    (LO4) Ability to use sedimentary information to build facies models for depositional environments

    (LO5) Ability to synthesise sedimentary datasets to demonstrate spatial and temporal evolution of depositional systems

    (LO6) Understanding of how fossils can be used to build stratigraphy and interpret the geological record

    (S1) Problem solving skills

    (S2) Teamwork

    (S3) Organisational skills

  • Environmental Geophysics (ENVS258)
    Level2
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    This module aims to build on theory taught in ENVS216 through practical application of methods previously taught. In addition, fundamentals of remote sensing will be taught. The module will equip students with experience in a range of geophysical methods, carrying out surveys and associated data analysis and interpretation. How the various methods can be integrated will also be explored.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Students will be ready for field-based activity within industry through comprehension of the fundamentals of good survey practice in electrical, seismic, gravity and magnetic methods.

    (LO2) Students will comprehend the basics of remote sensing techniques and how to interpret images, including through the use of GIS.

    (LO3) Students will be able to interpret, both qualitatively and quantitatively, practical data derived from the application of field methods.

    (LO4) Students will be able to interpret graphs and remotely sensed data.

    (S1) Numeracy/computational skills - Problem solving

    (S2) Skills in using technology - Using common applications (work processing, databases, spreadsheets etc.)

    (S3) Working in groups and teams - Group action planning

    (S4) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Report writing

    (S5) Critical thinking and problem solving - Synthesis

    (S6) Information skills - Record-keeping

    (S7) competency in using a range of common geophysical surveying equipment

  • Geomorphology: Ice, Sea and Air (ENVS252)
    Level2
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
    Aims

    The module aims  to 1) develop an understanding of major geomorphic systems  and 2) how they create terrestrial landforms.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) On completion of this module the students will demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding ofthe functioning of major geomorphic processes

    (LO2) On completion of this module the students will demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of the relationship between geomorphic processes and climate

    (LO3) On completion of this module the students will demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of the magnitude, frequency and spatial scales and timescales under which geomorphic processes operate

    (LO4) On completion of this module the students will demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of the importance of linkages between geomorphic process, material and resulting landform (energy/material interaction).

    (S1) Field work: measuring and quantifying an observable process

    (S2) Group work: generating data through team work

    (S3) Field work: logging and mapping sediments in lateral and vertical succession

  • Soils, Slopes and the Environment (ENVS238)
    Level2
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
    Aims

    To understand the fundamental properties and characteristics of slopes and soils, understand slope and soil forming processes and evolution and to apply this knowledge to a number of pure and applied problems relating to slope and soil stability.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Describe the fundamental physical, chemical and biological properties of soils.

    (LO2) Use your knowledge of the fundamental physical, chemical and biological properties of soils to classify them

    (LO3) Understand the processes of soil formation.

    (LO4) Understand the factors that affect slope and soil stability

    (LO5) Explain the processes of soil erosion, why they vary in time and space, and describe how they shape the landscape.

    (LO6) Explain why landslides/mass movements occur.

    (S1) Teamwork

    (S2) Organisational skills

    (S3) Communication skills

    (S4) IT skills

    (S5) Problem solving skills

    (S6) Numeracy

    (S7) Leadership

  • Research Skills (geosciences) (ENVS200)
    Level2
    Credit level15
    SemesterWhole Session
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    This module aims to develop students' understanding and appreciation of the Geosciences as a contemporary academic discipline with applications in the real world;
    to develop students' skills of critical analysis and academic writing;  to support students' preparation for individual research projects;
    to develop students' study and personal transferable skills;
    to develop students' awareness of careers and employability.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Identify a research problem or subject and design an appropriate research strategy. Improves critical thinking (identifying a problem), project management skills, and own learning/performance.

    (LO2) Write a report in an academic style (technical English) with appropriate illustrations, citations and references. Improves critical thinking (analyse, evaluate and sythesise information) and communication skills.

    (LO3) Make an oral presentation to a small group  on a researched topic involving geology and ethics, improving communication skills and ethical awareness (linked to global citizenship attribute).

