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The University of Southampton

SOES6075 Introduction to Coasts for Engineers

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Appreciate that coasts and estuaries are subject to multiple drivers and stresses
  • Explain what forces, associated with the moon and sun, generate ocean tides
  • Discuss how the sun's energy and the earth's rotation drive global circulation weather patterns
  • Define what waves and storm surges are and explain how they are generated by wind and atmospheric pressure
  • Discuss the main controls on beach morphology, in terms of waves and currents
  • Describe the different ways in which estuaries and delta's can be classified and explain how salt and fresh water mix in different estuaries and influence circulation
  • Describe the characteristics of rocky and coral coasts and discuss the main processes that influence their evolution
  • Discuss the range of processes causing water movement on the continental shelf and their influence on sediment transport
  • Assess the management options available for dealing with changes in mean sea level


Following an introduction of the coastal system, this module will provide a background to coastal processes and coastal environments. The coastal processes component will cover foundational material on: (1) tides; (2) waves; (3) storm surges; and (4) mean sea level. The coastal environment component, will cover processes influencing: (1) beaches and barriers; (2) estuaries and deltas; (3) rocky and coral coasts; and (4) continental shelves. A final lecture will discuss coastal management in the context of sea-level rise and climate change.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Formal Lectures: 20 x 45 minute lectures will provide an introduction to the theory underlying coasts. Each lecture systematically covers the main concepts and topics by the use of PowerPoint presentations. Lectures are supported by illustrated handout materials. References to the applicable chapter of course texts and/or other relevant journal articles are provided as essential reading for relevant lectures. Support: is provided by staff and/or postgraduate demonstrators. A wide range of support can be provided for those students who have further or specific learning and teaching needs.

Independent Study130
Total study time150



MethodPercentage contribution
Group presentation 50%
Individual report 50%
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