Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Geography


Type Tied Level 3 Credits 40 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham
Tied to F800
Tied to F802
Tied to F803
Tied to F804
Tied to CFG0
Tied to FGC0
Tied to CFG1
Tied to CFG2
Tied to LA01
Tied to LA02
Tied to LA03
Tied to LMV0
Tied to LMV1
Tied to LMV2
Tied to LMVA
Tied to LMVP


  • GEOG2462 Scientific Research in Geography


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To enable students to plan and execute a substantial piece of independent geographical research on an approved topic
  • To provide students with an opportunity to collect and analyse data from primary and/or secondary sources
  • To encourage students to develop the transferable skills of advanced literacy and presentation


  • An individual piece of work on an approved physical geography topic, chosen by the student
  • Formulation of the topic and progress towards completion are advised and monitored by the Dissertation Supervisor, with whom there are six discussion tutorials during Level 3

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On successful completion of the module students are expected to have developed an advanced and detailed knowledge of a specified geographical topic.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • On successful completion of the module students are expected to be able to produce a dissertation showing the following skills:
  • Formulation: identify a clear objective; establish the relevant substantive and theoretical context; produce a scholarly and critical review of relevant literature
  • Execution: use appropriate and relevant research methods; identify a logical structure and argument; show relevance and depth; produce a critical appraisal of the outcome
Key Skills:
  • Presentation: demonstrate advanced skills of literacy, numeracy, graphicacy, editing and proof-reading, documentation and bibliography
  • Conceptualisation: consider and formulate a research question and methodology of appropriate and feasible scope, drawing on and synthesising relevant literature
  • Research: conduct data gathering and analysis in an academically rigorous manner
  • Synthesis: consider findings with reference to empirical questions and scholarly debates as relevant
  • Management: skills in time and project management appropriate for undertaking multifaceted, long-duration research projects

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

  • The dissertation is the most important single item on which Single Honours Geography students are assessed. It is their own work on a topic of their own choice, done largely in their own time and reflecting their level of training, attitude, motivation, powers of organisation and analysis as well as depth of knowledge of a specified geographical topic.
  • The Level 2 Dissertation Supervision Groups (Part of the module 'Scientific Research in Geography') supported students in formulating projects and conducting fieldwork, as well as time/project management skills. Students were given detailed verbal and written feedback on the formative research proposal in Level 2.
  • The Level 3 Dissertation Supervision individual meetings support students in completing fieldwork, analysing data, interpretation and writing up findings.
  • Students are given detailed verbal and written feedback on the formative draft chapter(s) (max 8 pages) and a 2-page outline at Level 3.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Tutorials (individual) 6 Terms 1 & 2 30 minutes 3
Lecture 1 Term 1 1 hour 1
Preparation and Reading 396
Total 400

Summative Assessment

Component: Dissertation Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Dissertation 10,000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Formative feedback on a) eight page draft dissertation chapter or eight pages derived from multiple chapters and b) two page outline of the dissertation consisting of section headings.

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