Estuary and Coastal Geosciences

The course

Full-time, Part-time
Course type
Entry date



The group has particular interests in applied Quaternary geology and geomorphology, especially with reference to coastal and estuarine management. We are also interested in the applications of Quaternary geology to infrastructure engineering and to the properties of natural materials.

Our current research is focused on the properties of estuarine clays and on the physical and biological factors that control these. We also have interests in the recovery of intertidal habitats on reclaimed land that has been flooded by shoreline realignment. More generally, we are interested in the mechanisms and timescales of coastal change and the impact that these have on human use of the coastal zone.

We conduct ongoing fieldwork on several UK estuaries, including the Humber, the Forth, the Moray Firth and the Solway Firth.


Research projects

In recent years EPSRC funding has been received for an extensive course of research into the engineering geology of soft estuarine clay sediments which has included studies of soil fabric, clay microstructure, geochemistry and Quaternary history. All of these areas are the focus of current research interest. Related research interests focus on the role of organic geochemicals in the behaviour of clay soil and in the inter-relation of physical properties and soil microstructure.

Several collaborative courses have been undertaken around the UK with the British Geological Survey, with whom we maintain close links. These courses have explored the relationships between seismic, geoacoustic and physical properties of seabed sediments from around the Scottish continental shelf and deeper offshore waters.

Additional information

The Group makes use of excellent laboratory and computing facilities in the School of Life Sciences, which include analytical chemistry and sediment fabric analysis. We also have access to materials testing and scanning electron microscope facilities elsewhere in the University.

Entry requirements

Contact the School to discuss.


Fees for this course can be found on the tuition fees page.

Scholarships and bursaries

We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships, and more than 400 students benefit from this support.

View our full range of research scholarships.