Ocean Sciences MOSci (Hons)

Key information


Lecture

Module details

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

Programme Year One

The required modules in Year One provide grounding in Ocean Science, as well as developing essential and transferable skills that are required throughout your degree programme. Optional modules allow you to focus on areas of ocean and environmental sciences that interest you.

Year One Compulsory Modules

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

    Introduce the climate system, the atmosphere and ocean:

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

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

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

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

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Knowledge and Understanding

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

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

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

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

    (LO2) Intellectual Abilities

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

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

    (LO3) Subject Based Practical Skills

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

    b. Understand the use of units and dimensions.

    (LO4) General Transferable Skills

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

    b. Time management.

    c. Problem solving.

    d. Group work.

    (S1) Problem solving skills

    (S2) Numeracy

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

  • Marine Ecosystems: Diversity, Processes and Threats (ENVS122)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting64:35
    Aims

    This module aims to introduce students to the diversity of ecosystem types in the marine environment and the various threats that they face.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Acquire knowledge and understanding of representative key ecosystems found in the marine environment.

    (LO2) Be familiar with the marine organisms that live in representative key marine ecosystems.

    (LO3) Acquire a basic knowledge of fundamental ecological principles, transferable to later marine and non-marine modules.

    (LO4) Be aware of the threats that humans may pose to marine ecosystems.

    (LO5) Appreciate how humans assess and may mitigate detrimental impacts to the environment.

    (LO6) Be introduced to the importance to their future studies of critical reading of scientific literature.

  • Study Skills (ocean Sciences) (ENVS103)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterWhole Session
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    The aim of this module is to enhance generic and specific skills that are expected from ocean scientists. Specific skills include the use of software for the visualisation of spatial and temporal variation of various oceanographic parameters (e.g. salinity, nutrient concentrations) and the development of practical skills, which consists in the use and/or understanding of specific analytical methods (e.g. determination of oxygen) and specialised oceanographic instruments. Generic skills include science communication (oral, written and visual), team work, time management and an understanding of the concept of academic integrity.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Learn how to use a reference software, make a literature search and reference correctly

    (LO2) Quantitatively summarise, synthesise and interpret data collected during fieldwork

    (LO3) Present scientific content effectively through oral, written and/or poster communications

    (LO4) Understand the analytical procedure for the determination of important analytes (e.g. oxygen, nutrients)

    (LO5) Learn how to use ODV (Ocean Data View software) to visualise spatial variations of oceanographic parameters

    (S1) Numeracy/computational skills - Confidence/competence in measuring and using numbers

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

    (S3) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills - visual

    (S4) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Academic writing (inc. referencing skills)

    (S5) Critical thinking and problem solving - Synthesis

    (S6) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills – oral

  • 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.

    *To note that all LOs can be met using fully online delivery methods as needed.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) The core processes and landforms underlying major geomorphic systems

    (LO2) Long term environmental change – Pleistocene and Holocene

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

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

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

    (S1) IT skills

    (S2) Numeracy

    (S3) Problem solving skills

    (S4) Teamwork

Year One Optional Modules

  • Ecology and Conservation (ENVS157)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
    Aims

    The module aims to introduce students to the key principles that govern the interactions between organisms and their environment, and how these can be used as the basis for conservation.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Understand and explain fundamental principles of how ecological systems are structured and how they function at the scale of individuals, populations and communities

    (LO2) To understand the effects of human activities on communities and ecosystems at a range of timescales

    (LO3) Develop an ability to critically evaluate how ecological understanding and data can be used to inform conservation policy

    (S1) Global perspectives demonstrate international perspectives as professionals/citizens; locate, discuss, analyse, evaluate information from international sources; consider issues from a variety of cultural perspectives, consider ethical and social responsibility issues in international settings; value diversity of language and culture

    (S2) Positive attitude/ self-confidence A 'can-do' approach, a readiness to take part and contribute; openness to new ideas and the drive to make these happen

    (S3) Learning skills online studying and learning effectively in technology-rich environments, formal and informal

    (S4) Information literacy online, finding, interpreting, evaluating, managing and sharing information

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

    To provide a basic understanding of chemistry relevant for environmental sciences.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) 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;

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

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

    (LO4) d. understand what redox reactions are and be able to work them out;

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

    (LO6) f. know the basics of organic chemistry.

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

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

  • 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

  • Living With Environmental Change (ENVS119)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
    Aims

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

    Learning Outcomes

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

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

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

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

    (S1) Abstraction and synthesis of information

    (S2) Assessing the merits of contrasting theories and explanations

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

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

  • Marine Biology: Life in the Seas and Oceans (ENVS121)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting35:65
    Aims

    This module will introduce students to the main groups of organisms found in the marine environment. Students will develop knowledge of the taxonomic diversity of marine life, and from lectures, workshops and practicals will develop the skills to be able to recognise the major groups from their key identifying features. Students will develop knowledge of the function and form of marine organisms and the adaptational solutions organisms adopt to become successful in the marine environment.

    Students will encounter a variety of marine organisms in subsequent modules and field studies and gaining a familiarity with them in this module will enable them to recognise them and understand their role in marine ecosystems.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Acquire knowledge and understanding on the taxonomic and functional diversity of marine life.

    (LO2) Develop the ability to recognise the major groups of marine organisms using their key features

    (LO3) Experience how to examine marine organisms and understand their functional biology using different kinds of specimens and approaches.

    (LO4) Recognise the adaptational solutions to functional problems adopted by marine organisms

    (LO5) Teamwork

    (LO6) Information literacy online, finding, interpreting, evaluating, managing and sharing information

    (LO7) Problem solving skills

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

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

    Learning Outcomes

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

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

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

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

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

    - Do simple estimations by hand

    - Rearrange algebraic formulae to make the required quantity the subject

    - Insert values in a formula and calculate the correct answer

    - Basic calculus.

    (S1) Problem solving skills

    (S2) Numeracy

Programme Year Two

The required modules in Year Two develop more specialist skills and knowledge in Ocean Sciences. Optional modules provide further an opportunity to focus on topics in ocean and climate sciences.

Year Two Compulsory Modules

  • Key Skills for Environmental Data Analysis (ENVS202)
    Level2
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    To develop skills in environmental data analysis by applying the Matlab  computing package to process, analyse and plot data. To develop a critical approach to the results of data analysis .

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Use the MATLAB interface to create scripts and functions

    (LO2) Understand the building blocks of programming: variable assignment, conditional statements, program flow control, and function calls.

    (LO3) Be able to read, plot, and interpret a variety of data types.

    (LO4) Be able to construct a program to read data, perform calculations on it, and plot the results, using function calls where appropriate.

    (S1) Problem solving skills

    (S2) Numeracy

    (S3) IT Skills

    (S4) Data intepretation

  • Marine Ecophysiology, Ecology and Exploitation (ENVS251)
    Level2
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting55:45
    Aims

    This module aims to provide students with essential background in marine ecology, ecophysiology and resource exploitation required for study at higher levels. Students will also develop the ability to evaluate and critique the scientific literature, as well as the ability to draw in relevant information from multiple topics areas to address this module aims to provide students with essential background in marine ecology, ecophysiology and resource exploitation required for study at higher levels. Students will also develop the ability to evaluate and critique the scientific literature, as well as the ability to draw in relevant information from multiple topics areas to address multi-disciplinary topics.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Be familiar with some key physiological adaptations necessary to survive in the marine environment

    (LO2) Understand the imporance of some key ecological concepts that underpin the stucturing of marine communities

    (LO3) Develop a basic understanding of key human activities that can affect individuals, populations and communities of marine animals

    (LO4) Develop the ability to read and critically evaluate scientific papers

    (LO5) Develop the ability to research, plan and write essay questions that tackle multi-disciplinary issues (using material from across the module as necessary)

    (S1) Communication, listening and questioning respecting others, contributing to discussions, communicating in a foreign language, influencing, presentations

    (S2) Literacy application of literacy, ability to produce clear, structured written work and oral literacy - including listening and questioning

    (S3) 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

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

    (S5) Numeracy (application of) manipulation of numbers, general mathematical awareness and its application in practical contexts (e.g. measuring, weighing, estimating and applying formulae)

    (S6) Learning skills online studying and learning effectively in technology-rich environments, formal and informal

    (S7) Global perspectives demonstrate international perspectives as professionals/citizens; locate, discuss, analyse, evaluate information from international sources; consider issues from a variety of cultural perspectives, consider ethical and social responsibility issues in international settings; value diversity of language and culture

  • Marine Pollution (ENVS232)
    Level2
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting45:55
    Aims

    To introduce students to the main anthropogenic stressors, their effects and importance on the marine system

    To train students in literature search and reading of scientific papers

    To enhance writing and communication skills

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) An understanding of the main anthropogenic stressors of the marine system, their causes, functioning, effects and their remediation/regulation;

    (LO2) An awareness of current problems (news + scientific papers)

    (LO3) To enhance communication skills

    (LO4) To learn how to use Web of Science

    (S1) Communication skills

    (S2) International awareness

  • Sampling the Ocean (ENVS220)
    Level2
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    To provide students with

    An understanding of the practical methods used to measure and analyse physical and biogeochemical quantities in the ocean, in both the context of ocean research and in the commercial world.

    This includes:
    Techniques for navigation and survey planning;
    Measurement of temperature, salinity, chlorophyll and dissolved oxygen using the "CTD";
    Measurement of currents;
    Laboratory analyses for chlorophyll, oxygen and nutrients;
    Microscope analyses for plankton identification;
    Techniques for instrument calibration.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Students will acquire understanding of navigation and survey design; measurements of temperature, salinity and density; measurements of currents; analyses for chlorophyll, nutrients and dissolved oxygen.

    (LO2) Students will acquire skills in data quality/analysis techniques including manipulation of CTD and current data; calculation of water column properties from discrete sampling; calibration of instrumentation using discrete samples.

    (LO3) Students will be able to present data graphically to a high standard, appreciating the need for legibility, labelling, legends and figure captions.

    (LO4) At the end of the module a student should be able to evaluate the quality and significance of oceanographic data, and understand how data is used in both commercial and research environments.

    (LO5) Students will acquire appreciation of safe working practices in the field, and also in the laboratory.

    (S1) Problem solving skills

    (S2) Numeracy

    (S3) Communication skills

    (S4) IT skills

  • Research and Career Skills (ENVS204)
    Level2
    Credit level15
    SemesterWhole Session
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    This module develops students' understanding and appreciation of Marine Biology and Ocean and Climate Sciences as contemporary academic disciplines. This module will develop students' subject-specific research and employability skills through the following specific aims:

    Develop capacity to conduct independent research projects, through training in research methods, data analysis and transferable skills.

    Develop students' skills in critical thinking and writing in order to prepare students for subsequent years of study.

    Develop students' awareness of careers and employability. Enabling students to plan for future careers and enhance employability.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Build knowledge of the fields of marine biology, ocean and climate sciences

    (LO2) Develop experience in analysing scientific data, creating professional quality display items and writing a report in a scientific format and style.

    (LO3) Demonstrate an understanding of how to evaluate scientific literature

    (LO4) Develop and improve personal employability skills

    (LO5) Enhance ability to write reports and essays in a technical scientific style

  • Oceanography, Plankton and Climate (ENVS245)
    Level2
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
    Aims

    The module will provide a multi-disciplinary view of how ocean physics, microbiology, chemistry and plankton ecology operate in different ocean environments, explain how Earth's climate is affected by the plankton, and show how plankton ecosystems are responding to a changing climate.

    The aim is then to use this multi-disciplinary framework to develop skills in setting sensible hypotheses, numeracy, problem-solving and written communication. Throughout the module material will connect to the research currently being carried out by staff, using research results and research tools to illustrate key concepts and formulate methods to test hypotheses.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Students will gain a broad understanding of how different plankton communities arise in different oceanic regimes, and how that ultimately structures food chains to larger marine animals and effects Earth's climate.

    (LO2) Students will be able to compare quantitatively the scales of different processes, and critically assess their relative importance for life in the ocean.

    (LO3) Students will strengthen, and acquire new, skills in quantifying physical-biological drivers of ecosystems.

    (LO4) Students will learn the importance of a multi-disciplinary approach to marine biology and gain experience in solving novel problems.

    (LO5) Students will acquire knowledge of key concepts in physical and biological oceanography.

    (LO6) Students will learn the importance of understanding the assumptions behind key theories in oceanography.

    (LO7) Students will learn how to frame and test hypotheses using appropriate data and methods.

    (LO8) Students will develop skills in written communication of science.

    (S1) Problem solving skills

    (S2) Numeracy

    (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.

Year Two Optional Modules

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

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

    Learning Outcomes

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

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

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

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

  • Climatology (ENVS231)
    Level2
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    The module aims to provide knowledge and understanding across a number of areas of meteorology and weather, covering physical processes. These processes are covered at a detailed level and supported by an overview of the subject area. This module gives the scientific foundation for more discursive as well as process orientated final year modules. The practicals provide an introduction to aspects of meteorological analysis. These are supported through the general lecture programme.  The practical series add to the learning experience and skills to enable students to apply what is learnt in the lecture programme.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Evaluate appropriate theories, methods and techniques

    (LO2) Recognise how selected environments interact with appropriate atmospheric and weather processes

    (LO3) Understand different weather from high, mid and tropical latitudes

    (LO4) Apply practical data analysis.

    (S1) The handling of large datasets

    (S2) Written and graphical communication

    (S3) Analysis and problem-solving through quantitative and qualitative methods

    (S4) Numeracy and statistical literacy

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

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

    Learning Outcomes

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

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

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

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

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

    (S2) Group work: generating data through team work

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

Programme Year Three

Year Three provides the opportunity to conduct an independent research project in oceanography and to engage in sampling activities at sea during a three day research cruise. Optional modules are available in Physical Geography and Oceanography.

Year Three Compulsory Modules

  • Ocean Sciences Research Project (ENVS377)
    Level3
    Credit level30
    SemesterWhole Session
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    To develop skills in all aspects of research in ocean sciences, including:

    literature searching, review and appraisal,

    design of experiments or models,

    practical and computing skills,

    collection and/or manipulation of data,

    construction of scientific hypotheses,

    oral communication and report writing.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Plan, organise and undertake a programme of research.

    (LO2) Make observations of data, reflect on outcomes and adjust the research design if necessary.

    (LO3) Interpret, critically evaluate and present the data.

    (LO4) Complete a scientific report of the research planned and undertaken

    (S1) Acquiring, analysing and assessing data

    (S2) Scientific writing

    (S3) Communicating results

  • Ocean Dynamics (ENVS332)
    Level3
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    To gain a high level understanding of ocean and atmospheric dynamics:

    To understand the background state of the atmosphere and ocean;

    To address how tracers spread;

    To understand the effects of rotation and how jets and eddies form on a rotating planet;

    To understand how waves influence and interact with the ocean circulation;

    To understand why there are western boundary currents and gyres in ocean basins;

    To understand how topography shapes the deep ocean circulation over the globe.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Students will acquire knowledge of key concepts in ocean and atmosphere dynamics.

    (LO2) Students will learn to appreciate the approximate nature of theoretical ideas, and the strengths and weaknesses of such ideas as explanations of observed phenomena.