    (LO4) Develop employability skills through attending careers sessions.

    (LO5) Be competetent in advanced use of word processing, bibliographic and drawing software for production of research reports and final geological maps. Improves communication skills and own learning/performance.

    (LO6) Demonstrate competence in identifying hazards and risks associated with a future field-based independent project. Improves project management skills.

Year Two Optional Modules

  • Catchment Hydrology (ENVS217)
    Level2
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    The module aims to enable students to investigate and understand the main hydrological processes operating in drainage catchments in terms of their measurement, operation and controlling factors. The module will provide students with a 'hands-on' experience of both observing hydrology and modelling hydrological systems, with an emphasis on applied learning, which might be useful in a vocational sense in the future. The module will aim to deliver excellent training for students in the knowledge required to work in a wide variety of environmentally-facing careers, including those with the EA, Natural England or DEFRA, as well as Environmental Consultancies.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Describe the key hydrological components of the catchment system

    (LO2) Explain the main controlling factors on hydrological processes occurring within drainage catchments

    (LO3) Analyse and predict the response of catchments to rainfall events

    (LO4) Evaluate methods used to measure and predict river flows

  • Changing Environments (ENVS214)
    Level2
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting34:66
    Aims

    At the end of this module, students will have  a strong understanding of the mechanisms that have shaped our landscape over time; laboratory and computer skills to yield environmental reconstructions; a critical insight of the different techniques and methodologies for reconstructing past environments; an understanding of the importance to study the past to forecast future environmental change.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Students will have acquired theoretical knowledge of the global changes that have affected the Earth in the recent past.

    (LO2) Students will have acquired theoretical knowledge of the key characteristics of important depositional environments.

    (LO3) Students will have acquired theoretical knowledge of the major environmental indicators used  in these environments and the dating techniques.

    (LO4) Through practical work, students will have acquired practical knowledge of different laboratory techniques needed for environmental reconstruction.

    (S1) Problem solving skills

    (S2) Numeracy

    (S3) IT skills

    (S4) Communication skills

  • Structural Geology and Interpretation of Geological Maps (ENVS263)
    Level2
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
    Aims

    To develop an understanding of the geometric, kinematic and temporal relationships between similar and dissimilar structures.

    To develop an understanding of the role of finite strain in the analysis of selected geological structures.

    To develop an understanding of the role of stress in the analysis of selected geological structures.

    To develop, using examples, strategies for the analysis and interpretation of geological maps.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Know the common associations of small- and large - scale geological structures

    (LO2) Understand the principles of finite strain in two - and three - dimensions.

    (LO3) Understand the principles of stress in two - and three - dimensions.

    (LO4) Interpret kinematic indicators.

    (LO5) Explain the origins of selected geological structures using kinematic analyses and models.

    (LO6) Explain the origins of selected geological structures using dynamic analyses and models.

    (LO7) Determine the relative ages of pairs of geological structures.

    (LO8) Determine the stratigraphy and structure of an area from the information displayed on geological maps.

    (LO9) Determine and describe the geological history of an area from the information displayed on a geological map.

    (LO10) Construct appropriate diagrams from geological maps and other data that enable geometric and kinematic interpretations to be completed.

    (LO11) Construct valid deformation histories from the relative ages of pairs of geological structures.

    (LO12) Construct chronostratigraphic diagrams from the information displayed on geological maps.

    (LO13) Communicate using graphical techniques.

    (S1) Problem solving skills

    (S2) Adaptability

    (S3) Numeracy

    (S4) Communication Skills

  • Volcanology and Geohazards (ENVS284)
    Level2
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
    Aims

    To examine fundamentally contrasting magmatic systems and consider in each case the nature and origin of the volcanic activity;
    To consider the scientific basis for anticipation of geohazards and impact of volcanism on climate;
    To consider the objectives of risk mitigation strategies and their problems of implementation;
    To examine the problems of dealing with uncertainties on a range of time-scales, including geological time-scales, and to review statistical methods for semi-quantitative analysis;
    To consider the problems associated with volcanic risk mitigation and evaluate the role of the scientist in specific cases;
    To evaluate the media handling of geohazards and climate change, from the perspectives both of quality of science, ethics and moral issues.

    Learning Outcomes

    (L5-1) Explain key volcanological processes and concepts and critically assess their associated hazards.

    (L5-2) Integrate diverse primary evidence to construct and evaluate conceptual models of volcanic processes.

    (L5-3) Evaluate strategies for effective communication of scientific ideas and concepts with stakeholders, and critically assess the role of the media.

    (L5-4) Plan a laboratory experiment and use basic laboratory equipment to complete an experiment which tests scientific hypotheses.

    (L5-5) Demonstrate understanding of the nature, origins and possible outcomes of natural hazards and be able to evaluate risk mitigation strategies.

    (L5-6) Use numerical methods for risk quantification and dealing with uncertainty.

    (S1) Improving own learning/performance - Personal action planning

    (S2) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Following instructions/protocols/procedures

    (S3) Critical thinking and problem solving - Problem identification

    (S4) Numeracy/computational skills - Problem solving Skills

    (S5) Ethical awareness

    (S6) Organisational skills

Year Three Compulsory Modules

  • Applied Environmental Geoscience (ENVS331)
    Level3
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
    Aims

    This module aims to:
    1 Introduce students to the concept of applied environmental geoscience.
    2 Train students in the practice of environmental geoscience and introduce them to specific areas where environmental geoscience is applied and the key skills required for each.
    3 Teach students important transferable skills in applied environmental geoscience, data analysis, general numeracy, data visualisation, and preparation of a professional report.
    4 Give students experience of working with authentic professional datasets, providing valuable experience to take to their next career steps

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Develop and demonstrate knowledge and holistic understanding of the reasons that we need applied environmental Geoscience approaches to solve real-world problems.

    (LO2) Develop and demonstrate basic competence framing practical solutions to common applied environmental geoscience problems, including selection, costing and basic time planning of appropriate laboratory and field techniques.

    (LO3) Develop and demonstrate skills applying common geoscience methods, for example analysis of geological and topographic maps, geological cross sections, geochemical-compositional data geophysical remote sensing data, geochemical-isotopic data, geomechanical and soil mechanics data, hydrogeological data, and hydrological data to solve problems in Applied Environmental Geoscience.

    (LO4) Develop and demonstrate competence in using data from a wide variety of sources to solve real-world problems, including demonstration of understanding of the limitations and uncertainty inherent in use of methods and data.

    (LO5) Develop basic skill in communicating applied environmental geoscience methods, data, results and conclusions in a professional report format to address authentic environmental geoscience problems.

    (S1) Communication skills

    (S2) Problem solving skills

    (S3) Numeracy

    (S4) Ethical awareness

  • Applied Geology and Geohazards of the Canary Islands (ENVS375)
    Level3
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    To examine and evaluate the state-of-the-art aspects of advanced modern geology and geohazards, particularly where there has been recent innovation, controversy or popular concern.

    To integrate as far as possible, or to contrast, theoretical, numerical and experimental modelling with field observations and phenomenological studies.

    To foster critical appraisal of scientific presentations (e.g. research paper(s), report(s), media).

    To foster scientific teamwork, co-operation and development of consensus

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Explain and discuss recent models of certain key geological and geohazard processes critical to the current state of knowledge

    (LO2) Collect primary field data and use this to reconstruct geological depositional/emplacement processes and geohazards

    (LO3) Defend a research-level scientific case presented as an oral presentation

    (LO4) Critically review published literature

    (S1) Improving own learning/performance - Personal action planning

    (S2) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Following instructions/protocols/procedures

    (S3) Critical thinking and problem solving - Problem identification

    (S4) Ethical judgement

    (S5) Organisational skills

    (S6) Working with others through research-level scientific teamwork

  • Geophysics Field School (ENVS362)
    Level3
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    To provide, for geophysics  students, an understanding of:

    The application of geophysical theory to exploration and engineering targets.

