Coastal Environments and Processes


This course will introduce students to the study of coastal and marine geoscience. The major topics will include coastal environments and processes, coastal management, and field based investigations. It aims to provide students with an understanding of the coast and the hazards and risks within coastal environments as well as how these issues impact on coastal management. The course will be structured around field trips, lectures, and laboratories.



  • Semester 1 - 2016

Learning Outcomes

1. Describe and identify the geomorphological features present in coastal environments

2. Explain the processes relevant to coastal environments and how the processes shape the geomorphology

3. Explain the basic principles of, reasons for, and techniques used in coastal management

4. Collect, analyse, and interpret field and experimental data from the coastal zone

5. Work effectively as a team in both field and classroom based situations

6. Communicate effectively in both oral and written forms


 GEOS3220 covers the advanced components of coastal geomorphology, oceanography, and coastal management. Topics covered in the course will include:

1.        An understanding of the coastal region in the broader global oceanographic context.

2.        The geomorphological components of the coastal zone including beach-dune-barrier, estuarine, delta, and coral reef systems.

3.        The key processes relevant to coastal systems and the importance of the processes in shaping the geomorphology.

4.        The basic principles of coastal management, causes of the need for coastal management, and basic management techniques.

5.        Links between the geomorphology and the processes in a morphodynamic context.

6.        Methods and techniques used to collect, analyse, and interpret field and experimental data in the coastal zone.

 In order to participate in this course, students must complete a compulsory Workplace Health and Safety requirement. Students will receive full information on this compulsory course component in the course outline provided by the School. This course also has a compulsory field component that is run in February, prior to the start of Semester 1. The field trip requires an up-front fee not covered by HECS that may vary with each offering of the course. Interested students should contact the School of Environmental and Life Sciences for more information.

Assumed Knowledge

GEOS1040/ or GEOS1050 or ENVS1001 and GEOS2161.

Assessment Items

Exhibition / Poster: Poster Presentation

Quiz: Quizzes - Class

Written Assignment: Reports and Field Notebook

Contact Hours


Field Study

Face to Face Off Campus 45 hour(s) per Term

This includes field laboratories and computer laboratories conducted during an intensive field trip.


Face to Face Off Campus 16 hour(s) per Term

Lectures will be held during the field trip

Online Activity

Online 10 hour(s) per Term

The field study (inc labs and lectures) and some online learning exercises will be run in February prior to the start of semester 1. Students will need to make themselves available during this time in order to complete the course.