Natural Sciences

Ecosystem and Environment, Earth Sciences and Archaeology

Natural Sciences is a multidisciplinary degree which allows you to study three subjects in the first year and continue with two subjects in the second and third year. 

Year One

You will study 40 credits of each subject from your chosen three-subject streams.

Ecosystem & Environment

Students to select 20 credits from the following list.

Earth and Environmental Dynamics

This module integrates knowledge taken from the hydrosphere, oceans and continents to inform an understanding of global physical systems as they affect people and the environment. The module considers:

  • hydrological cycles
  • principles of Earth and geomorphological systems
  • fluvial geomorphology and biogeomorphology

20 credits over the full year.

 
The Ecology of Natural and Managed Ecosystems

Pollinator species are hugely important for natural systems and for managed systems like agriculture, but there is concern that numbers are declining. This module introduces you to the principles of ecology and looks at how organisms have evolved to interact with their environment.

You’ll cover:

  • population and community ecology
  • the various definitions of biodiversity
  • the loss of species and habitats

You’ll have lectures from current researchers in the field and the opportunity to apply your learning in the laboratory and through field visits.

20 credits in the Autumn semester.

 
Climate, Atmosphere and Oceans

This module introduces key components of the Earth's circulation systems and how those contribute to determining the Earth’s climate on regional scales. It provides an overview of weather formation, atmospheric and ocean chemistry, large scale ocean circulation patterns, and Earth’s resulting climatic zones. It will introduce concepts of climate and how that impacts on functioning of the Earths ecosystems.

You will develop process based understanding of these factors practical as well as the spatial distribution of weather patterns and ocean currents. You will use models and field measurements of air flow to test how energy is transported.  We will look at the scale, rates, distribution and causes of weather systems and the implications of this for global climate change. We will examine the linkages between weather systems and ocean currents.

10 credits in the Spring semester.

 
On Earth and Life

On Earth and Life explores the deep historical co-evolution of Earth and Life and emphasises uniqueness of place and historical contingency. The module leads on from and complements Physical Landscapes of Britain in exploring geological, plate tectonic and palaeoenvironmental ideas and research, but at the global scale.

It emphasises the role of life in creating past and present planetary environments, and conversely the role of environment and environmental change in the evolution and geography of life. The module also serves to prepare the ground for and contextualise several second and third year geography modules, especially Environmental Change and Patterns of Life.

10 credits in the Spring semester.

 
Physical Landscapes of Britain

The module provides you with the theoretical background and practical training to undertake basic spatial analysis within a contemporary Geographic Information System (GIS). 

It is built upon a structured set of paired theory lectures and practical sessions, supported by detailed theory topics delivered via Moodle, which contain linkages to associated textbook resources. It aims to ensure competency in the use of a contemporary GIS software package whilst developing transferable ICT skills.

It also encourages you to develop the analytical skills necessary for the creation of workflows that utilise the built-in analytical functionality of a GIS to solve a spatial problem.

10 in the Spring semester.

 

Earth Science

Students must take a total of 40 credits. 20 credits are from a compulsory module.

Environmental Geoscience

Bulk properties of the Earth, minerals, igneous rocks, sedimentary rocks, metamorphic rocks, geological time, tectonics, geological structures, map interpretation, geological hazards, resource geology.

20 credits in the Spring semester.

 

 

Select a further 20 credits from the following optional modules:

Global Environmental Processes

The unifying theme of this module is biogeochemical cycling - the production, distribution and cycling of materials on the Earth and their availability to, and use by, biological organisms. The module starts by covering the history of the universe, from the big bang to the evolution of the Earth's surface environment. Then you will explore the major global systems and their circulations as they are today - solids, liquids and gases. In the final section you will examine the major materials - including carbon, nitrogen, sulphur, oxygen and metals - and their budgets and cycles; and the interactions between biological and physical/chemical processes on a global scale. You will have a two-hour lecture once a week for this module. 

20 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Physical Landscapes of Britain

This module provides an understanding of the history and origins of the Earth and its life and landforms through consideration of the following topics:

  • Development of life over geological time
  • Environmental changes over geological time
  • Field trip to the Peak District (full costs will be supplied nearer the time of the trip)

10 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Introduction to Geographic Information systems
The module provides you with the theoretical background and practical training to undertake basic spatial analysis within a contemporary Geographic Information System (GIS). 

It is built upon a structured set of paired theory lectures and practical sessions, supported by detailed theory topics delivered via Moodle, which contain linkages to associated textbook resources. It aims to ensure competency in the use of a contemporary GIS software package whilst developing transferable ICT skills.

