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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2021/2022

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Geography


Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2021/22


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • The aim of this module is to provide students with fundamental knowledge of hydro-meteorological hazards, with a particular focus upon flood and drought risk, their causes, the role of feedbacks and the changing environmental drivers influencing them, including projected climate change, and the ways that hazards might be investigated and managed as part of a management strategy.


  • The module will cover three themes
  • 1. Flooding and droughts as environmental hazards
  • 2. Meteorological drivers, processes and quantification of floods and drought
  • 3. Monitoring, estimating and predicting floods and droughts

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Understanding of the primary drivers of flood and drought risk and the interactions between elements of the flood hazard system, including feedbacks
  • Appreciation of the different types of floods and drought and their measurement
  • Understanding of the role played by catchment processes, and social and economic processes in driving hydro-meteorological hazards
  • Understanding the basics of the hydrological science required as inputs to flood risk analysis, and the associated tools used in those sciences.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to undertake return period analysis using the statistical distribution (e.g. Gumbel)
  • Competence to use simulation modelling approaches (as an alternative to statistical methods) including awareness of data issues, calibration and validation
  • Capability to analyse large scale meteorological drivers associated with drought and floods.
Key Skills:
  • Critical evaluation and synthesis of published data and interpretations
  • Technical skills in analysing data (e.g. time-series, extremes, trends)
  • Demonstrate the ability to complete written work within word limits, including essay and report writing skill

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

  • There are three modes of teaching:
  • 1. Lectures will provide core understanding, including that associated with the subject knowledge, and the underpinning science to enable acquisition of necessary subject skills;
  • 2. Practical exercises (in the form of workshops) as well as formative written assignments will be used to develop the specific subject skills, based around case examples linked to research and to develop student understanding of lecture-based material;
  • 3. A field day will demonstrate how flood hazard management approaches are applied
  • Independent study will be required to deepen the student's subject knowledge through reading, and to develop practical skills, with practical classes assisting with these.
  • We will assess subject skills through short practical exercises linked to each practical.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 12 Weekly 2 hours 24
Practical sessions 5 1 in Term 1; 4 in Term 2 2 hours 10
Field class 1 Once 8 hours 8
Independent learning 258
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 45%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2500 words 100% Yes
Component: Report 1 Component Weighting: 25%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Report 1 1500 words 100% Yes
Component: Report 2 Component Weighting: 30%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Report 2 1500 words 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Formative feedback will be provided through verbal discussions in class, and through written feedback. A formative task will be set to support the summative essay and a formative practical report will be set to guide the two summative reports.

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