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Module OSX-4010:
Key Concepts and Techniques

Module Facts

Run by School of Ocean Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Prof Mattias Green

Overall aims and purpose

This module is run at the start of the MSc courses in Physical Oceanography, Marine Renewables, and Applied Marine Geosciences and provides students with some of the key skills they will need for their Masters course and their project work. These skills include mathematics for scientists, MATLAB programming, oceanographic data analysis and an introduction to fundamental oceanography and sediment processes. The course is made up of a set of targeted lectures which will provide guidance on practical exercises to be completed by the class.

Course content

This course introduces some of the underpinning techniques and concepts of marine science Topics covered include:

Mathematical methods

MATLAB computer programming

Oceanographic data analysis

Sediment transport processes

The course is taught through lectures, computer practicals and exercises

Assessment Criteria


50 - 59% Complete all practical assignments, deriving some sort of an answer in each case


60 - 69% Threshold plus correct assignment work and ability to answer numerical questions logically


70%+ Good plus the ability to solve problems without being led, and evidence of further reading.

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the mathematical methods used in marine sciences.

  2. Be able to write computer programs.

  3. Appreciate how to analyse common oceanographic data, including sea level and currents.

  4. Demonstrate an understanding of fundamental oceanographic processes, including sediment transport.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
COURSEWORK Mathematical problem sheet (MG-DH) 25
COURSEWORK MATLAB computing programming (MG) 40
COURSEWORK Oceanography problem sheet (TPR) 15
ORAL In class presentation (JHB) 20
COURSEWORK PO Maths problem sheet 45

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Lecture 18
Practical classes and workshops 12
Private study 170

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: