Geology (North America) MESci (Hons) Add to your prospectus

  • Opportunity to study for a year in China Offers a Year in China
  • This degree is accreditedAccredited

Key information


  • Course length: 4 years
  • UCAS code: F603
  • Year of entry: 2018
  • Typical offer: A-level : AAB / IB : 35 / BTEC : Not accepted
earth-sci-1

Module details

Programme Year One

Year One aims to provide a comprehensive introduction to core disciplines in geoscience assuming no prior knowledge of the subject. A strong feature of Year One is the development of transferable skills (e.g. Geographical Information Systems [GIS], IT, essay writing, oral communication), integrated within a tutorial system. Tutorials are run by academic staff.

Students take the six compulsory modules and choose two optional modules as outlined below.

Fieldwork involves:

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

Students take the six compulsory modules and choose two optional modules as outlined below.

Year One Compulsory Modules

  • Study Skills and Gis (earth Science) (ENVS101)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterWhole Session
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims
    1. ​To develop essential study and disciplinary skills required by Environmental Scientists, both for their current studies and future employment.

      • Introduce students to key approaches/concepts and ideas in the Earth Sciences
      • To help students identify and effectively employ appropriate sources of data and information
      • Develop students'' study skills and provide essential training for subsequent years
      • Develop students'' personal transferable skills.
    2. To introduce the application of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to Environmental Science 

    3. To introduce students to computer programming.
    Learning Outcomes

    Record field observations and ideas, and write a reflective account.

    ​Plan and structure written work to University standard.

    ​Demonstrate basic GIS interpretation and analysis techniques.

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

    ​Develop programming skills for use in later modules.

    ​Develop employability skills through a CV and application letter exercise.

    ​Develop ability to communicate science in a small group.

    ​Demonstrate understanding of UoL Academic Integrity policy.

  • 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

    ​1. 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.

    ​2. 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.

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

    ​4. On successful completion of this module, students should be able to perform sedimentary analysis through the construction and interpretation of sedimentary logs.
    ​5. On successful completion of this module, students should be able to perform geometrical analysis of geological structures through the use of stereonets.

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

    ​7. 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.

    ​8. On successful completion of this module, students should be able to summarize the geological history of Pembrokeshire, derived from the synthesis of multiple days of field observations and interpretations.

  • Earth Structure and Plate Tectonics (ENVS112)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting75:25
    AimsTo introduce students to the structure and composition of the Earth, the Earth’s gravitational and magnetic fields, and dynamics within the deep Earth.

    To introduce students to the physics of Earth material and the geological time scale.

    To introduce students to plate tectonics.
    Learning Outcomes

      1. Knowledge and Understanding
     

    On completion of this module, students should:

    a. Have concepts and knowledge of whole Earth structure and composition, Earth’s gravity and magnetic fields, and dynamic processes within the mantle and core.

    b. Have concepts and knowledge of the physical properties and behaviour of Earth material.

    c. Have concepts and knowledge of the geological time scale and radiometric dating methods.

    d. 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.

      2. Intellectual Abilities
     

    On completion of this module, students shouldbe able:

    a. to explain and evaluate the relationships between Earth structure, composition, physical behaviour and Earth dynamics;

    b. to explain and evaluate the relationships between plate tectonics and geological and geophysical processes and observations in the major plate tectonic settings.

      3. Subject Based Practical Skills
     

    On completion of this module, students should:

    a. be able to manipulate geological and geophysical data to help understand Earth structure and processes.

      4. General Transferable Skills
     

    On completion of this module, students should have developed their skills in:

    a. problem solving including simple numerical problems;
    b. numeracy through completion of assignments;
    c. Information synthesis and collation;
    d. time management through regular assignment deadlines.

  • Minerals, Magmas and Volcanoes (ENVS115)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting40:60
    Aims

    To introduce the petrological microscope
    To introduce the main rock forming minerals
    To examine the origins of Earth''s magmas, igneous rocks and volcanoes.
    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 examine the physical processes of the main types of volcanic activity and the associated hazards.
    To introduce volcanic hazards awareness and principles of risk mitigation.

    Learning Outcomes

    Knowledge and understanding​

    On successful completion of this module, students should: a. Know the properties of common rock-forming minerals;
    b. Understand common classification schemes for minerals and rocks;
    c. Understand how minerals may be interpreted to infer geological conditions and processes.
    d. Understand the nature, origins and possible outcomes of magmatic activity.
    e. Understand processes of magma compositional change, and know how magmas and igneous rocks are classified.
    f. Recognise common magmatic rocks in hand specimen and under the microscope.
    g. Understand the physical and chemical processes and conditions that govern the spectrum of volcanic eruption styles, and know how volcanic activity is classified.
    h. Understand the impact of volcanism on society and environment.

