Course Outline

GEO302 Coastal Geomorphology

Course Coordinator:Javier Leon Patino ( School:School of Science, Technology and Engineering

2023Semester 2

UniSC Sunshine Coast

UniSC Moreton Bay

Blended learning Most of your course is on campus but you may be able to do some components of this course online.


Online You can do this course without coming onto campus.

Please go to for up to date information on the
teaching sessions and campuses where this course is usually offered.

What is this course about?


Coastal geomorphology is the study of the shape, processes and evolution of coastal landforms. You will develop a practical understanding of coastal dynamics through a combination of theoretical conceptual models and fieldwork which examine the importance of coastal geomorphic forms and their management. The course examines the dynamics of the coastal zone, its physical workings and techniques to measure and monitor processes and change in the coastal environment; such as examining beach erosion and impacts of sea-level rise.

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Learning materials – Asynchronous online delivery of learning materials 1hr Week 1 13 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – Synchronous and scheduled face to face computer workshops 2hrs Week 2 8 times
Seminar – Synchronous and scheduled face to face seminars 1hr Week 1 3 times
Fieldwork – Synchronous face to face fieldwork 4hrs Week 4 3 times
Learning materials – Asynchronous online delivery of learning materials 1hr Week 1 13 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – Synchronous and scheduled online computer workshops 2hrs Week 2 8 times
Seminar – Synchronous and scheduled seminars 1hr Week 1 3 times
Fieldwork – Virtual Fieldwork (attendance at the physical fieldwork is encouraged if possible) 4hrs Week 4 3 times

Course Topics

Coastal processes

Coastal landforms

Coastal hazards 

Coastal management


What level is this course?

300 Level (Graduate)

Demonstrating coherence and breadth or depth of knowledge and skills. Independent application of knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts. Meeting professional requirements and AQF descriptors for the degree. May require pre-requisites where discipline specific introductory or developing knowledge or skills is necessary. Normally undertaken in the third or fourth full-time study year of an undergraduate program.

What is the unit value of this course?

12 units

How does this course contribute to my learning?

Course Learning Outcomes On successful completion of this course, you should be able to... Graduate Qualities Mapping Completing these tasks successfully will contribute to you becoming... Professional Standard Mapping * Australian Learning & Teaching Council
1 Demonstrate and apply fundamental concepts of coastal geomorphology to different historical, local and global contexts Knowledgeable
2 Use measuring methods and tools to collect data about coastal geomorphic processes Creative and critical thinker
3 Interpret and analyse data to determine interactions between coastal geomorphic processes, and human infrastructure. Sustainability-focussed
4 Propose and justify evidence based and sustainable strategies to mitigate human damage to natural systems and these processes Sustainability-focussed
4, 5
5 Search, select and analyse relevant academic information and communicate findings to different audiences. Engaged
5, 6

* Competencies by Professional Body

Australian Learning & Teaching Council
1 Knowing: Demonstrate a coherent geographical understanding of trends, processes and impacts that shape Australian and other environments and/or societies at different spatial and temporal scales.
3 Thinking: Apply geographical thought creatively, critically and appropriately to specific spaces, places and/or environments.
4 Thinking: Recognise, evaluate and synthesise various views, arguments and sources of knowledge pertinent to solving environmental and social problems.
5 Investigating and problem solving: Resolve geographical questions by ethical means, applying evidence-based knowledge and appropriate research techniques, including those associated with field work.
6 Communicating: Communicate geographical perspectives and knowledge effectively to specialist and non-specialist audiences using appropriately selected written, oral and visual means.

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

Refer to the UniSC Glossary of terms for definitions of “pre-requisites, co-requisites and anti-requisites”.


Not applicable


Not applicable


Not applicable

Specific assumed prior knowledge and skills (where applicable)

Geomorphology; GIS and remote sensing

How am I going to be assessed?

Grading Scale

Standard Grading (GRD)

High Distinction (HD), Distinction (DN), Credit (CR), Pass (PS), Fail (FL).

Details of early feedback on progress

In week 3 the topic and outline of your literature review (Task 2) will be assessed (formative). In week 7 the topic and a draft research plan of your field report (Task 3) will be assessed (formative).

