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Unit information: Environmental Geoscience Research Project in 2021/22

Unit name Environmental Geoscience Research Project
Unit code EASC30040
Credit points 30
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Whitaker
Open unit status Not open

EASC20043 Geochemistry 1

EASC20038 Analytical Geochemistry



School/department School of Earth Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

In this unit students undertake and experience the process of conducting an independent research investigation integrating field, laboratory and computational methods.

The unit commences with a training element which involves 5 days of non-residential group fieldwork and 5 days of independent work including data analysis and preparation of a scientific poster. This introduces students to developing hypotheses, designing sampling and analysis strategies, collecting and analysing samples in the field, data interpretation and poster presentation.

The subsequent field component of the research project involves 7 days residential fieldwork, during which students work in groups to collect samples and undertake field analysis, followed by 15 days in the laboratory in Bristol undertaking further analysis and starting modelling work. Although some aspects of the research project work will be conducted as a team (data gathering during fieldwork and laboratory analysis), each student completes their own literature review, synthesis of data, computational work, numerical experiments, and presents their findings as a scientific report individually.

In preparation for research fieldwork students will prepare a draft risk assessment. Comparison with the formal risk assessment will then provide insight into what should be considered when preparing a risk assessment.

The training and research elements both take place after the Year 2 Summer assessments.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  • develop hypotheses and viable strategies for sampling and analysis of samples
  • demonstrate investigative and analytical skills relevant to the project
  • identify and access appropriate library- or archive-based information
  • collect and manage information and/or findings, and decide when it is sufficient to meet the aims of the project
  • produce a project report in the form of a scientific paper
  • plan and manage time throughout a research project, from initial fieldwork planning to final production of the report
  • understand the basic principles used in preparing a risk assessment

Teaching Information

Independent work with supervised components in the field and laboratory. Students who either begin or continue their studies in an online mode may be required to complete laboratory or fieldwork, or alternative activities, in person, either during the academic year 2020/21 or subsequently, in order to meet the intended learning outcomes for the unit, prepare them for subsequent units or to satisfy accreditation requirements.

Assessment Information

100% Coursework

Coursework comprises:

20% - Individual poster presentation after the pre-project field trip

70% - Written report (maximum 20 pages plus references, figures, tables and appendices) based on presentation and analysis of data collected on the main field trip.

10% - Individual question and answer session after submission and marking of the report, to include reference to the field notebook.

In the event of the unit not being passed students will be set additional work which must be completed over the Summer of the third year and submitted at the start of the resit/supplementary exam period.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. EASC30040).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.