Rivers, Floodplains, and Management

Michael Singer

University of St Andrews
University with graduate programs, including doctoral programs


Rivers and their floodplains are central to human populations and ecology, but must be carefully managed to maintain their benefits whilst minimizing risks associated with water supply, water quality, and flooding. This module provides an introduction to fluvial hydrology and geomorphology in the context of natural physical processes and their interaction with river management. It will focus on floods, sediment/contaminant transport, sedimentation, and floodplain evolution in contemporary settings. The module will incorporate several practical field trips in Scotland. In addition, it will highlight important case studies of river management from around the globe.

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Course Context:

This is an upper-division (honors module) course with prerequisites in physical geography. It will be attended by a diverse group of students including those seeking degrees in physical geography, geology, and sustainable development.

Course Goals:

An introduction to hydrology and fluvial geomorphology that enables a better understanding of physical processes in the hydrosphere

An understanding of the links between sediment sources, stores, and sinks in river basins

A basic knowledge of sediment transport

A working knowledge of river management

An understanding of important rivers of the world and their management challenges

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Ability to analyze and interpret hydrologic/sediment data

Laboratory skills, in particular those associated with analyzing sediment transport

Field skills, in particular those associated with analyzing fluvial systems

Awareness of local issues in flood management and floodplain development


continuous assessment: class presentations, in-class Socratic method, exit interview


Syllabus (Acrobat (PDF) 10kB May22 08)