Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 16 Hours. 8 x 2 hours
Other 5 hours surgery sessions for essay review (5 x 2 hours)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 4000 word essay review  100%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmission  4000 word essay review  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:-

  1. Describe the geology of, and the physical processes operating in, the Arctic and Antarctic
  2. Explain the way in which physical processes affect the activities of human populations in the Arctic and Antarctic
  3. Discuss the ways in which polar politics impinge on economic development of polar regions
  4. Critically evaluate the ways in which global environmental change will influence the polar regions, and vice versa
  5. Assimilate and review scientific data, and critically evaluate it in a professional quality, fully referenced and illustrated report

Brief description

The module (i) provides a summary of the physical processes operating in both polar regions in order to understand the factors controlling these processes; (ii) examines the response of human populations to the polar environments, both historically and at the present day; (iii) evaluates the significance of polar regions in the context of global environmental change; and (iv) analyses the political framework under which scientific and commercial activity takes place.


  1. Introduction: information sources; Svalbard: portrait of an Arctic island.
  2. Geological evolution of the Arctic
  3. Antarctica and global change: an earth science perspective
  4. Unravelling Antarctica's glacial history
  5. Exploration of Antarctica
  6. Human environmental impact and management on Antarctica
  7. Science and the British Antarctic Survey; Earth Science research strategy and the International Polar Year
  8. Human environmental impact on the Arctic
The above lecture content is supplemented by self-study materials on blackboard, including more in-depth analyses of the geology and physical environment, climate, periglacial processes, history of exploration and scientific research.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Written: assignment to professional standards
Improving own Learning and Performance Independent reading of primary literature and Web
Information Technology Competency in critically using web sources; word processing; graphical representation
Personal Development and Career planning N/A
Problem solving N/A
Research skills Undertaken during independent reading and in the writing of the essay review
Subject Specific Skills N/A
Team work Some informal teamwork may be undertaken in lecture room connection with a polar quiz during session 1

Reading List

Recommended Text
Dowdeswell, J.A. & Hambrey, M.J. (2002) Islands of the Arctic Cambridge University Press Primo search Hanson, J.D. & Gordon, J.E. (1998) Antarctic Environments and Resources Longman, Harlow, Essex Primo search
Supplementary Text
Armstrong, T., Rogers, G. & Rowley, G. (1978) The Circumpolar North Methuen & Co., London Primo search Harris, C. & Stonehouse, B. (eds.) Antarctica and Global Climatic Change Belhaven Press, London Primo search Laws, R. (1989) Antarctica - The Last Frontier Boxtree Ltd., London Primo search Sugden, D. (1982) Arctic and Antarctic - a Modern Geographical Synthesis Blackwell (Oxford) Primo search Walton, D. W. H. (Ed.) (1987) Antarctic Science Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 5