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Durham University

Faculty Handbook Archive

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2017-18. The current handbook year is 2020-21

Department: Earth Sciences


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap Location Durham


  • GEOL2031 Sedimentary Environments and GEOL2171 Water and Climate


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • GEOL3011 Challenges in Geodynamics


  • Through research-led teaching this module will give students the knowledge and skills appropriate to a career in environmental geoscience, environmental management or further graduate study. Students will be exposed to a range of international case studies.


  • Environmental economics.
  • Environmental impact assessment.
  • Uncertainty analysis.
  • Water quality.
  • Water management.
  • Water treatment.
  • Air quality and environmental health.
  • Air quality control.
  • Land remediation.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Having completed this module students will be able to:
  • Understand the economic difficulties associated with sustainable development.
  • Prepare an environmental impact assessment.
  • Propagate parametric and epistemic uncertainty through environmental models.
  • Critically evaluate existing water management practices.
  • Understand a range of water treatment technologies.
  • Understand a range of air quality control issues.
  • Solve numerical problems using computer and non-computer techniques.
  • Work in teams to produce consultancy reports relating to environmental consultancy.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Will have acquired intellectual and practical skills in order to apply environmental management principles and methodologies to the solution of familiar and unfamiliar problems.
  • International and local perspective.
  • Cultural awareness.
  • Commercial awareness.
  • Environmental awareness.
  • Earth's natural resources.
  • Environmental monitoring and management.
  • The role of the professional in society.
Key Skills:
  • Prepare, process, interpret and present data using appropriate qualitative and quantitative methods.
  • Solve numerical problems using computer or non-computer techniques.
  • Critical analysis.
  • Research capability
  • Engage with the professional world.
  • Practical competency.
  • Independent learning.
  • Numeracy.
  • IT skills.
  • Information skills.
  • Communication.
  • Teamwork.
  • Leadership.
  • Opportunity identification.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module is delivered through a mix of lectures, practicals and fieldwork, supported by handouts and directed reading.
  • Lectures will develop theory.
  • Practical exercises will enable students to develop advanced analytical skills, practical experience related to environmental management and the further development of concepts core to the subject. These will require students to process, interpret and present data using appropriate qualitative and quantitative methods.
  • The fieldtrip to Cyprus trains students in making advanced geoscientific observations and interpretations, engages methods in environmental management practice, sustainable development and the wider earth processes relevant to environmental geoscience. This trip also gives the learning a broader international aspect to the learning.
  • Practical exercises in term 1 will include: net present value calculation, life cycle analysis, environmental impact assessment, Monte Carlo simulation with environmental models, reservoir capacity forecasting, water treatment plant design.
  • Formative assessment will be given during practical sessions to aid students with development and presentation of relevant calculation methods.
  • Summative assessment concerning will include a group work project and an end of year exam.
  • The end of year exam will be a mixture of short essay and problem solving exercises relating to the lectures and practicals delivered in Term 1.
  • The group work project will involve the development of a consultancy report concerning a feasibility study for an environmental remediation project.
  • The consultancy report will include treatment design, economic analysis, environmental impact assessment and uncertainty analysis.
  • The Cyprus field trip will be used as a reconnaissance mission for data gathering.
  • The written report will be assessed on a group basis.
  • Marks will also be provided to individuals on the basis of performance on the Cyprus field trip, during supervisory tutorials and an end-of-term presentation.
  • Guidance on preparation, key and exam skills are provided.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 Weekly 1 hour 10
Practicals 10 Weekly 2 hours 20
Fieldwork 1 week Annually 56
Preparation and Reading 111
Tutorials 3 Fortnightly 1 hour 3
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Continual Assessment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Group work project 45%
Two-hour unseen class test 30%
Fieldwork presentation 25%

Formative Assessment:

Continuous feedback will be provided during problem solving practical sessions.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University