Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module GEOL3427: Groundwater Hydrology

Department: Earth Sciences

GEOL3427: Groundwater Hydrology

Type Open Level 3 Credits 10 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • GEOL1081 Further Mathematics for Geoscientists AND GEOL1131 Geoinformatics


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • Provide a comprehensive introduction to the field of groundwater hydrology, including its basic concepts, principles, and technique.
  • Familiarise students with the methods, topics, and work areas related to groundwater hydrology.
  • Develop skills in numerical modelling and the analysis of groundwater systems.
  • Acquire knowledge and skills appropriate to a career in environmental geoscience.


  • The importance of groundwater resources.
  • The properties of water and their relevance to groundwater hydrology.
  • Fundamentals of groundwater hydrology Classification of groundwater systems and aquifer types.
  • Analysis of groundwater flow.
  • Analysis of solute transport in groundwater.
  • Numerical simulations using python.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Knowledge of hydrogeological concepts and principles.
  • Understanding of the properties of water, aquifer types, and groundwater flow.
  • Ability to analyse and interpret groundwater flow data using analytical equations and numerical models.
  • Knowledge of the basics of solute transport.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to analyse and interpret groundwater aquifer information.
  • Ability to solve numerical problems related to groundwater hydrology using computer (Python) and non-computer techniques.
  • Ability to derive and solve numerical equations and empirical relationships.
  • Basic computer programming skills (Python)
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.
  • Numeracy.
  • IT skills.
  • Information skills.

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 1 hour lectures and 2 hour practical exercises, supported by handouts and directed reading.
  • Lectures will develop theory.
  • Practical exercises will enable students to develop advanced analytical skills, practical experience. These will require students to process, interpret and present data using appropriate qualitative and quantitative methods.
  • Mode of assessment: two written assignments and one report.
  • The written assignments (summative) will consist of a set of questions to be answered based on lecture and practical material and assigned reading. At least one of these assignments will include calculations and basic simulation with Python. These assignments will help to develop the skills in numerical modelling and the interpretation of groundwater information. Suggested duration of each assignment 2-4 hrs.
  • The report (summative) will require analysing and interpreting a set groundwater hydrology problem and take the form of a consultancy report. Students will work in teams of two to critically evaluate the impact of various processes on groundwater resources. Suggested duration 6-8 hrs. 

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 Weekly 1 Hour 10
Practicals 10 Weekly 2 Hours 20
Preparation, and Reading 70
Total 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Assignment 1 Suggested duration of each assignment 2-4 hrs 25%
Assignment 2 Suggested duration of each assignment 2-4 hrs 25%
Report Suggested duration 6-8 hrs.  50%

Formative Assessment:

Formative exercises will be conducted and feedback delivered as part of in-person 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