Assessment tasks

Delivery mode Task No. Assessment Product Individual or Group Weighting % What is the duration / length? When should I submit? Where should I submit it?
All 1 Quiz/zes Individual 20%
200-300 words each
Throughout teaching period (refer to Format) Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 2 Essay Individual 30%
2000 (+- 200) words
Week 5 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 3a Artefact - Creative Group 20%
10 min per group
Week 12 In Class
All 3b Report Group 30%
2000 (+- 200) words
Week 12 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All - Assessment Task 1:Computer workshop activities
To develop your theoretical and practical skills with tools used in coastal geomorphology.
Product: Quiz/zes
During computer workshops you will be provided with reading material and exercises. At the end of the computer workshop you will complete the task and submit via Canvas.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Depth of understanding about presented skills/tools
1 3
Presentation and communication skills.
All - Assessment Task 2:Literature Review Essay
To identify and provide an overview of key concepts in coastal geomorphology.
Product: Essay
In Week 1 you will be given a list of key concepts in coastal geomorphology. You are to select one and focus on what has been written on the topic. The literature review should be of approximately 2000 words (+- 200 words) and based on appropriate scholarly sources. The structure of the report should follow a conventional scientific report template.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Demonstrate skills in problem definition and application of theoretical and practical knowledge of fundamental concepts and processes of coastal geomorphology to different local and global contexts.
Identification of appropriate literature (relevant, current, credible).
Critical analysis of gaps, strengths and weaknesses in current research.
Structure, clarity and style of the written assignment.
All - Assessment Task 3a:Video report
This task will develop your collaboration and analytic skills through group work that examines the ethical implications of different responses to a selected coastal issue
Product: Artefact - Creative
face-to-face presentations, zoom or pre-recorded
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Scope and depth of the ethical analysis and connection to coastal issues
Incorporation of evidence-based information
Contribution to team (peer review)
Clarity and effectiveness of communication
All - Assessment Task 3b:Field Activities Report
To present the methodology and results obtained from fieldwork, including the analysis and discussion of data/evidence collected and conclusions derived from the results
Product: Report
A concise project report based on data collected by each group. The report should be around 2,000 (+- 200) words and written in the style of a manuscript for publication in the peer-reviewed literature, including a reference list, as well as tables and illustrations, as needed.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Application of theoretical and practical knowledge.
Use of measuring methods and tools to collect data about coastal processes in the visited site/s.
Accurate interpretation and analysis of data to: 
 - describe the main coastal processes 
 - determine processes and impacts 
 - propose solutions and implications of the identified problem
Justification of evidence-based and sustainable strategies to manage future distributions
Communication in structured writing to inform audiences using supporting scholarly sources and data
Quality of presentation, grammar and spelling.

Directed study hours

A 12-unit course will have total of 150 learning hours which will include directed study hours (including online if required), self-directed learning and completion of assessable tasks. Student workload is calculated at 12.5 learning hours per one unit.

What resources do I need to undertake this course?

Please note: Course information, including specific information of recommended readings, learning activities, resources, weekly readings, etc. are available on the course Canvas site– Please log in as soon as possible.

Prescribed text(s) or course reader

Please note that you need to have regular access to the resource(s) listed below. Resources may be required or recommended.

Required? Author Year Title Edition Publisher
Recommended Gerhard Masselink,Michael G. Hughes,Jasper Knight 2014 Introduction to Coastal Processes and Geomorphology 2nd ed Taylor and Francis
Recommended Kamphuis, J. William 2019 Introduction to coastal engineering and management 3rd ed S.l. : World Scientific Pub.

Specific requirements

Students are required to have access to a PC-based computer. Please also note that this course has COMPULSORY computer workshops and fieldwork sessions at local beaches. Final dates/locations will be provided on Canvas. These details are subject to change. Contact the Course Coordinator for further information. You are required to complete the online field work induction quiz and a field work participation form. This is a University Legal Requirement. Clothing suitable for the environment visited on field trips and laboratory must be worn. Further specific details will be provided on Canvas.

How are risks managed in this course?

Risk assessments have been performed for all field activities and a low level of health and safety risk exists. Some risks concerns may include working in an unknown environment as well as slip and trip hazards. It is your responsibility to review course material, search online, discuss with lecturers and peers and understand the health and safety risks associated with your specific course of study and to familiarise yourself with the University’s general health and safety principles by reviewing the online induction training for students, and following the instructions of the University staff.

What administrative information is relevant to this course?

Assessment: Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the ethical standard of university participation.  It ensures that students graduate as a result of proving they are competent in their discipline.  This is integral in maintaining the value of academic qualifications. Each industry has expectations and standards of the skills and knowledge within that discipline and these are reflected in assessment.

Academic integrity means that you do not engage in any activity that is considered to be academic fraud; including plagiarism, collusion or outsourcing any part of any assessment item to any other person.  You are expected to be honest and ethical by completing all work yourself and indicating in your work which ideas and information were developed by you and which were taken from others. You cannot provide your assessment work to others. You are also expected to provide evidence of wide and critical reading, usually by using appropriate academic references.

In order to minimise incidents of academic fraud, this course may require that some of its assessment tasks, when submitted to Canvas, are electronically checked through Turnitin.  This software allows for text comparisons to be made between your submitted assessment item and all other work to which Turnitin has access.

Assessment: Additional Requirements

Your eligibility for supplementary assessment in a course is dependent of the following conditions applying:

The final mark is in the percentage range 47% to 49.4%
The course is graded using the Standard Grading scale
You have not failed an assessment task in the course due to academic misconduct

Assessment: Submission penalties

Late submission of assessment tasks may be penalised at the following maximum rate: 
- 5% (of the assessment task's identified value) per day for the first two days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- 10% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the third day - 20% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the fourth day and subsequent days up to and including seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- A result of zero is awarded for an assessment task submitted after seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. Weekdays and weekends are included in the calculation of days late. To request an extension you must contact your course coordinator to negotiate an outcome.


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Study help

For help with course-specific advice, for example what information to include in your assessment, you should first contact your tutor, then your course coordinator, if needed.

If you require additional assistance, the Learning Advisers are trained professionals who are ready to help you develop a wide range of academic skills. Visit the Learning Advisers web page for more information, or contact Student Central for further assistance: +61 7 5430 2890 or

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