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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Earth Science

Undergraduate Course: Planetary Science (EASC10128)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course provides an introduction to recent advances in planetary science. We will consider how our solar system formed, and how the planets, moons and smaller bodies which constitute it have evolved through time. Classes are based around themed student-led presentations on recent missions and topical research across the fields of planetary science and astrobiology.
Course description Each week we will focus on a different area of planetary science. Examples of topics include, but are not limited to:
- From dust to planets in less than 100Myr: formation and early evolution of the solar system
- The moon-forming impact: how a catastrophic collision forged the Earth-Moon system
- Planetary volcanology: comparing volcanic processes on Earth, Mars, Venus and the icy moons
- Looking beyond our solar system: exoplanets and the search for Earth 2.0
- Stagnant lids vs plate tectonics: Venus and Earth as unlikely twins
- The icy worlds: planetary processes in the outer solar system
- Separating iron from rock: how do planets form cores?
- biosignatures and habitable worlds: the search for extra-terrestrial life

Each week, the chosen topic will be introduced through a short presentation. Students will then give 15 minute oral presentations on selected papers, followed by an instructor-led topical debate. Presentations will graded by staff and presenters given feedback. Students will additionally prepare an essay on one of the topics presented, not including material from sessions in which they have already orally presented.

This course will allow students to gain further skills in independent learning and critical analysis and in debating, in a friendly, inclusive environment.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) «br /»
Coursework: 100%«br /»
«br /»
30%: Student oral presentations of research papers; students will prepare and present 1x or 2x 15 minute talks throughout the course (dependent on course numbers). These will be assessed by staff.«br /»
«br /»
70%: Written presentation. Students will prepare a 3000 word essay/report summarising key aspects on one of the chosen topics. This cannot be a topic which students have orally presented on.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Synthesise and critically analyse key data and complex arguments from peer reviewed literature
  2. Gain experience of oral communication of complex ideas
  3. Be confident at peer assessing and providing useful, constructive feedback
  4. Gain insight into the chemical evolution of planets within the solar system
  5. Become familiar with key topics in modern geochemistry and planetary research
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Geoffrey Bromiley
Tel: (0131 6)50 8519
Course secretaryMs Katerina Sykioti
Tel: (0131 6)51 5251
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