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.

Analytical Methods in Geoscience EARTH5013

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

The course provides students with advanced skills in analytical methods used in geoscience, focusing on environmental and geological applications. The course includes a theoretical background on the principles of the scientific method, a critical analyses of the recent literature on the use of quantitative methods in Earth Sciences, a practical introduction to analytical equipment and its uses in geoscience, data manipulation, and appropriate scientific and ethical working practice. 


Two workshops, and a week of lectures and practical classes in the School's analytical facilities.

Requirements of Entry

Normally completion of Level 3 Geology or Level 3 Earth Science courses at a mean of B3.

Excluded Courses

EARTH4004 - Independent Research Project


EARTHXXXX - Independent Geoscience Research Project


Written exam on critical appraisal of scientific techniques, including their theory and practical applications (50%)

Portfolio of material, including:

■ the preparation and defence of a research proposal - written 'grant proposal' (20%)

■ and oral defence (10%),

■ risk assessment for working practices (10%) 

■ and ethical evaluation of the project (10%)

Main Assessment In: December

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


Course Aims

The aims of this course are:

■ To introduce students to the acquisition of analytical data using an array of scientific instrumentation and facilities

■ To familiarize students with recent literature on the application of analytical techniques to geological/environmental problems

■ To develop student's skills in the design of an advanced research project and in the critical evaluation of the choice of methods and data analysis

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Appraise the principles of the scientific method

■ Describe and evaluate the practical use of analytical methods for geological and environmental problems

■ To summarize and evaluate the recent literature on analytical methods and their applications

■ Prepare and defend a hypothesis testing scientific research proposal

■ Critically discuss a geoscience dataset

■ Evaluate safe working practice during analysis and sample preparation

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.