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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Postgraduate Courses (School of GeoSciences)

Postgraduate Course: Introduction to Environmental Modelling (PGGE11250)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryComputer based models are widely used in many areas of science, especially in environmental sciences. the emphasis of this course will be on the application and development of models in the context of ecosystem and environmental management. The concepts of model development, model calibration, uncertainty analysis and validation will be introduced through lectures and practical classes. the strengths and weaknesses of different modelling approaches will be examined. The course is designed for students with relatively little mathematical experience and it is an ideal opportunity to develop those skills required to apply computer models to complex environmental systems.
Course description This course is designed to enable students to critically assess and apply alternative modelling approaches for given systems, with a focus on environmental and ecosystem management. After lectures on the basics of modelling, the course will be practical focussed, typically with a short introductory lecture followed by PC lab exercises. A range of examples will be utilised (but including some repeat scenarios for implementation in different approaches). The final sessions introduce a range of topics, and will allow students to explore the different approaches as appropriate.

1) Introduction to modelling 1
2) Introduction to modelling 2
3) Model validation and parameterisation (including class exercise)
4) Modelling using Excel (including practical)
5) Modelling using OpenModel (including practical)
6) Modelling Simile (including practical)
7) Spatial Modelling (including practical)
8) Model uncertainty, sensitivity and Monte Carlo simulation (including practical)
9) Case studies- risk modelling (including practical)
10) Case studies- predator-prey modelling (including practical)
11) Case studies- pollution modelling (including practical)
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  69
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 44, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 152 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% coursework:
Two computer class reports (25% each) and a 2500 word report on a case study exercise (50%)
Feedback Feedback will be provided that enables students to apply as relevant to other assessments in this course. In addition, generic feedback on core academic skills (writing, critical appraisal) will be given that can be applied more widely.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. understand the role and nature of modelling environmental systems
  2. understand the basic principles of model building using both empirical and mechanistic modelling approaches
  3. have a clearer understanding of the challenges and decisions associated with model implementation and validation of model outputs
  4. have an awareness of the strengths and limitations of different types of model
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - General data analysis and information technology
- Organisation skills to plan, execute and report on scientific investigations
- To participate in individual and team activities towards the completion of a set of objectives
- Critical thinking necessary for the evaluation of information
KeywordsEnvironmental Modelling
Course organiserDr Alistair Hamilton
Tel: 0131 535 4417
Course secretaryMrs Elspeth Martin
Tel: 0131 535 4198
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