    Intellectual abilities

    On successful completion of this module, students should have developed the ability to: a. Design a strategy for identifying minerals in hand specimen and thin section.
    b. Be able to analyse magmatic rocks and make simple deductions concerning magmatic history.
    c. Be able to observe, record, interpret and present descriptive information regarding volcanic activity.
    d. Be able to solve problems concerning physical processes and the environment.
    e. Be able to infer conditions and processes of emplacement and cooling from rock texture.

    Subject base practical skillsOn successful completion of this module students should: a. Be able to use a hand lens and a petrological microscope;
    b. Be able to make proper drawings of minerals seen in hand specimen and thin section.
    c. Be able to use simple techniques of visualisation and numeracy to solve volcanological problems.
    d. Competently use the petrological microscope to record textural information and unravel magmatic process.

  • Introduction to Sedimentary Rocks and Fossils (ENVS118)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting75:25
    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

    ​1. 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.

    ​2. 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 processs and, to a lesser extent, environment.

    ​3. On successful completion of this module, a student will be able to describe, name and identify and interpret the main features of common fossils.

    4. 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.
  • Introduction to Structural Geology and Geological Maps (ENVS156)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting80:20
    Aims

    To introduce small- and large-scale geological structures.

    To introduce the principles of stress and strain.

    To introduce stereographic projection techniques.

    To use synthetic and real topographic and geological maps to teach a basic understanding of geological maps as representations of geometry and stratigraphy.

    Learning Outcomes
      1. Knowledge and Understanding
     

    On the successful completion of this module students should:

    a. know the geometry and nomenclature of geological structures;

    b. understand the appropriate classification schemes for geological structures;

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

    d. recognising common geological map patterns and elements.

    e. understanding geological map conventions

    f. understanding that 3D geometry can be interpreted from map data.

    g. stratigraphic concepts as applied to maps

      2. Intellectual Abilities
     

    On the successful completion of this module students should:

    a. have developed strategies for the description and identification of geological structures;

    b. have an appreciation of stress and strain.

    c. be able to visualise the 3D interaction of geological surfaces with topography

    d. be able to synthesise a sequence of events from information on a geological map

      3. Subject Based Practical Skills
     

    On the successful completion of this module students should be competent in:

    a. the use of the compass-clinometer;

    b. the plotting and manipulation of orientation data using stereographic projection;

    c. the portrayal of three-dimensional structures in two-dimensions;

    d. the interpretation of two-dimensional representations of three-dimensional structures.

    e. use of topographic maps: including finding and reading grid references, reading distances and directions, reading topography using contours.

    f. the use of structure contours, to map the 3D shape of geologically important surfaces

    g. construction of cross sections and generalised vertical successions from geological maps.

    h. use of the compass clinometer for recording bearings

      4. General Transferable Skills
     

    On the successful completion of this module students should have:

    a. learnt, by example, how to use textbooks to support their studies.

    b. practical use of topographic and geological maps.

    c. ability to work neatly and legibly on maps

Year One Optional Modules

  • Climate, Atmosphere and Oceans (ENVS111)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting80:20
    Aims

    Introduce the climate system, the atmosphere and ocean:

    • Address how the climate system varies and how climate is controlled by radiative forcing;
    • 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.
    • How the past state of the climate system is affected by the ocean circulation
    Learning Outcomes

    1. 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.​

    2. Intellectual Abilities
     

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

    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.​

    3. Subject Based Practical Skills
     

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

    b. Understand the use of dimensions.​

    ​​​​​​

    4. General Transferable Skills
     

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

    b. Time management.

    c. Problem solving.​

  • Mathematics and Physics for Environmental Scientists (ENVS117)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
    Aims

    To provide students with   

    1) A grounding in the basic physics relevant to processes in the atmosphere, ocean and solid earth.

    2) Practical experience in the application of mathematical methods to the solution of problems in physical processes in the environment.

    Learning Outcomes

    ​At the end of the module a student shoudl be able to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the basic physics relevant to processes in the atmosphere, ocean and solid earth.

