Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 3 x 2 hours for Quaternary Dating Methods
Lecture 2 x 2 hour lecture for each optional specialism
Other 2 days of field work. 2 days of practical work for each optional specialism


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment ESSAY.  Produce a 2,000 word essay on Quaternary Dating Methods  20%
Semester Assessment FIELD TRIP REPORT.  Produce a 2,000 word report on field trips  20%
Semester Assessment REPORT.  For each of the three specialist components, produce a 2,000 word report  60%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate their knowledge of Quaternary Dating Methods

2. Illustrate the impact of Quaternary climate change on the landscape through analyses carried out in the field and laboratory

3. Employ advanced field and laboratory skills to undertake research in Quaternary Science

4. Demonstrate knowledge of conceptual bases for at least three specialist research areas in Quaternary Science

5. Analyse and present primary data collected by them in the laboratory in a critical manner

6. Present the results of their fieldwork and laboratory work in the form of professional quality essays and reports

7. Work to a tight schedule.

Brief description

The module introduces a range of techniques in Quaternary Science using a combination of field work, lectures and laboratory practicals. The first part of the module comprises a series of lectures introducing Quaternary Dating Methods. A number of day-long field trips are undertaken to provide material for analysis during the remainder of the module. Students then select three areas within which they wish to specialise (20% each). These will normally include:

Pollen analysis
Diatom analysis
Tephra geochemistry
Luminescence dating
Analysis of Quaternary sediments


_Compulsory Elements_
An introduction to Quaternary Dating Methods (20% of total module mark)
Field methods in Quaternary Science (20% of total module mark)

_Optional Elements_
(Each section is worth 20% of the total module mark, and students select 3 from the list of options offered which will normally include)
Pollen analysis
Diatom analysis
Tephra geochemistry
Luminescence dating
Analysis of Quaternary sediments

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Analysis of almost all data collected during laboratory practicals requires some numerical analysis. Students will be expected to demonstrate their abilities in their written reports
Communication Students will be expected to master a number of written forms of presentation. They will need to present academic arguments in a structured and coherent fashion, to report technical data clearly, and to convey their interpretation of complex data sets.
Information Technology Many of the specialist skills developed in this module require students to become familiar with specific software packages, and to be able to present information obtained from analysis in a clear manner
Personal Development and Career planning The professional skills acquired in this module will be a vital component in the academic development of the students in preparation for their dissertation
Problem solving Laboratory analysis of natural materials inherently has difficulties, whether in terms of the analysis itself or the interpretation of the data. Students will be required to discuss these in a knowledgeable manner and to suggest and implement solutions where appropriate
Research skills Students will be required to understand a range of research methods, carry out such research in the laboratory and produce academically appropriate reports
Subject Specific Skills The focus of this module is on the acquisition of specialist skills essential for undertaking the Dissertation in Quaternary Environmental Change
Team work Laboratory and fieldwork necessitate students working in groups, or in liaison with staff. Implicit in this is the development of team building skills

Reading List

Recommended Text
Noller, J.S. (2000) Quaternary Geochronology AGU Primo search Walker, M.J.C (2005) Quaternary Dating Methods Wiley Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 7