    Practical use and evaluation of geophysical data, its acquisition, processing and interpretation.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) To develop knowledge of the response of geophysical instruments to a variety of targets.

    (LO2) To understand the physical principles, limitations and errors associated with geophysical data aquisition.

    (LO3) To synthesise and interpret geophysical data sets within the appropriate geological context.

    (LO4) To develop problem-solving skills analogous to working for a major exploration company or geophysical engineering company/consultancy, including planning, logistics, budgeting time and expenditure.

    (S1) Problem solving skills

    (S2) Teamwork

    (S3) Communication skills

    (S4) Adaptability (project management) and repeatability (notetaking)

    (S5) Use of professional grade geophysical software

  • Field Project and Dissertation (ENVS354)
    Level3
    Credit level30
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    For students to complete an independent field project involving creation of:
    field (and if appropriate, laboratory) notebook;
    other field data (e.g. cross sections, logs, stereonets, river data, glacial data);  
    a geological and/or geomorphological map;
    a final dissertation together with a final poster (often but not always a map) constructed from the field data.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Ability to plan and execute a piece of geological research in a responsible and safe manner

    (LO2) Ability to maintain a clear and accurate record of work and progress

    (LO3) Ability to describe the geology and/or geomorphology of an area based on independent investigation

    (LO4) Ability to critically evaluate and report upon scientific literature

    (LO5) Ability to integrate range of data sources to create coherent geological synthesis

    (LO6) Ability to appropriately communicate findings in a variety of formats (oral, written, graphical) to supervisor, research staff and peers

    (LO7) Ability to evaluate own performance and working standards by reflection, and place work in wider scientific context

    (S1) Problem solving skills

    (S2) Research management skills

    (S3) Organisational skills

    (S4) Communication skills

    (S5) IT skills

    (S6) Information literacy

Year Three Optional Modules

  • Geoenergy (ENVS337)
    Level3
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    This module aims to enable students to recognise different sedimentary basin types and determine how the formed.

    The module seeks to provide students with the ability to evaluate conventional petroleum reserves including an understanding of uncertainty.

    The module aims to train students in the collection and evaluation of industry standard data from subsurface core for the purposes of resource evaluation and the feasibility for geological carbon capture and storage.

    The module further seeks to develop skills in the synthesis, evaluation and reporting on a sedimentological, petrophysical and petrographic dataset from a real-world example, and use this knowledge to assess the economic viability of GeoEnergy systems.

    The module will equip students with high-level knowledge about the role and practical application of geoscience in the developing fields of geothermal energy and carbon capture and storage.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Ability to describe what the basin types are and the mechanics of their formation

    (LO2) Ability to describe and apply a workflow to calculate GeoEnergy reserves and appreciate the uncertainties inherent in the answer

    (LO3) Ability to collect industry-standard sedimentological information

    (LO4) Ability to synthesize, evaluate and report on a sedimentological, petrophysical and petrological dataset from a real-world example and use this knowledge to assess the economic viability of GeoEnergy systems.

    (S1) Problem solving skills

    (S2) Numeracy

    (S3) Teamwork

    (S4) Organisational skills

    (S5) Communication skills

    (S6) IT skills

    (S7) Leadership

    (S8) Ethical awareness

  • Mineral Resources (ENVS326)
    Level3
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    The module aims:

    To provide understanding of major types of mineral deposits through critical assessment of conceptual models of deposit forming processes;

    To synthesise the distribution of mineral deposits in space and time and to evaluate this in relation to overall Earth evolution;

    To develop an understanding of mineral exploration and resource estimation.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Successful students will be able to describe and explain the geological and geochemical processes responsible for the main types of mineral deposit: magmatic, hydrothermal, sedimentary.

    (LO2) Successful students will be able to describe the evidence for non-uniform distribution of mineral deposits in space and time and critically evaluate the reasons in relation to uniformitarian and non-uniformitarian processes and events in Earth history.

