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2015/16 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

GEOG2095 Skills for Physical Geographers

40 creditsClass Size: 100

Module manager: Prof Andy Baird

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View Timetable

Year running 2015/16


GEOG1070Physical Geography Tutorial
GEOG1075Data Analysis Skills for Physical Geography

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

High levels of literacy (critical writing skills), numeracy (statistics and modelling), and applied graphicacy (graphing and mapping of data) are the hallmark of a good geography graduate from a world top 50 university. In addition, competency in research design, fieldwork, data collection, and specialist geographical analysis such as GIS and remote sensing, are expected of a geography graduate. This module aims to ensure all our graduates have these skills and that they know how and where/when to apply them in a variety of real-world situations.


On completion of this module, students will have gained:
i. A detailed knowledge and understanding of how to design and implement research projects in physical geography.
ii. A good level of literacy (critical writing skills), numeracy (statistics and modelling), and applied graphicacy (graphing and mapping of data).
iii. Detailed knowledge and understanding of the practical use and application of IT (statistical, GIS and remote sensing packages) in physical geography.
iv. Practical field skills of observation, measurement, and data collection in physical geography.

Learning outcomes
Students successfully completing the module will be able to design and implement their own research project (e.g., dissertation) utilising a broad range of skills from GIS and remote sensing through to field data collection and analysis (statistics). Students will be able to analyse complex datasets and communicate their results effectively using maps, images, graphs and statistics.

Skills outcomes
GIS, remote sensing, statistics, and computer modelling,
Research design and data collection skills including fieldwork.
Issues of accuracy, precision, and calibration when assessing data quality.
Study and communication skills.


The module will consist of four integrated strands:
S1. GIS (ArcGIS) and remote sensing (Erdas Imagine) together with wider numeracy skills.
S2. Statistics (R) and numerical modelling skills (R).
S3. Tutorials supporting the other strands and leading on to dissertation design.
S4. Small research project. The project will be based on two days of field work and will build on some of the skills learnt in the other strands. Students will work in small groups, with each group responsible for posing and addressing one or more research questions, the latter through the collection and analysis of field data. Write-ups will be done by individual students. As well as field work, this strand will involve one preparatory lecture and one pre- and two post-field whole-group sessions.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Induction Session100.505.00
Group learning32.006.00
Private study hours305.00
Total Contact hours95.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)400.00

Private study

The lectures will include follow-on reading material that students will be expected to complete in preparation for subsequent lectures and practical classes. Reading of research papers, and preparation of reviews and presentations will be required for the tutorials. Much of the module is based around practical application of skills. In addition to timetabled practical classes, students will be expected to complete class work and prepare for subsequent practical classes in private study time.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be monitored via tutorial and practical class performance. Fieldwork provides an opportunity to observe students working together in, for many, unfamiliar surroundings.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 1500 words15.00
Written WorkStatistics worksheet (~1500 words)15.00
Written WorkGIS worksheet (~1500 words)15.00
Written WorkRS worksheet (~1500 words)15.00
PresentationGroup presentation on field project proposal (pass to progress)0.00
Research ProposalDissertation proposal (1500 words)15.00
ReportIndividual field report (3000 words)25.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Re-sit information: If students do not attend the practical/computer exercises they will be set an essay by way of re-sit. If they do attend, but fail or do not submit the coursework, they will be allowed to re-sit (the practical/computer exercises). The same rationale applies to the field study report.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 07/02/2018


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