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Unit information: Frontiers in Earth Science in 2015/16

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Unit name Frontiers in Earth Science
Unit code EASCM0016
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1A (weeks 1 - 6)
Unit director Dr. Kate Hendry
Open unit status Not open

Successful completion of years 1-3 of either the Environmental Geoscience or the Geology degree programme curriculum.



School/department School of Earth Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science


Critical examination of Earth Science topics in which either new approaches to existing subdisciplines are emerging or new fields are being created. The study of each topic comprises an introductory lecture, time for reading and a short symposium with students discussing different aspects of the topic. Students will also produce a piece of written work on one of the subjects.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit you will have the ability to:

  • describe the main ideas relating to important research fields in the Earth Sciences
  • read, assimilate and make critical judgement on recently published research articles
  • Extract pertinent points from these papers in order to participate effectively in a mature discussion concerning the main aims and findings of the work being examined.
  • participate in such a discussion effectively, making points simply and coherently with the aim of producing a balanced analysis of the theme under discussion.
  • write a summary of two of the topics discussed that is accessible to a general Earth Science audience, written in a style similar to a News and Views piece in the journal Nature.

Teaching details


Assessment Details

The unit will be assessed at 3 stages. Firstly, each student will produce a short written summary of the first week's topic (worth 25% of the final mark). At the end of the unit each student will present a short summary of one of the (remaining four) topics, written in a manner similar to a Nature News & Views piece and including an original, electronically produced, figure. Guidance will be provided in the form of good examples of such articles, and feedback from the first topic's summary. The deadline for this work, which will contribute 50% of the total mark, will be the first day of the spring term. The remaining 25% of the marks will be awarded based on the participation in the discussion session each week (5% for each week) - for accuracy and clarity of thought and contributions, and critical understanding/analysis of the problem.

Reading and References

No specific course text, papers relating to topic for discussion will be identified by the lecturer.