Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 2 x 1 hour lectures per week
Practical 5 x 3 hour practicals


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 2 Hours   written examination  60%
Semester Assessment Laboratory & case study report (1800 words)  40%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmission of failed coursework or alternative.  40%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   written examination  60%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, stuents should be able to:

  • design a programme of investigation relating to chemical aspects of the environment at honours project level
  • carry out selected sampling and analysis of environmental media competently
  • manipulate and evaluate data arising from environmental investigations
  • evaluate data in relation to its accuracy and precision applying appropriate QA/QC procedures
  • evaluate complex datasets consisting of multiple samples/parameters and identify key patterns arising.

Brief description

This module consists of a series of lectures that introduce students to some of the problems associated with collecting reliable data for environmental investigations. It will consider aspects of the entire process from sample collection through laboratory analysis to data interpretation. It will emphasise the integral link between protocols for investigation and associated environmental standards.


The main classes of chemical contaminants of land, air and water will be outlined briefly. The differences in properties between these environments will be discussed with particular reference to the implications for risk assessments associated with the setting of environmental standards. Design of sampling programmes and methods for taking, storing and preparing samples will be considered. A range of analytical techniques used in monitoring soil, air and water quality will be outlined and the importance of QA/QC measures emphasised. Overall, there will be a strong emphasis on the how methodologies affect the reliability of data produced and their relationship to published environmental quality standards.
A series of practicals will give students experience in sample analysis and data interpretation for a case study based on Aberystwyth Harbour.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Numerical and data handling skills will be developed in practical work.
Communication Scientific writing skills will be developed in the report for laboratory practicals and for case study.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be responsible for accessing environmental quality datasets and publications against which to evaluate their data.
Information Technology A variety of software packages will be used for report writing and data presentation in assignments.
Personal Development and Career planning Skills developed in this module will have value for subsequent careers in environmental management and regulation.
Problem solving The range of samples analysed in practical classes will require students to modify procedures set out in the schedule, to detail those modifications and their purpose and to include some comment in their report as to implications for interpreting findings.
Research skills Evaluation of datasets and of the reliability of analytical data will contribute to research capabilities. Practical skills in analytical techniques will provide experience of measurement procedures.
Subject Specific Skills Basic competence in laboratory work, including QA issues. Understanding of issues related to risk assessment and link to measurement protocols.
Team work Laboratory practicals will involve students working collaboratively in pairs.


This module is at CQFW Level 5