    ​At the end of the module the student should be able to      

    a) judge which is the correct formula or equation to use under particular circumstances.

    b) demonstrate skills in the application of mathematical methods to the solution of problems in physical processes in the environment

    At the end of the module a student should be able to      

    a) do simple estimations by hand

    b) do arithmetic using a calculator

    c) rearrange algebraic formulae to make the required quantity the subject

    d) insert values in a formula and calculate the correct answer

    e) sketch simple mathematical curves by inspection of the formula

    f) differentiate and integrate simple mathematical functions

  • Environmental Chemistry (ENVS153)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
    Aims

    This module aims to provide a basic understanding of chemistry relevant for environmental sciences.


    Learning Outcomes

    a. describe the structure of an atom, its electronic configuration and predict some of its chemical behaviour based on its position in the periodic table;​

    ​b. understand the inter andintramolecular forces that bond molecules and atoms together to form "matter", and thusexplain why for instance water is a liquid atroom temperature while oxygen is a gas;​

    ​c. name chemical compounds, write balanced chemical reactions and understand howthe amount of products and reactants can be predicted;​

    ​d. understand whatoxidation numbers and redox reactions are and relate those to someenvironmental processes;

    ​e. understand basics of aquatic chemistry such aspH, concentration, dilution; understand energy changes in chemical reactions;​

    ​f. be aware of the basics of organicbiogeochemistry.​

  • Theory and Laboratory Experiments in Earth Surface 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​The core processes and landforms underlying major geomorphic systems​

    Long term environmental change – Pleistocene and Holocene

    ​A deeper understanding of processes that underlie the interaction between people and the physical environment​

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

    ​Appropriate treatment of data, including quality control, graphical representation, and statistical analysis​

  • Introduction to Marine Biogeochemistry (ENVS158)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
    Aims
    1. To introduce students to marine chemistry of the major and trace elements.
    2. To demonstrate the dynamic relationship between the chemical ocean environment and biological processes.
    3. To identify the main ocean basins and main oceanic transport routes of chemical species
    4. To teach the necessary practical skills for oceanographic sampling and measurement of chemical species.
    Learning Outcomes1. Students will be able to identify ocean basins, their major characteristics and transport pathways.

    2. Students will gain knowledge of the sources and distributions of major and minor elements in the ocean, including dissolved gases, nutrients and carbon.​

    3. Students will understand the chemical and biological processes that control the distribution of major and minor elements including dissolved gases, nutrients and carbon.​

    ​3. Students will recognize the form and function of different components of the marine ecosystem including viruses, bacteria, phytoplankton and zooplankton. ​

    ​4. Students will be able to synthesis knowledge of key biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus to understand how they are linked in the modern and past ocean environment. 

    5. Students will know how to measure key properties of the ocean and interpret why they vary in space and time

  • Mathematics for Physicists I (PHYS107)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting70:30
    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

  • a good working knowledge of differential and integral calculus



  • familiarity with some of the elementary functions common in applied mathematics and science



  • an introductory knowledge of functions of several variables


  • manipulation of complex numbers and use them to solve simple problems involving fractional powers


  • an introductory knowledge of series


  • a good rudimentary knowledge of simple problems involving statistics: binomial and Poisson distributions, mean, standard deviation, standard error of mean

Programme Year Two

Year Two takes subjects to greater depth and builds student skills in synthesising and evaluating geological data. A key part of the year is training students in preparation for their Year Three independent field projects, particularly in tutorial sessions run by academic staff. To fulfil the aims of the year and ensure accreditation, all modules are compulsory.

Fieldwork involves:

  • 15 days Geological Mapping Training in Spain (Easter)

To fulfil the aims of the year and ensure accreditation, all modules are compulsory.

Year Two Compulsory Modules

  • 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
    • Develop students'' skills of critical analysis and academic writing ​
    • Support students'' preparation for individual research projects ​
    • Develop students'' study and personal transferable skills ​
    • Develop students'' awareness of careers and employability​
    Learning Outcomes

    ​Identify a research problem or subject and design an appropriate research strategy.

    ​Write a report in an academic style (technical English) with appropriate illustrations, citations and references.

    Make an oral presentation to a small group  on a researched topic involving geology and ethics. ​

    Develop employability skills through attending careers sessions. ​

    Be competetent in advanced use of word processing, bibliographic and drawing software for production of research reports and final geological maps.​

    ​Demonstrate competence in identifying hazards and risks associated with a future field-based independent project.

