The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020

Course handbook


GEOS4430 is a workshop-based and self-directed course that provides students in the Earth Science Honours program with skills in handling the Earth Science data that forms the backbone of a student's thesis. The course covers aspects of data organisation, use of spreadsheets and software (including the software resources available within the university), data manipulation, application and interpretation of statistical tests, and presentation of data in the form of graphics and maps. These are vital ingredients for the compilation of a high quality thesis.

Availability2020 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2020
  • Semester 2 - 2020

Learning outcomes

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

1. An understanding of the importance of data to an Honours thesis.

2. An understanding of how data can be organized efficiently for processing using one or more software packages.

3. A knowledge of whether and when to apply certain types of statistical tests to their data sets.

4. The means for effectively and convincingly presenting the data using graphics, tables and maps.

5. The ability to decide which data needs to be included and excluded from a thesis.


Two workshops will cover data handling and presentation. These will be tailored to the student cohort in a given year. Each student will have the opportunity to discuss their specific data sets with staff and peers, who will advise on possible approaches. Presentations by staff will highlight the role of statistical methods: what they seek to achieve; how they are classified and therefore where they apply to specific data types; implications of statistical test results; graphic and tabular presentation of datasets.

Assumed knowledge

A major in Earth Sciences or Environmental Science and Management with a credit average at 3000 level.

Assessment items

Project: Data management, thesis structure and self-directed learning/progress

Contact hours


Self-Directed Learning

Self-Directed 18 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


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