Skip to main content

Study information

Geographies of Environment and Sustainability

Module titleGeographies of Environment and Sustainability
Module codeGEO1310
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Dr Catherine Butler (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

Through this module you will explore the geographical themes that are examined in relation to contemporary environmental issues. Taking an inter-disciplinary approach, the module introduces and investigates the ways in which geographers have come to understand the dynamics of environmental issues in terms of their physical, economic, social, cultural and political complexities. You will gain an understanding of geographical approaches to the study of environmental risk and sustainability applied across specific environmental challenges or dilemmas, including climate change, waste, and energy.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The module aims to:

  • Introduce a range of key geographical concepts and debates related to environmental sustainability and risk
  • Chart the development and practice of environmental sustainability as defined by geographical research
  • Use geographical concepts to analyse a range of contemporary environmental issues that are embedded in current research.

The module seeks to develop the following graduate attributes:

  • Writing and analysis skills through essay based assignments
  • Confidence in understanding and analysing contemporary environmental challenges

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Discuss and apply key geographical approaches to environmental risk and sustainability
  • 2. Outline the principles and concepts of environmental sustainability and interpret these in relation to its practical and political development
  • 3. Articulate the ways in which Geography and Geographers approach the interdisciplinary challenges posed environmental risk and sustainability

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Illustrate and discuss the contested and provisional nature of knowledge and understanding
  • 5. Illustrate the diversity of approaches to the generation of knowledge and understanding
  • 6. Outline the nature of change within natural systems and their relationship to human societies
  • 7. Give examples of reciprocal relationships between physical and human environments
  • 8. Explain the significance of spatial relationships as influences upon physical and human environments
  • 9. Understand and evaluate different geographical perspectives on environmental risk and sustainability, and their practical implications for policy and for the public

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 10. Communicate ideas, principles and theories effectively and fluently
  • 11. Develop a sustained and reasoned argument
  • 12. Identify, acquire, analyse and synthesise information from a range of sources
  • 13. Undertake independent/self-directed study/learning (including time management) to achieve consistent, proficient and sustained attainment

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content will vary from year to year, an indicative list of likely topics is provided below:

  • Introduction to the Geographies of Environment and Sustainability
  • Theme 1: Climate change
  • Theme 2: Energy
  • Theme 3: Conservation and biodiversity
  • Theme 4: Waste
  • Theme 5: Water

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching21Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching1Revision session
Guided Independent Study8Preparation for formative essay plans in class
Guided Independent Study128Reading for examination

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay plan500 wordsAllPeer-to-peer; in-class feedback from lecturer

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay501500 wordsAllWritten
Seen examination501 hourAllOral feedback from pastoral tutor

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssayAllAugust Ref/Def
Seen examinationSeen examinationAllAugust Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to redo the relevant assessment. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Baker, S. (2006) Sustainable Development (Routledge, London). (Also as an e-book).
  • Castree, N. Hulme, M. Proctor, J.D. (2018) Companion to Environmental Studies, (Routledge: London) (Also as an e-book) 
  • Connelly, J. and Smith, G. (2003) Politics and the Environment (Routledge, London). (Also as an e-book).
  • Taylor-Gooby and Zinn J (2006) Risk in Social Science (Oxford University Press, Oxford) Ch 2 and 5. (Also an e-book)
  • Roberts, J. (2004) Environmental Policy (Routledge, London). (Also as an e-book).

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Geography, environmental sustainability, environmental risk

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date