Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 10 x 2hr seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment ESSAY  One 4000 word essay  60%
Semester Assessment PRESENTATION  One 15 minute presentation  20%
Semester Assessment EXERCISE  Journal summarizing reading and seminar discussions  20%
Supplementary Assessment RESUBMIT  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Contribute to current debates within Quaternary science.

Recognize the relevance of Quaternary issues to current events and socio-political topics.

Verbally present and discuss these issues demonstrating advanced understanding.

To write well-argued and structured reports and synthesise information effectively.

To undertake independent research on a topic through interrogation of the literature.


Overview and historical development of Quaternary science.
Underlying mechanisms and processes of Quaternary environmental change, including:
- Milankovitch, orbital theory
- abrupt climatic events (Heinrich events, Younger Dryas, Goldilocks event, Little Ice Age etc)
- extreme events (tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions)
- human- environment linkages (societal collapse, 4.2ka event)
- biodiversity and evolution in the Quaternary, including human biological and cultural evolution
New technologies and applications in Quaternary research (e.g. radiometric dating; ICP-MS, single-grain luminescence, micro X-ray spectrometry)


To develop students? awareness of current issues in Quaternary science, and to provide a framework within which students can place their individual dissertation topics

To promote their reading and presentation skills.

Brief description

This module will consist of a seminar series discussing current issues in Quaternary Science. The first two seminars will be on historical development of Quaternary science, and will be led by staff. The remaining eight, on specific current issues, will be student-led following advice from staff on topic choice and content.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Encouraged, especially when appropriate to the student¿s existing skills and the issue in question.
Communication Written communication by essay/report writing and journal. Verbal communication by seminar presentation
Improving own Learning and Performance By verbal and written feedback from peers and staff.
Information Technology Use of library and IT resources.
Personal Development and Career planning Relationship of essay and seminar topics to thesis development and career planning.
Problem solving Analysis and explanation of current research articles.
Research skills Use of library and IT resources.
Subject Specific Skills Awareness of current debates in Quaternary research.
Team work Through contributions to seminar discussion.

Reading List

Recommended Text
MacKay, A. et al. (2003) Global Change in the Holocene pp528 Arnold Primo search Ruddiman, W.F. (2001) Earth's climate: past and future W.H.Freeman, New York Primo search (2001-2005) Developments in Palaeoenvironmental Research Series Volumes 1-8 Kluwer Academic Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 7