It also encourages you to develop the analytical skills necessary for the creation of workflows that utilise the built-in analytical functionality of a GIS to solve a spatial problem.

10 credits in the Spring Semester.

 
On Earth and Life
On Earth and Life explores the deep historical co-evolution of Earth and Life and emphasises uniqueness of place and historical contingency. The module leads on from and complements Physical Landscapes of Britain in exploring geological, plate tectonic and palaeoenvironmental ideas and research, but at the global scale.

It emphasises the role of life in creating past and present planetary environments, and conversely the role of environment and environmental change in the evolution and geography of life. The module also serves to prepare the ground for and contextualise several second and third year geography modules, especially Environmental Change and Patterns of Life.

10 credits in the Spring Semester.

 

Archeology

All students will take 40 compulsory credits made up of two compulsory 20 credit modules.

 

Understanding the Past I

Archaeologists are interested in all aspects of the human past, from ancient landscapes and changing environments, buried settlements and standing monuments and structures, to material objects and evidence for diet, trade, ritual and social life. This module provides a basic introduction to the discipline of archaeology, the process by which the material remains of the past are discovered, analysed and used to provide evidence for human societies from prehistory to the present day.

The autumn semester introduces the historical development of the subject, followed by a presentation of current theory and practice in the areas of archaeological prospection and survey, excavation and post-excavation analysis, relative and absolute dating, the study of archaeological artefacts, and frameworks of social interpretation.

In the spring semester, you will be taken into the field to gain practical experience of core archaeological methods in field survey and buildings archaeology. By the end of the module, we hope that you will have developed a good understanding of the concepts used in archaeology, the questions asked and methods applied in investigating the evidence.

20 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Understanding the Past II

This module builds on the autumn semester module, Understanding the Past I, as an introduction to the core aims and methodologies of Archaeology as a discipline in providing a basic introduction to the process by which the material remains of the past are discovered, analysed and used to provide evidence for human societies from prehistory to the present day. Through lectures, classroom activities and practical fieldwork, students will be introduced to the study of landscape and the built environment, looking at how the archaeological record is both created and investigated. Students will be taken into the field to gain practical experience of core archaeological methods in field survey and buildings archaeology. By the end of the module, we aim to ensure that students will have developed a good understanding of the concepts used in archaeology, the questions asked and methods applied in investigating the evidence.

20 credits in the Spring Semester.

 

 

Compulsory module

All students are required to take a compulsary module, Academic and Transferable Skills Portfolio. This will be taught throughout the first full year. It will support organisational and professional competancies which will be used during the course.


Year Two

You will continue on your stream comprising of two of your first year subjects. You will take 60 credits of modules from each subject and greater emphasis will be put on studying outside of formal classes.

Ecosystem & Environment

Students to take 60 credits from the list below.

Environmental Change

This module considers the mechanisms for, and evidence of, global climate change during the timescale of the Quaternary period. The nature, causes and impacts of change are evaluated in the context of the available evidence within a range of natural and human environments. Evidence for human impact on natural resources is reviewed. Evidence for human impact on the global atmosphere, and the nature and impacts of future climate change are also considered. Students will gain an understanding of remote sensing for the study of land cover change.

20 credits throughout the year.

 
Fieldwork Skills

This module, run as a non-residential field course, will introduce students to a range of skills for environmental monitoring and ecological assessment. Students will develop key practical skills and gain valuable experience in planning and conducting fieldwork. There will be a strong focus on developing practical skills and enhancing employability in the environmental job sector. Students choose from a range of 1 or 2 day activities running through the year. These may include: 

  • Air and water quality monitoring
  • Contaminated land surveys
  • Using GPS and spatial sampling techniques
  • Terrestrial invertebrate survey techniques
  • Phase 1 habitat surveys- plant identification
  • Freshwater monitoring using BMWP and macroinvertebrates

20 credits throughout the year.

 
Techniques in Physical Geography

This module presents the opportunity for hands-on experience of field, laboratory, and computational analytical techniques in physical geography appropriate to the domain of interest of the participants. To achieve these aims all students participate, via small group teaching, in field projects on a residential field course, some of which are completed in the laboratory back in Nottingham, leading to an individual project. In addition, students choose further laboratory and analytical techniques to investigate, again via small group teaching, in the second semester. The ethical, safety and fieldwork limitations of geographical work are also considered.

  • Students may be required to make a financial contribution towards field trips.

20 credits throughout the year.

