Geology and Geophysics MESci (Hons)

Key information


earth-sci-1

Module details

Due to the impact of COVID-19 we are changing how the course is delivered.

Programme Year One

A strong feature of Year One is the acquisition of fundamental skills in Maths, Geology and Geoscience, supported by an integrated approach to transferable skills conveyed through the tutorial system.

Fieldwork involves:

  • 1 day in North England (Autumn)
  • 8 days in Pembrokeshire (Easter)

Year One Compulsory Modules

  • 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.

  • Introduction to Sedimentary Rocks and Fossils (ENVS118)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
    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 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

  • Mathematics for Physicists I (PHYS107)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting60:40
    Aims

    To provide a foundation for the mathematics required by physical scientists. To assist students in acquiring the skills necessary to use the mathematics developed in the module.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) A good working knowledge of differential and integral calculus

    (LO2) Familiarity with some of the elementary functions common in applied mathematics and science

    (LO3) An introductory knowledge of functions of several variables

    (LO4) Manipulation of complex numbers and use them to solve simple problems involving fractional powers

    (LO5) An introductory knowledge of series

    (LO6) A good rudimentary knowledge of simple problems involving statistics: binomial and Poisson distributions, mean, standard deviation, standard error of mean

    (S1) Problem solving skills

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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 histories.

    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 indenpendent research and reading into your studeies.
    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

  • Mathematics for Physicists II (PHYS108)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting60:40
    Aims

    To consolidate and extend the understanding of mathematics required for the physical sciences. To develop the student’s ability to apply the mathematical techniques developed in the module to the understanding of physical problems.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Ability to manipulate matrices with confidence and use matrix methods to solve simultaneous linear equations.

    (LO2) Familiarity with methods for solving first and second order differential equations in one variable.

    (LO3) A basic knowledge of vector algebra.

    (LO4) A basic understanding of Fourier series and transforms.

    (LO5) A basic understanding of series methods for the solution of differential equations

    (S1) Numeracy

    (S2) Problem solving skills

    (S3) Teamwork

Programme Year Two

In Year Two, students build on their skill set through further modules in Geology, while building on fundamental Physics and Mathematics. A strong feature of Year Two is the introduction of Geophysics modules in applied geophysics and seismology.

Fieldwork involves:

  • 15 days Geological Mapping Training in Spain (Easter)

Year Two Compulsory Modules

  • Geophysical Mathematics and Potential Theory (ENVS201)
    Level2
    Credit level15
    SemesterWhole Session
    Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
    Aims

    To provide mathematical training required for geophysical research, with a specific focus on:

    Mathematical methods, providing a bridge between Year One mathematics courses and geophysical applications in Year Three and Four.

    The application of these methods, with particular emphasis on applied potential theory (gravity and magnetic methods).

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Knowledge of mathematical methods appropriate for geophysical science.

    (LO2) Advanced knowledge and understanding of the concepts of gravity and magnetic field potentials, fundamental mathematical framework of potential field theory, and application to data manipulation and interpretation.

    (LO3) The ability to manipulate gravitational and magnetic data using potential field theory.

    (LO4) Report writing from practical exercise, involving synthesising and presenting key conclusions rather than a simple practical report - to mimic professional reporting.

    (S1) Problem solving skills

    (S2) Numeracy

    (S3) Communication skills

    (S4) IT skills

    (S5) Application of literacy, ability to produce clear, structured written work and oral literacy - including listening and questioning

  • Field Mapping Techniques (ENVS269)
    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-dimensual visualization of geological/geomorphological relationships and developing geometrical models;

    analysis and synthesis of discrete observations to build an overall solution (map and interpreation 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

  • Exploration 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

  • Minerals, Magmas and Igneous Geochemistry (ENVS247)
    Level2
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting75:25
    Aims

    To introduce and consolidate understanding of rock forming minerals and their properties;

    To examine mineral occurrence and environments;

    To consider the physical and chemical properties of magmas, how compositions of magmas are changed, and how magma emplacement history is recorded in rock texture;

    To use standard geochemical diagrams to classify igneous rocks and model the evolution of magmatic systems;

    To engage with new and emerging ideas in the mineralogical, igneous petrology and economic geology literature;

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Use the properties of common rock-forming minerals identified using a hand lens and a polarising microscope to classify and interpret common rocks

    (LO2) Be able to observe, record, interpret and present descriptive information on minerals and their properties, and interpret mineral environments, physical and geochemical processes