    (LO3) Students will develop mathematical skills in scale analysis of differential equations to isolate the essential phenomena.

    (LO4) Students will acquire experience in combining quantitative and qualitative understanding of dynamics to give clear explanations of observed phenomena in the ocean and atmosphere.

    (LO5) Students will develop an understanding of the factors controllng fluid flows on a range of rotating planets.

    (S1) Problem solving skills

    (S2) Numeracy

  • Sea Practical (ENVS349)
    Level3
    Credit level30
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    The aim of this module is to teach basic field skills in laboratory work and ship work including: a) safety at sea, b) ship's operation, c) physical oceanographic and meteorological measurement, d) chemical sampling and e) analysis of water and sediment samples and f) interpretation of physical, chemical and biological oceanographic data from a coastal sea.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) 1. Knowledge and Understanding: On completion of the module students should be able to demonstrate a knowledge of a) safety at sea, b) ship's operation, c) how physical oceanographic and meteorological measurements are made, d) how to take water and sediment samples, e) how to analyse water and sediment samples, f) oceanographic conditions in the study area.

    (LO2) 2. Intellectual Abilities: At the end of the module the student should be able to apply skills ina) devising marine sampling strategies b) evaluating the quality and significance of marine data c) evaluating publicly available meteorological data d) quality control field data,e) writing a focused, question-driven scientific report/paper

    (LO3) 3. Subject Based Practical Skills: At the end of the module students should be able to apply skills in work at sea and ashore including: a) planning a boar-based survey targeted at environmental quesions,b) physical oceanographic and meteorological measurement, c) chemical sampling and d) analysis of water and sediment samples.

    (S1) time management (setting and achieving objectives through a day at sea or during a shore based activity and producing a report by a deadline),

    (S2) teamwork (organising themselves to achieve the objectives, prepare and deliver a presentation and share data),

    (S3) laboratory work (through practical analysis of samples),

    (S4) data handling (setting up scripts and spreadsheets and processing data with them)

    (S5) report writing (through the final report)

    (S6) ethics

  • Global Carbon Cycle (ENVS335)
    Level3
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
    Aims

    To provide students with a view of the global carbon cycle as a dynamic system;
    To give students an appreciation of the importance of chemical and biological processes in controlling the distribution of carbon in the atmosphere, ocean and land;
    To provide students with an in depth understanding of how carbon is transfered between the atmosphere, land and ocean over contemporary and glacial timescales.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Students will learn how physical, chemical and biological process control the transfer of carbon between the atmosphere, ocean and land, and the distribution of carbon species between these environments

    (LO2) Students will understand the role and significance that the atmosphere, land and ocean plays in the global cycling of carbon

    (LO3) Students will understand the pathways involved in cycling of inorganic and organic carbon between land and the ocean and the surface and deep ocean, with emphasis on the solubility, carbonate and biological pumps

    (LO4) Students will gain hands-on experience in calculating the response of the ocean to increasing temperature and atmospheric CO2 using the internationally-applied software CO2sys, providing an opportunity for authentic assessment.

    (LO5) Students will understand how environmental change is perturbing the global carbon cycle in the present day. Topics covered will include ocean acidification and changes in the surface temperature

    (S1) Numeracy (application of) manipulation of numbers, general mathematical awareness and its application in practical contexts (e.g. measuring, weighing, estimating and applying formulae)

    (S2) Problem solving/ critical thinking/ creativity analysing facts and situations and applying creative thinking to develop appropriate solutions.

    (S3) Communication, listening and questioning, respecting others, contributing to discussions, influencing, presentations

  • Contemporary Issues in Ocean and Climate Sciences (ENVS366)
    Level3
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
    Aims

    To promote awareness, understanding and discussions about contemporary issues in Ocean and Climate Sciences.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Gain a broad and detailed knowledge of some of the main contemporary research topics in marine and climate sciences.

    (LO2) Improve critical reading of scientific literature.