 
Ecosystem Processes

The course will focus on the processes that govern terrestrial ecosystem function. We will identify key ecosystem drivers and processes and explore how these have shaped the biosphere. Students will gain an understanding of the mechanisms that control changes in the physiochemical environment and their impact upon communities. Particular topics will include primary productivity, decomposition, herbivory, biodiversity and human impact on ecosystems. 

10 credits in the Autumn semester.

 
Forest Ecology and Management

This module introduces students to forest environments and ecology within natural and semi-natural and planted ecosystems. Students examine environmental and ecological factors affecting forest/woodland composition, structure, biodiversity and distribution, developing practical skills in tree species identification and survey techniques during fieldwork and site visits. Students gain an understanding for how woodlands are managed for environmental, wildlife conservation and commercial timber extraction, looking at the scale, rates, distribution and causes of deforestation and forest degradation and the implications of this for global and local ecosystem services. Looking at environmental and ecological impacts of deforestation, commercial forestry and afforestation, looking at different management objectives including timber production, environmental services, amenity and conservation. We will examine the impact of invasive species and pests and disease on tree species and woodlands, particularly in the UK. 

20 credits in the Autumn semester.

 
Climate Change Science

The module presents a broad overview the science that underpin climate change. It shows the importance of historical understanding in interpreting the present and predicting the future. It provides an understanding of the energy flows that are causing climate change, and insights into the way that computer models can be used to relate complex parameter sets. It reviews the impacts of climate change for plants, animals and people, both on land and in the oceans. It also shows how a range of options exists for reducing and stabilising climate change. Topics covered are: historical climate change; the principles of climate forcing; the role of modelling; responses of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, including impacts on humans; the political environment; and options for climate stabilization.

10 credits in the Spring semester.

 
Computer Modelling in Science: Introduction

Modern biological and environmental science includes the study of complex systems and large data sets, including imaging data. This necessitates the use of computer models and analyses in order to understand these systems. This module contains an introduction to computer programming and modelling techniques that are used in the biological and environmental sciences. Specifically, it contains: (i) An introduction to computer programming and algorithms, using the Python programming language. (ii) An introduction the construction of mathematical models for biological and environmental systems using difference and differential equations, with a particular emphasis on population dynamics, and the use of computing to simulate, analyze these models and fit these models to data. Throughout the module, the focus will be on relevant examples and applications, e.g. environmental pollution, growth of microbial populations, disease epidemics, or computer manipulation of images of plants, animals or the natural environment.

20 credits in the Spring semester.

 
Patterns of Life

The course focuses on patterns in the distribution of organisms in space and time, and theories proposed to explain those patterns. The main themes are listed below. Teaching is via a mixture of lectures and small-group discussions, centred on discussion of current research.  Exemplar topics include:

  • Biodiversity patterns
  • Island biogeography
  • Biodiversity dynamics
  • Speciation and extinction
  • Evolution

20 credits in the Spring semester.

 
Virtual Environmental Management Field Course

During this field course module you will look at the concept of catchment management and we will examine the impact of local land use on soil health and water quality. You will become familiar with techniques used in environmental monitoring and gain practical skills and experience in analysing and interpreting environmental data sets focused on assessing pollution risks.

10 credits in the Spring semester.

 

Earth Science

Students take 60 credits from this list

Techniques in Physical Georgraphy
This module presents the opportunity for hands-on experience of laboratory, field and surveying techniques in physical geography appropriate to the domain of interest of the participants. To achieve these aims all students participate in field projects on a residential field course, some of which are completed in the laboratory back in Nottingham, leading to an individual project.

In addition, you choose further laboratory techniques to investigate in the second semester. The ethical, safety and fieldwork limitations of geographical work are also considered.

20 compulsory credits throughout the full year.

 
River Processes and Dynamics

This module:

  • introduces the water and sediment processes that operate in rivers
  • describes the characteristic forms of alluvial channels and the links between river processes and channel dynamics
  • uses laboratory practicals and a field trip to deliver kinaesthetic, student-centred learning and add value to teaching and learning during lectures

Topics covered include:

  • catchments and longitudinal patterns
  • river planforms: braided, meandering and straight
  • timescales of river change and morphological adjustments
  • complex response in the fluvial system
  • flow resistance, sediment transport and bank erosion
  • an introduction to biogeomorphology and aquatic ecology

20 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Earth Observation

This module provides a general introduction to the subject of earth observation. This involves analysing remotely sensed images, typically acquired from instruments on board satellites or aircraft, to investigate spatial phenomena on the Earth's surface.

