You will undertake an extensive course of study, gain a wide range of skills and have the opportunity to cover many innovative and exciting modules that make Geography at Lancaster distinctive.
For example, you could launch your teaching career with our unique Communicating Geography programme. This programme is a distinctive feature of your degree course and gives you experience of working in a local school in order to develop your own project on a geographical topic. It will also help you to develop vital career skills. Alongside this you can take options such as Introduction to Eco-Innovation, where you work with academics and staff from companies based in our Environment Centre, or our Iceland field course on Glacier-Landscape Interactions.
During your second year you will study core modules covering skills and concepts in Geography and will also take a number of optional modules. Your third year includes the completion of an in-depth dissertation and six further modules chosen from a range of areas of Geography.
In the fourth and final year of your degree you will undertake a dissertation. You will also take four modules from the wide range of masters-level modules on offer by our Environment Centre including Geoinformatics, Environmental Justice and Climate Change and Society.
A Level AAA
Required Subjects A level Geography is recommended, or alternatively one of the following subjects: Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry, Classics, Economics, English Literature, Environmental Studies, Geology, History, Mathematics, Philosophy, Physics, Psychology, Religious Studies, Sociology, World Development.
GCSE Mathematics grade C or 4, English Language grade C or 4
IELTS 6.5 overall with at least 5.5 in each component. For other English language qualifications we accept, please see our English language requirements webpages.
International Baccalaureate 36 points overall with 16 points from the best 3 Higher Level subjects including Geography or alternative cognate subject at HL grade 6
BTEC Distinction, Distinction, Distinction in a related subject but may additionally require a supporting A level in Geography or alternative cognate subject at grade A. Please contact the Admissions Team for further advice.
We welcome applications from students with a range of alternative UK and international qualifications, including combinations of qualification. Further guidance on admission to the University, including other qualifications that we accept, frequently asked questions and information on applying, can be found on our general admissions webpages.
Lancaster University offers a range of programmes, some of which follow a structured study programme, and others which offer the chance for you to devise a more flexible programme to complement your main specialism. We divide academic study into two sections - Part 1 (Year 1) and Part 2 (Year 2, 3 and sometimes 4). For most programmes Part 1 requires you to study 120 credits spread over at least three modules which, depending upon your programme, will be drawn from one, two or three different academic subjects. A higher degree of specialisation then develops in subsequent years. For more information about our teaching methods at Lancaster please visit our Teaching and Learning section.
The following courses do not offer modules outside of the subject area due to the structured nature of the programmes: Architecture, Law, Physics, Engineering, Medicine, Sports and Exercise Science, Biochemistry, Biology, Biomedicine and Biomedical Science.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, and the University will make every reasonable effort to offer modules as advertised. In some cases changes may be necessary and may result in some combinations being unavailable, for example as a result of student feedback, timetabling, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes and new research.
This module provides an introduction to environmental processes and their impacts in a variety of different environments. We discuss the physical processes governing the Earth's global climate system and their influence on recent and future patterns of climate and environmental change. We investigate the Earth’s surface materials and the laws that govern the behaviour of fluids, and how these affect environmental flow and fluid transport processes. We also explore the processes which influence the development of soils and associated ecosystems at the land surface, including deposition and erosion processes.
This module provides an introduction to the skills used by geographers to analyse problems in both human and physical geography. The module begins by reviewing the principles of cartography and recent developments in the electronic delivery of map-based information through mobile devices and web-based services. This is followed by an introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) which provide facilities for the capture, storage, analysis and display of spatially-referenced information. Later in the module we introduce remote sensing and explain its relationship to GIS. We also consider quantitative and qualitative techniques of analysis (which are taught within the context of contemporary conceptual approaches), with emphasis placed on the study of both environmental and societal processes.
The global environment and human society are now threatened by unprecedented changes resulting from human activities such as intensive agriculture and fossil fuel combustion, as well as facing natural hazards like volcanic eruptions and climatic extremes. This module introduces you to the major contemporary environmental issues and the complexities associated with researching, explaining and managing the Earth's environment. It provides a broad foundation in the skills required to contribute to future understanding and management of global environmental challenges. You will gain a clearer understanding of the connections between social, environmental and biotic processes and explore possible solutions for key environmental issues.