    (LO3) Gain/Practice Transferable Communication Skills: Communicating research topics and/or specific research papers (through oral presentations) to students and/or academic staff.

    (S1) research skills

    (S2) communication skills

Year Three Optional Modules

  • Coastal Environments: Spatial and Temporal Change (ENVS376)
    Level3
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
    Aims

    This module aims to consider the response of physical processes and coastal environments to changes in sea-level and climate. Attention is given to the geomorphology of coastal environments, its response to external agents, as well as to possible coastal management strategies. The module aims at proving students with knowledge and understanding of the physical processes acting along coastal areas, and to promote students capability to critically understand pros and cons of different management techniques in relation to future climate change.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Knowledge and understanding of physical aspects of coastal environments

    (LO2) Knowledge and understanding of the concept of spatial and temporal variation: physical processes and landforms, and the importance of spatial and temporal scales

    (LO3) Knowledge and understanding of environments as a result of process and form interaction

    (LO4) Knowledge and understanding of methodologies of analysis and interpretation

    (LO5) Development of an informed concern for the Earth and its people

    (LO6) Capability to critically analyze real case studies in the context of previously acquired knowledge

    (S1) Problem solving skills

    (S2) Numeracy

    (S3) Communication skills

    (S4) Organisational skills

  • Fluvial Environments (ENVS372)
    Level3
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
    Aims

    To develop understanding of functioning and stability/instability characteristics of fluvial geomorphic systems - in both humid and arid regions over timescales from the Pleistocene to the present day

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) By the end of the module, a student should be able to:-1. Describe and analyse the functioning of fluvial systems and apply major concepts (Assessed by exam)

    (LO2) 2. Explain the different temporal and spatial scales on which variations occur (Assessed by exam and essay)

    (LO3) 3. Analyse and evaluate the likely factors influencing fluvial responses (Assessed by essay and exam)

    (LO4) 4. Analyse and use field evidence of fluvial processes and landforms (Assessed by use of field experience in exam and essay)

    (LO5) 5. Critically evaluate and synthesise published literature (Assessed by essay)

    (S1) Lifelong learning skills

    (S2) Problem solving skills

    (S3) Communication skills

    (S4) Literacy application of literacy, ability to produce clear, structured written work and oral literacy - including listening and questioning

  • Carbon, Nutrients and Climate Change Mitigation (ENVS381)
    Level3
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    This module aims to provide students with a quantitative understanding to examine the interlinkages between carbon, nutrients, water and climate change mitigation. The module aims to develop and demonstrate core knowledge and skills in this specialised area of climate change. The module will provide students with the skills to apply this knowledge quantitatively, critically evaluate scientific positions on topics of debate regarding climate change, and provide opportunities to develop skills in scientific communication and outreach to the scientific and general public. The module is built around the University’s core values of Active Learning, Research-Connected Learning, Authentic Assessment and Digital Fluency.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Knowledge of theory regarding carbon, nutrients and climate change mitigation strategies.

    (LO2) Ability to critically and quantitatively determine the importance of carbon and nutrient cycling to ecosystems.

    (LO3) Ability to communicate the theory and skills developed in this module in scientific and public forums.

    (S1) Quantitative assessment of ecosystem carbon and nutrient cycling.

    (S2) Science communication in public and scientific forums.

    (S3) Ability to work individually and in a group.

Year Four Compulsory Modules

  • Integrated Masters Research Project (ENVS402)
    LevelM
    Credit level60
    SemesterWhole Session
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    Carry out a critical and focused survey of relevant scientific literature. Be able to articulate clearly, both written and orally, the state of knowledge in a wider field of science around the planned research, showing the relevance and timeliness of the planned research. Write coherent scientific prose in the format of a scientific paper targetted at a specific journal. Produce a concise, well-designed poster suitable for a scientific conference. Carry out independent research, with a clear focus on the research questions and using appropriate methods.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Be able to provide a critical and focused assessment of an area of scientific literature, including keeping records of key points made in the literature.

