Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024


Department: Geography


Type Open Level 3 Credits 10 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • GEOG2611 Mountain Landscapes


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To develop theoretical understanding of the processes and dynamics of sediment production, transport, deposition, and landscape evolution in non-glaciated upland landscapes.
  • To provide practical training in how to extract geomorphic information from topographic data; how to analyse estimates of erosion and uplift rates; and how to run simple models of landscape evolution.


  • Block 1: Hillslope Geomorphology - Soil production and weathering
  • Block 2: Sculpting Mountains – Fluvial Erosion and Sediment Transport - Theories of fluvial incision into bedrock - The structure and organisation of river networks
  • Block 3: External Controls on Landscape Process and Form - Techniques for measuring erosion and denudation - Tectonics and topography - Climate’s fingerprint on Earth surface processes

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On successful completion of the module students will be able to:
  • Demonstrate advanced levels of knowledge on the processes that shape non-glaciated mountainous landscapes
  • Understand and apply techniques that are used in modern geomorphological research including topographic analysis, numerical models, and measurement of erosion and denudation rates
Subject-specific Skills:
  • On successful completion of the module students will be able to:
  • Extract and analyse topographic metrics from digital elevation models.
  • Run simple models of landscape evolution using the Python programming language.
  • Critically evaluate current geomorphic research by linking lectures and practicals to published material.
Key Skills:
  • Critical analysis and interpretation of data at a level appropriate for dissertation research.
  • Communicate effectively and professionally in written and graphical media.
  • Apply numerical and computational skills to complex datasets.

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

  • The lectures will provide detailed knowledge of landscape-forming processes in upland non-glaciated landscapes, and links with external forcings such as climate, tectonics, and life. They will also cover key techniques used in research geomorphology to quantify topography and measure erosion and denudation.
  • Each lecture will be directly linked to a following practical which will allow students to apply the concepts from the lectures. These will be primarily computational and will allow the development of numerical skills and experience in handling complex datasets. Students are expected to be familiar with GIS packages (e.g. ArcGIS, QGIS) and will be introduced to simple programming in Python.
  • The summative assessment will take the form of an independent report. Students will be expected to apply the techniques introduced during the lectures and practicals to investigate Earth surface processes in an upland landscape of their choice.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 8 Weekly 1 hour 8
Practicals 8 Weekly 2 hours 16
Report Q&A session 1 2 hours 2
Self-directed Learning 74
Total 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Report Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Report Max 6 pages A4 100%

Formative Assessment:

Continuous oral feedback during practical sessions and during the Q+A session. Informal written feedback on research questions for summative report.

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