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Introduction to Environmental Science


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 4
  • Convenor: Stefan Engels
  • Assessment: 300-word answers to five short questions (50%) and a 2500-word essay (50%)

Module description

This module provides an introduction to current global environmental issues, and deals with the workings of the physical environment as well as with the political, economic and social frameworks in which these issues occur. These are critical challenges in a century in which the world faces a number of man-made environmental disasters - ones which geographers are well placed to address.

The module introduces key principles and concepts from environmental science, physical geography and ecology. It will focus on major ongoing environmental issues including human-induced climate change, global biodiversity loss and disruptions to the nutrient cycles. We will discuss these within the framework of the Planetary Boundaries concept, discuss issues of sustainability, and will compile an overview of the key players ('stakeholders') in the debates that surround mitigation, adaptation and/or conservation. The second part of the module focuses more on human perspectives on the physical environment.

This geography module will provide you with a general background in environmental science, which you can later tailor to your interests through your selection of optional modules. It will familiarise you with the processes of critically examining scientific research to address environmental management issues. Activities as part of the course are undertaken to support you in the development of key skills such as group work, research, oral presentation and academic writing.