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

    To recall and explain the basic nomenclature and concepts used in metamorphism

    To use and explain graphical, pictorial and numerical techniques related to metamorphic study​

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

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

    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​

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

  • Exploration Geophysics (ENVS216)
    Level2
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting70:30
    Aims

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

    Learning OutcomesOn successful completion of the module, students should be capable of explaining the principles of seismic refraction and reflection, electrical and electromagnetic methods, gravity and magnetic surveying and well logging.

    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.​

    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.​

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

    To address aspects of physical, chemical and biological processes of sedimentation in the context of the depositional settings in which they operate. To provide the necessary background for understanding the significance of structures and textures preserved in sedimentary rocks and the skills necessary to gather and analyse information that allows well constrained interpretations of depositional environments to be made in the rock record.

    Learning Outcomes

    ​Ability to describe how fluid flow governs sediment transport and bedform configuration 

    ​Ability to collect and analyse sedimentary information to infer sedimentary process

    ​Ability to recognise a range of depositional environments from the sedimentary record

    ​Ability to use sedimentary information to build facies models for depositional environments

    ​Ability to synthesise sedimentary datasets to demonstrate spatial and temporal evolution of depositional systems

  • Magmatism and Volcanic Hazards (ENVS262)
    Level2
    Credit level7.5
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting75:25
    Aims

    To examine fundamentally contrasting magmatic systems and consider in each case the nature and origin of the magmatic activity with follow-up intensive case studies of actual and putative associated hazards.

    To consider the scientific basis for anticipation of volcanic hazards and impact of volcanism on climate.

    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 volcanic activity in relation to hazards and potential climate change, from the perspectives both of quality of science and of moral issues arising.

    Learning Outcomes​Explain the nature and origin of ocean-island volcanism andcritically assess the hazards associated with island collapse.

    ​Integrate diverse primary evidence to construct and evaluateconceptual models of volcanic processes.

    ​Evaluate strategies for effective communication ofscientific ideas and concepts with the general public, and critically assessthe role of the media.

    ​​Explain key volcanological processes and concepts graphically using a poster presentation.
  • Structural Geology and Interpretation of Geological Maps (ENVS263)
    Level2
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting60:40
    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 geological structures.

    Learning Outcomes

    1. Knowledge and Understanding
    On successful completion of this module students should:
    a. know the common associations of small- and large-scale geological structures;
    b. understand the principles of finite strain in two- and three-dimensions.

    2. Intellectual Abilities
    On successful completion of this module students should have developed the ability to:
    a. interpret kinematic indicators;
    b. determine the relative ages of pairs of geological structures;
    c. explain the origins of geological structures using strain analysis.

    3. Subject Based Practical Skills
    On successful completion of this module students should be able to construct:
    a. valid cross-sections and closely related diagrams from geological maps;
    b. valid deformation histories from the relative ages of pairs of geological structures.

    4. General Transferable Skills
    On successful completion of this module students should have developed the ability to:
    a. communicate using graphical techniques;
    b. evaluate the validity of and uncertainties associated with natural datasets.

  • Field Mapping Techniques (ENVS269)


    ​4. General Transferable Skills

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

    1. Teamwork through initial mapping training in small groups.
    2. Time and logistical management constrained by the need to meet regular deadlines and the often unpredictable nature of weather conditions.
    3. Conceptual problem solving through repeated observation, analysis and synthesis cycles.
    4. Fieldwork hazard assessment and safe conduct in mountain terrain.
    5. Graphical communication through the development of graphical representations of geology/geomorphology (map, section GVS).

    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

    1. Knowledge and Understanding

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

    1. the geological/geomorphological history and structural geometry of a mapping area.






    ​2. Intellectual Abilities

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

    1. developing lithostratigraphic models;
    2. three-dimensual visualization of geological/geomorphological relationships and developing geometrical models;
    3. analysis and synthesis of discrete observations to build an overall solution (map and interpreation of geological/geomorphological evolution).

    ​3. Subject Based Practical Skills

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

    Map skills

    1. How to locate themselves on a topographic map, both with and without a compass
    2. How to follow a linear feature and mark this on a map
    3. How to record structural measurements on a map
    4. How to record map data in the field
    5. How to ink in a map to make a permanent record
    6. How to keep a notebook to accompany a map, including practical solutions for linking locality information between the two.

