Postgraduate taught 

Computational Geoscience MSc

Modelling Water Environments GEOG5117

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course covers the following aspects of monitoring sustainable water environments:

■ Modelling and predicting water and sediment fluxes from catchment to coast. 

■ Theoretical basis for hydrodynamics, sediment transport and morphological change.

■ Principles of modelling across spatial and temporal scales.

■ Use of modelling in sustainable environmental management decision making.


Weeks 1 to 7: 2 hour lecture (weekly) plus 2 hour computer lab class (weekly)

Week 8: 2 hour lecture, 2 hour oral presentations

Weeks 9-10: 4 hour computer lab class (weekly)

Excluded Courses



GEOG5019 Principles of GIS or equivalent


1. An essay of no more than 2,000 words based on a theme introduced in the lecture material. (40%)

2. Short oral presentation on project proposal. (10%)

3. A report of no more than 2,000 words that uses the techniques developed in one of the practical exercises to address an applied problem. (50%)

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which 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. 


Oral presentation cannot be reassessed.

Course Aims

The course aims to provide students with understanding of the principles governing modelling of water bodies.

The course emphasises fundamental principles of modelling, applied across a range of water environments.

The course focuses upon approaches to using modelling frameworks to model water systems in order to provide information to inform decision-making analysis and to assess uncertainty.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ articulate the fundamental principles of modelling;

■ explain controls on hydrodynamics, sediment flux and morphological change;

■ describe the principles governing model selection as a function of temporal and spatial scales;

■ conduct numerical analyses using standard software, to predict water flow and sediment flux in catchment and coastal environments;

■ explain the consequences of changes in water and sediment supply in coastal and fluvial systems;

■ explain the principles of uncertainty evaluation;

■ analyse data to support decision making in an applied environmental management context;

■ critically evaluate literature on 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.