Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Earth Sciences


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham


  • GEOL1051 Field Studies.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • GEOL2191 Fieldwork (Geological) and GEOL2241 Fieldwork (Geophysical).


  • To prepare students for their Level 3 dissertation projects.


  • Planning and conducting laboratory, field and a programme of original research application of geoscience principles and methodologies to the solution of familiar and unfamiliar problems.
  • Basic laboratory skills relevant to environmental geochemistry.
  • Site survey and field methods.
  • Project safety, risk management, right of access, health and safety regulations and sensitivity to the environment and stakeholders.
  • Appropriate planning and preparation for dissertation reports.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Will have acquired subject knowledge and understanding in environmental principles, terms, definitions and classifications.
  • Will have acquired subject knowledge and understanding in environmental methods of studying Earth systems.
  • Will have acquired subject knowledge and understanding of engineering geology methods.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • After completion of this module students: will be able to collect, record and analyse geological data using appropriate techniques in the field and in the laboratory.
  • Will be able to conduct basic laboratory work, including preparation of solutions and standards, as well as acid-base and Fenton reactions.
  • Will learn the advantages and limitations of a number of analytical techniques and calibration procedures.
  • Will understand and apply laboratory health and safety protocols and practices.
  • Will be able to conduct fieldwork in a safe, efficient and sensitive manner.
  • Will be able to conduct the planning and preparation necessary for independent fieldwork and related activities.
  • Will have acquired intellectual and practical skills necessary to plan, conduct and report on laboratory or field projects.
  • Will have acquired intellectual and practical skills in order to apply geological principles and methodologies to the solution of familiar and unfamiliar problems.
  • Will have acquired intellectual and practical skills to observe, record accurately and account for observations in the laboratory and in the field.
  • Will have acquired intellectual and practical skills to synthesise information/data from a variety of sources.
  • Will have acquired intellectual and practical skills to analyse, evaluate/interpret geological data.
  • Will have acquired skills in order to handle geological spatial information in both 2 and 3 dimensions.
  • Will have gained an appreciation of the role for engineering geology in wider society.
  • Will have acquired intellectual skills involved in the measurement and interpretation of environmental or geophysical structures and processes from field observations and other sources of information.
Key Skills:
  • Critical analysis
  • Research capability
  • Engage with professional world
  • Scholarship
  • Practical competency
  • Independent learning
  • Numeracy
  • IT skills
  • Information skills
  • Literacy
  • Teamwork
  • Innovation and creativity
  • Time management
  • Continuing personal development
  • Commercial awareness
  • Environmental awareness

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

  • The module is delivered through a mix of flexible 3 hour sessions comprising lectures, practicals, fieldwork and site visits.
  • The module will include three laboratory sessions and three write-up sessions. Assessment for these will be from a combination of marks on notebooks, short reports and data analysis.
  • The module will include one fieldtrip of seven days and a one-day fieldtrip.
  • This method is preferred as it provides "hands on" learning and experience of practical and related laboratory skills.
  • Summative assessment will be a combination of marks for notebooks, project reports and resulting data analysis.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Practicals 12 Weekly 1 hour 12
Laboratory 6 3 hours 18
Fieldwork 1 1 week 56
Fieldwork 1 1 days 8
Tutorials 6 3 per term 1 hour 6
Preparation and Reading 100
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Continuous Assessment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Literature Review 15%
Laboratory Practicals 20%
Individual Fieldwork Report 30%
Group Fieldwork Report 35%

Formative Assessment:

Feedback sessions during field excursions and post-trip debriefing sessions. Formative assessed exercise in laboratory session.

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