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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Geography

Undergraduate Course: Geomorphology (GEGR08002)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course will discuss the historical development and present use of major concepts in geomorphology such as uniformitarianism and catastrophism, magnitude and frequency of geomorphic events, ideas of landform equilibrium and evolution and the importance of temporal and spatial scale. This course provides the foundation on which more detailed studies of geomorphological landforms and processes on future fieldtrips, Honours courses and dissertations will be based.
Course description This course on the principles of geomorphology looks at the relationship between processes and landforms at a variety of scales in space and time. The course covers the development of geomorphological theories, weathering, slope processes, soil erosion, fluvial and glacial processes and landforms, applied geomorphology, mountain building, rates of landscape change, supercontinent breakup, volcanic geomorphology and megafloods. To finish the course, Martian geomorphology will also be discussed.

The course is delivered through two x 1 hour lectures. Five tutorials are also held, where students get a chance to explore subjects in more detail through writing or group presentations. There are also 4 practical classes, where geomorphological numerical and computing skills, including the use of Geographical Information Systems, are developed.

Wks 1-2: Introduction and developments of theories of Geomorphology
Wks 2-3: Weathering and mass wasting
Wks 4-5: Fluvial systems and flooding
Wks 6-7: Soil Erosion and Glacial processes and landforms
Wks 8-9: Continental scale geomorphology, mountain building and rates of landscape change
Wks 10-11: Volcanic geomorphology, megafloods and Martian geomorphology

This course is open to all university students, but priority for places is given to students on the Geography degree programmes, other Geoscience degrees and the Sustainable Development MA.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Physical Geography (GEGR08010) OR Earth Dynamics (EASC08001)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 5, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 8, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 157 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) Students are required to pass both the degree coursework and the exam in order to pass the course.
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Class assessment: 4 assignments (mixture of short essays and presentations) and 4 practical assignments.

Degree assessment: 2000 word essay = 50%, One two-hour exam (Multiple choice + problems and essay) = 50%. Resubmitted essay or resit examination where necessary.
Feedback Students will be given feedback throughout the course. Each piece of tutorial work will be marked and handed back to students with written formative feedback. Tutors will also provide verbal and more generic formative feedback in the tutorials. Formative feedback will be available from demonstrators and staff throughout the practical sessions and written feedback will be provided on marked Practical work. All staff will be happy to provide formative feedback to any student during or after lectures. Feedback will be given on the summative course essay, which students can collect once it has been marked. All exam essays will also include summative feedback, which students are encouraged to read at the feedback sessions.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)Geomorphology2:00
Resit Exam Diet (August)Geomorphology2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate a broad knowledge of the scope and main areas of Geomorphology
  2. classify and describe landforms in a variety of environmental settings
  3. demonstrate a knowledge of systems theory as applied to geomorphology, specifically with regards to the concepts of feedback, thresholds, and equilibrium
  4. demonstrate a broad understanding of the theories of Uniformitarianism and Catastrophism, and appreciation and knowledge of the history of geomorphological research
  5. acquire the ability to quantitatively use and evaluate geomorphological data with numerical, statistical and cartographical methods
Reading List
A variety of reading is recommended throughout the course including textbooks and academic papers and a reading list is available on Learn.

Although there is no one textbook that covers the whole course, we do recommend the following books as starting points:

Anderson, R.S. and Anderson, S.P. (2010) Geomorphology The Mechanics and Chemistry of Landscapes. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Bierman, P.R and Montgomery, D.R. (2014) Key Concepts in Geomorphology. New York, W.H. Freeman and Company.

Gregory, K.J and Goudie, A.S. (eds) (2011) The SAGE Handbook of Geomorphology. SAGE Publications Ltd, London. [Electronic book:]

Summerfield, M.A. (1991) Global Geomorphology. Longman, London.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will be able to demonstrate a broad knowledge of the scope and main areas of Geomorphology, including an awareness of spatial and temporal scales, and the importance of surface processes in the creation of landforms.
Students will also be able to demonstrate an ability to use and evaluate data with numerical, statistical and GIS methods.
Finally, students will be able to effectively synthesize and communicate scientific findings both orally and in writing.
Additional Class Delivery Information Two lectures a week are held in Basement Lecture Theatre, Adam House at 12.10-13.00 on Mondays and Wednesday of Semester 2.

Attendance at four compulsory practicals is required (either Tue 9.00-10.50, Wed 10.00-12.00 or Thur 11.10-13.00) and five tutorials (Monday to Friday mornings - times vary) are also held.
Course organiserDr Anthony Newton
Tel: (0131 6)50 2546
Course secretaryMiss Sarah Mcallister
Tel: (0131 6)50 4917
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