ESC-30027 - Coastal Environments
Coordinator: Katie Szkornik Room: WSF28 Tel: +44 1782 7 33614
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 6
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office: 01782 733615

Programme/Approved Electives for 2024/25


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2024/25

The coastal zone is a highly dynamic and diverse environment. It contains a wide variety of geomorphic landforms and is influenced by numerous processes which operate over a range of temporal and spatial scales. This module explores the processes that drive coastal morphological changes, such as sea-level change, tides and ocean waves, discusses the nature of a range of coastal landforms and examines the links between form and process at a variety of temporal and spatial scales. Key themes of the module are bought together in the final weeks via a series of case studies focusing on location-specific examples. The final part of this module, addressed predominately through the coursework poster, deals with the issue of coastal zone management. The module includes both lectures, which incorporate examples of active research in the areas covered, and practical activities, which seek to reinforce the material covered in lectures and through the guided reading.

This module aims to examine a range of coastal processes and landforms and highlight the links between form and process in the coastal environment over a range of spatial and temporal scales. In particular, this module aims to consider the vulnerable nature of the coastal environment within the context of climate changes and future sea-level rise, and highlight the need for long-term sustainable management of the coastline.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

describe in detail, explain and provide examples of, the way in which different coastal processes can affect the coastal environment over a range of spatial and temporal scales: 1,2
make evidence-informed judgement on the future management of a selected area of coastline around the world based on an assessment of the available data and research at the forefront of the discipline: 1
interpret and evaluate data, and present key findings in the form of a research poster: summarise and evaluate, using evidence from the recent research literature, the contrasting theories and debates surrounding the formation and evolution of specific landforms in the coastal environment: 2

Study hours

60 hrs active learning sessions (e.g., interactive lectures, in-class discussions, small group work and activities, coursework workshops, computer-based practical sessions and directed study).
90 hrs researching and prepairing coursework assessments and independent study.

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Coursework weighted 40%
Research Poster
Students work with tide gauge data from the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL), alongside research at the forefront of the discipline, to assess and evaluate the vulnerability of their chosen area of coastline from the risk of rising sea levels (and other coastal hazards). Students present their work in the form of an individual research poster (A3), and to their peers in a conference-style presentation session. Students are awarded marks on the content of their poster only, but are required to attend the presentation session for peer feedback.

2: Review weighted 60%
Review Article
Students write a 2500-word review on a current debate within coastal science (e.g., the role of sea-level change in sand-dune evolution, the role of weathering versus wave processes on shoreline platform formation), reviewing the literature around their chosen debate. Students are provided with example topics to choose from, but they are also able to agree their own titles with the module leader.