Example topics include the use of global image data sets to investigate climate change, analysis of satellite sensor imagery to identify wildlife habitats and conservation concerns, and urban land use mapping from detailed aerial photography. Theoretical lectures cover the concepts underpinning remote sensing, including the physical principles determining image creation, fundamental image characteristics, methods of image analysis and uses or applications of earth observation.

There is also a strong practical component to the module, with regular practical exercises on various forms of digital image analysis.

20 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Soils

Overview: Soils are the most complex biomaterial on earth. An understanding of the basic concepts concerning the form and function of soils is important for future management strategies such as mitigating the effects of climate change and providing safe and sustainable food. This module focuses on the important soil properties from physical, chemical and biological perspectives including soil organic matter (microbiology and chemistry); soil chemical reactions (acidity, redox); soil fauna and flora; soil-water relations (irrigation and drainage).

10 credits

 
Environmental Geochemistry

This module will develop understanding of the important chemical and physical processes that operate in the terrestrial environment, principally within soils and fresh water systems.  It includes the study of the hydrological cycle, surface and sub-surface water chemistry including rainfall, rivers and lakes, processes that govern the movement of solutes and colloidal materials, adsorption, redox, solubility, diffusion and kinetics.

10 credits.

 
Spatial Decision Making

Overview: This module provides a consideration of:

  • Spatial Decision Making & the role that GIS has in this
  • Spatial Data Types and Sources
  • Vector and Raster Processing Algorithms
  • Professional Training in ArcGIS
  • Project planning, implementation and reporting

20 credits .

 

 

Archaeology

Students studying archaeology beyond the first year need to do 10 days of archaeological fieldwork training to gain professional experience. This is usually done over the summer after the first academic year of study. This will normally be met by projects run by the Department of Classics and Archaeology.

20 compulsory credits:

Archaeology: Theory and Practise

The excitement of discovery and research is the foundation of everything we do as archaeologists. This module is aimed at helping you to develop more advanced research skills and to discover how we interpret archaeological evidence from multiple different perspectives. Here we explore how changes in the wider social and theoretical landscape have affected archaeological understanding through time. You will be introduced to the concepts and methods that you will put into practice in your third year dissertation or independent project, and learn how to develop a research proposal. The teaching is delivered in a mix of lectures, class workshops and research skills sessions.

20 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 

Optional Archaeology modules

A further 40 credits from the following options:

The Art and Archaeology of Sparta
Description under review
 
Themes in Near Eastern Prehistory
You will critically examine themes in Near Eastern Prehistory. The themes take you from the development of agriculture, pastoralism and sedentism to the appearance of the first cities, states and writing. Drawing directly from current research, you will use case studies to examine these themes. You will use archaeological evidence to understand how these developments are reflected in social, religious, economic and political organisations of the prehistoric Near East. You will attend weekly lectures and seminars. After appropriate guidance, you will take part in learning activities includes:
  • setting readings
  • presenting
  • running classroom discussions.

You will receive feedback on these participatory activities. You will write an essay for your formal assessment.

20 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
The Silk Road
Description under review
 
Late Roman Britain
Description under review
 
Archaeological Detective: Interpreting the Dead

Description is currently under review.

20 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 

Year Three

You will continue with the same two subjects studied in the second year, taking 50 credits in each.

Compulsory year three module

Alongside subject-specific study, you will undertake a 20-credit compulsory synoptic module which aims to tie together the subjects you are studying through an interdisciplinary group project.

The Natural Sciences programme is by nature interdisciplinary but is mostly taught via specialized modules delivered by individual Schools with little exploration of the interfaces between the sciences. The synoptic module (C13602) gives students the opportunity to combine knowledge and skills acquired whilst on their pathway to carry out a (number of) interdisciplinary piece(s) of work.

20 credits throughout the full year.


Ecosystem & Environment

Year three students to take 40-60 credits from the following list.

Global Climate Change

Description under review.

20 credits throughout the year.

 
Quaternary Environments

This module considers the Quaternary evolution, environmental and settlement history of three regions (low, mid and high latitudes) building on material covered in Environmental Change or Climate Change Science. The module will combine lecture based material, with laboratory based exercises and a field course where the practical aspects of this sort of work will be developed.

Course content will include:

  • An overview of climate change records in the three study regions (the Americas, the Mediterranean, northern hemisphere high latitudes);
  • Consideration of human – environment interactions over a range of timescales in those study regions;
  • Critical review of methods of environmental reconstruction, dating techniques and sampling methods (waters, soils, sediments) in different contexts;     
  • Archives of change relevant to the study areas;
  • Project design to understand past climate and environmental change.

