Practical and Professional Skills for Environmental Sciences

Module summary

Module code: ENVI1039
Level: 4
Credits: 30
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Natural Resources Institute
Module Coordinator(s): Peter Burt



• To develop organisational and self-management skills.
• To develop a range of competencies including general transferable skills and technical skills in the laboratory and field.
• To extend the students’ skills in observation, measurement, data presentation and interpretation.
• To introduce students to more specialised techniques appropriate to simple environmental chemical analyses.
• To assist the development of the understanding of associated theory modules.
• To initiate the process of developing employability awareness and good practice.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

1. Select and use appropriate equipment and conduct experiments in an organised and safe manner.
2. Select and apply an appropriate technique to the problem under investigation.
3. Make observations with care and make accurate measurements.
4. Present data in a suitable format, calculate results where appropriate and draw conclusions.
5. Use computing and computing packages to aid study, obtain information and to present reports and data.
6. Produce a reflective personal development profile using the MAHARA software platform.

Indicative content

A selection of practical work will be associated with the appropriate theory modules. Detailed content will depend on a particular student’s programme of study and where appropriate involve field data collection as well as laboratory work.

Introduction to maps, map making and map projections; relationship between geology, landform and vegetation; the rock cycle and weathering in the development of landscape; introduction to aerial photographs and remote sensing; introduction to GIS; classification and identification of flora and fauna and ecological surveying; introduction to parametric statistics; environmental chemistry- sampling and analysis; development of field skills in ecology and physical geography, including field trips in both term 1 and term 2.

Self-awareness and the role of the personal development profile in enhancing employability; an introduction to the MAHARA e-portfolio software; an introduction to self-awareness using the Johari Window; CV development; essential writing skills including letter writing and e-mail etiquette; verbal and non-verbal communication; understanding labour markets; how professional bodies can help students; the importance of networking.

Teaching and learning activity

A series of laboratory and /or field practicals, are provided to build up practical competencies and computational skills. Some sessions will be entirely computer based. In addition basic numeracy, statistics, numerical manipulation will be introduced through a series of formal lectures and computer based interactive student centred learning. Practicals will be selected and grouped according to the appropriate co-requisite theory modules. Learning will come through the student’s own experience in performing the appropriate operations, integrating data and preparing reports on the exercises carried out. A series of 8 sessions will be used to implement the employability agenda.


Essay: 40% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Learning Outcomes: 3, 4.
Word Length: 2000 words.
Outline Details: Essay to apply written presentation skills.

Lab Report: 40% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Learning Outcomes: 1 - 5.
Word Length: 1500 words.
Outline Details: Laboratory exercises and presentation of data: Environmental analyses of natural materials.

Portfolio: 20% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Learning Outcomes: 6.
Word Length: 2000 words equivalent.
Outline Details: PDP.

Formative Assessment: In-class discussions, assisted practicals, and tutorials based on module material and presentational skills.