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The University of Southampton

SOES6001 Contemporary Topics in Geology and Geophysics

Module Overview

This module now exists with a number of pathways that caters for a range of topics: Marine Geology and Geophysics - MSci Geology, MSci Geophysics & MRes Marine Geology & Geophysics students

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Written skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Scientific research
Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • synthesise a body of knowledge on a given subject
  • critically assess the scientific literature on a wide range of topics
  • make public oral presentations on the findings of current research
  • write critical syntheses of knowledge for a given subject in a scientifically cogent style


You will choose three key topics from a list of options in your specialist area, a reading list of seminal papers for these is provided. You will be required to write a critical review and make a short oral presentation on each of your selected topics at weekly or fortnightly seminars. Much of the learning will be through independent reading. The breadth of subject coverage is intended to broaden and deepen your knowledge of topical issues in your specialist area, as well as to develop scientific writing and presentation skills.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Note: Contact hours vary from 24 to 40 hours, depending on the size of the module group. Seminars will be led by a variety of staff members with expertise in a range of important contemporary topics. Reading will be guided by staff members, but much of the learning will be through independent reading and study by students who will also give oral presentations at seminar-style classes. The programme will consist of 12 two-hour seminars. Supplementary material: Geophysics Seminar, NOCS Seminar programmes and WUN Seminars. A wide range of support can be provided for those students who have further or specific learning and teaching needs.

Independent Study126
Total study time166


Assessment Strategy

Written reports (70%): Two reports on a topic which you will be expected to review, identify key scientific issues at stake and summarise arguments on both sides. You will be expected to form your own opinion on the matter. Each report should not be more than 5000 words. Oral presentations (30%): Two x 15 minute presentations at seminar style gatherings, on a key-note topic.


MethodPercentage contribution
Oral presentation  (15 minutes) 30%
Written report  (5000 words) 70%
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