Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Hydrogeology EARTH4089

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This subject will introduce students systematically to the governing concepts and principles of groundwater flow through porous geological materials (e.g., sediments, gravel, rocks). It will present this information both qualitatively and quantitatively in the context of the Earth's water cycle, water quality and human management of groundwater as a natural resource, and the movement of contaminants through aquifers. It will illustrate these concepts through effective hands-on learning practices (including fieldwork), as well as reinforce scientific and critical thinking skills.


8 classes (3 hr sessions) over 5 weeks. Normally 4 days of field class. 

Requirements of Entry

Normally completion of all credit-bearing courses from Earth Science Level 2 at an average Grade C3 or better, achieving at least a Grade of D3 in each individual course and attendance at a Level 2 residential field class.

This course is also suitable for students on Engineering programmes.

Excluded Courses

EARTH4039 - Hydrogeology and Environmental Geosciences

EARTH4075 - Hydrogeology and Environmental Geochemistry


Written exam (50%), integrated field report (50%)

Main Assessment In: December

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses


Course Aims

■ To provide an understanding of the physical factors controlling the movement of groundwater through geological media, groundwater quality, and the potential for impacts on human/animal health.

■ To provide training in tools such as groundwater flow modelling for predicting the likelihood of impacts from the movement of groundwater pollutants from natural and anthropogenic/industrial sources.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ explain and assess the environmental and anthropogenic processes that control movement of groundwater through geological materials

■ critically assess groundwater supplies and abstraction

■ conceptually/numerically model the mobility of groundwater contaminants through aquifers

■ design and evaluate remediation strategies, using field and analytical data for real-world examples of groundwater pollution.

■ critically assess uncertainties in hydrogeological data and modelling

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.