    (LO3) Be able to infer conditions and processes of emplacement and comment on economic resources through igneous rock texture and plotting/analysing standard geochemical graphs

    (LO4) Use basic laboratory equipment to plan and complete an experiment to collect and analyse high quality data

    (LO5) Work with geochemical data using Microsoft Excel and specialist geochemical plotting software

    (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)

  • 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

  • Dynamics and Relativity (PHYS101)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting70:30
    Aims

    To introduce the fundamental concepts and principles of classical mechanics at an elementary level. To introduce the postulates of Special Relativity and apply the Lorentz transformations.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Demonstrate a basic knowledge of the laws of classical mechanics and Special Relativity.

    (LO2) Understand physical quantities with magnitudes, directions (where applicable), units and uncertainties.

    (LO3) Apply the laws of mechanics to statics, linear motion, motion in a plane, rotational motion, and gravitation.

    (LO4) Apply the laws of relativity to linear motion.

    (LO5) Develop a knowledge and understanding of the analysis of non-relativistic linear and rotational motion and of relativistic linear motion.

    (LO6) Develop a knowledge and understanding of the non-relativistic analysis of orbits and gravity.

    (S1) Problem solving skills.

    (S2) Analytic skills applied to situations involving mechanical systems.

  • Metamorphism and Crustal Evolution (ENVS212)
    Level2
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting60:40
    Aims

    To introduce metamorphic rocks and the ways in which they form, to develop observational skills in relation to metamorphic rocks, and to show how they relate to other parts of geology. To convey the detailed techniques used for studying mineral assemblages in metamorphic rocks, to illustrate these in relation to contact and regional metamorphic case studies, and to discuss the large scale patterns of metamorphic rocks in terms of burial, erosion and overprinting.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) To recall and explain the basic nomenclature and concepts used in metamorphism

    (LO2) To use and explain graphical, pictorial and numerical techniques related to metamorphic study

    (LO3) Ability to describe and identify common metamorphic minerals and textures in hand specimen and/or using the microscope

    (LO4) Ability to interpret common metamorphic minerals and textures from individual observations, diagrams and basic concepts

    (LO5) To recall and explain the origins of large scale metamorphic patterns from for example burial, heating, erosion and overprinting, ultimately linked to plate tectonic setting

    (LO6) To recall and explain how the evolution of a particular mountain belt involves the links between metamorphism and other geological processes

    (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)

  • Seismology and Computing (ENVS229)
    Level2
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    Understanding fundamentals of theoretical and observational seismology;
    Familiarization with basic programming;
    Understanding of and ability to analyse various seismological data sets.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Knowledge and Understanding: On successful completion of this module students should have knowledge of and understand fundamentals of seismology and its applications.

    (LO2) Knowledge and Understanding: On successful completion of this module students should have knowledge of and familiarity in programming in MATLAB.

    (LO3) Subject Based Practical Skills:  On successful completion of this module, students should be able to (a) apply theory and methods to seismological data, analyse seismological data (b) program in MATLAB.

    (LO4) On successful completion of this module, students should have developed their core transferable skills in: (a) communication (written); (b) numeracy through practicals and homework; (c) teamwork in practicals; (d) IT literacy, including programming skills, through practical classes; and (e) time management through completing practical classes and homework.

    (S1) Computer Programming

    (S2) Critical thinking and problem solving - Creative thinking

    (S3) Time and project management - Personal organisation

Programme Year Three

In Year Three, students focus on advanced Geology and Geophysics, with core modules in seismic analysis, field geology and applied geophysics. A range of geophysics modules are taken, including topics in global geophysics and geodynamics, and earthquake and volcano seismology. Students undertake a geological field project and dissertation (35 days fieldwork in the summer between Years Two and Three, with dissertation write-up in Semester One, Year Three).

Fieldwork includes:

  • 13 days Advanced Field Techniques in Donegal in the summer between Years Two and Three.

Year Three Compulsory Modules

  • Global Geophysics and Geodynamics (level M) (ENVS598)
    LevelM
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
    Aims

    To impart an advanced understanding of lithospheric-scale active tectonics, and the ability to carry out mathematical calculations to understand and analyse tectonic processes;

    To introduce the students to advanced topics and research frontiers in core/mantle dynamics and evolution;

    To improve MATLAB/python programming skills initially acquired in ENVS229;

    To develop advanced skills appropriate to understanding and communicating peer-reviewed research literature with a focus on synthesising information from multiple sources.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Describe and explain principles and details of active tectonic processes

    (LO2) Apply mathematical methods to describe tectonic processes

    (LO3) Describe and explain current theories and controversies regarding the dynamics of Earth from its surface to core and the methods used to study these topics.