    (LO2) Be able to articulate the importance of a research question within the broader scientific context.

    (LO3) Be able to write scientific prose in typical formats used in science.

    (LO4) Be able to formulate testable hypotheses, and along with the methods and approach required to test them.

    (LO5) Be able to produce a poster for a scientific conference, and to recognise what makes a good (and a bad) poster.

    (S1) Improving own learning/performance - Record-keeping

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

    (S3) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills - written

    (S4) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills - visual

    (S5) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Academic writing (inc. referencing skills)

    (S6) Critical thinking and problem solving - Critical analysis

    (S7) Critical thinking and problem solving - Synthesis

    (S8) Information skills - Information accessing:[Locating relevant information] [Identifying and evaluating information sources]

    (S9) Numeracy/computational skills - Problem solving

  • Modelling Processes in Oceans and Climate (ENVS414)
    LevelM
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    To allow the students to undertake independent work using the tools developed during each of the four phases of the course towards testing hypotheses quantitatively;

    To develop written communication skills;

    To develop the ability to dissect numerical experiments towards providing process insight.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) By the end of this module a student will be able to write simple models to conduct quantitative assessments of the importance of different processes

    (LO2) By the end of this module a student will be able to communicate the results of numerical modelling in a short illustrated report that draws general conclusions

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

    (S2) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Academic writing (inc. referencing skills)

    (S3) Numeracy/computational skills - Numerical methods

    (S4) Numeracy/computational skills - Problem solving

  • Analysing Climate Processes and Variablity (ENVS475)
    LevelM
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    To outline the modes of operation, timescales of variation and drivers of the global climate system;
    To introduce major research themes in the global climate system;     To introduce the techniques and approaches for the analysis of ocean, atmopshere and paleoclimate data sets; 
    To learn to discuss and present key findings from data analysis of large data sets.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Knowledge of how the Earth’s atmospheric and oceanic system operates, including the various spatial and temporal scales of the processes

    (LO2) The external and internals drivers of climate change

    (LO3) Basic techniques and research themes in ocean, atmospheric and paleoclimate research

    (LO4) Knowledge of the methods of data collection and production in ocean and atmospheric science.

    (LO5) Knowledge of the techniques of reconstruction of past climatic conditions

    (S1) Assessing the merits of contrasting theories and explanations

    (S2) Numeracy and statistical literacy

    (S3) Ability to work responsibly, autonomously and with others

    (S4) The handling of large datasets

Year Four Optional Modules

  • Politics of the Environment (ENVS525)
    LevelM
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
    Aims

    This unit is designed to critically evaluate the political responses to the growing impact that environmental issues and the concept of sustainability are having on decision making at all levels of governance (international, national and local). More specifically the unit aims to:

    Develop a critical understanding of the growing importance of environmental and sustainable development thinking in political decision-making processes;

    Explore different environmental attitudes, values and perspectives and examine the impact on various political perspectives;

    Develop a critical understanding of the opportunities and limitations of environmental decision making international dimension of environmental politics and its impact on nation states;

    Understand the role that environmental pressure groups have in shaping political decisions at the international, national and local levels of governance;

    Critically evaluate the policy responses at national and local levels to the new emerging environmental agenda.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) a critical appreciation of how environmental issues are being addressed at all levels of governance;

    (LO2)  a critical understanding of different environmental values and attitudes and the way that these impact upon political philosophy and decision-making;

    (LO3) a critical understanding of the way that various environmental interest groups impact on political and other decision making processes.

