Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: UCSCIEAR11
Introduction to Earth and Environment
Course info
Course codeUCSCIEAR11
ECTS Credits7.5
Category / Level1 (Bachelor Introductory)
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byUniversity College; Science;
Contact persondr. M.J. Dekkers
Telephone+31 30 2531671
dr. M.J. Dekkers
Other courses by this lecturer
Contactperson for the course
dr. M.J. Dekkers
Other courses by this lecturer
dr. M.B. Eppinga
Other courses by this lecturer
Teaching period
SEM1  (31/08/2015 to 18/12/2015)
Teaching period in which the course begins
Time slot-: Not in use
Study mode
Course application processTutor / Education&Student Office
Additional informationNew students indicate course preferences on their UCU application form. Continuing students contact their tutor.
Enrolling through OSIRISYes
Enrolment open to students taking subsidiary coursesYes
Waiting listNo
Course placement processEducation&Student office
Additional informationThe Education&Student office places students based on tutor-led course registration and maximum class size.
After completing this course students are able to:
  • review (scientific) information related to the Earth’s environments, Earth as a system, and the local and global ramifications of natural events and human actions,
  • employ specific Earth Science-related tools used in the Earth and Environmental Sciences: ecosystem modelling, basic geological map interpretation.
  • Identify characteristic timescales of geological and environmental systems, and how these timescales affect the responses of systems to changing (environmental) conditions.
  • apply basic knowledge of physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology, and sociology to certain (simple) distinct Earth and Environmental Science problems, and test hypotheses against observations.
How to deal with global environmental change resulting from human activity is one of the most hotly debated topics today. This debate includes multiple scientific, societal, and economic issues. Our planet Earth has always been dynamic from a climatic and environmental viewpoint. Changes between colder and warmer conditions were gradual or more abrupt with extremes of (almost) entirely frozen over to conditions with tropical crocodiles on the poles. Therefore, to fully understand the global environmental change debate, it is crucial to understand the essentials of planet Earth’s natural dynamics, and which processes are currently altered through human activity. This course provides that background, by explaining how geological processes have shaped the Earth into its present state, and how current human activities are interfering with natural processes in Earth’s ecosystems. This background provides students with a solid basis for continuation of studies in the Earth and Environmental sciences.
Why the Earth’s surface looks the way it does can largely be understood from Earth’s internal structure dynamics. Aspects of the Geosphere that will be discussed in class include the formation of planet Earth, the rock cycle, geological time, the inner Earth, plate tectonics, deformation and mountain building, and sedimentation and sedimentary basins. Emphasis is placed on the role of geological observations as evidence of processes that contributed in shaping the surface of the Earth. In addition, we will discuss the diversity of Earth’s ecosystem and the importance of conserving biodiversity. We discuss the scientific aspects of global climate change, but also address the way climate change is discussed and presented in the popular media.

The course consists of an Earth Science module and an Environmental Science module. Each module consists of a series of lectures and tutorials. The practical classes of the Earth Science module focus on the geological history of the Ardennes Mountains. Students analyze and interpret geological maps, rocks, and fossils, applying the theoretical knowledge of geological principles and methods gained during the lectures. This series of practical classes are then summarized in an essay. The practical classes of the Environmental Science module provide hands-on experience in analyzing biodiversity data and ecosystem responses to global climate change. Students also write an essay about the current discussion of global climate change in the popular media. Each module is finished by a written exam (25% midterm about module one, 25% final about module two).
Entry requirements
Required materials
Earth: portrait of a planet by S. Marshak, 4thedition 2012, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc ISBN 978-0-393-93518-9
Instructional formats
UCU SCI 1 course

Participation and Tutorials Earth module
Test weight5
Minimum grade-

Participation and Tutorials Environment
Test weight10
Minimum grade-

Essay Earth module
Test weight15
Minimum grade-

Essay Environment module
Test weight10
Minimum grade-

Written exam Earth module
Test weight30
Minimum grade-

Written exam Environment module
Test weight30
Minimum grade-

Kies de Nederlandse taal