Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Geography


Type Open Level 3 Credits 10 Availability Not available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Any Geography Level 2 Module


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To enable students to learn about the new research ideas in hydrology. Learning about these new hypotheses, techniques and approaches will enable the students to gain greater insight into hydrological processes and extend their understanding. The module aims to show how these new advances in hydrological thinking and understanding are shaping the way in which we undertake hydrological science but also how they are changing the way in which catchments are managed. This will cover both hydrological processes and hydrologically driven processes such as diffuse pollution. How the operation of these processes will be impacted by predicted climatic change will be covered during the module.


  • The module will cover the current approaches to gaining hydrological understanding at the catchment / landscape scale. This will include the issues associated with using environmental simulation models to understand processes. The module will also cover recent work on the analysis of hydrological connectivity using isotope tracers and how this has lead to debate on the age and origin of water in flood hydrographs. The issues associated with diffuse pollution and how the catchment hydrological structure determines the sources of the pollution will be presented.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • An overview of the theory and methods behind the new techniques and ideas in catchment hydrology
  • In-depth exploration of a number of emerging hydrological questions
  • A deeper understanding of hydrological processes
  • Understanding of linkages between hydrology and associated processes such as diffuse pollution
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Engage with and synthesise hydrological understanding
  • Gain awareness of new types of hydrological data and models such as oxygen isotope tracing
Key Skills:
  • Present logical written arguments
  • Develop information analysis and synthesis skills

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

  • This is a specialised module that focuses on research frontiers in hydrology. The emphasis is upon integrating understanding of the material presented. Lecture-based material is appropriate as whilst innovative demonstration tools may be used in the lectures (e.g. software demonstrations) and beyond, the primary rationale for the module is developing in-depth synthesis and analysis skills amongst students doing the module with respect to exciting and emerging areas of hydrological science. The role of seminars is to allow students to explore in greater depth topics covered in the module.
  • The formative assessment draws on a combination of data and readings and hence encourages the students to link together pieces of information to create a solution to the problem set.
  • The examination enables students to analyse cutting-edge material relating to hydrological processes

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 8 Approx weekly 1.5 hours 12
Practicals 2 2 hours 4
Preparation and Reading 84
Total 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Exam Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Exam 1.5 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

1 x report (modelling of climate change impacts) - max 4 pages A4

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