Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024


Department: Earth Sciences


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


  • GEOL2171 Isotopes and Climate OR A level Chemistry or higher qualification.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • GEOL4101 Geological Evolution and Petroleum Systems of The British Isles IV, GEOL3041 Environmental Geochemistry, GEOL4161 Earth Structure and Dynamics IV, GEOL4121 Deformation Processes in the Lithosphere, GEOL4131 Hazardous Geophysical Flows IV, GEOL4141 Earth System and Climate IV.


  • To understand the behaviour of pollutants in the environment.


  • Introduction to Pollution.
  • How common pollutants move through the environment.
  • Water chemistry.
  • Pollution science and remediation.
  • Waste and water management.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • To explain the processes controlling pollutant movement in the environment.
  • To apply principles to range of common pollutant problems.
  • And develop an advanced understanding concerning methods for tackling and remediation of environmental problems.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Will have acquired advanced intellectual and practical skills to synthesise information/data from a variety of sources.
Key Skills:
  • Critical analysis
  • Research capability
  • Engage with professional world
  • Scholarship
  • Practical competency
  • Independent learning
  • Numeracy
  • IT skills
  • Information skills
  • Literacy
  • Innovation and creativity
  • Time management
  • Continuing personal development
  • Commercial awareness
  • Environmental awareness
  • Receive and respond to a variety of information sources.
  • Consider received information critically, even that received from a perceived reliable source.
  • Analyse conventionally accepted information based on independent thought.
  • Communicate effectively to a variety of audiences in written and verbal forms.
  • Put together a short but effective written review of an Environmental Geochemistry topic of the students choosing.
  • Use internet and library resources effectively.
  • Acquire skills necessary for self-managed lifelong learning including independent research, critical analysis, and time management.
  • Identify and work towards targets for personal and academic development.

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 three-hour sessions comprising a mix of lecture and two-hour practical slots, plus site visits and project work supported by handouts, directed reading and web-based assignments.
  • The practicals form an important component of the module allowing "hands on" learning and experience.
  • Two timetabled meetings during Michaelmas and Epiphany terms (four total) designed specifically to promote advanced critical reasoning, scientific research, and scientific writing skills, and writing skills.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lecturers 20 Weekly 1 hour 20
Practicals 20 Weekly 2 hours 40
Advanced skills practical sessions 4 Twice per term 2 hours 8
Preparation and Reading 132
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Continual Assessment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Practical report 1 30%
Practical report 2 30%
Essay 2000 words 40%

Formative Assessment:

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