* Students are required to make a financial contribution towards the cost of field trips.

20 credits throughout the year.

 
Computer Modelling in Science: Applications

Modern biological and environmental science includes the study of complex systems and large data sets, including imaging data. This necessitates the use of computer models and analyses in order to understand these systems.

This module contains an introduction to computer programming and modelling techniques that are used in the biological and environmental sciences. Specifically, it contains:

  1. Development, simulation and analysis for models in space and time, using the Python language, with applications in the biological and environmental sciences;
  2. Analysis of long term behaviour of models in two or more dimensions;
  3. Methods for fitting models to experimental and environmental data;
  4. Analysis of image data. The module will focus on relevant applications in environmental and biological science, e.g. chemical, radioactive and biological pollution, crop development and pathogens and microbiology. The module will use the Python programming language throughout and be assessed by a patchwork assessment consisting of write-ups of assignments from during the semester.

20 credits in the Autumn semester.

 
Ecosystems Function, Management and Conservation

Description under review.

20 credits throughout the year.

 
Palaeobiology

Palaeobiology explores the relationship between life and the Earth's physical and chemical environment over geological/ evolutionary time. The module will focus on the geological consequences of evolution and how life has influenced physical and chemical environment. Topics covered will include: Origins and evolution of life; Evolution of the atmosphere and biosphere; the geobiology of critical intervals in both palaeobiology and evolutionary ecology. Students will gain an in depth knowledge of the mechanisms that control changes in the physiochemical environmental and their impact upon evolution. In order to gain a broad understanding the module will explore past changes as seem in the fossil record, together with present day processes that underpin these responses. The lectures and course work will give students knowledge of the tools that are used to reconstruct past environmental conditions and the effect of future changes in the abiotic stimuli that drive environmental change.

10 credits in the Autumn semester.

 
Emerging Challenges in Biogeography

Description under review.

20 credits in the Spring semester.

 
Environmental Modelling

This module provides training in environmental biotechnology, with particular emphasis on the interaction between microorganisms and the environment. The main topics covered will be wastewater treatment, bioremediation of organic and inorganic pollutants, microbes as indicators of risk factors in the environment, microbes in agriculture (biocontrol and biofertilisers) and the role of microorganisms in bioenergy production. Each topic will be introduced by a formal lecture followed by workshops during which students will study the topics in greater detail through problem-based learning techniques facilitated by the Convenor and by independent research. Knowledge and understanding of the lecture material will be assessed by Rogo examination and students will present the problem based exercises and case studies within an individual portfolio during the final week of the module.

10 credits in the Spring semester.

 
Environmental Biotechnology

This module provides training in environmental biotechnology, with particular emphasis on the interaction between microorganisms and the environment. The main topics covered will be wastewater treatment, bioremediation of organic and inorganic pollutants, microbes as indicators of risk factors in the environment, microbes in agriculture (biocontrol and biofertilisers) and the role of microorganisms in bioenergy production. Each topic will be introduced by a formal lecture followed by workshops during which students will study the topics in greater detail through problem-based learning techniques facilitated by the Convenor and by independent research. Knowledge and understanding of the lecture material will be assessed by Rogo examination and students will present the problem based exercises and case studies within an individual portfolio during the final week of the module.

10 credits in the Spring semester.

 

 

Earth Science

Y3 students take 40-60 credits from the following:

Geological Hazards and Resources

A geohazard is a natural process or phenomenon that has the potential to adversely affect humanity by endangering life or property. A geo resource is a substance or commodity that can be extracted from the subsurface for use by humanity. This module will spend one semester focussing on these two important issues for Environment and Society.

20 credits throughout the full year.

 
Freshwater Management 

This module considers human attempts to manage and restore freshwater environments, specifically rivers, lakes and wetlands. It considers changes in the fluvial system that occur in response to river management and engineering and examines approaches to restoring the natural functions of rivers that have been heavily degraded by human impacts.

The module examines some of the main stressors on lakes and wetlands lake management, and approaches for their management using an ecosystem-scale approach. The principles by which restoration practice is guided will be considered, and criteria for selection between alternative strategies will be introduced. The module will consider water quality and legislative requirements for freshwater bodies.

The module includes a field trip where you will visit a local nature reserve and develop a management plan with input from management practitioners and land-owners. You will also be able to engage with river management practitioners in a series of guest lectures.

