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Last modified: 05 Aug 2021 13:04

Course Overview

The week-long residential course is based at the University’s Bettyhill field station in the far north of Scotland. The location is stunning and, for many students, a new experience of unfamiliar plant communities.
Most of the time is spent in the field visiting a wide range of habitats and learning how to identify the species found. The emphasis is on recognising key features of plant species and how to use plant guides to identify them: these transferrable skills can be used to help identify plants all round the world.


Please note that the information provided is subject to change due to the ongoing Covid-19 government guidelines

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 1
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr l page

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Either Programme Level 1 or Programme Level 2
  • One of BSc Biology or BSc Conservation Biology or BSc Plant and Soil Sciences or BSc Ecology

What other courses must be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

Course Aim
To become familiar with the flora of northern Scotland and acquire the skills needed to identify a range of plants
Learning Outcomes
• to become familiar with the key identifying characteristics of plants
• to be able to identify plants using a key (plant identification guide)
• to become familiar with the major vegetation types and the important components of the flora of the region
Course Content
Field visits every day will take students to a range of coastal, moorland, woodland and montane habitats. Students will use a range of plant identification guides to identify the plants they see. They will learn not just the different plant names, but what the key identification characteristic features are and how to use the guides. These identification skills, rather than the plant names, are the important transferrable skills that students will be able to use anywhere in the world in the future.
Students will be encouraged to consider how the habitats are shaped by environment and management practices and learn how plant adaptations suit them to particular habitats.
Field visits are complemented by sessions in the lab where students will use microscopes and additional guides to support their field identification.
On one day a group project allows students to focus on one of the more challenging plant groups including grasses, ferns and mosses.
Transferable skills:
• recognition and identification of some of the flora of northern Scotland (much of which is also found in other parts of the UK and continental Europe)
• ability to use a range of keys to identify plants
• ability to carry out vegetation surveys

Associated Costs

For transport, accommodation and all meals throughout the week GBP 180.00

In light of Covid-19 this information is indicative and may be subject to change.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

  • 5 Field Courses during University week43

More Information about Week Numbers

In light of Covid-19 and the move to blended learning delivery the assessment information advertised for second half-session courses may be subject to change. All updates for second-half session courses will be actioned in advance of the second half-session teaching starting. Please check back regularly for updates.

Summative Assessments

Participation in synchronous sessions (10%)
Student group work presentation (50%)
2x short field reports, 1 page each (2x20%)

Proposed resit for students taking the course in AY20/21

Resit of any failed element

Formative Assessment

Online identification test (formative)

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
FactualRememberILO’s for this course are available in the course guide.

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