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.

Landscape Dynamics EARTH4090

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  • Credits: 30
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

The course provides an integrated view of the surface processes that shape our planet and of the complex feedback between these processes and tectonics, at a series of temporal and spatial scales.


Normally a 3 sessions/week for 5 weeks. Field work is also required.

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.

Excluded Courses

EARTH4076 - Geomorphology

GEOG4126 - Landscape Evolution


Critical essay (34%),

GIS-based exercise (16%); 

Report based on numerical modelling (16%); 

Portfolio of outputs compiled in the field (34%)

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


Course Aims

The course aims to provide an in-depth knowledge of the key concepts of geomorphology, focusing on the mechanisms that link tectonics and climate to surface processes, their interaction, and complex feedback loops. During the course, the students will learn how to quantify these processes, using an array of methods that are sensitive to different spatial and temporal scales. Students will be introduced to the use of digital and analytical data to quantitatively reconstruct landscape evolution. Students will also acquire hands-on skills in the field.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Describe and critically assess key hypotheses in geomorphology and landscape evolution

■ Explain the key processes that drive landscape evolution and how they are recorded in the landscape morphometry

■ Use and evaluate numerical, geochemical and GIS methods to quantify landscape evolution

■ Evaluate methods for studying surface and tectonic processes at an appropriate temporal and spatial scale

■ Collect data in the field and use the data to infer the dynamics of landscapes.

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.

Participation in the fieldtrip/s is compulsory