    (S1) Communication skills

    (S2) International awareness

    (S3) Ethical awareness

  • Introduction to Quaternary Micropalaeontology (ENVS542)
    LevelM
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

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

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Have an understanding at research level of biological proxies that are used to qualitatively and quantitatively reconstruct Quaternary environments

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

    (LO3) Understand principles of uniformitarianism and palaeoecology

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

    (LO5) Understand and apply principles of quantitativereconstructions of past conditions

    (LO6) Appreciate limitations of the biological proxies and the statistical analysis of their relationships with environmental conditions

    (S1) Numeracy

    (S2) research skills

    (S3) laboratory procedures

    (S4) Communication skills

    (S5) Teamwork

    (S6) Problem solving skills

    (S7) IT skills

    (S8) Organisational skills

  • Research in Anthropocene Environments (ENVS485)
    LevelM
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    The aim of this module is to provide students with:

    The opportunity to conduct in depth piece of research on a chosen topic within the broad theme of human impacts on the environment;

    Provide students with training in research methods and critical analysis techniques;

    Teach them to write a short concise abstract (in a conference format);

    To present the results in the form of a high impact, high quality A0 poster.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) 1. Demonstrate an understanding of anthropocene environments;

    (LO2) 2. Knowledge of a series of key case studies illustrating interactions between human activities and terrestrial and marine ecosystems;

    (LO3) 3. Critically analyse and assess previously published materials and synthesize into an appropriate case study;

    (LO4) 4. Write a concise abstract;

    (LO5) 5. Demonstrate knowledge of poster development and construction;

    (LO6) 6. Present a poster in a professional manner.

    (S1) Problem solving skills

    (S2) Communication skills

    (S3) IT skills

    (S4) Organisational skills

  • Coastal Environments: Spatial and Temporal Change (ENVS576)
    LevelM
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
    Aims

    This module aims to consider the response of physical processes and coastal environments to changes in sea-level and climate.

    Attention is given to the geomorphology of coastal environments, its response to external agents, as well as to possible coastal managment strategies.

    The module aims at proving students with knowledge and understanding of the physical processes acting along coastal areas, and to promote students capability to critically understand pros and cons of different managment tecniques in relation to future climate change.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Critical understanding of physical aspects of coastal environments from a fluid-mechanics and morphodynamic point of view. Comprehensive understanding of the basic laws of physics behind such processes.

    (LO2) In depth and critical understanding of the concept of: spatial and temporal variation, physical processes and landforms, spatial and temporal scales, their relative influences and interactions.

    (LO3) Critically understand environments as a result of processes and form interactions. Critically evaluate the relative importance of external agents based on their magnitude, frequency, and spatial characterization.

    (LO4) In depth understanding of methodologies and techniques used for the analysis and interpretation of past records, as well as of techniques used as predictive tools. Knowledge and critical evaluation of assumptions behind each methodologies.

    (LO5) Development of an informed concern for the Earth and its people. Critically understand challanges connected to climate and environmental change in relation to coastal areas and coastal protection practices.

    (LO6) Capability to critically analyse real case studies in the context of previously acquired knowledge. Being able to critically evaluate the suitability of different coastal protection schemes based on projects aims and the main characteristics of external agents.

    (S1) Problem solving skills

    (S2) Numeracy

    (S3) Communication skills

    (S4) Organisational skills

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 computer based learning, with an emphasis on learning through doing. The award-winning £23 million Central Teaching Laboratories provides a state-of-the-art facility for undergraduate practical work.

Students value the learning opportunities provided by field classes, including the rapid feedback on performance. You will typically receive at least 15 hours of formal teaching each week. Between 30 and 100 hours of fieldwork and hands-on activities are provided each year depending on the discipline.

A typical module might involve two or three one-hour lectures each week, and often a three- hour laboratory or computer-based practical as well. Tutorials typically involve groups of 4-7 students meeting with a member of staff at least every two weeks in Year One and Two. In Year Three, you will undertake an Honours project, which is a piece of independent research (field, laboratory or data analysis) on a topic of your choice, supervised by a member of staff. In Years Three and Four students meet with their project supervisor on a weekly or more frequent basis. As you progress through your degree, you will be increasingly challenged to engage with current debates, to think critically and to study independently.

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.