Introducing you to contemporary human geography, this module focuses on the interactions between society and space, and between people and places at a variety of spatial scales and in different parts of the globe. We introduce the key processes driving geographical change affecting society, economies, the environment, and culture. We critically analyse relevant issues using theoretical models, with examples from across the world. The module encourages you to think critically, argue coherently, appraise published material, and relate real world issues to relevant theoretical frameworks.
Introducing the nature of biological diversity and the patterns of distribution of organisms on global, regional and ecosystem scales, students discover the underlying causes of the observed biodiversity patterns and the main current threat to biodiversity. The reasons why species become extinct is explored and then the reasons why species should be preserved. Students will be able to outline the criteria that can be used to identify species and areas of high conservation importance.
Fieldtrips take place on campus, where students will look at sampling techniques and biodiversity, and to sites of special conservation interest in the Arnside and Silverdale AONB. There will also be an excursion to Blackpool Zoo.
Billions of people are at risk from natural hazards, and the cost of natural disasters to the global economy is steadily increasing. This module examines the distribution of, and hazards associated with, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes and floods. The underlying geological and meteorological processes are described, along with the most commonly-used intensity scales and monitoring and forecasting methods. Students will then consider how human vulnerability to these hazards can be reduced, drawing upon risk mitigation case studies from around the world.
In the practicals, students will apply simple equations and measurements from a variety of maps and graphs to understand and quantify concepts such as scale, speed and intensity of hazardous phenomena. They will be taught to contour spatial data by hand, and interpret the deformation of a volcano in terms of magma chamber depth. Students will learn about disaster preparedness through playing a team-based game, and will consider a wide range of potential careers in which knowledge of natural hazards can be applied.
The coursework will develop students’ scientific writing skills and ability to integrate their own figures and interpretations with information derived from their background reading.
Economic Geography is a vibrant and dynamic subdiscipline that has been a key aspect of human geography for 120 years. This module allows students to understand the history and theoretical outlooks of economic geography, which underpin our everyday lives.
Students will focus on key topics such as austerity, the international trade system, and the geography of finance, developing their critical thinking skills throughout the module. They will learn key analytical skills to draw upon existing theoretical and empirical evidence and case studies, linking concepts and processes together in order to tackle real-world issues in economic geography.
Completion of this module will enable students to critique data, produce insight reports, apply social theory to real-world case studies, and evaluate the quality of current research. Students will understand how to critically analyse the global economy and produce resolutions tackle current issues in economic geography.
This module will provide specific knowledge on the historical, philosophical and conceptual bases of 21st century geographical enquiry, and the tensions, controversies and convergences that characterise it. It will cover conceptual issues relevant across geography - space, time, risk etc. - and link them to the methodological skills for data collection, analysis and interpretation that it will also cover. These are detailed in the syllabus provided, and cover a wide range of field, laboratory and secondary source techniques.
This module will provide a strong general understanding of the shape and nature of the discipline of geography, its various research communities and their inter-relationships. It will provide students with a panorama of conceptual and methodological approaches to geographical enquiry and of specific techniques for the collection, analysis and interpretation of data.
Students will be able to explain the current nature of the discipline of geography and the inter-relationships between its various parts and how they have evolved. In addition, students will gain the level of knowledge required to explain and utilise a variety of conceptual and methodological approaches to geographical enquiry, and select appropriate approaches to given situations. Students will also gain the amount of practical knowledge necessary to apply a variety of techniques for data collection and analysis to geographical enquiry, and use knowledge of their strengths and limitations to interpret their outcomes in a relevant and appropriate manner.
This module follows on from what you have learnt about conceptual approaches and methodological skills for geographical research, and allows you to practice their application in the context of a geographical research project. The module develops skills in project management and execution, and enhances understanding of the skills and concepts learnt, showing you how they work in a real situation of geographical enquiry.
Although you will undoubtedly have carried out geographical research projects prior to this, the module will raise the intellectual level of your project execution by ensuring that it is research literature-based and is framed by the higher level conceptual and methodological learning that you have gained from your studies so far. Thus, the module will give you experience that will be of direct benefit for your final year dissertation research. In addition, this module involves workshops on understanding how you can recognise and exploit the skills that you developing in the post-graduation careers market.
More data has been generated in the last 2 years than over whole history of humanity prior to this. Of this data, 80% has spatial content. This module is about understanding properties of spatial data, whether derived from the map, an archive or the field or from space. The module will explore how these data are represented in computer systems and how, through spatial integration, new forms of information may be derived. There will be a focus on major sources of spatial data (topographic, environmental, and socio-economic) and their properties, major forms of analyses based on spatial relationships, and on effective communication of spatial data through adherence to principles of map design.
