• Class Number 3174
  • Term Code 3230
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 3 to 24 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Callum Shakespeare
    • Callum Shakespeare
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 21/02/2022
  • Class End Date 27/05/2022
  • Census Date 31/03/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 28/02/2022
SELT Survey Results

The structure and dynamic processes of the Earth are measured, quantified and understood by utilizing principles and methods from the physical sciences. Core areas of study include seismology, geodynamics, geodesy and geophysical fluid dynamics. A variety of course work from these fields is on offer, in addition to a supervised research project worth 50% of the final mark. The goal of Physics of the Earth Honours is to gain a solid grounding in quantitative analysis of physical processes based on both theory and observation. For example, plate tectonics, in which distinct pieces of the rigid outer shell of the Earth constantly move and interact due to internal heating, manifests in seismic (e.g. earthquakes), geodetic (e.g. GPS displacement) and geodynamic (e.g. crustal deformation) observation. Evidence from these fields of study have been central to gaining a better understanding of convection within the Earth's mantle, and how the continents have shifted and deformed over time. More specifically, coursework will cover seismic wave propagation, earthquake source mechanisms and seismic imaging; fundamental concepts in fluid dynamics and their application to the Earth (e.g. Buoyancy driven flow in the ocean); sea level change and variations in polar ice cap volumes from satellite data; the physical behaviour of minerals and rocks at pressures and temperatures encountered deep within the Earth; and theory and numerical methods for solving geophysical inverse and data inference problems.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. A solid understanding of one or more specialist fields in Earth Physics, including seismology, geodesy, geodynamics, rock physics or geophysical fluid dynamics.
  2. Demonstrated an ability to carry out high quality original research.
  3. The ability to critically evaluate technical reports and journal articles.
  4. The ability to write scientific reports at a standard suitable for publication in international refereed journals.
  5. Communicate research concepts and contexts clearly. 

Research-Led Teaching

Honours in Physics of the Earth offers qualified students a first taste of research. While publishable results are not expected, every Honours student will independently investigate advanced material and engage in the process of open-ended inquiry.

The CHM/COS College Honours Handbook and timelines can be downloaded from the College forms-policies-guidlines website.

Honours students will be enrolled in a dedicated Wattle page for EMSC researchers which contains relevant resources and support materials.

Recommended student system requirements 

ANU courses commonly use a number of online resources and activities including:

  • video material, similar to YouTube, for lectures and other instruction
  • two-way video conferencing for interactive learning
  • email and other messaging tools for communication
  • interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities
  • print and photo/scan for handwritten work
  • home-based assessment.

To fully participate in ANU learning, students need:

  • A computer or laptop. Mobile devices may work well but in some situations a computer/laptop may be more appropriate.
  • Webcam
  • Speakers and a microphone (e.g. headset)
  • Reliable, stable internet connection. Broadband recommended. If using a mobile network or wi-fi then check performance is adequate.
  • Suitable location with minimal interruptions and adequate privacy for classes and assessments.
  • Printing, and photo/scanning equipment

For more information please see https://www.anu.edu.au/students/systems/recommended-student-system-requirements

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Other Information

Extensions to thesis (and assignment) deadlines will only be granted for health reasons or for unforeseen circumstances (i.e. that arose due to factors beyond the student’s control). Extensions will not be granted for work reasons or due to circumstances that should have been anticipated by you, the student. Extensions to thesis deadlines require careful and complete documentation of the causes and demonstration that the circumstances were beyond the control of the student. Such applications should be discussed with the supervisor, and, following this, with the Honours Convener. The Convener must approve any extension of up to two weeks. Extension of time to submit beyond two weeks after the completion date will be subject to the approval of the Deputy Dean on the recommendation of the Honours convener. Note: No application for an extension will be considered unless the Milestone Completion Form is submitted by the required due date. The Milestone Completion Form has to be submitted by the Monday prior to the thesis submission date.

Adjustments to delivery in 2020

Course delivery and assessment in 2020 was adjusted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Any information below that replaces what was published in the Class Summary for Semester 1, 2020 was approved by the Associate Dean Education (as is required after 10% commencement of a course). Where an activity or assessment is not referenced below, it remains unchanged.

Teaching Activities

  • Meetings with supervisors were done online.


Adjustments were made to assignment due dates; for details see the course Wattle site.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Overview: The Physics of the Earth Honours Thesis course is taken as a variable unit course over two consecutive semesters. Students enrol in EMSC4008 (6/12/18 units) in their first semester of enrolment and EMSC4008 (12/18/24 units) in their second semester of enrolment. For every 6 units of enrolment, the expectation is that the student would work a minimum of 8-10 hours/week over the course of the semester. A student enrolling in full-time Honours for the first time in Semester 1 is expected to submit their thesis in Semester 2 of the same year. Students who are enrolled part-time or taking a reduced study load should consult the Honours convener for information about the due dates and unit distribution. The Honours year commences on Monday 21 Feb. Students are expected to begin discussions with their supervisor(s) and meet with the Honours Convener in advance of classes beginning on 21 Feb. This summary provides a general information for a student enrolling in this course for the first time as a full-time student. It is expected that full-time Honours students will enrol in this course twice over consecutive semesters (total minimum 24 units, maximum 36 units) along with other coursework courses that form part of the honours year to a total of 48 units in the full-year. Thesis (80%) Seminar/Oral Presentation (20%) Milestones - please see the 2022 Honours Timeline and Handbook for full details. Key dates on dedicated EMSC4005/4008 Wattle page.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Learning Outcomes
Research Thesis 80 % 27/10/2022 1,2,3,4,5
Final Research Seminar 20 % 03/11/2022 2,5

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines , which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Integrity Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Skills website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


To be discussed and confirmed with the supervisor.

There is no assessable participation requirement of this course. However, students are strongly encouraged to attend regular meetings with their supervisor.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 80 %
Due Date: 27/10/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Research Thesis

The major part of the project report will take the form of a research thesis, consisting of Abstract, introduction, materials and methods, results, discussion and references. The report will also include an additional evaluation section in which you will reflect on what you have learnt about doing research (Reflective component).

Detailed research project assessment criteria are available on the dedicated EMSC4008 Wattle page.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 03/11/2022
Learning Outcomes: 2,5

Final Research Seminar

The Final Seminar is worth 20% of the Research Project mark. The audience will comprise academic staff and students. Each student will give a talk of no more than 20 minutes that focuses on the results of their research project. The talk should be aimed at an audience with a basic understanding of Earth Science. Following the talk, the students will be required to respond to questions from the audience for up to 10 minutes. The talk will be assessed by at least two academics. The location and time of talks will be determined prior to submission of the thesis.


The talk will be assessed according to the following criteria:

·      Clarity of delivery.

·      Clarity and organisation of slides/visual aids.

·      Knowledge of the subject area (i.e. demonstrate that you are familiar with your field of research and know where your chosen topic fits within that area).

·      Balance and use of time (i.e. spend an appropriate amount of time on each section and complete the talk in 20 minutes or less).

·      Ability to show why your results are new and significant.

·      Ability to critically assess your findings (are the results robust; were there any weaknesses in the method; what future work is needed?).

·      Ability to respond to questions from the audience.

Detailed seminar assessment criteria are available on the dedicated EMSC4008 Wattle page.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

Returning Assignments

Students will be provided with written feedback on their theses after the final Honours marks are released.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Callum Shakespeare

Research Interests

Callum Shakespeare

Callum Shakespeare
612 58321

Research Interests

Callum Shakespeare

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions