Module Information

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

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 10 x 2 hours
Practical 10 x 1 hours


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 10 in-class practical workshop projects  40%
Semester Assessment 1,500 word modelling project  40%
Semester Assessment 2,500 word essay  20%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmission of failed CA component.  100%

Learning Outcomes

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

* Describe and critically evaluate the operation and application of a range of model types used in fluvial geomorphology

* Select which models are appropriate to use for investigating specific hydraulic/geomorphic problems

* Operate an 'off-the-shelf' fluvial model (e.g. HEC-RAS, ooCAESAR)


The aim of this module is to introduce students to a range of modelling techniques used in fluvial geomorphology and how they can be used to better understand process dynamics in rivers and river basins.

Brief description

The module will provide students with the theoretical foundation necessary to interpret and assess fluvial models used in research as well as in practice (e.g. by consultancies and agencies). Students will learn how to distinguish between 'reasonable' and 'unreasonable' questions of such models. The students will leave with practical experience from running their own simulations using 'off-the-shelf' fluvial models. Within each theme, the conceptual and theoretical underpinnings of that type model will be explored; their application with case studies will be demonstrated, their limitations addressed; and the concepts will be grounded with real-world applications and empirical field evidence.


The following themes will be investigated in this module

  • Overview of modelling methods (conceptual, process-based, statistical, black box, physical, numerical, etc.)
  • Digital elevation models
  • Hydrologic modelling
  • Hydraulic modelling - 1D, 2D and 3D flow modeling
  • Sediment transport modelling
  • Landscape evolution and channel evolution modelling
  • Uncertainty in modelling and working with their limitations
  • Validation/ Verification (grounding it in the field)
  • Scenario modelling

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Most workshops will involve numeric problem solving. All derivations in lectures will start from very basic first principles.
Communication Verbal: None Written: Reports presented from the workshops and essay
Improving own Learning and Performance Independent reading from reading list; independent development of modelling skills
Information Technology Industry-standard, 'off-the-shelf' software and models will be used in the workshops and modelling project (requires access to PC, all software used will be provided). Detailed guidance provided.
Personal Development and Career planning Increased confidence in undertaking analytical tasks, working with real data (workshops and modelling project) and making practical interpretations. Internship opportunities will be arranged for those interested and demonstrating potential.
Problem solving A problem based learning approach will be taken within the workshops, students will undertake the self-paced, self-taught e-learning workshops with guidance notes, attempting to solve problems based upon materials covered within the previous lecture.
Research skills Undertaken during independent reading and in the problem based learning workshops.
Subject Specific Skills Successful students will leave the course with the beginnings of a highly marketable modelling skill in today's workplace.
Team work Students may choose to work in small groups for some workshops.

Reading List

Recommended Text
Darby, S.E. and Van De Wiel, M.J. (2003) Models in Fluvial Geomorphology. In: Tools in Fluvial Geomorphology (eds. Kondolf, G.M. and Piegay, H.) pp 503-537 John Wiley and Sons, Chichester Primo search Kondolf, G.M. and Piegay, H. (eds) Tools in Fluvial Geomorphology 503-537 John Wiley and Sons, Chichester Primo search Coulthard, T. (2001) Hydrological Processes Landscape evolution models: a software review. 15 (1), 165-173. Primo search Dennis, I., Macklin, M.G., Coulthard, T. and Brewer, P.A. (2003) Hydrological Processes The impact of the October-November 2000 floods on contaminant dispersal in the River Swale catchment, North Yorkshire, UK. 17 (8), 1641-1657. Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6