The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2019

Course handbook


Water is the most important agent in shaping the landscape. It is responsible for weathering, soil formation, the erosion of sediment from hill slopes, gullies and river banks, and the transport and deposition of sediment in channels, on floodplains and in estuaries. Water also acts beneath the surface, replenishing groundwater systems and triggering environmental problems like soil salinity. This course provides students with a comprehensive introduction to the movement of water through river basins, and the role water plays in the development of soils and the flux of sediments through the landscape. Through a series of lectures, laboratories and field work, students will learn how to quantify the movement of water through various components of the hydrological cycle, and the major factors controlling the way in which water moulds the river basin landscape.

Availability2019 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2019

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. An understanding of the movement of water through the river basin, from the point of rainfall to discharge at the coast;

2. An understanding of how soils form and evolve, and the principles and procedures for soil classification;

3. An understanding of the processes that shape the major components of the river basin, including hillslopes, river channels and floodplains, aquifers and estuaries;

4. An understanding of sediment yields and the delivery of sediments from upland environments to estuaries.

5. Skills in the identification and measurement of hydrological and geomorphological processes through the use of field and laboratory instrumentation, and computer software;

6. Experience in mapping and aerial photograph interpretation;

7. Enhanced field observation and report-writing skills.


The major themes covered in the course are:

  • Rainfall and evaporation
  • Soil formation, soil hydrology and soil classification
  • Hillslope hydrology and soil erosion
  • Open channel hydrology and flood hydrology
  • Erosion, transport and deposition processes in streams
  • Groundwater flow, quality and salinity
  • Karst processes and landforms
  • Estuarine and floodplain processes, morphology, hydrodynamics and sedimentation.

Assumed knowledge

GEOS1050 Earth Processes and Products

Assessment items

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Practicals 1-5

Report: Field Trip Report

Formal Examination: Formal Examination

Compulsory Requirements

In order to pass this course, each student must complete ALL of the following compulsory requirements:

General Course Requirements:

  • Field Study: Induction Requirement - Students must attend and pass the induction requirements before attending these sessions. - In order to participate in this course, students must complete a compulsory fieldwork induction.

Contact hours


Field Study

Face to Face Off Campus 24 hour(s) per Term Full Term

Note: There will be 3-4 days of field work.


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term