Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Catchment Systems
Academic Year
Semester 1
Mutually Exclusive
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Due to Covid-19 students should refer to the module Blackboard pages for assessment details

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 1.5 Hours   Unseen exam, short answer and essay  75%
Semester Assessment Hydraulic flume report  25%
Supplementary Exam 1.5 Hours   Unseen exam, short answer and essay  75%
Supplementary Assessment Hydraulic flume report  25%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Describe the key processes and forms of the catchment system

2. Evaluate methods to monitor the material fluxes and evolution of the catchment system.

3. Critically evaluate different models of runoff generation and sediment delivery

4. Explain the structure of drainage networks, channel morphology and channel dynamics

5. Evaluate channel management issues and strategies

Brief description

Rivers basins, or catchments, are the fundamental natural system of most hydrological phenomena and the principle spatial unit in hydrology and geomorphology. The module aims to provide students with the theoretical framework for understanding controls, dynamics and links between the key material flows and forms of this key physical system. The module is divided into two natural sections, focusing on the primary domains of the catchment in turn: the hillslopes and channels. The first section of the module examines the controls and pattern of water and sediment flows through and across hillslopes, with a primary focus on runoff generation and sediment delivery. The second section of the course then examines the processes controlling the form and evolution of rivers, driven by the flux of material delivered from the hillslopes and the channel margin and the impact of these processes on the management of catchment systems.


The following themes will be investigated in this module

  • Structure and Organization of the Catchment System
  • Monitoring Catchment Processes
  • Hillslope Hydrology and Runoff Generation
  • Erosion and Sediment Delivery
  • Bank Erosion Processes
  • Morphology and Structure of Channel Networks
  • Channel Dynamics
  • Management of the Fluvial System

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Through an emphasis on the quantification of catchment form, and explaining geophysical flows from first mechanical principles
Communication Verbal: None Written: Essay writing skills developed during the seen exam
Improving own Learning and Performance Independent reading from reading list
Information Technology Access to extensive library and www resources will be an essential tool to develop students' background understanding.
Personal Development and Career planning Development of research skills, essay writing and a focus on important management strategies used widely within the environmental engineering industry.
Problem solving Students will be required to understand the derivation of key physical processes and evaluate strategies used to monitor and manage key components of the catchment system.
Research skills Undertaken during independent reading and preparation for seen exam
Subject Specific Skills Successful students will leave the course an awareness of important environmental management issues and solutions.
Team work None


This module is at CQFW Level 5