Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Geography


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 20 Availability Not available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham
Tied to F802
Tied to F804


  • Glaciers and Glaciation (GEOG2531)


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To develop postgraduate level knowledge about the sediments, landforms and stratigraphy of glacial sedimentary environments
  • To provide field and practical based training in the survey, analysis and interpretation of glacial materials and landforms with a view to serving and communicating with a variety of end users


  • Glacilacustrine sedimentation and landforms
  • Glacimarine sedimentation and landforms – fjords
  • Glacimarine sedimentation and landforms – continental shelves and slope
  • Terrestrial glacial sedimentation - tills
  • Terrestrial glacial sedimentation – ice marginal environments
  • Glacifluvial sedimentation
  • Subglacial bedforms
  • Geomorphological and sedimentary imprints from the last British-Irish Ice Sheet
  • Applied glacial geology and geomorphology
  • Micromorphology of glacial sediments
  • 2-day residential fieldtrip to western Cumbria

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Secure an advanced understanding of the sedimentology, geomorphology and stratigraphy of glacial sedimentary environments both modern and ancient
  • Master the application of a detailed knowledge of sedimentary process/form relationships to professional field, remote sensing, and laboratory investigations in glaciated terrains
  • Develop a postgraduate level of critical evaluation of the interpretation of glacial sedimentary sequences and associated landforms
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Plan, design, execute and report at a postgraduate research level on a team-based investigation of glacial sediments, stratigraphy and landsystems
  • Undertake advanced fieldwork, remote sensing, and laboratory analysis of field samples while taking due regard for safety and risk assessment at a professional standard
  • Employ at a professional level a variety of technical and laboratory-based methods for the analysis and presentation of spatial and sedimentological/stratigraphic information, including field sedimentology, micromorphology, GIS, aerial photograph interpretation, geomorphology mapping
  • Conduct advanced quantitative methods on, and synthesize a complex and large data set, and present project results at a professional standard ready for publication in a scientific journal
Key Skills:
  • Critical analysis and interpretation of data at a research level appropriate to a Masters degree
  • Planning, executing and reporting to a professional standard on intensive field-based investigations of glacial sedimentary environments
  • Solving problems and making reasoned decisions
  • Communicate effectively and professionally in written, oral and graphical media
  • Apply advanced numerical and computational skills to complex data sets
  • Identify, retrieve, interrogate and assimilate complementary data from primary and secondary sources

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

  • Lectures provide an overview of the main concepts in advanced glacial sedimentology and formulate the context for the fieldwork programme, involving familiarization with and synthesis of complex location-based and conceptual literature
  • Seminars encourage students to engage directly with the relevant literature and to deliver reasoned assessments of critical debates in glacial sedimentology and geomorphology.
  • The field trip allows data acquisition by a co-ordinated investigation team and individually allows the implementation of field skills and best practice in field notebook management previously developed at Levels 1-3
  • Post fieldwork workshops involve primary and secondary data collation, analysis and preparation
  • The summative assessment consists of Oral Field Project Presentation (20%) designed to test key communication skills and critical presentation of key information; and a Written Field Project Report (80%) used to demonstrate effective written communication and graphical presentation, numerical and computational skills and the assimilation and critical analysis of data.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 9 Weekly in blocks of 1- 4 and alternating with seminars in Term 1 & first half of Term 2 2 hours 18
Lecture (incorporating fieldtrip Health & Safety briefing) 1 2 hours 2
Field trip 1 Term 2 3 days (9 hours per day) 27
Student-led Seminar Presentations 4 2 in Term 1 & 2 in Term 2 2 hours 8
Workshops 4 3 in Term 2, 1 in Term 3 2 hours 8
Project Presentation Seminars 1 1 session Term 3 3 hours 3
Self-directed learning 134
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Oral Field Project Presentation Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Oral Field Project Presentation 20 minutes 100%
Component: Written Field Project Report Component Weighting: 80%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written Field Project Report Max 4,000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Oral formative feedback during student-led seminars and the fieldtrip. Staff will also provide formative comments on the content of the oral field project presentation to feed forward into the Field Project write up.

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