    Related skills

    1. How to construct a cross section in the field
    2. How to construct a GVS in the field
    3. How to develop lithostratigraphy from lithology, geometry and younging evidence


  • Dynamic Stratigraphy (ENVS281)
    Level2
    Credit level7.5
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting70:30
    Aims
    This Module aims to: examine the controls on the stratigraphic organisation of sedimentary strata, and to foster understanding of how a time framework can be established in such strata; examine the differences between lithostratigraphy and chronostratigraphy and communication of formal stratigraphic nomenclature; introduce the concepts of sequence stratigraphy, seismic stratigraphy and practical core-logging; and enable students to produce well constrained interpretations of the ways in which controlling processes operate to create stratigraphic organization and architecture with particular reference to the dynamic stratigraphy of the UK and Europe.
      Learning Outcomes

      ​Explain the concept of geological time and the differences between lithostratigraphy and chronostratigraphy, and  be able to analyse stratigraphy in terms of space and time and to interpret likely controls on stratal patterns.

      ​Evaluate the geological controls of stratigraphic development though an understanding of the startigraphic evolution of the British Isles and Europe.

      ​Be able to interpret the geological history and stratigraphic evolution of an area by analysing a geological map.

      ​Apply formal stratigraphic nomenclature to the geological record and construct a chronostratigraphic diagram.

      ​Problem solving through working independently and with others on a range of data types to produce integrated solutions.

      ​Develop simple sequence stratigraphic or seismic startigraphic models from outcrop and/or subsurface data and communicate results though graphical means.

    1. Palaeobiology and Evolution (ENVS283)
      Level2
      Credit level7.5
      SemesterSecond Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting75:25
      Aims

      1. To introduce evolutionary theory and how fossils contribute to the study of evolution.

      2. To provide an overview of the most important events in vertebrate evolution.

      3. To introduce the main groups of microfossil.

      4. To demonstrate the uses of palaeontological field data.

      Learning Outcomes

      ​1a. On successful completion of this module, students will know the characteristic features and applications of the main groups of microfossil​

      1b. On successful completion of this module, students will understand how evolution occurs and how evolutionary relationships can be deduced from fossils


      1c. On successful completion of this module, students will understand the spatial and temporal controls on biodiversity​ and corresponding patterns in the fossil record

       
      1d. On successful completion of this module, students will know some of the key events in the evolution of vertebrates​

      ​1e. On successful completion of this module, students will understand how palaeontological field data can be used to aid interpretation of palaeoecology, palaeoenvironment and geological history


      ​2a. On successful completion of this module, students will be able to explain the theory of evolution and the fossil evidence for it


      ​2b. On successful completion of this module, students will be able to evaluate the arrangement of taxa on a cladogram in terms of evolutionary relatedness


      ​2c. On successful completion of this module, students will be able to combine palaeontological with other geological data to produce a full account of the palaeoenvironment of a given area


      ​3a. On successful completion of this module, students will be able to use the binocular microscope and camera lucida to produce accurate drawings

      ​3b. On successful completion of this module, students will be able to observe and describe the characteristic features of the main microfossil groups

      ​3c. On successful completion of this module, students will be able to make a full systematic description of a common invertebrate fossil

      ​3d. On successful competion of this module, students will be able to construct a simple phylogeny

      ​3e. On successful competion of this module, students will be able to construct a stratigraphic range chart

      ​4a. On successful completion of this module, students will have developed time management skills

      ​4b. On successful completion of this module, students will have developed skills in the systematic observation and recording of data

      ​4c. On successful completion of this module, students will have developed the ability to present information in a variety of alternative formats such as spreadsheets, charts and graphs

      ​4d. On successful completion of this module, students will be able to write scientific reports effectively

      ​4e. On successful completion of this module, students will have developed the ability to search for, gather and utilise information from a variety of sources

    2. Deep Earth Mineralisation Systems (ENVS268)
      Level2
      Credit level7.5
      SemesterSecond Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
      Aims
      • To examine the igneous processes that form layered mafic igneous complexes and associated nickel and platinum group element ore deposits.
      • To examine the igneous processes that form granitoids and associated porphyry copper ore deposits
      • To examine the dissipation of heat from plutons, and its contact metamorphic effects on adjacent country rock.
      • To examine the origin of orogenic gold deposits
      • To examine the origin of kimberlite-hosted diamond depsoits
      • To enable students to work together in teams and develop reporting skills
      Learning Outcomes

      Explain the processes that results in abnormal geochemical concentrations of certain elements to form mineral deposits.

      ​Explain the relationship between source, melting, cooling, crystallisation and plutonic rock composition, and be able to rationalise mineral modes and textures in terms of likely igneous processes.

