Environmental Geoscience BSc

Landscape Dynamics EARTH4090

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  • Credits: 30
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The course provides an integrated view of the surface processes that shape our planet and of the complex feedback between these processes and tectonics, at a series of temporal and spatial scales.


Normally a 3 sessions/week for 5 weeks. One day field class each week

Excluded Courses

EARTH4076 - Geomorphology

GEOG4126 - Landscape Evolution


Essay-based, in-person exam (34%),

Poster presentation of GIS-based exercise (16%); 

Report based on numerical modelling (16%); 

Portfolio of outputs compiled in the field (34%)

Main Assessment In: December

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


Course Aims

The course aims to provide an in-depth knowledge of the key concepts of geomorphology, focusing on the mechanisms that link tectonics and climate to surface processes, their interaction, and complex feedback loops. During the course, the students will learn how to quantify these processes, using an array of methods that are sensitive to different spatial and temporal scales. Students will be introduced to the use of digital and analytical data to quantitatively reconstruct landscape evolution. Students will also acquire hands-on skills in the field.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Describe and critically assess key hypotheses in geomorphology and landscape evolution

■ Explain the key processes that drive landscape evolution and how they are recorded in the landscape morphometry

■ Use and evaluate numerical, geochemical and GIS methods to quantify landscape evolution

■ Evaluate methods for studying surface and tectonic processes at an appropriate temporal and spatial scale

■ Collect data in the field and use the data to infer the dynamics of landscapes.

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.

Participation in the fieldtrip/s is compulsory