Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1 (Taught over 2 semesters)
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 17 x 2 hour lectures (included two sessions for assessed presentations)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Semester 1: 2000 word written essay  30%
Semester Assessment Semester 2: 10 Minute Group Presentations  20%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Semester 2: Written examination  50%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmission of 2000 word essay  30%
Supplementary Assessment Submission of an annotated presentation, comprising of power-point slides and a written script of the presentation.  20%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Written examination  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

Identify, describe and critically assess contemporary debates in the field of environmental geography.

Critically interrogate a range of sources and texts of concern to the environmental geographer, ranging from academic texts to ecosystems and cultural images.

Demonstrate evidence of a depth of reading in environmental geography.

Articulate a written argument in essay form on the significance of academic research in particular areas of environmental geography.

Articulate in a presentation the significance of academic research in particular areas of environmental geography.

Demonstrate a critical appreciation of the different ways in which environmental geographers have communicated their ideas with broader, non-academic publics.

Demonstrate an critical awareness of the challenges that confront attempts to combine the research of human and physical geographers in the study of socio-environmental change

Brief description

This module introduces students to the field of environmental geography. In particular it seeks to illustrate the evolution of work in both human and physical geography that explores the connections between people and the environmental systems within which they exist. The module will start with a lecture which introduces the historical development of the sub-fields of environmental geography. Subsequent lectures will look at a number of key themes which are deployed in the work of environmental geographers concerning sustainability, climate change, environmental risk, socio-ecological resilience, environmental aesthetics, political ecology, and environmental history. The final lecture will provide a course summary, and it will examine how the work of environmental geographers has had an impact beyond academia, leading them to engage a diverse range of publics.


Lecture 1: Introducing Environmental Geography
Unit 1. Transformations in the Physical Environment
Lecture 2. Geology and Human exploitation of the Earth's Crust
Lecture 3. Meteorology: Climate Change and Atmospheric Pollution
Lecture 4. Hydrology: the Political Ecology of Water.
Lecture 5. Biogeography: Species distribution and expatiation
Lecture 6. Geomorphology: landscape level environmental change.

Unit 2: Environmental Policy-Making
Lecture 7. The origins and politics of sustainable development
Lecture 8. Changing Environmental Behaviours
Lecture 9. Spatial Planning and the Sustainability Society.
Lecture 10. Socio-Ecological Resilience and Climate Change.
Essay assignment deadline
Unit 3. Creative Human Environment Encounters
Lecture 11: Inspirational Landscapes.

Lecture 12: The Sublime Today: Help or Hindrance? Positioning Environmental Crises.

Group presentation week 1

Group presentation week 2

Lecture 13: Creative Responses to Environmental Change I: Art

Lecture 14: Creative Responses II: Performance

Lecture 15: Crossing Borders: Art/Science Collaborations in the Exploration of Environments

Semester 2 examination

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Not explicitly developed in this module.
Communication The module will develop the students' skills of written communication, both in writing their assessed essays and in completing their written examination. In addition, students will develop their oral communication skills, whether through group discussions and team-working, or in the delivery of the assessed group presentation.
Improving own Learning and Performance Student attendance and participation in the lectures, and their undertaking of an assessed essay, will help them to enhance a range of learning skills. The module requires students to undertake extensive self-directed study. Feedback on the group presentation and essay will enable students to reflect upon their own learning and performance, and to build upon (and improve upon) this performance in their semester two examination.
Information Technology The assessed essay requires students to undertake independent research using bibliographic search-engines and library catalogues. The module will enable students to enhance their research skills and practise their IT skills when writing the essay. In addition, students will be required to utilize IT packages such as power-point when preparing their assessed presentations.
Personal Development and Career planning The module will help students to develop a range of transferable skills. The course discusses themes which will be invaluable for students wishing to undertake postgraduate study in geography. The policy analysis sections of the module will also equip students hoping to following a career in environmental policy making.
Problem solving The module will develop students' problem-solving skills in a number of ways. Students will be required to analyse a range of sources and texts, and they will be required to complete small problem-solving exercises during the lectures and in the preparation of their assessed group presentation. Students will also have to address problems associated with research design when undertaking their assessed essay.
Research skills Students are expected to research and synthesize a range of academic source material in completing their written assignments, and in preparing for their written examination and group presentation.
Subject Specific Skills The module will enable students to develop and practice subject-specific skills which they have developed in year one and in concurrent year two modules such as 'Research skills in human geography'. Students will develop their analytical skills through their assessed essay and examination.
Team work The lectures may include class-based problem-solving exercises and discussions which will provide opportunities for students to develop team-working skills and discuss their thoughts with the class. In addition, students will be required to work in small groups to research, design and deliver their assessed presentations.

Reading List

Essential Reading
Adams, W. M. (2001) Green Development: Environment and Sustainability in the Third World. Routledge: London Primo search Holmberg, J. (1993) Facing the future: beyond the Earth Summit Earthscan: London Primo search Redclift, M (1987) Sustainable Development: Exploring the Contradictions Routledge: London Primo search Whitehead, M (2006) Spaces of Sustainability: Geographical perspectives on the Sustainable Society Routledge: London Primo search (1989) Our Common Future World Commission on the Environment and Development Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 5