20 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Environmental Pollutants
 
Geophysics and Geological Mapping
 
Mineralogy and petrology
 
Palaeobiology

Palaeobiology explores the relationship between life and the Earth's physical and chemical environment over geological/ evolutionary time. The module will focus on the geological consequences of evolution and how life has influenced physical and chemical environment. Topics covered will include: Origins and evolution of life; Evolution of the atmosphere and biosphere; the geobiology of critical intervals in both palaeobiology and evolutionary ecology. Students will gain an in depth knowledge of the mechanisms that control changes in the physiochemical environmental and their impact upon evolution. In order to gain a broad understanding the module will explore past changes as seem in the fossil record, together with present day processes that underpin these responses. The lectures and course work will give students knowledge of the tools that are used to reconstruct past environmental conditions and the effect of future changes in the abiotic stimuli that drive environmental change.

10 credits in the Autumn semester.

 

Archaeology

Optional Archaeology modules

40-60 credits from the following options:

Humans-Animals-Landscapes relationships

The aim of this module is to demonstrate how data can be drawn together from multiple sources to highlight closely interwoven human-(non-human)animal-landscape relationships. As these are often indivisible, in reality if not worldview, the themes studied in this course would allow for a nuanced understanding of past societies but also a critical reflection of our own interactions. The periods and contents covered in this module would be broad and could be tailored by the students to fit their individual interests, teaching and research needs. 

20 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Medieval Europe and the Mediterranean AD 500-1500

This module considers the archaeological evidence for the development of British and European societies and their connections around the Mediterranean, Africa and across Eurasia in the medieval period (from c. AD 500-1500). This was a period of significant social, political, economic and climate change which laid the foundations of the modern world.

Key topics will include in-depth analysis of themes such as the transformation of European and Mediterranean landscapes and settlement patterns from the Fall of the Roman Empire to the Renaissance; the towns of western Europe, Byzantium and the Islamic world; the impact of climate change, epidemic disease and population growth; the rise of kingdoms, states and empires; and the development of nearly global trade networks in Europe, Africa and Asia, between AD 500 and 1500 that would culminate in permanent European settlement in the Americas.

The lectures and seminars will explore interdisciplinary approaches to the examination  of these topics and what they can tell us about social and economic change, ideologies and social identities over 1000 years of human history.

 20 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Commodities, Consumption and Connections: the Global World of Things

This module takes advantage of a sweep of new interdisciplinary perspectives across a range of subject areas, including social, economic and cultural history, archaeology, anthropology and art history, which have focused on the role and significance of early modern ‘things’. Students will gain a fresh and stimulating grounding of central themes in early modern history as well as a deeper understanding of the importance of looking at early modern Europe as part of a globalising world. Students will explore a range of textual sources including wills and inventories, account books, letters and diaries which tell us about expanding global connections, what people consumed and how they thought about their objects. They will also be taught key methods and approaches for using physical objects, archaeological finds, museum collections and visual culture as primary sources for understanding early modern culture through the lens of object meanings, agency and networks, with opportunities for hands-on and digital engagement with sources of evidence. This interdisciplinary approach will enable students to understand the ways in which the study of material culture can provide fresh insights into everyday lives in the past and can also illuminate larger cultural histories and concerns.

20 credits in the Spring Semester.

 
Human Osteology

This module will examine what we can learn from the human skeleton, about the lives of people who lived in the past. We will also include some basic zooarchaeology to understand the similarities and differences between these two specialisms. The module will involve handling real archaeological human and non-human skeletons, learning how to identify their age, sex, stature, pathologies and taphonomy. We will also examine the demography of 19th century Nottingham on a fieldtrip to one of the city’s largest (and most atmospheric) cemeteries.

This module will introduce students to human and non-human skeletons, and the information that can be gained from them, including aging, sexing, stature, pathology and isotope analysis. Sampling strategies, data collection and analysis will also be covered using data collected by the students themselves on a fieldtrip. The aim of the module is to make students confident in handling human and zooarchaeological remains, to have the background necessary to undertake final year dissertations on either human remains or zooarchaeology, and to teach some basic data visualisation and analysis.

20 credits in the Spring Semester.

 
Rome and the Mediterranean

The module will examine the archaeological evidence for the Roman period in Italy and the Mediterranean from c. 300 BC to c. AD 550, in the context of the major social, cultural and economic changes of the region in this period and in the context of wider historical and archaeological approaches to the Mediterranean. It is aimed in particular at developing students’ skills in using and understanding source material. Subjects covered include the evidence for use of rural and urban landscapes, public and domestic building and the Mediterranean economy.

20 credits in the Spring Semester.

