Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Field Skills
Academic Year
Semester 2 (Taught over 2 semesters)
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Field report  Technical field report (3000 words) (7 day field course, sem 2)   70%
Semester Assessment Graphical assessed field-based exercise  Field-based geological mapping and structural geology exercise (3 day field course, sem 1)   30%
Supplementary Assessment 1x1000 word and 1x3000 word assignments  Students who attend the field courses but fail the assessment will be given the opportunity to resubmit failed components by a date agreed with the module co-ordinator (marks for passed components will be carried forward). Students who miss the field course will need to resit the module in the following academic year by attending the fieldtrip during their 3rd year of study. Alternative form of assessment comprising 1 x 1000 word report (30%) on the geological history of a previously mapped area (for the first period of the fieldwork) and 1 x 3000 word (70%) (for the second period of fieldwork) are only available to students who are unable to participate in fieldwork, as a result of extenuating personal and/or medical issues that have been corrobated by an independent and approprioately qualified professional.  100%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Record, plot and interpret structural measurements

2. Construct a detailed geological map

3. Reconstruct geological history of a mapped area

4. Analyse data and present results of original field measurements in a technically-sound report

5. Demonstrate technical proficiency in the operation of field instruments

6. Conduct independent field-based mapping and small group project exercises during the field courses

Brief description

This module is designed as an advanced course in field techniques for Environmental Earth Science. It consists of 1 x 3 day field course, and a 7 day residential course during the Easter vacation. The 3 day field course will expand on the students’ mapping, structural geology and stratigraphy skills and introduce them to new instruments and equipment which can be used to conduct Environmental Earth Science fieldwork. Both field courses will involve guided and independent field work, developing the students’ independent field study skills.

The Easter course builds on the experience gained during the 3 day field course, and will involve using these skills in practical, real-world applications which will be relevant to industrial and environmental career sectors. The students will be expected to complete an independent project during the residential field course which will provide important independent research skills ahead of their final year dissertations.


This module will introduce the following themes:
  • The use of instruments and equipment in the field
  • Geological mapping and cross-sections
  • Structural geology
  • Stratigraphic correlation
  • Industrial and environmental fieldwork approaches
  • Independent field research

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Interpretation of numerical and graphical data is integral to Environmental Earth Science fieldwork. Students will be expected to record and interpret numerical data both in the field and their field reports.
Communication Fieldwork is inherently interactive, and students will be encouraged to communicate with each other through small group exercises. The module is designed to allow a high number of contact hours between staff and students to ensure development of strong communication, and ample opportunities for one-to-one and group discussions.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module is designed to introduce a variety of new field skills and instrumental training, whilst expanding on field skills acquired during the students’ first year. There will be opportunities for formative and summative feedback during the 3 day field course, enabling students to build on this feedback during the residential field course. Multiple independent field-based projects will ensure personal performance improvement throughout.
Information Technology Students will have the opportunity to use a variety of technical instruments in the field, alongside satellite data to aid mapping exercises. Students will be offered guidance on digitizing field data for their individual assessments.
Personal Development and Career planning Upon successful completion of this module students will have developed a range of practical field skills integral to any earth science/geology career path. They will develop cartography and map interpretation skills, understand how to survey an area to assess its geology and structure, how to conduct independent field-based research, and how to produce a technical report as in industry.
Problem solving Throughout this module students will need to use a range of field skills to interpret different environmental earth science problems e.g. representing geology in 2D and 3D, recording and interpreting structural geology data, conducting ground surveys, using portable instruments to image surface and sub-surface features. During both the 3 day field course and the residential field course students will conduct independent research, where they will need to decide which field skills to employ and how best to represent their data.
Research skills Independent field research skills will be developed through conducting a variety of projects on the 3 day and residential field courses.
Subject Specific Skills This module will develop a range of practical field skills including advanced geological mapping, correlating logged sections, recording and plotting structural measurements, how to use a variety of technical instruments, and applied survey skills.
Team work Small group work will be an integral part of field-based exercises.


This module is at CQFW Level 5