      ​Explain the mechanisms by which heat is transferred from a pluton into its surrounding country rock and how this may relate to mineral assemblages developed in ancient settings.

      ​Know the common mineral assemblages developed in pelitic rocks during low pressure contact metamorphism and be able to use compatibility diagrams and petrogenetic grids to interpret them in terms of pluton depth of formation.​

      Know the common rock types associated with Ni/PGE, porphyry copper, orogenic gold and diamond mineralisation, and be able to predict likely targets for these types of mineralisation.

    Programme Year Three

    At a university in the United States, Canada or Australia. Current partners include: the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, McGill University in Montreal, Canada and Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

    Programme Year Four

    Year 4 concentrates on the development of high-level research skills through training in research methods and completion of a major research project working within one of the departmental research groups. In this project you will choose the topic to be studied and will use state-of-the-art research equipment.

    Students take three compulsory modules and can choose four optional modules as outlined below.

    Fieldwork:

    • 9 days in Tenerife (January) or 9 days in Northern Spain (Easter) or 7 days in Dorset (Easter)

    Advanced Research Project:

    • Advanced Geological Project and Dissertation focused on one of the areas of current research in the Department e.g. Sedimentology, Rock Microstructures, Rock Deformation, Geochemistry, Volcanology, Palaeontology, Mineral Deposits.

    Students take three compulsory modules and can choose four optional modules as outlined below.

    *Please note students study one of ENVS404, ENVS409, ENVS564 in Year 4.

    Year Four Compulsory Modules

    • Volcanic Processes (ENVS404)
      LevelM
      Credit level15
      SemesterSecond Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting40:60
      Aims

      To examine and evaluate the state-of-the-art aspects of advanced modern volcanology, 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 observation 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 concensus.

      Learning OutcomesExplainrecent models of certain key volcanic processes critical to the current state of volcanological science and critically evaluate the scientific methodology that has led through to the present understanding.​

      Use primaryevidence (field data, publications) to investigate the origins of volcanological scientific controversiesand evaluate how best to maximise objectivity.​

      Critically review published literature on volcanology to prepare a technical report to professional standards.

      Defend a research-level scientific case presented as a poster.

       

    • Research Methods (ENVS444)

      ​3. Subject Based Practical Skills

      None specific. Varies according to the project. And varies depending on which set of workshops (or analytical technqiues) that has been selected by student.

      ​4. General Transferable Skills

      On completion of this module student should:

      a. be able to conduct a comprehensive yet selective literature search on a scientific topic;

      b. be able to prepare and defend a scientific research proposal;

      c. have gained insights into ethical behaviour in scientific research;

      d. have gained an appreciation of the use of complex scientific equipment and an understanding of accuracy, precision and sample and data handling.


      LevelM
      Credit level15
      SemesterFirst Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting30:70
      Aims

      To train students in:

      a. scientific, journal-style writing;

      b. the initial development of a research problem and the definition, presentation and defence of a research proposal.

      c. use of a small number of analytical techniques of broad relevance to Advanced Geology and Geology and Physical Geography Project

      Learning Outcomes

      1. Knowledge and Understanding

      On completion of this module, students should:

      a. have an understanding of the principles and guidelines under which scientific research is pursued and communicated;

      b. have an understanding of a number of analytical techniques and how they are applied to geoscience problems.







      ​2. Intellectual Abilities

      On completion of this module, students should have developed the ability to;

      a. devise a strategy for the execution of a research project.


    • Advanced Geology and Geology-physical Geography Project (ENVS405)
      LevelM
      Credit level45
      SemesterWhole Session
      Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
      Aims

      To train students, via personal practice under academic supervision, in the execution and presentation of research level geoscience.

      Learning Outcomes

      ​1. Knowledge and Understanding:

      On completion of this module students should:

      a. have gained a leading-edge knowledge of some areas of Geosciences

      b. know how to use different modes of scientific communication (journal manuscripts, conference presentations)

      ​2. Intellectual abilities:

      On completion of this module students should have developed the ability to:

      a. execute a research level project

      ​3. On completion of this module students should have acquired subject based practical skills, which are varied, according to the project

      ​4. General transferable skills:

      On completion of this module students should:

      a. be capable of executing good quality, ethical scientific practice

      b. be able to communicate effectively in a scientific manner using a range of media (manuscript, conference-style oral presentation, blog)

    • Geodynamics Field Class (ENVS409)
      LevelM
      Credit level15
      SemesterSecond Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting70:30
      Aims

      In-depth appraisal of models concerned with orogenic evolution: structural, metamorphic, geophysical and sedimentological. NW Spain Variscan geotraverse as the case study. Particular emphasis concerns appreciation of inter-relations of theoretical, experimental and observationally based modelling.

