EARTHSCI 399 : Capstone: Earth Sciences


2021 Semester Two (1215) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Conducting an Earth Science investigation involving a range of skills, as practised in research and industry careers. Students will undertake an independent research project involving field, desktop and/or laboratory work, and communicate the results in written and oral formats. Skills gained include ability to design a research project, collect and analyse qualitative and quantitative Earth Science data, and research communication.

Course Overview

Undertake a research investigation to solve a set of Earth Science problems that involve field, laboratory and literature study. Students will plan, conduct, and present a scientific investigation in the Earth Science discipline to a level that would be expected in academic or vocational settings, with an emphasis on observation, collection and analysis. The project will foster intellectual curiosity and showcase independent and group work to demonstrate both an understanding of Earth processes and products at different scales as well as consideration of cultural and environmental impact of the project, as relevant. Students will communicate effectively using appropriate language and present information clearly by recording observations, making interpretations, and presenting outcomes. 

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: 30 points at Stage III in Earth Sciences

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe and explain key Earth Science processes, and how they are interpreted in relation to local and global scale phenomena (Capability 1)
  2. Demonstrate practical and analytical research skills based on field and laboratory observations of Earth Science phenomena (Capability 2)
  3. Use the principles and methods of Earth Science to solve pure and applied problems (Capability 3)
  4. Communicate effectively using appropriate language and convey information clearly by recording field and laboratory observations, and by written and oral presentation of results and interpretations (Capability 4)
  5. Demonstrate intellectual curiosity and work autonomously and in groups (Capability 5)
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of cultural and environmental issues as they apply to the planning and execution of scientific investigations and their impact on society and resource utilisation (Capability 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Research Planning 20% Individual Coursework
Report 60% Individual Coursework
Summary 20% Group & Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6
Research Planning

Special Requirements


Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in. 

For this course, you can expect 10 hours of field work, a 30 hours of tutorials, 50 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 60 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including field/labs/tutorials to complete components of the course. 

Additional resources will be available online.   

The course will not include live online events such as group discussions/tutorials. 

The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable. 

Learning Resources

No recommended text. Literature resources are cited in the course and will be made available if required.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

Level 1: Delivered normally as specified in delivery mode
Level 2: You will not be required to attend in person. All teaching and assessment will have a remote option.
Level 3 / 4: All teaching activities and assessments are delivered remotely

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 07/06/2021 11:39 p.m.