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Study information

Nature, Environment and Sustainability Field Course

Module titleNature, Environment and Sustainability Field Course
Module codeGEO2322C
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Rebecca Sandover (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

The Nature, Environment and Sustainability Field Course aims to enable you to develop knowledge and skills for critically researching a range of topics in the field of nature, environment and society, using South West England as a research setting. You will work in groups online to develop a research proposal on a relevant theme and to undertake online research to address a set of research questions you devise. Themes are likely to include (but are not limited to): urban mobilities and sustainable travel; urban natures: landscape, heritage and wellbeing; sustainable food networks and culture; community resilience and environmental change; sustainability and behavioural change; and sustainable tourism. These themes will be supported by resources, two days of field trips and online field experiences at regional locations, such as the Eden Project, and the City of Exeter. You will develop a set of research skills throughout the module and will be assessed through both group and individual assessments that outline and reflect upon the research design and analysis processes. 

Module aims - intentions of the module

This field course aims to provide experiential research training to enable you to explore the reciprocal relationships between nature, environment and society. This will be through both group-based and individual research using secondary sources and online methods. The modulewill enable youto work collaboratively online to:  


  • Develop a research proposal on a theme selected from a list provided by staff. 

  • Research in-depth a theme related to nature, environment and sustainability in South West England and to develop critically engaged knowledge about this theme. 

  • Acquireskills of research collaboration, negotiation, synthesis, presentation and reflection. 

  • Reflect critically on the process of developing, implementing, analysing, presenting and writing-up research. 

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Identify, formulate and evaluate research questions or problems with limited guidance.
  • 2. Describe selected methodologies and techniques used in collecting, analysing and presenting geographical information, and apply these with limited guidance.
  • 3. Discuss specific case studies and examples relevant to specific themes relating to the module.
  • 4. Describe and explain the results of and relate results to existing bodies of geographical knowledge.
  • 5. Collect, interpret, evaluate and combine different types of geographical evidence and information.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 6. Identify and apply a diverse range of approaches to the generation of knowledge and understanding in human geography.
  • 7. Apply geographical concepts in different situations.
  • 8. Discuss reciprocal relationships between physical and human environments.

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 9. Communicate ideas, principles and theories effectively and fluently by written and visual means.
  • 10. Undertake independent/self-directed study/learning (including time management) to achieve consistent, proficient and sustained attainment.
  • 11. Use technologies effectively and appropriately and with limited guidance to select, analyse and communicate information.
  • 12. Work as a participant and leader of a group and contribute effectively to the achievement of objectives.

Syllabus plan

The module will be based around nature, environment and sustainability, exploring reciprocal relationships between nature, environment and society. This will be undertaken through both staff-led workshops, two field trip daysandonline field experiences, as well as student-led group research. This will be based around the following indicative themes: 


  • Theme 1: Urban mobilities and sustainable travel. 

  • Theme 2: Urban natures: landscape, heritage and wellbeing. 

  • Theme 3: Sustainable  food networks andcultures. 

  • Theme 4: Community resilience andenvironmental change. 

  • Theme 5: Sustainability and behavioural change. 

  • Theme 6: Sustainable tourism. 

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 Teaching5On campus workshops
Scheduled Learning and Teaching6Exeter field trips
Scheduled Learning and Teaching16Online field experiences.
Scheduled Learning and Teaching4Group meetings with Academic Advisor
Guided Independent Study119Additional reading, research and preparation for the module assessments before and after the field course.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Academic Advisor feedback on group research proposal, research design and results via group meetings Feedback on research proposal progress report, preparatory documents and orally discussed ideas 1-3, 6-12 Oral via regular meetings

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
Group story map 502000 words1-12Written
Individual field course notebook 502000 words3-11Written

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Group story map1500-word project report1-12August reassessment period
Individual field course notebook1500-word Individual essay3-11August reassessment period

Re-assessment notes


These notes define what will happen in three re-assessment scenarios: 


If you are unable to engage with any of the field course module assessments for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will be re-assessed for field work skills via two new assessments to be submitted for the August deferral period: 


  • A 1500-word essay, related to key themes introduced in on campus workshops; 

  • A 1500-word project report, based upon desk-based research on a theme, site, or issue related to the field course locations. 


Both pieces of assessment will be devised in discussion with the module convenor. 


If you are unable to complete the individual fieldcourse notebook for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will be required to submit a 1500-word essay in the August deferral period. If you are deferred in the group story map, you will be required to submit an individual 1500-word project report in the August deferral period.  

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. 


If you fail the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%), you will be required to submit a 1500-word essay on key module themes and a 1500-word report based upon desk-based research on a theme, site, or issue related to the field course. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will count for 100% of the final mark and will be capped at 40%. 

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading: 


  • Banister, D. 2011. Cities, mobility, and climate change. .Journal of Transport Geography 19.6: 1538-1546. 

  • Banister, D.?2008.?The sustainable mobility paradigm.?Transport Policy15.2:?73-80. 

  • Becken, S. and?Hay, J.E.?2007.?Tourism and climate change: Risks and opportunities.?London: Channel View. 

  • Clifford, N., Cope, M., Gillespie, T., & French, S. (Eds.). (2016).?Key methods in geography. Sage, London.  

  • Cronon, W. 1996. The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature, in Cronon, W. Ed. Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature. New York, NY and London: W.W. Norton & Company.  

  • Nemeth, D. G., & Olivier, T. W. (2017).?Innovative approaches to individual and community resilience: from theory to practice. Academic Press, London.  

  • Phillips, R., & Johns, J. (2012).?Fieldwork for human geography. Sage, London.  

  • Sandover, R. (2021). Sustainable Foodscapes: Hyrid Food Networks Creating Food Change, in Boehm & Sullivan Eds. Negotiating Climate Change in Crisis. Open Book Publishers 

  • Spinney, J. 2009. Cycling the City: Movement, Meaning and Method. Geography Compass 3.2: 817-835. 

  • Wilson, G. (2012).?Community resilience and environmental transitions. Routledge. 


Web-based and electronic resources:  


  • ELE – 

Key words search

Environment, sustainability, fieldwork, nature

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date