Numerical Methods for Environmental Science

University of Reading

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Numerical Methods for Environmental Science

  • Host University

    University of Reading

  • Location

    Reading, England

  • Area of Study

    Algebra, Computer Science, Environmental Science

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Summary module description:
    A module based around computer practicals and lectures, introducing students to numerical algorithms for solving the equations relevant to environmental science.

    To introduce students to the computational techniques needed to solve physical problems arising in environmental science and to develop the programming skills necessary to implement the techniques.

    Assessable learning outcomes:
    By the end of the module, the student should be able to: Develop numerical algorithms for solving basic differential equations commonly encountered in environmental science problems and implement them as computer programs. Use numerical analysis to evaluate the results produced by the programs and design ways to improve them. Relate the computational solutions to their anticipated nature from theory, including perturbation growth and propagation, and chaotic behaviour.

    Additional outcomes:
    Students will enhance their problem solving skills, general IT skills, the production of scientific figures and their inclusion in reports, and written presentation skills. Programming ability will enhance the quality of students? dissertation projects and will be a key transferable skill from their degree.

    Outline content:
    Algorithms and programming using the MATLAB language, to put it in to practise. Numerical solution of ordinary and partial differential equations, especially finite difference methods. The physical behaviour of solutions to common equations in environmental science, such as diffusion and advective transport by winds or currents. Accuracy, stability, and convergence of numerical algorithms.

    Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
    Lectures: Theory will be presented, reinforced by short exercises carried out by the students. Computing practicals: Students will develop programming skills and apply the theory to problems set in assignments and two assessed projects

    Summative Assessment Methods:

    Report 55%
    Practical skills assessment 20%
    Set exercise 25%

    Other information on summative assessment:
    Coursework: Mid-term assessment consists of a project and a computer-based problem solving test. A problem sheet and second project will be submitted for assessment near the end of term.

    Formative assessment methods:
    Assignments in weekly practical classes.

    Penalties for late submission:
    The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.
    where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
    where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

    The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    40% overall

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.


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