    (LO4) Synthesise information from multiple sources to create a coherent and sophisticated description of our knowledge of deep Earth processes and the uncertainty inherent to these.

    (S1) Numeracy

    (S2) Critical analysis and synthesis

    (S3) Programming

    (S4) Communication – written & oral

  • Advanced Geology Field Techniques (ENVS351)
    Level3
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    The module is based on a series of projects concerned with a range of geological phenomena. The aim of this module is to develop a student’s capability for independent detailed and sophisticated field analysis of rocks and relationships related to these phenomena.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) 1a. On successful completion of this module, students will know in detail some of the key events in the geological history of County Donegal.

    (LO2) 2a. On successful completion of this module, students will be able to undertake the reconnaissance of an area and identify the important geological processes that have operated.

    (LO3) 2b. On successful completion of this module, students will be able to plan, implement and report on a detailed geological analysis, including the following stages: (1) data collection, (2) interpretation, (3) synthesis, (4) evaluation, (5) planning. During the data collection phase, appropriate techniques must be identified, applied and, where necessary, refined or adapted to suit local circumstances.

    (LO4) 3a. On successful completion of this module, students will have developed a capability for detailed and sophisticated field analysis of rocks and the processes that formed them.

    (LO5) 3b. On successful completion of this module, students will be able to integrate geological information from a range of sources to produce a geological history.

    (LO6) 3c. On successful completion of this module, students will have the ability to maintain a personal field notebook at an advanced level.

    (LO7) 4a. On successful completion of this module, students will have developed their ability to manage their time both as individuals and as part of a group.

    (LO8) 4b. On successful completion of this module, students will have developed their ability to report and discuss verbally their observations and interpretations.

    (LO9) 4c. On successful completion of this module, students will have developed their ability to communicate graphically their observations, interpretatiopns and conclusions.

    (S1) Problem solving skills

    (S2) Teamwork

    (S3) Leadership

    (S4) Adaptability

    (S5) Organisational skills

    (S6) Communication 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 learn fundamentals of good survey practice in electrical, seismic, gravity and magnetic methods to make them ready for field-based activity with industry.

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

    (LO3) To interpret, both qualitatively and quantitatively, practical data derived from the application of field methods.

    (LO4) 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

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

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

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Ability to describe the geology and/or geomorphology of an area based on independent investigation

    (LO2) Ability to interpret the data related to that area to create a model for the evolution of the area

    (LO3) Ability to synthesise the geological and/or geomorphological history of that area, referring to (but not relying upon) previous literature

    (LO4) Ability to report on project in an oral presentation.

    (LO5) Ability to report on the project in a written dissertation

    (LO6) Ability to integrate range of data sources to create coherent geological synthesis.

    (LO7) Ability to assess resource potential of studied rocks and offshore equivalents.

    (S1) 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, applying ethics

    (S2) 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

    (S3) Organisational skills

  • Applied Earthquake and Volcano Seismology (ENVS388)
    Level3
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    To provide the students with:

    - A thorough understanding of the challenges and practices in collecting and analyzing Geophysical time series

    - Knowledge of the wide variety of earthquake signals that occur in nature, including volcanic seismic sources and non-volcanic tremors

    - Knowledge of the structure of the Earth in tectonically active regions, and volcanic and geothermal areas.Understanding of the methods to infer the Earth’s structure using seismic data.

    - Understanding the temporal and spatial evolution of seismicity before, during, and after large earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Outline knowledge of the use of this information in early warning and hazard mitigation schemes.

    - Knowledge of mechanical models for earthquake and volcano deformation,and their validation using geophysical observations

    - Understanding of surface volcanic processes by means of geophysical data analyses and numerical modeling

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Knowledge and Understanding.  After successful completion of thismodule the students will be able to:understand and discuss the fundamentalsof the theory of elasticity and seismic wave propagationappreciate the approximations made indescribing seismic sourcesunderstand the fundamentals of deterministic and probabilistic seismic hazardassessmentunderstand volcanic processes and their seismic/geophysical signaturebe familiar with earthquake and volcano monitoring practicebe able to use seismic and other geophysical data to evaluate volcanicunrest and produce eruption forecastsbe able to perform computer-based statistical analyses of seismic data

    (LO2) Intellectual Abilities.  On successful completion of this module,students should have developed their skills in:communication (written and verbal)numeracy through practicals and assessmentteamwork in practicals/group presentationsIT literacy, including programming skills, through practicalstime management through practicals and homework

    (LO3) Subject Based Practical Skills.  On completion of this module, students should have developed competence in: Manipulation, reduction and interpretation of geophysical data. Modeling of various geophysical processes using computer software packages.  

    (LO4) General transferrable skills. Numeracy, graphical presentation, word processing, software, computer literacy

    (S1) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills – oral

    (S2) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills - written

    (S3) Critical thinking and problem solving - Creative thinking

    (S4) Working in groups and teams - Time management

  • Sedimentary Processes and Depositional Environments (ENVS219)
    Level2
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
    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 C2021 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

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

  • 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

    (S1) Problem solving skills

    (S2) Numeracy

    (S3) Teamwork

    (S4) Communication skills

    (S5) Ethical awareness

Programme Year Four

In Year Four, students focus on advanced Geophysics, with core modules in seismic analysis, data modelling, and applied geophysics (Tenerife Fieldwork). Optional modules in a range of modules include topics in engineering geology, orogenic evolution (field class) and current issues in Earth Science. Students also undertake a field, laboratory or computer-based geophysics research project for the duration of their final year.

Fieldwork:

  • 14 days in Tenerife

Year Four Compulsory Modules

  • Signal Processing and Seismic Analysis (ENVS343)
    Level3
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
    Aims

    To provide an understanding of the theory and fundamental principles of signal processing;

    To provide an understanding of the principal signal processing techniques and their applications to seismic reflection, refraction and passive seismological time series;

    To gain familiarity with the industry standard reflection seismic workflow.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) To be able to apply signal processingtechniques to problems in reflection, refraction, and passive seismology.

    (LO2) To identify problems inseismic processing which can be solved by signal processing techniques andevaluate the uncertainties in processed seismic sections.

    (LO3) To be able to use a compuer based seismic processing system and understand the fundamentals of a seismic processing work flow.

    (LO4) To be able to develop signal processing routines in MATLAB and graphical cimmunicate the results.

    (LO5) To gain an understanding of the principle theory and routines of signal processing.

    (S1) Problem solving skills

    (S2) IT skills

    (S3) Numeracy

    (S4) Communication skills

  • Geophysical Data Modelling (ENVS586)
    LevelM
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
    Aims

    Ability to create of geophysical models from data.

    Practical experience in inversion of mathematically linear problems with knowledge of how to approach more general nonlinear problems.

    Understanding of the limitations of such models and how they should be interpreted, with particular reference to model non-uniqueness and instability.

    Optimisation theory and its application to interpretation of geophysical models.

    Integration of concepts of resolution and error estimation for practical problems.

    Time series analysis with non-Fourier methods. Understanding of basic statistics, confidence, implications of hypothesis testing.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Knowledge and understanding of    eigenvalue analysis and its application to data analysis; implications of model existence, uniqueness for interpretation; basic statistics, including confidence testing, central limit theory

    (LO2) Interpretation of statistical results, geophysical modelling of real data set, amd understanding and application of concepts of resolution, error estimation, and quantification of model quality (and of its limitations.

    (LO3) Inverting a large data set to give a geophysical model, and time series analysis from optimisation.

    (LO4) Programming skills, including fluency in a unix/linux operating system, and shell programming.

    (S1) Problem solving skills

    (S2) Numeracy

    (S3) Communication skills

    (S4) IT skills

  • Geophysics Field School (ENVS562)
    LevelM
    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.

    Critical analysis, synthesis and interpretation of a broad mix of geophysical data to a level suitable for publication.

    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 multiple complex 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.

    (LO5) To develop skills in advanced scientific writing as required for publication in international peer-review journals.

    (S1) Problem solving skills

    (S2) Teamwork

    (S3) Communication skills

    (S4) Adaptability

    (S5) Use of professional grade geophysical software

  • Geophysical Project (level M) (ENVS400)
    LevelM
    Credit level60
    SemesterWhole Session
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    To provide a research level training in a specific geophysical subject area, and for the student to utilise this training in pursuing significant independent work. The aspiration is that this work if successful will be of publishable quality.

