Environmental Geoscience BSc

Environmental Aqueous Geochemistry EARTH4087

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This subject will introduce students systematically to the governing concepts and principles controlling the chemistry of natural waters. It will present this information both qualitatively and quantitatively in the context of natural water-rock interactions and biogeochemical processes, as well as engineered water quality and strategies for remediating aqueous contaminants. It will illustrate these concepts through effective hands-on learning practices (including fieldwork), as well as reinforce scientific and critical thinking skills.


10 classes (3 hr sessions) over 5 weeks. Normally 2 days of field class. 

Excluded Courses

EARTH4039 - Hydrogeology and Environmental Geosciences

EARTH4075 - Hydrogeology and Environmental Geochemistry


Written exam (40%),

4 x Weekly set exercises (4 x 15% = 60%)

Main Assessment In: April/May

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


Course Aims

â–  To provide an understanding of the chemical factors controlling the composition and quality of natural waters at the intersections of the geosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere, with particular focus on impacts to human/animal health.

â–  To provide training in tools for assessing and mediating the reactivity and toxicity of dissolved or particulate pollutants from natural and anthropogenic sources.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

â–  explain and assess the environmental and anthropogenic processes that control composition of natural waters in geological materials

â–  conceptually and numerically model the reactivity/toxicity of aqueous environmental contaminants in soils, sediments, wetlands and aquifers in natural and engineered systems

â–  design and evaluate remediation strategies, using field and analytical data for real-world examples of water pollution

â–  critically assess uncertainties in hydro/geochemical 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.