    (LO3) Successful students will be able to design an appropriate strategy for mineral exploration and use order of magnitude and dimensional analysis to quantify resource.

    (LO4) Successful students will be able to work effectively in a mineral exploration team and present results both orally and in executive report form.

    (S1) Commercial awareness

    (S2) Teamwork

    (S3) Communication skills

    (S4) Ethical awareness

    (S5) International awareness

    (S6) Problem solving skills

    (S7) Numeracy

  • The Living, Evolving Earth (ENVS320)
    Level3
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
    Aims

    To introduce evolutionary theory and how fossils contribute to the study of evolution;
    To provide an overview of the most important events in the history of life on Earth and an understanding of stratigraphy;
    To demonstrate the interconnectedness of life and the environment through geological time;
    To develop skills in the interpretation and manipulation of palaeontological and related data, and the synthesis of data and literature in producing coherent scientific argument.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) On successful completion of this module, students will understand how evolution occurs and how evolutionary relationships can be deduced from fossils

    (LO2) On successful completion of this module, students will understand the spatial and temporal controls on biodiversity and corresponding patterns in the fossil record

    (LO3) On successful completion of this module, students will understand the interconnectedness of life with the climate, atmosphere and oceans

    (LO4) On successful completion of this module, students will have an appreciation of the key events in the evolution of life on Earth

    (S1) Information literacy online - finding, interpreting, evaluating, managing and sharing information

    (S2) Learning skills online - studying and learning effectively in technology-rich environments, formal and informal

    (S3) Self-management - readiness to accept responsibility (i.e. leadership), flexibility, resilience, self-starting, initiative, integrity, willingness to take risks, appropriate assertiveness, time management, readiness to improve own performance based on feedback/reflective learning

    (S4) Team (group) working - respecting others, co-operating, negotiating / persuading, awareness of interdependence with others

    (S5) Research management - developing a research strategy, project planning and delivery, risk management, formulating questions, selecting literature, using primary/secondary/diverse sources, collecting & using data, applying research methods

    (S6) Problem solving/ critical thinking - creativity analysing facts and situations and applying creative thinking to develop appropriate solutions.

    (S7) Communication - listening and questioning, respecting others, contributing to discussions

    (S8) Application of literacy - ability to produce clear, structured written work and oral literacy - including listening and questioning

    (S9) Application of numeracy - manipulation of numbers, general mathematical awareness and its application in practical contexts

    (S10) Through data analysis and dicussion students will develop skills to analyse and criticise the methodology and conclusions in published work

  • Climate Change - A Critical Review (ENVS389)
    Level3
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting60:40
    Aims

    The module aims to provide students with the knowledge to evaluate likely outcomes climate change and climate variability over the next 10 to 50 years by understanding current climate variablity and the data and models available. To understand policy decisions at different levels, to obtain a critical understanding of climate predictions, and to understand the importance of reference to past (last 100 years) and present climates.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Evaluate a range of future climate change projections .

    (LO2) Recognise the likely impacts of climate change to a range of sectors.

    (LO3) Learn how to engage with stakeholder communities with regard to climate change. 

    (LO4) Produce effectively targeted report writing and visual communication.

    (LO5) Consider the multiple sector impact of climate change on societies

    (S1) Learning and studying, Developing autonomous learning and metacognition  decision making and prioritising tasks

    (S2) Communication in formats appropriate to the audience

    (S3) Awareness of responsibility as a local, national and international citizen with a global perspective

    (S4) Taking responsibility for learning and reflection upon that learning

  • Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology (ENVS338)
    Level3
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting70:30
    Aims

    One. To provide sound theoretical frameworks from and within which the strategies, methods and procedures used in engineering geology and hydrogeology can be developed and understood
    Two. To illustrate using selected topics key aspects of engineering geology and its applications in natural and built environments
    Three. To highlight the relationships between engineering geology and hydrogeology
    Four. To illustrate, using a case study, the application of engineering geology and hydrogeology to the assessment of stability in a natural system

