Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 10 x 2 Hours.


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

Learning Outcomes

On the completion of this module students will

  • have a sound knowledge of the fundamental energy inputs to coastal processes
  • have an appreciation of the diversity of landforms to be found around the British coastline
  • be apprised of data sources that can be utilised in coastal investigations
  • have an awareness of the role of Man in attempting to control or manage parts of the coastal zone


This largely lecture-based module aims to introduce the physical processes operating at the coast and the range of landforms that result, as a vital background for biological or other specialists undertaking studies within the coastal zone. Lectures are initially focussed on basic 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. A final lecture then concentrates on 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.


The module sessions cover the following topics:
  • 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. Historical aspects of management.
  • HALF-DAY FIELD VISIT: Ynyslas Dunes. Process and form. Conservation and management issues.

Reading List

Recommended Text
Barnes (1990) Coasts Primo search Bird, E.C.F. (2001) Coastal geomorphology: An introduction Wiley & Sons Primo search Pethick, J. (1984) An introduction to coastal geomorphology London: Arnold Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 5