Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Earth Sciences


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • Through research-led teaching this module will give students the knowledge and skills appropriate to a career in environmental geoscience, environmental management or further graduate study. Students will be exposed to a range of UK case studies, many of which have global significance.


  • Environmental economics.
  • Environmental impact assessment.
  • Uncertainty analysis.
  • Water quality.
  • Flood risk and flood management.
  • Water and wastewater treatment.
  • Air quality and environmental health.
  • Air quality control.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Having completed this module students will be able to:
  • Understand the economic difficulties associated with sustainable development.
  • Prepare an environmental impact assessment.
  • Propagate parametric and epistemic uncertainty through environmental models.
  • Critically evaluate existing water management practices.
  • Understand a range of water treatment technologies.
  • Critically evaluate flood management practices.
  • Understand a range of air quality control issues.
  • Solve numerical problems using computer (Excel, Python) and non-computer techniques.
  • Derive and calculate numerical equations and empirical relationships.
  • Work in teams to produce consultancy reports relating to environmental consultancy.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Will have acquired intellectual and practical skills in order to apply environmental management principles and methodologies to the solution of familiar and unfamiliar problems.
  • International and local perspective.
  • Cultural awareness.
  • Commercial awareness.
  • Environmental awareness.
  • Earth's natural resources.
  • Environmental monitoring and management.
  • The role of the professional in society.
Key Skills:
  • Prepare, process, interpret and present data using appropriate qualitative and quantitative methods.
  • Solve numerical problems using computer (Python, Excel) or non-computer techniques.
  • Critical analysis.
  • Research capability
  • Engage with the professional world.
  • Practical competency.
  • Independent learning.
  • Numeracy.
  • IT skills.
  • Information skills.
  • Communication.
  • Teamwork.
  • Leadership.
  • Opportunity identification.

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 lectures, practicals and fieldwork, supported by handouts and directed reading.
  • Lectures will develop theory.
  • Practical exercises will enable students to develop advanced analytical skills, practical experience related to environmental management and the further development of concepts core to the subject. These will require students to process, interpret and present data using appropriate qualitative and quantitative methods.
  • Fieldwork in northern England develops skills and engages methods in environmental management practice, sustainable development and the wider earth processes relevant to environmental geoscience. Interaction with practitioners will bring a broader perspective to the learning.
  • Practical exercises in term 1 will include: net present value calculation, environmental impact assessment, Monte Carlo simulation with environmental models and wastewater and water treatment plant design.
  • Formative assessment will be given during practical sessions to aid students with development and presentation of relevant calculation methods.
  • Summative assessment concerning will include a group work project and an end of year exam.
  • The class test will be a mixture of short essay and problem solving exercises relating to the lectures and practicals delivered in Term 1.
  • The group work project will involve the development of a consultancy report concerning a feasibility study for an environmental remediation project related to environmental issues in the UK.
  • The consultancy report will include solution design, economic analysis, environmental impact assessment and uncertainty analysis.
  • Fieldwork in northern England will be used as a reconnaissance mission for data gathering.
  • The written report will be assessed on a group basis.
  • Guidance on preparation, key and exam skills are provided.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 Weekly 1 hour 10
Practicals 10 Weekly 2 hours 20
Fieldwork 5 days Annually 40
Preparation, Reading and Group Work 125
Tutorials 5 Fortnightly 1 hour 5
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Continual Assessment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Group work project 60%
Timed Exercise 40%

Formative Assessment:

Continuous feedback will be provided during problem solving practical sessions.

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