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MST1207 : Introductory Oceanography

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Guenther Uher
  • Lecturer: Dr Miguel Morales Maqueda
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


To provide a multidisciplinary introduction to oceanography. To introduce students to the fundamental features of ocean geology, seawater properties, and circulation, and the fundamental interactions between environmental factors and marine life, which determine the distribution of primary production on global scales. To appreciate the role of the oceans in the Earth system on global scales.

Outline Of Syllabus

Lectures covering the following themes:

1. History of Earth and oceans; bathymetry, plate tectonics and sedimentation.
2. The oceans and the global water cycle; seawater composition and properties
3. Global heat budget, atmospheric circulation, ocean currents and deep circulation
4. Coastal circulation, sediment transport and estuarine processes.
5. Geographical and seasonal patterns of marine primary production; major controls of primary production
6. Revision Session. Dedicated revision session aimed at preparing students for the exam.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:301:30Examination
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion190:309:30Examination revision
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion23:006:00Completing summative assessment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion26:0012:00Preparation for summative assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture201:0020:0019 lectures plus 1 revision session
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading191:0019:00Lecture follow up: reading
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading191:0019:00Lecture follow up: ReCap
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study113:0013:00Consolidation of learning
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
MST1203The Marine Environment
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures are designed to give students a broad factual knowledge of key oceanographic processes, including properties of the seafloor, seawater, and ocean circulation. The interaction between marine organisms and seawater will be covered to show students how the chemical and physical properties are important in controlling the biological populations.

Directed research and reading will support the information received through formal lectures by guided independent study using key texts. Students will be encouraged to become more independent in their learning at this stage in their programmes to develop key skills such as Active Learning, Goal Setting and Action Planning, Decision Making, and Initiative, which they will require at Levels 5 and 6.

Assessment preparation and completion will allow students to fully prepare for their formative and summative coursework, and their written examination. They will have the opportunity to consolidate and build upon knowledge gained in the taught sessions.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination902A60N/A
Exam Pairings
Module Code Module Title Semester Comment
MST1203The Marine Environment1N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M20500 words (or equivalent) coursework exercise
Written exercise2M20500 words (or equivalent) coursework exercise
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The two 500 word (or equivalent) summative coursework submissions will assess the students’ knowledge of fundamental physical and chemical properties and processes in the marine environment, and their importance for controlling the distribution of marine plankton.

In addition, the students use of the relevant resources to support their ideas and their ability to present information in an appropriate scientific format will be examined.

The written examination will assess the level of knowledge and understanding of all aspects of the module, including student reading.

Reading Lists