    To develop skills in presenting data and ideas visually, verbally and in written form.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Demonstrate an ability to locate research literature and to evaluate its relevance to own research project

    (LO2) Demonstrate the ability to define the nature of scientific problems, and determine methods to approach and solve these problems, using (and where necessary extending) standard techniques.

    (LO3) Denonstrate the ability to acquire and evaluate data, and formulate hypotheses in a critical manner

    (LO4) Demonstrate a high-level knowledge of a specific field of geophysics

    (LO5) Demonstrate competence in audio-visual presentation

    (LO6) Demonstrate competance in the organisation and writing of word-processed scientific reports

    (LO7) Demonstrate competence in producing a short paper appropriate for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

    (S1) Problem solving skills

    (S2) Numeracy

    (S3) Teamwork

    (S4) Communication skills

    (S5) IT skills

    (S6) Organisational skills

Year Four Optional Modules

  • Current Issues in Earth Science (ENVS440)
    LevelM
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    This module aims to train students in high-level critical thinking, independent learning and the ability to effectively communicate scientific data with a variety of stakeholders (public versus company). We want to arm students with better analytical and communication skills, which are key to being effective in the workplace, academia and wider world. This will create graduates who can work in a broad range of jobs that require these skills.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Knowledge and Understanding

    On successful completion of this module, students will have:

    gained an in-depth, research-level, knowledge and understanding of the topics chosen for group and individual study;

    learned how to read and understand material published in the highest level scientific literature.

    (LO2) Intellectual Abilities

    On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

    Independently research a topic of societal and scientific importance;

    Critically analyse data;

    Debate ethical issues surrounding geoscience topics.

    (LO3) Subject Based Practical Skills

    On successful completion of this module, students will have competence in:

    Oral presentations.

    High-level scientific writing.

    Consultancy report writing.

    (LO4) Communication skills

    On successful completion of this module, students will have competence in:

    Public (layman) communication of science issues;

    Professional consultancy (i.e. industry-facing) communication strategies.

    (S1) Communication skills

    On successful completion of this module, students will have competence in:

    Public-facing outreach communication strategies;

    Professional consultancy (i.e. industry-facing) communication strategies.

  • Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology (ENVS538)
    LevelM
    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, explain and evaluate the principles of stress and its analysis in two - and three - dimensions

    (LO2) Describe, explain and evaluate the mechanical models 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 and is stored in aquifers

    (LO5) Explain and critically assess the mechanics that underpin selected stability criteria

    (LO6) Evaluate the validity of stability criteria and assess their reliability in a different situations

    (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

    (S1) Problem solving skills

    (S2) Numeracy

    (S3) Teamwork

    (S4) Communication skills

    (S5) Ethical awareness

  • Basins to Mountains Fieldclass (ENVS574)
    LevelM
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting60:40
    Aims

    In-depth appraisal of models concerned with orogenic evolution: structural, metamorphic, geophysical and sedimentological. A chosen geotraverse will be used as a case study. Particular emphasis concerns appreciation of inter-relations of theoretical, experimental and observationally based modelling. Evolution of structures at different metamorphic grades. In depth appraisal of models concerned with explaining the formation of marine to subaerial sedimentary basins during shortening. Field appraisal of evidence for basin development controlled by orogenesis. Fostering of capability to create a synthesis of diverse models and disparate data.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Fostering of capability to create a synthesis of diverse models and disparate data.

    (LO2) Evolution of structures at different metamorphic grades.

    (LO3) In depth appraisal of models concerned with explaining the formation of marine to subaerial sedimentary basins during shortening.

    (LO4) Wider appraisal of evidence for basin development controlled by orogenesis.

    (S1) On successful completion of this module the student should: Be advanced problem solvers through undertaking a research-level appraisal of a major geoscientific thesis, assessing relevant field evidence bearing on the proposition, synthesising the current state of knowledge and limitations to understanding, and devising appropriate strategies for advancement of understanding

    (S2) On successful completion of this module the student should: a. Be able to evaluate complex and disparate sets of data for their bearing on models proposed to explain elements of orogenesis. b. Be able to analyse conflicting scientific propositions, highlighting strengths and weaknesses, and applying data suitable for resolving uncertainty.

    (S3) On successful completion of this module the student should: a. Know the overall history of a key chosen orogenic belt, and the types of data sets that underpin this. b. Understand the nature and origins of models (possibly conflicting) for structural, metamorphic and sedimentological evolution during orogenesis, and know the strengths and weaknesses of each. c. Understand how the processes during orogenesis link to the earth system and earth resources.

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.