Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Coastal Environments
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 9 x 2 hour lectures (18 hours)
Other 2 x 3-5 hour field trips (8 hours)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 2 Hours   100%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   100%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. have a sound knowledge of the fundamental energy inputs to coastal processes.

2. have an appreciation of the diversity of landforms to be found around the British coastline.

3. be informed of data sources that can be utilised in coastal investigations.

4. have an awareness of the role of Man in attempting to control or manage parts of the coastal zone.

Brief description

This module is largely lecture-based, with two field half-days. Consideration is given largely to the UK coastline.
Lectures are initially focused on basic environmental and energy inputs, but continue by dealing systematically with the various types of depositional and erosional features to be found in a range of coastal and estuarine sub-environments. The final lecture introduces the role of Man in managing the coast- particularly looking at engineering structures which may influence physical process and form. A supplementary handbook is provided outlining data acquisition and measurement methods appropriate to specialist investigations in coastal environments.

The course concludes with two field half-days in the local area, one appraising the beaches of Aberystwyth and the other looking at the management of the Ynyslas coastal dune system.

The introductory nature of this module is regarded as being highly suitable for both biological and physical scientists.


  • Introduction. Inheritance.
  • Energy inputs. Waves and wave currents.
  • Tide raising forces. Tidal systems.
  • Sediment characteristics. Sediment movement.
  • Depositional features. Minor forms. Shoreline beaches. Detached beaches.
  • Erosional features. Cliffs. Shore platforms.
  • Estuaries. Tidal landforms. Marshes.
  • Aeolian processes and forms. Vegetated dunes.
  • Direct observation of coastal process and form. Historical reconstruction of coastal form.
  • Coastal management : Engineering considerations.
  • HALF-DAY FIELD VISIT: The Aberystwyth beaches and coastal forms. Natural forms and historical aspects of management.
  • HALF-DAY FIELD VISIT: Ynyslas Dunes. Process and form. Conservation and management issues.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Communication Listening skills for the lectures and field days, with ability to articulate responses into relation to scientific questions that may arise on the latter. Feedback will be provided where appropriate.
Improving own Learning and Performance Outside the formal contact hours, students will be expected to investigate related publications and materials. Feedback will be provided where appropriate.
Information Technology Students will be expected to access online databases to find primary literature. This detail will contribute to the exam.
Personal Development and Career planning
Problem solving The coastal zone is one the most environmentally complex part of our planet, where marine, terrestrial and atmospheric processes interrelate in a variety of ways. Being able to appreciate both the complementary and the conflicting interactions, and to assess which is most important in a given situation, is vital. Through the lectures and field trips the students will become aware of the processes which act and the nature of different coastal sub-environments, with the aim of both being able to make personal assessments of such environments and also using this knowledge in support of other specialist areas of study. Feedback will be provided where appropriate.
Research skills Students will be encouraged to read on topics beyond the lecture material, using independent study. This detail will contribute to the exam.
Subject Specific Skills Assessment and analytical skills relating to physical processes in coastal environments will be developed, most of all through the field half-days. Feedback will be provided where appropriate.
Team work


This module is at CQFW Level 5