Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Earth Sciences


Type Open Level 4 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Satisfactory completion of compulsory modules of chosen program. For Natural Sciences at least two Level 3 modules in Earth Sciences.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • The module enables students to enhance their employment potential by working with an industrial client on a group project that gives experience of applying their geoscience and transferrable skills and knowledge to address a real-world industrial challenge, while working as an effective team.


  • Formative Entrepreneurship in Earth Sciences component. This component is typically delivered through a field-based, role-play scenario at the start of the academic year that is designed to give students experience applying their geoscience skills and knowledge to decision making in a simulated commercial environment. Students will gain experience of reflective practice, team working, communication, making decisions based on sparse data, and of project management and delivery.
  • Team-based project. A multi-disciplinary student group will work on a project specified by a "client", typically an external organisation. The client identifies the problem to be addressed and the project deliverables. Previous examples have included identifying hydrocarbon exploration targets, geohazard risk assessments, exploring geothermal potential and assessing mine waste contamination. The groups will develop the project brief, workflow strategy and prepare and present a solution to their client and internal mentor. The project will include elements of formative and summative assessment. There is a focus on developing effective teamwork skills.
  • Presentation. A day of project presentations will be made to all clients and mentors involved with the module. Feedback will be provided.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will apply knowledge acquired at Levels 1-3 to a specific Earth Science related business or industrial application. Learning of technical content will be research-led and specific to each project. This will typically involve directed reading, instruction during mentoring sessions/client meetings, and the use of computer packages for data analysis and presentation of results.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will undertake research-led learning directed at the specific demands of the project and supervised by the "client" and project mentor (a member of academic staff in the Department of Earth Sciences).
  • Students will also engage in literature related to project management and teamwork.
Key Skills:
  • Gain direct experience of working with an industrial partner.
  • Learn how geoscientific information can inform industry judgements and create added value.
  • Experience in a prolonged team environment including defining team roles, managing team development, project management and dealing with uncertainty.
  • Awareness of how business decisions affect people and the environment.
  • Develop skills in project scoping, conduct and delivery.
  • Acquire communication and outreach skills.
  • Recognise the importance of self-evaluation, personal and continued professional development in life-long learning.
  • Enhance job seeking skills and employability.

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

  • This module is concerned principally with the application of existing subject-specific skills and knowledge to solve industrial challenges. As such, the modes of learning and assessment focus on developing a range of transferable skills expected of an earth scientist working in industry. The range of outcomes will be assessed through the formative component, and through a summative project report, presentation and evidence-based reflective report on the students learning experience.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Project supervision - Meetings with the client 5 1 hours 5
Tutorials with mentor 20 30 mins 10
Fieldwork - Formative, field-based role play scenario 1 3 days 25
Lectures/practicals – opening lectures to introduce the projects and train in teamwork skills and reflective writing 5 1 hour 5
Preparation of assessments: (project proposal; formative and summative reflective report on student's learning experience mid-project presentation to client summative report and Powerpoint presentation) 1 35
Oral Assessment - Presentation day 1 1 day 5
Project work 115
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Reflective report on student's learning experience and outcomes during the project Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Individual reflective report on whole project 100%
Component: End of Module Report Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Group Project Report 100%
Component: End of Module Oral Presentation Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Group Presentation 100%

Formative Assessment:

Formative feedback will be provided on all activities.

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