Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Behaviour Change in a Changing Environment
Academic Year
Semester 2
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Individual Presentation  10 Minutes  25%
Semester Assessment Behaviour Change Report  3000 Words  75%
Supplementary Assessment Behaviour Change Report  3000 Words  75%
Supplementary Assessment Individual Presentation  10 Minutes  25%

Learning Outcomes

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

Describe the interdisciplinary principles of behaviour change.

Identify and evaluate the ethical and political implications of different approaches to behaviour change.

Critically assess the different ways in which behaviour change theories are informing environmental policies.

Demonstrate through their written essay, research presentations, and in-class discussions evidence of the development of transferable skills, including: critical analysis; effective communication; research design and problem identification; conducting empirical research; and interpretation, evaluation, and synthesis of a range of academic and empirical materials.

Brief description

Human behaviour is at the heart of many pressing social and environmental issues including crime, climate change, pandemic response, violent conflict, obesity, and debt. Transforming certain forms of behaviour, and reinforcing others, is central to building a more socially just and environmentally sustainable world. This module provides a critical introduction to interdisciplinary perspectives on behaviour change. Drawing on work in geography, psychology, economics, cognitive design, and sociology, it offers critical insights into the nature of behavioural problems and how they might be addressed. The module focuses in particular on environmental behaviours (related to energy use, plastic pollution, air pollution, diet, inter-species relations, and the perceptions of environmental risk). The module will consider how understandings of human behaviour shape environmental policies. Attention will also be drawn to the political and ethical challenges associated with changing behaviours.


Section 1. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Behaviour Change
This section will provide an overview of theories of human behaviour across the social sciences. Particular attention will be given to the different ways in which human behaviour is understood and the controversies that these different perspectives generate.

Section 2. Introducing Environmental Behaviour Change.
This section will introduce the particular challenges that are associated with changing environmental behaviours. This section will consider a series of unsustainable behaviours related to climate change, human-animal relations, and pollution.

Section 3. Environmental Behaviour Change in Policy and Practice
The final section will explore the application of behaviour change ideas within specific policy contexts. Particular attention will be given to the problems of translating the sciences of behaviour change into policies, and the what makes particular initiatives more successful than others.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Adaptability and resilience In choosing their own particular focus within the module report assignment, students will have to show adaptability to deal with the challenges that their chosen area of focus may create. In-class discussions and debates will also provide a supportive context to enhance personal adaptability and resilience.
Co-ordinating with others The seminars will include in-class group activities designed to help student understanding of assigned readings, which will provide opportunities for students to interact in a large group setting and discuss their thoughts with the class.
Creative Problem Solving The written assessment will require students to evaluate the applicability, advantages, limitations, and effectiveness of different techniques of behaviour change to contemporary problems of environmental change. It will also develop and demonstrate their critical thinking skills. In-seminar activities will periodically require students to complete small problem-solving exercises during seminars.
Critical and analytical thinking Seminar sessions will include small discussions on researching and writing for professional organisations. Students are expected to research and synthesize a range of academic source material in completing their assessed research essay and presentation. Through the research process, students will have the opportunity to plan and carry out research, discuss research methods, and prepare research presentations.
Digital capability The assessed essay and group presentation require students to undertake independent research using bibliographic search-engines and library catalogues. Writing essays and preparing and running PowerPoint presentations will enable students to practice their IT skills.
Professional communication The module will develop the students’ skills of written communication in writing their assessed essays. There will be short seminar discussions on writing for professional agencies throughout the term. Students will also be expected to contribute to group discussions in the seminars (although this will not be assessed). The presentation assignment will also support the development of professional oral communication skills.
Real world sense The module will help students to develop a range of transferable skills. Students interested in pursuing advanced degrees will benefit from the theory-based discussions that strengthen critical analysis skills. All students will develop group work skills (on the basis of in-seminar group tasks) that will be valuable for their future employment. The practical issues discussed will support students hoping to follow a career in environmental management and policy-making.
Reflection Throughout all of the taught and assessed components of the module, students will be given opportunities to reflect on the ideas that they have been introduced to. Through detailed recorded oral feedback on the assignments there will also be opportunities for students to reflect upon their own performance and relative strengths and weaknesses.
Subject Specific Skills The module will enable students to undertake geographical analyses of behaviour change policies and practices in a number of specific fields.


This module is at CQFW Level 7