      Field appraisal of rock textures and compositions that are supposed to register eclogite formation and subsequent return to Earth''s surface.

      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 research-level synthesis of diverse models and disparate data.
      Learning Outcomes
    • Applied Basin Analysis (m Level) (ENVS564)
      LevelM
      Credit level15
      SemesterWhole Session
      Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
      Aims

      Aims:

      To provide an appreciation of the geological controls on a basin-scale petroleum system (the Wessex Basin, S England) and related significant economic issues in sedimentary basins.

      To provide practical experience in the field of analysis of field-derived (and literature-derived) petroleum source rocks, reservoir rocks, cap rocks, migration routes, petoleum-trapping structures.

      To provide an appreciation of the risks associated with petroleum exploration and reservoir appraisal and to gain insights into promoting investment in a given basin or discovery.

       

      Learning Outcomes

      ​1. On successful completion of this module, students should have advanced knowledge of basin-scale and reservoir-scale sedimentology and large scale structures in sedimentary basins

      ​2. On successful completion of this module, students should be able to synthesise field and core observations relevant to petroleum systems to a basin-wide understanding of how the petroleum system has worked.

      3. On successful completion of this module, students should be able to synthesise theoretical understanding of basins to practical aspects of basin-scale and reservoir-scale petroleum system exploration and exploitation

      ​4. On successful completion of this module, students should have advanced knowledge of the petroleum geology (source, maturation, migration, reservoirs, traps and cap rocks) of the Wessex Basin (Europe''s most prolific onshore petroleum basin) and the main reservoir of the Northern North Sea (Brent reservoir)

    Year Four Optional Modules

    • Geohazards and Risk Mitigation (ENVS410)
      LevelM
      Credit level15
      SemesterFirst Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
      Aims

      The module aims

      a. To examine in detail the research frontiers of understanding of diverse natural hazards.

      b. To consider the objectives of risk mitigation strategies and their problems of implementation. Role Playing ''Game'' to provide realistic experience of conflicting interests, uncertainty and decision making.

      c. 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.

      d. To develop consensus on future research directions that would mitigate risks from natural hazards.

      Learning Outcomes

      ​Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of the nature, origins and possible outcomes of natural hazards and be able to evaluate natural hazards and derive parameters involved in specific risk mitigation.

      ​Students will be able to use numerical methods for risk quantification and dealing with uncertainty., and make effective oral communications / presentations of complex data sets and complicated arguments.

      ​Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of the processes involved for the evaluation of hazards and the preparation of risk assessments through state-of-the-art summaries.

      ​Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of the problems of risk communication to varied audiences and the development of consensus, and be able to evaluate critically the conflicting views presented in diverse media, from web, broadcasting, books and research articles.

    • Mineral Deposits in Space and Time (ENVS458)
      LevelM
      Credit level15
      SemesterFirst Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
      Aims

      The module aims

      1. To provide understanding of major types of mineral deposits through critical assessment of conceptual models of deposit forming processes.
      2. To synthesise the distribution of mineral deposits in space and time and to evaluate this in relation to overall Earth evolution.
      3. To develop an understanding of mineral exploration and resource estimation.

      Learning Outcomes

      ​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.

      ​Successful students will be able to design an approriate strategy for mineral exploration and use order of magnitude and dimensional analysis to quantify resource.

      ​Successful students will be able to research and synthesise large amounts of information into short seminar presentations and engage in a scientific dialogue during the seminars.

      Successful students will be able to 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.

      ​Successful students will be able to work effectively in an mineral exploration team and present results both orally and in executive report form.

      ​Successful students will be able to evaluate the sustainability of mineral resource development in terms of "peak minerals", environmental impact, economics and politics.

    • Rock Deformation (ENVS460)
      LevelM
      Credit level15
      SemesterSecond Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting60:40
      Aims

      To provide an understanding of the principles and mechanisms of rock deformation throughout the crust, including the theory of homogeneous stress in two-dimensions, brittle fracture, rock friction, diffusive mass transfer and intracrystalline platic flow.