 
The Silk Road: cultural interactions and perceptions

The Silk Road will be presented as a range of archaeological, historical, geographical, political and scientific themes. Broad cultural themes will be balanced with the presentation of specific case studies, such as the Roman, Byzantine and (medieval) Islamic Silk Roads and their links with e.g. the Tang and Ming dynasties along the networks which made up the terrestrial and maritime silk and spice roads. Later examples will also be considered to provide a balance. The ways in which Silk Roads can be defined such as a consideration of trade and exchange of a wide range materials across central and eastern Asia will be considered. Furthermore scientific analysis and its role in the interpretation of trade and exchange will be considered between for example China, central Asia , Scandinavia and the Middle east. Nineteenth century and more recent perceptions of the Silk Road will be considered too. This cross-disciplinary approach will focus on a range of geographical areas during a range of time periods. Movement of peoples and things will therefore be considered from a wide range of viewpoints producing mutually enriching studies set in global contexts.

20 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Through a Glass Darkly

Glass is a unique material with some unusual properties that were used in past societies in a wide range of ways. Archaeological, ethnographic, historical and scientific approaches will all be used to answer cultural questions about the production and use of glass in past societies. All seminars and lectures will consist of a rich interdisciplinary mix of approaches to ancient glass. The module uses archaeological case studies extensively and covers glass from the earliest made in the 3rd millennium BC up to the medieval period. Geographically we will cover glass that occurs in the West, the Middle East and as far away as China.

In practical sessions students will get the chance to handle ancient glass of a range of dates, including evidence for its production and to identify what it was used for. Students will work hot glass themselves in the Ancient Technology lab in Humanities – such as decorated glass bead making. They will also see at first hand through the use of University analytical equipment how the scientific analysis of glass can answer questions about ancient glass technology and provenance.

All lectures and discussion groups will be presented in a way that involves students and to encourage them to voice their opinions about different aspects of the study of ancient glass. The seminars in particular will give students the opportunities to develop a presentation and allow them think in detail about interpretations.

20 credits in the Spring Semester.

 

Year Four (MSci students only)

You will choose one of your third-year subjects to focus on in the fourth year, spending half your time working on an independent research project aiming to develop the skills needed to pursue a career in research.

All students take 120 credits of modules in the fourth year and each subject has a minimum number of credits listed. Students can take 120 credits from a single subject (where available) or they can use modules from their second subject to make up the difference between the minimum and the required number of credits.

Ecosystem & Environment

You must take a minimum of 110 and maximum of 120 credits from ecosystem and environment throughout the year.

Compulsory modules

MSci Research Project

The aim of the module is to provide training for the description, planning and conduct of a programme of research in order to solve or report on a specific scientific problem. The MSci project is taken in both the autumn and spring semesters and comprises 60 credits. In the autumn the student will work with the supervisor to devise a project by identifying an appropriate topic before focusing on a specific scientific problem. This will involve regular planning meetings and individual research by the student. In the spring semester the students will undertake the main body of work for the project which may be experimental, computer, literature or theoretically based (or various combinations of these). The student will continue to have, as a minimum, monthly supervisor meetings and document all progress in their project notebooks. The module is assessed by a project write up in the style of a scientific paper, the project notebook and a poster presentation with an oral component to the staff and the student cohort.

60 compulsory credits over the full year.

 
Project Management

Project management skills are a highly transferable skill directly relevant to work. The module covers the fundamentals of project management:

  • project lifecycles
  • leadership in project management
  • managing risk in projects
  • analysis of project successes and failures
  • project management software

You will produce a documented project management outline tailored to your research project. You'll identify the key constraints, bottlenecks and milestones. You'll produce a project management visualisation diagram such as Gantt or PERT chart. You'll present an interim verbal report to your supervisors and the module convenor to rehearse such reporting skills.

10 compulsory credits over the full year.

 
Statistics and Experimental Design for Bioscientists

Principles of experimentation in crop science, basic statistical principles, experimental design, hypothesis testing, sources of error, analysis of variance, regression techniques, presentation of data, use of Genstat for data analysis. There are two routes through the module; one focusing on crop improvement and one focusing on more general issues.

10 compulsory credits throughout the year.

 
Writing and Reviewing Research Proposals

The overall aim is to consider, and practice, writing and assessing research proposals. In the real world, one may have to communicate the importance of a research/scientific idea to experts within your discipline or to non-specialist professionals. The module aims to develop your skills in analysis and writing of research proposals. Specific areas covered include: communicating with awarding bodies (how to develop a research idea and write a grant application) and peer review of research proposals.

