Environmental Geoscience BSc

Hydrogeology EARTH4089

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This subject will introduce students systematically to the governing concepts and principles of groundwater flow through porous geological materials (e.g., sediments, gravel, rocks). It will present this information both qualitatively and quantitatively in the context of the Earth's water cycle, water quality and human management of groundwater as a natural resource, and the movement of contaminants through aquifers. It will illustrate these concepts through effective hands-on learning practices, as well as reinforce scientific, quantitative 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: December

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


Course Aims

■ To provide an understanding of the physical factors controlling the movement of groundwater through geological geological materials ("porous media") and its availability as a finite natural resource

■ To provide exposure to standard contemporary approaches, such as analytical and numerical modelling, for determining/predicting the movement of groundwater and pollutants in groundwater through geological materials

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ understand the geological processes involved in the formation of aquifers and aquitards

■ explain and assess the environmental and anthropogenic processes that control movement of groundwater through geological materials ("porous media")

■ critically assess finite groundwater supplies and sustainability of groundwater abstraction

■ conceptually/numerically model the mobility of groundwater and groundwater-borne contaminants through aquifers

■ design and evaluate remediation strategies, using field and analytical data for real-world examples of groundwater pollution.

■ critically assess uncertainties in hydrogeological 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.