      Learning Outcomes

      1. Knowledge and Understanding
      Students should:
      a. Understand how stress is analysed and how it relates to the deformation of rocks.
      b. Have a knowledge of the mechanisms by which rocks undergo deformation

       

      ​2. Intellectual Abilities
      Students should:
      a. Have a systematic quantitative understanding of the principal deformation processes in geological materials.
      b. Have an critical appreciation of how experimental data may be used to quantify the mechanical properties of geological materials.

      c. Be able to criticaally assess the published literature within the subject area and present this in a concise report format.

      ​3. Subject-based practical skills

      Students should:

      a. Be able to apply analytical and numerical techniques to the analysis of stress and strain in rocks.

      b. Be able to apply analytical and numerical techniques to the quantification of the deformationbehaviour of rocks at all levels in the Earth.

      4. General transferable skills

      a. General numeracy

      b. The ability to present in a report format the finidngs of a laboratory investigation

      c. Critical thinking and problem solving through resolution of practical problems

      d. ICT through report presentation and data processing and analysis

    • Advanced Structural Geology (m Level) (ENVS595)
      LevelM
      Credit level15
      SemesterSecond Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
      Aims
    • ​​To further an understanding of the role of finite strain in the analysis of geological structures

    • ​To develop an understanding of the mechanics of geological structures on scales of millimetres to to tens of kilometres

    • Learning Outcomes

      ​describe, explain andevaluate the principles and methods used to investigate strain patternsassociated with geological structures

      ​describe, explain andevaluate the principles and methods that may be used to analyse natural strainpaths

      ​describe and explainthe role of work and minimum work paths in the evolution of geologicalstructures

      ​explain andcritically assess the origins of selected geological structures using dynamicanalysis and mechanical principles

      ​assess the roles ofconceptual, physical and mathematical models in the scientific process

      ​investigatesystematically patterns of strain within rocks

      ​determine strainpaths from natural data sets

    • Petroleum Geology (ENVS537)
      LevelM
      Credit level15
      SemesterFirst Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
      AimsThe aims of the module are: to provide students with suitable background to the concepts used by the petroleum industry; to equip them with the techniques to assess petroleum reserves and reservoir quality.
      Learning Outcomes

      ​​Ability to describe what the basin types are and the mechanics of their formation

      ​Ability to describe and apply a workflow to calculate hydrocarbon volume in place and appreciate the uncertainties inherent in the answer

      ​Ability to collect industry-standard sedimentological information

      Ability to synthesize, evaluate and report on a sedimentological, petrophysical and petrological dataset from the North Sea to assess: the petroleum system, reservoir quality and economic viability

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

      ​This module seeks toprovide an appreciation and understanding of the methods and techniques usedin micropalaeontology that will enable students to have an insight in aresearch field that is highly relevant for environmental sciences as well asgeosciences, including palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology and palaeoceanography.​

      Learning Outcomes

      Have astrong understanding of biological proxies that are used to reconstructQuaternary environments​

      ​Be able toidentify at a generic level marine and terrestrial key microfossils​

      ​Understandprinciples of uniformitarianism and palaeoecology​

      ​Understandand apply principles of quantitative reconstructions of past conditions​

      Understandlimitations of the proxies​

    • Evolution, Oceans and Climate (ENVS461)
      LevelM
      Credit level15
      SemesterSecond Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
      Aims

      The module aims to develop

      Skills -the manipulation and interpretation of numerical, stratigraphic and geochemical data, the synthesis of data and literature information and coherent scientific argument.

      Knowledge and understanding of the major controls on the behaviour of the Earth''s oceans and climates and the interaction of climate and the evolution of life on Earth. An appreciation of the role of physical, geochemical, palaeontological and sedimentological techniques in the study of ancient oceans and climates, and the relationships between changes in the physical environment and the development of life on Earth.

      Learning Outcomes

      ​Students will develop an understanding of the key changes that have affected life on earth and the evolution of climate, atmosphere and oceans. 

      ​Students will develop an understanding of the use of geochemical, palaeontological and sedimentological data to determine and monitor past changes. 

      ​Through data analysis and dicussion students will develop skills to analyse and criticise the methodology and conclusions in published work. 

      ​Students will develop their core skills in data analysis, verbal and written comunication

    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. The degree programmes are modular with a typical module involving two one-hour lectures, and a three-hour laboratory or computer-based practical each week. Tutorials involve groups of six to eight students meeting with a member of staff at least every two weeks in Years One and Two.

    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. As you progress through your degree, you are increasingly challenged to engage with current debates, to think critically and to study independently.