20 compulsory credits over the full year.

 
Communication and Public Engagement for Scientists

This module considers:

  • The importance of engaging publics with cutting edge research
  • Methods of engagement that are suitable for varying audiences
  • How to write for varied audiences
  • How to engage with policymakers and industry
  • Public speaking skills
  • The planning, development and delivery of an engagement event for the public/policymakers

10 compulsory credits in the Spring semester.

 

Plus an optional module if you wish to take it:

Climate Mitigation

The module will address the need for climate change mitigation and will investigate the frameworks for achieving mitigation on a range of levels, e.g. global, national, organisational. During the module students will examine a range of topics including: carbon capture and storage, nature based solutions, renewable energy, national greenhouse gas accounting, organisational emission quantification and reductions, carbon foot printing, and off setting.

10 optional credits in the Spring semester.

 

 

Earth Science

You must a take a minimum of 80 and a maximum of 120 credits from earth science throughout the year. 

60 compulsory credits:

Natural Sciences Dissertation

The aim of the module is to provide training for the description, planning and conduct of a programme of research in order to solve or report on a specific scientific problem. The MSci project is taken in both the autumn and spring semesters and comprises 60 credits. In the autumn the student will work with the supervisor to devise a projectby identifying an appropriate topic before focusing on a specific scientific problem. This will involve regular planning meetings and individual research by the student. In the spring semester the students will undertake the main body of work for the project which may be experimental, computer, literature or theoretically based (or various combinations of these). The student will continue to have, as a minimum, monthly supervisor meetings and document all progression in their project notebooks. The module is assessed by a project write up in the style of a scientific paper, the project notebook and a poster presentation with an oral component to the staff and the student cohort.

60 compulsory credits  throughout the full year.

 

 

A minimum of 20 and up to a maximum of 60 credits can be selected from the following:

Water Quality Assessment

This module provides an overview of water quality assessment techniques, including chemical, biological, sensor and long-term reconstruction methods. The majority of the module will be taught as part of a residential three-day field course, supplemented with laboratory practical work. You will get hands-on experience in techniques and their application.

The module will be underpinned training in the by a theoretical understanding of the water quality and its drivers at a variety of spatial and temporal scales. Training will include how to devise appropriate water quality management plans and use of benchmarking tools from environmental monitoring agencies.

10 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Advances in Managing Rivers and Catchments

This module will focus on the following themes:

  • Key river and catchment processes 
  • Impacts of anthropogenic (ie climate, land-use) change on rivers and catchments
  • Current and historic river/catchment management practises 
  • Tools and techniques for monitoring and mapping rivers and catchments
  • Modelling rivers and catchments to test management scenarios

10 credits in the Spring Semester.

 
Statistics and Experimental Design

Principles of experimentation in crop science, basic statistical principles, experimental design, hypothesis testing, sources of error, analysis of variance, regression techniques, presentation of data, use of Genstat for data analysis. There are two routes through the module; one focusing on crop improvement and one focusing on more general issues.

10 compulsory credits throughout the year.

 
Communication and Public Engagement

This module considers:

  • The importance of engaging publics with cutting edge research
  • Methods of engagement that are suitable for varying audiences
  • How to write for varied audiences
  • How to engage with policymakers and industry
  • Public speaking skills
  • The planning, development and delivery of an engagement event for the public/policymakers

10 compulsory credits in the Spring semester.

 

Archaeology 

  • Dissertation (60 credits, full year)
    This is a 10,000 word individual project based on a geographical topic involving fieldwork and/or secondary data, and agreed by the candidate with their tutor and a specialist supervisor.
  • Special Topics in Archaeology 1 (20 credits, Autumn semester)
    This module provides in-depth coverage of a topic selected jointly by students and the specialist member of staff. It is designed to meet the needs of postgraduate students for study tailored to their specific requirements, and will be particularly useful for students intending to proceed to doctoral research.
  • Special Topics in Archaeology 2 (20 credits, Spring semester)
    This module aims to provide in-depth coverage of a topic selected jointly by the specialist member of staff and the students concerned. It is designed to meet the needs of postgraduate students for study tailored to their specific requirements, and will be particularly useful for students intending to proceed to doctoral research.

You must take a minimum of 100 credits from archaeology throughout the year.

 

Disclaimer
This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

Natural Sciences

School of Mathematical Sciences, University of Nottingham
University Park
NG7 2RD

Tel: +44 (0) 115 823 2376
Fax: +44 (0) 115 951 3555
Email: naturalsciences@nottingham.ac.uk