Fluvial Geomorphology

Subject GEOG30004 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 27-Jul-2015 to 25-Oct-2015
Assessment Period End 20-Nov-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 07-Aug-2015
Census Date 31-Aug-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 25-Sep-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: one 2-hour lecture per week, three 3-hour practicals, two 1-day field trips and one 2-day field trip.
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours


Completion of 25 points of second/third year subjects from Geography, Environments, Environmental Engineering or Earth Sciences.


Completion of ONE of the following subjects:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:


Permission from the subject coordinator (ie for candidates with professional or other relevant experience).

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Completion of GEOG20002 Understanding Global Landforms; GEOG20009 Landscapes and Diversity or GEOG30022 Rivers: Hydrology and Ecology is recommended. Candidates with other relevant experience (including professional experience) will also be considered.

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability


Dr Philip Marren


Faculty of Science
Between the Doug McDonell building and the Eastern Resource Centre (ERC)

Phone: 13 MELB (13 6352)
Email: 13MELB@unimelb.edu.au

Subject co-ordinator: pmarren@unimelb.edu.au

Subject Overview:

Fluvial Geomorphology is the study of rivers as physical systems and their role in shaping the surface of the earth. Students who complete the subject will not only see the landscape with new eyes, but they will have knowledge and skills essential for anyone interested in the management of rivers for environmental purposes. We will emphasise a strong process-based approach based on sediment transport and deposition, coupled with examination of modern stream channel change in the light of climate and land use changes over the last two million years. The course will provide an understanding of how and why the variety of natural rivers comes about, including the unique streams of Australia.

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of the course, students will be expected to have developed an understanding of the processes of river management. Students will have developed the following:

  • an understanding of how river systems develop within catchments;
  • an understanding of how the form of a river is controlled by processes operating over a catchment;
  • an understanding of how hydrology and sediment transport combine to control erosion and deposition; and
  • an understanding of how changes in the supply of water and sediment due to climate change or human intervention leads to channel changes.
  • Two minor fieldtrip reports (1000 words each; 25% each, due mid semester).
  • A literature report of 750 words (15%, due late semester).
  • A major fieldtrip report of 1750 words (35%, due at end of semester).
Prescribed Texts:

Fluvial Forms and Processes: A New Perspective (D Knighton & G Wharton), Routledge 2014

Recommended Texts:

Stream Hydrology: an Introduction for Ecologists (ND Gordon et al), John Wiley & Sons, 2 nd Edition, 2004

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Upon successful completion of this subject, students will have acquired the following skills:

• spatial analysis (three-dimensional interpretation);
• management of complex natural systems;
• linking in theoretical terms; and
• competence in writing consultancies and journal entries.


Students enrolled in the BSc (both pre-2008 degree and new degrees), or a combined BSc course (except for the BA/BSc) may receive science credit on the completion of this subject.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Environmental Geographies, Politics and Cultures major
Environmental Geography
Environments Discipline subjects
Science-credited subjects - new generation B-SCI and B-ENG.
Selective subjects for B-BMED

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