Hot Topics

Module code: GL4100
Module co-ordinator: Dr Tom Harvey

Geology is a dynamic discipline, with a constant stream of fresh ideas, pivotal new data, and controversial interpretations. In this module, we'll explore various 'hot topics' from across the breadth of the subject, ranging from largely academic disputes with wide-reaching implications to pressing questions of public policy on geological hazards and resources.

This module provides an opportunity for you to develop your critical thinking, presentation, and debating skills – all of which will be valued highly by future employers. Throughout, the emphasis is on communicating detailed scientific knowledge in its broader context to a wide audience.


This is unlike any other module you will do at university. Each session consists of two student presentations outlining the opposing sides of an argument, followed by a round-table discussion in which all students participate. Will one side 'win' the debate, or can both viewpoints be reconciled? Perhaps the discussion will raise more questions than answers!

  • 1 hour of lectures
  • 8 hours of seminars
  • 8 hours of demonstration
  • 133 hours of guided independent study


Assessment is based on the presentation and discussion sessions, plus a written report in the style of an article in a popular science magazine.

  • Assessed discussions (50%)
  • Leader's presentation (30%)
  • Leader's written report (20%)