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2020/21 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE1670 Geology and Society

20 creditsClass Size: 60

Module manager: Jacqueline Houghton

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

Pre-requisite qualifications

Sufficient qualifications to be admitted to any of the programmes to which this module is core content are assumed sufficient.

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

'Civilisation exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice' Will Durant, 1946.Geology and Society introduces the multifaceted interactions between the Earth Sciences and society, and the diverse roles of the geoscientist. Topical case studies on Natural Resources, Geohazards and Infrastructure consider a wide range of issues from the economics and politics of resource extraction, to how we mitigate the risks from geohazards when constructing civil infrastructure. It will highlight the diverse and wide-ranging set of possible career paths open to geoscientists. Key themes include: energy; climate change; sustainable futures; water; societal challenges; geoethics; communications; and, geoscience careers.The scheduling and delivery of practical activities forming part of this module may be subject to change as teaching delivery evolves in response to the ongoing Covid situation. Every effort will be made to meet the Module Learning outcomes


To give a broad introduction to the roles and responsibilities of the Earth Scientist in society with a focus on the extraction of natural resources, the mitigation of geohazards and the construction of major civil infrastructure projects. On completion of this module, students should be able to ...

Learning outcomes
1 Critically evaluate issues concerning the exploration, development, exploitation, sustainability and different world views relating to Earth resources.
2 Appraise the consequences of geological-based hazards, their potential mitigations, and how these impact society.
3 Construct and defend an informed opinion on topical aspects of geoscience e.g. human impacts on the environment and the impacts of geohazards on human societies.
4 Effectively communicate scientific concepts to a diverse audience, and the contribution of the Earth sciences to the development of knowledge and society.
5 Identify and reflect on both technical and transferable skills related to different career paths.

Skills outcomes
Project planning and execution


The syllabus is divided into three sections Natural Resources; Geohazards, and Infrastructure.
Natural Resources looks at a wide range of resources and covers topics such as the economics and demand, supply-chain risk management, geopolitics, the UN Development Programme Development Goals, and environmental impacts.
Geohazards considers the geologist’s role in the prediction, preparedness and response to natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanic hazards, flooding, landslides and coastal erosion. It will look at these from both an international and UK perspective and considers the impacts of climate change. It will also introduce the varied uses of remote sensing techniques in these settings.
Infrastructure introduces how geology is used, and the key role it plays, in major civil infrastructure projects, including energy, transport, and protecting existing assets. It covers the concepts and use of engineering geological models and the importance of understanding geology in managing the legacy of past human activity.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours28.00
Private study hours122.00
Total Contact hours50.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students will be expected to undertake independent reading and information gathering around topical events related to the course and to work as a group on the technical report and presentation.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Face to face feedback and guidance will be given for the group project during practicals and can meet staff to discuss the module using their office hours/open door policy.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay or Dissertation1000 word magazine-style article50.00
Group Project3000 word group technical report on a professional50.00
Oral PresentationNon-technical group presentation on the progress of the technical report0.00
Reflective logIndividual reflection on topics covered in the module and skills0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

The group project will be done during at least three practical sessions across the semester as well as in students’ own time. Work for the group presentation will be done in conjunction with the group project. Resits will be available for the individual components of the module. Resits will be an individual technical report (2000 words) based on a professional geoscience-based problem scenario, and/or the magazine article (as detailed above

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 20/08/2020 15:10:29


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