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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE3221 Research Seminars in Geophysics

10 creditsClass Size: 20

Module manager: Dr John Elliott

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is not approved as a discovery module


This module aims to develop scientific communication skills needed for final year BSc studies in geophysics, for job interviews, and for future careers, including the ability to summarise scientific literature for a non-technical audience, applications for jobs and interview techniques, and personal presentations. The focus is on student-led discussion and participation, highlighting transferable skills.

We aim also to give 3rd year geophysicists a broad view of front-line research in geophysics using seminars provided by researchers from within the School and by distinguished external speakers. Students will gain experience presenting scientific arguments and learn to critically evaluate ideas and methodologies. On completion of this module students will have an overview of important areas of current progress in geophysics research.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

-Critically assess the content of a scientific seminar and associated literature material, both in terms of the ideas presented and also an evaluation of the appropriateness of the methodologies applied.
-Appraise the current and recent science presented through preparing a literature review of the field to recognise the wider context in which a particular topic lies.
-Give a presentation succinctly summarising a scientific research topic to effectively communicate the science advance and illustrate the methods used. Lead a discussion with their peers evaluating the seminar and appraise the associated literature, articulating the scientific questions being put forward and methodologies used, and debate conflicting scientific hypotheses.
-Contribute towards verbal discussions, questioning the evidence presented, advocating for a particular viewpoint and persuading from differing standpoints.
-Summarise the research in written form, describing the scientific advance, integrating it into the wider context and presenting this in a coherent and logical manner with appropriate selection of illustrative material."


Students will also attend research seminars in geophysics, generally provided by visiting distinguished researchers. The module convenor will lead a weekly discussion group which focuses on results and problems raised in the research seminars. Students will write three essays of up to 1000 words summarising the research. Topics to be covered will vary between years but will include topics such as Earth's core and magnetic field, potential fields, earthquake seismology, tectonics, high temperature geochemistry, exploration methods, and physical volcanology.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours72.00
Total Contact hours28.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

- Reading scientific papers and preparing for seminars and discussion classes each week
- Writing essays on research topics

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Feedback on written essays. An initial essay will be used to provide formative feedback and will not contribute to the module assessment. An opportunity for peer-review and feedback will also be included during the preparation of the second of the summative essays.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
EssayThree essays on selected research topics (1000 words each).100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Resits will be assessed by a single longer essay of a similar format to those of the first attempt but on a new subject that will be selected by the module leader. Further information is given in the module handbook.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 26/05/2022 14:15:15


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