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Durham University

Faculty Handbook Archive

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2018-19. The current handbook year is 2019-20

Department: Earth Sciences


Type Open Level 4 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2018/19 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Satisfactory completion of compulsory modules of chosen program. For Natural Sciences at least two Level 3 modules in Earth Sciences.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide an opportunity for students to enhance their employment potential by working with our industrial partners on projects that give experience of applying their geoscience skills and knowledge to address societal and/or commercial challenges.


  • Formative “Entrepreneurship in Earth Sciences” component. This component is typically delivered through a field-based, role-play scenario at the start of the academic year that is designed to give students experience applying their geoscience skills and knowledge to decision making in a simulated commercial environment. Students will gain experience of reflective practice, team working, communication, making decisions based on sparse data, and of project management and delivery.
  • Team-based project. A multi-disciplinary student group will work on a project specified by a "client", typically an external organisation. The client identifies the problem to be addressed and the project deliverables. Previous examples have included identifying hydrocarbon exploration targets, mineral deposit assays, and geohazard risk assessments. The groups will develop the project brief, workflow strategy and prepare and present a solution to their “client” and internal mentor. The project will include elements of formative and summative assessment.
  • Presentation. A day of project presentations will be made to all clients and mentors involved with the module. Feedback will be provided.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will apply knowledge acquired at Levels 1-3 to a specific Earth Science related business or industrial application. Learning of technical content will be research-led and specific to each project. This will typically involve directed reading, instruction during mentoring sessions/client meetings, and the use of computer packages for data analysis and presentation of results.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will undertake research-led learning directed at the specific demands of the project and supervised by the "client" and project mentor.
Key Skills:
  • Gain direct experience of the business world, its financial and cultural approach to decision making.
  • Learn how geoscientific information can inform commercial judgements and create added value.
  • Experience and manage conflict between fact finding, uncertainty and short deadlines in a competitive environment.
  • Awareness of how business decisions affect people and the environment.
  • Develop skills in project scoping, management and delivery.
  • Acquire skills in teamwork, communication and outreach.
  • Recognise the importance of self-evaluation, personal and continued professional development in life-long learning.
  • Enhance job seeking skills and employability.

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

  • This module is concerned principally with the application of existing subject-specific skills and knowledge to solve industrial and commercial challenges. As such, the modes of learning and assessment focus on developing a range of transferable skills expected of an earth scientist working in industry. The range of outcomes will be assessed through the formative component, and through a summative project report, presentation and evidence-based reflective report on the student’s learning experience.

Teaching Methods and Contact Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Project supervision - Meetings with the client 3 3 hours 9
Tutorials with mentor 10 1 hour 10
Fieldwork - Formative, field-based role play scenario 1 5 days 40
Tutorial - Formative assessment (reflective report on student's learning experience during the field-based role play scenario) 1 15
Oral Assessment - Presentation day 1 1 day 6
Report - Project work including formative proposal to client and mid-project presentation to client 120
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Reflective report on student's learning experience and outcomes during the project Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Report and Learning Log 100%
Component: End of Module Report Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Report 100%
Component: End of Module Oral Presentation Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Presentation 100%

Formative Assessment:

Formative feedback will be provided on all activities.

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