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.

Glacial Landsystems GEOG4124

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

Glacial landscapes are highly dynamic environmental systems which respond rapidly to climate change leaving a suite of geomorphic and sedimentological records. The last 2.5Myrs have been a period of profound global changes both on land and in the oceans, specifically linked to alternation of glacial and interglacial periods and high volumes of sediment delivery to the oceans. Using Scotland as their laboratory, students will utilise sedimentological and geomorphic evidence to synthesise local reconstructions of environmental change during the last glacial-interglacial cycle. The course includes day excursions to develop students' skills in data collection and landform observation.


3 hours per week for 5 weeks (2 hr lecture and 1 hour practical)

Normally 3 days of field classes within Scotland

Requirements of Entry

Normally completion of Geography Level 2 at an average Grade C3 or better, and attendance at the Level 2 residential field class.


Written exam 100%

Main Assessment In: April/May

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

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The aim of this course is to provide the students with an understanding of glacial landscape dynamics and specific training to be able to interpret the landscape in the field. Through the interpretation and discussion of dataset, the student will learn to identify geomorphological features in the landscape and utilise these to constrain rate and magnitude of environmental change, utilizing spatial software as appropriate.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Explain the dynamics through which landscapes have evolved during the Quaternary.

■ Discuss, and apply to case-studies, the quantitative methods used to investigate the Quaternary.

■ Develop field and analytical skills to interpret the environmental conditions recorded in the sedimentological inventory.

■ Process and interpret digital and field landscape data using spatial software.

■ Produce a geomorphological map of an area, using aerial photos and field evidence.

■ Critically discuss some of the key debates in Quaternary Science research.

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.