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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Earth Science

Undergraduate Course: Environmental Problems and Issues (EASC10049)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThe course is intended as a means to engage students in learning about a range of of topical environmental issues, but especially to develop students┐ independent research and presentation skills. The course is delivered through a series of lecture suites, each of which is followed 1 week later by a session in which students will present 15-20 minute seminars on selected sub-topics. Each seminar will be followed by a discussion session. Students engage in seminar sessions both through presentation and audience participation (recommended readings and discussion associated with each seminar). The exam takes place in May, and the course is therefore not suitable to students visiting only for semester 1.

Further Course Information
Course description PART 1: Atmospheric Processes
Global Warming
Stratospheric Ozone Depletion
Pollution at the Earth's Surface

PART 2: Estuarine Processes
Physical and biogeochemical processes occurring in estuaries, and how these interact to control the cycling and fate of natural and contaminant materials.

PART 3: Environmental Issues facing Coral Reefs
The science behind: coral bleaching, impacts of changing seawater CO2; eutrophication; pathogens in reef systems; plagues; controls on species diversity; species composition and relative abundance on reefs at different spatial and temporal scales; phase shifts in the reef ecosystem.

PART 4: Nuclear Waste management
Chemical, geological and socio-economic issues associated with managing the Earth's low-, intermediate- and high-level nuclear waste.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Global Environmental Change- Foundations (EASC09056) AND Environmental Geochemistry of the Earth's Surface (EASC08024)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesOnly available for full year visiting students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  26
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 14, Fieldwork Hours 3, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 79 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 70 %, Coursework 30 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Written Exam: 70%, Course Work: 30 %, Practical Exam: 0%.

Seminar marks are based both on style and content of seminars (85%) and on attendance and participation during discussion (15%).

The 90-minute May exam is based on answers to 3 out of 4 essay-style questions. Questions will be based on materials covered both in lecture and case studies explored in seminar sessions.
Feedback Detailed feedback on seminars (style and content) will be provided to students. Staff also provide guidance and feedback during discussion sessions following seminars.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)1:30
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Development of an understanding of the current state of the Earth and the interactions between Man's activities and natural cycles.
  2. Skills in independent literature research and in-depth, critical studies of processes within the context of specific problems and case studies.
  3. Skills in oral presentation to an informed audience.
  4. Skills in discussion and critical assessment of student-led seminars.
  5. An understanding of selected environmental issues and real-life problems in context provided by other linked Environmental Geoscience courses.
Reading List
Recommended readings will be provided with each lecture suite as well as with sub-topics selected for student seminars.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Greg Cowie
Tel: (0131 6)50 8502
Course secretaryMs Katerina Sykioti
Tel: (0131 6)50 5430
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