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Describe and explain the principles of stress and its analysis in two and three dimensions

    (LO2) Describe and explain the mechanics of fracture and sliding

    (LO3) Describe quantitatively and semi-quantitatively recoverable and irrecoverable deformations and discriminate between them

    (LO4) Describe and explain how and why water moves andis stored in aquifers

    (LO5) Recognise the mechanics that underpin selected stability criteria

    (LO6) Evaluate the validity of a given stability criterion and assess its reliability in a given situation

    (LO7) Apply the principles of rock and soil mechanics to selected geomechanical systems

    (LO8) Evaluate hydrogeological properties of aquifers and aquicludes using a variety of approaches

    (LO9) Prepare and use Mohr circles to represent and analyse states of stress

    (LO10) Use Mohr diagrams to investigate the mechanics of fracture and sliding

    (LO11) Determine, using industry standard tests, the strengths of rock samples and from experiment, the rheological properties of analogue materials

    (LO12) Determine using a variety of techniques the hydraulic conductivity of aquifers and predict patterns and rates of water flow in the subsurface

    (LO13) Design, implement and summarise a field-based investigation of an engineering geological problem

  • Introduction to Quaternary Micropalaeontology (ENVS342)
    Level3
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    This module seeks to provide an appreciation and understanding of the methods and techniques used in micropalaeontology that will enable students to have an insight in a research field that is highly relevant for environmental sciences as well as geosciences, including palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology and palaeoceanography.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Have a strong understanding of biological proxies that are used to reconstruct Quaternary environments

    (LO2) Be able to identify at a generic level marine and terrestrial key microfossils

    (LO3) Understand principles of uniformitarianism and palaeoecology

    (LO4) Understand and apply principles of quantitative reconstructions of past conditions

    (LO5) Understand limitations of the proxies

    (S1) Numeracy

    (S2) Research skills

    (S3) Laboratory procedures

    (S4) Communication skills

    (S5) Problem solving skills

  • Simulating Environmental Systems (ENVS397)
    Level3
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    This module aims to:
    Provide a broad overview of the range of numerical forward models in the environmental sciences, how they are applied, and why they are important.
    Train students in the concepts and techniques required to construct and use numerical forward models of environmental systems using a high-level programming language such as Matlab and Python.
    Introduce students to the development and use of numerical forward models as an experimental tool that can be used to better understand and predict how environmental systems work.
    Teach students important transferable skills in coding, general numeracy, and data and model visualisation.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) On successful completion of this module students should have knowledge and basic understanding of the range and diversity of numerical forward model used in the environmental sciences, why they are important, and how they are useful to better understand and predict how environmental systems work.

    (LO2) On successful completion of this module students should be able to understand provided examples, and construct and code their own examples, of basic algorithms using a high-level programming language, for example Matlab or Python.

    (LO3) On successful completion of this module students should be able to translate simple conceptual ideas and data on how selected environmental systems work into the key elements of a simple representative numerical forward model written in a high-level programming language, for example Matlab or Python.

    (S1) Science communication skills

    (S2) Problem solving skills

    (S3) Numeracy

The programme detail and modules listed are illustrative only and subject to change.


Teaching and Learning

Teaching takes place through lectures, practicals, workshops, seminars, tutorials and fieldwork, with an emphasis on learning through doing. The award-winning Central Teaching Laboratories, provide a state-of-the-art facility for undergraduate practical work. Students value the learning opportunities provided by field classes, including the rapid and detailed feedback on performance.

You will typically receive 15-20 hours of formal teaching each week, and complete between 50 and 100 days of residential fieldwork over the course of their programme. In Years Three and Four you will carry out independent research projects on a topic and location of your choice. All projects are supervised by a member of staff who will meet with you on a weekly, or more frequent, basis.

A number of the School’s degree programmes involve laboratory and field work. The field work is carried out in various locations, ranging from inner city to coastal and mountainous environments. We consider applications from prospective students with disabilities on the same basis as all other students, and reasonable adjustments will be considered to address barriers to access.