KE5021 - Applied Geosciences

What will I learn on this module?

In this module you will learn about the acquisition and application of geoscientific data to practical and research issues. The module will explore a range of topics such as:
• Sediments and sedimentary rocks, palaeoenvironmental interpretations and palaeoclimate reconstructions
• Geological resources; exploration, extraction and reserves
• Biostratigraphy
• Applications of palaeontological data
• Interpretation of geological data: biostratigraphical, sedimentological, structural, maps, chemical and seismic
• Local, regional and global Earth history - environments, climates and catastrophes
• Geoheritage, geoconservation and the educational importance of geological sites

In addition to learning about how geosciences data can be utilised, you will develop your practical skills and abilities in the identification and interpretation of rock and fossil assemblages, your ability to use a geological map to understand subsurface structure and your problem solving skills. On fieldwork you will develop practical geological skills and experience concepts presented in the lectures. This module will also develop your ethical concern for the planet and a professional attitude towards presenting data.

On completion of the module, your improved ability to link theory, practice and application will serve to enhance your future studies and employment prospects.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through lectures, practical workshops and fieldwork activities. Beyond timetabled sessions, your independent study will be guided and supported through your engagement with a range of interactive learning resources accessible on-line via the module eLP site.

You will spend most of your contact time in the field working closely with staff to explore the core concepts of the module. This field-based teaching will be supported by online recorded summary lectures that recap the core concepts observed in the field and support you in the completion of the assignment. Practical lab classes will add additional depth to the materials and concepts studied by incorporating aspects that we cannot explore in the field, e.g. North Sea gas field cores. The two live lectures will introduce and summarise the module, prepare you for the content and advise on career options relating to the module.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

During practical classes and whilst on fieldwork, you will engage in small group activities, interacting closely with teaching staff. Your class materials will be further supported by on-line resources available via the module eLP site. These resources include post-fieldtrip recordings on key concepts covered, an interactive reading list with on-line access to a number of key articles and aligned with your weekly teaching programme. In a similar manner, your practical classes are supported by a ‘virtual learning’ resource to enhance your skills in rock and fossil identification. As formative assessment, you will have the opportunity to get feedback on all components of the assessment and undertake a series of on-line, multiple choice question (MCQ) tests, delivered via the module eLP site. These are designed to support your independent learning by identifying topics where you are excelling, and areas where you might be struggling. Teaching staff operate an ‘open door’ policy for students meaning you can approach them anytime during normal office hours, or via email, to answer questions, receive feedback and support your learning on the module.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• MLO 1: Interpret palaeoenvironments from sedimentary rocks and fossils demonstrating a clear understanding of sediments, organisms and their environments.
• MLO 2: Understand how to collect and apply geoscience data to real world problems.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• MLO3: Apply the identification of sedimentary rocks and fossils in lab and field settings to solve complex geological problems.
• MLO 4: Demonstrate an ability to report geoscience data concisely, accurately and with regard for an intended audience.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• MLO 5: Assess the implications of finite resources and current societal demands through informed understanding of the processes that have generated geological resources.

How will I be assessed?

The module is assessed by a Geoconsultancy portfolio document of 2500 words. As you are engaging with the teaching on the module, you will be set micro-projects to support your learning. You will write each of these five micro-projects up in a 500 word report. These micro-project reports will develop your abilities to not only apply specialist knowledge and interpret data for problem solving but will teach you the value of concise writing (an invaluable skill for dissertations and future employment).

This assessment comprises 100% of the module mark and assesses all 5 MLOs.

As these micro-projects will be directly related to the practical work you are undertaking, you will get regular formative feedback to help you succeed.


KE4014 Introduction to Physical Environments
KE4006 Dynamic Earth



Module abstract

The history of our planet is written in the rocks and it is from these rocks that we have built, fuelled and fed society. This module will give you a firm understanding of geological data collection and interpretation, whether this is used for research-enquiry, resource acquisition, subsurface understanding, dating rock sequences, interpreting past environments, understanding palaeoclimates or promoting geoheritage to the public. The module aims to teach you through hands-on practical work, problem solving and skill development, which is reflected in the proportion of time spent in practical classes and field trips. This strategy gives you more collaborative time with staff members to really engage with your learning and an opportunity to apply technology and techniques that are commonly applied to research problems and used by industry.

Course info

UCAS Code F840

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Geography and Environmental Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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