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Unit information: Numerical Methods and Programming in 2021/22

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Numerical Methods and Programming
Unit code EASC20041
Credit points 10
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Nick Teanby
Open unit status Not open

EASC10007 Computing for Earth Scientists



School/department School of Earth Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

In this unit students learn how to extract information from numerical data using rigorous numerical and mathematical methods, which will be implemented using the Matlab programming and plotting software. This software is a powerful tool that is used extensively throughout academia and industry.

The skills learnt will be very useful for project and practical work during all degree programmes and for work in diverse careers. The programming skills acquired during this unit build upon and extend those acquired in Computing for Earth Scientists (EASC10007).

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will develop:

  • An understanding of the importance of measurement errors when analysing data.
  • An understanding of wide-ranging numerical data analysis techniques.
  • An ability to program in Matlab.
  • An ability to analyse data and model output using Matlab

Teaching Information

The unit requires the completion of a series of independent practical exercises delivered via Blackboard. Students are supported through a series of synchronous online, but if possible face-to-face, weekly help and feedback sessions. Students who either begin or continue their studies in an online mode may be required to complete practical work, 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 comprising analysis of a scientific dataset and creation of a multi-panel figure incorporating elements of the course ILOs. The figure(s) produced from the data analysis will be combined into a single page PDF for assessment. The Matlab code used to generate the figures will also be submitted for plagiarism checking.


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. EASC20041).

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.