Students will develop an understanding of what makes spatial data special; this will be taught through exposure to data from a variety of primary, secondary, contemporary and historic data across the breadth of the geographic discipline. The module will introduce common forms of spatial analysis and will provide an understanding of which to use under given the situations. Students will learn the principles of map design and effective cartographic communication, as well as gaining practical experience of critiquing digital outputs. Finally, the module will offer students significant 'hands-on' experience of using state-of-the-art GIS software to capture, integrate, analyse and present geographic information.
This module provides a deeper understanding of atmospheric physics and chemistry, and begins by laying the foundations with the physical properties of the atmosphere and how they affect the movement of air. A major objective is to bring familiarity with meteorological analyses and forecasts. The module covers topics varying from small scale flow in the atmospheric boundary layer affecting pollutant transport to global scale circulation of the atmosphere including important phenomena such as monsoons and El Niño.
Practical sessions and a field trip to the Hazelrigg meteorological station will enable students to gain familiarity with mid-latitude synoptic systems, cyclones and fronts. This is built on by giving students sufficient knowledge about the chemical composition of the Earth's atmosphere, of the fluxes of C, S and N to and from the atmosphere and of the main chemical processes that occur in the atmosphere to allow them to understand how the Earth's atmosphere 'works' chemically within the framework of physical process already covered.
Successful completion of this module will show evidence of students’ ability to describe the structure and behaviour of the atmosphere with reference to meteorological observations and pathways of atmospheric transport from analysis of meteorological charts, in addition to the range of skills required to draw schematic diagrams of the general tropospheric circulation, whilst identifying the major processes (and underlying forces) that drive this circulation. Students will gain knowledge of the methods necessary to calculate atmospheric quantities, such as potential temperature, and use the results of these calculations to describe the state of the atmosphere. Students will also be equipped with the level of understanding needed to list the components of the unpolluted troposphere, including the trace gases of chemical significance, and draw annotated schematic diagrams of the atmospheric cycles of carbon, nitrogen, and sulphur.
The module aims to introduce concepts, plus measurement and analytical techniques used by professional hydrologists to solve water-related problems in catchments (notably flood forecasting and water quality remediation). Through a series of lectures and workshops, students can expect to study topics including the processes, measurement and analysis of rainfall, evapotranspiration and water quality measurement and treatment.
The module aims to develop higher level scientific skills in measuring the natural environment, quantifying dynamic processes numerically and digesting scientific literature. Students will gain the skillset required to describe catchment hydrological processes in a quantitative manner, therefore utilising a developed understanding of fundamental hydrological processes, their field measurement ('hydrometry') and basic aspects of dynamic catchment modelling. Additionally, students will gain a range of transferrable academic skills, such as the ability to use data and basic models to derive solutions, and applying subject-specific literature to help understand theory and limitations of theory, measurements and models.
This ‘hands on’ module provides an exciting opportunity for you to put your geographical skills to work in a real-life classroom setting and to gain some valuable work experience. We organise for you to spend half a day per week in a local primary or secondary school for a whole term so that you can gain first-hand experience as a classroom assistant and learn how Geography (or a related discipline) is communicated in a school setting. Not only is this module a great choice for anyone considering a career in teaching, but it also provides an excellent opportunity to escape from the lecture theatre and learn in a real-world environment. You’ll come back from your experiences as a confident communicator who is well versed in the latest debates in Geography and Education.
Introducing cultural geography, this module addresses culture from a geographical perspective while, at the same time, studies space and the spatial from a cultural point of view. Students will explore the importance of variegated representations such as cultural materials, texts, art, landscapes, everyday objects, performances, and will discover how they interact and impact upon race, class, gender and sexuality. The module’s topics will include theories of power and nature, as well as teaching an appreciation of culture, nature, nation, cosmopolitanism, multiculturalism, community, colonialism and post-colonialism.
Students will develop skills such as the critical analysis of the concepts of landscape, place, space, scale and body. They should understand how to evaluate and apply this knowledge in a working environment, as well as gaining the ability to distinguish and criticise different theoretical traditions in cultural geography, and contemporary debates in cultural geography in relation to previous research traditions in the discipline. The module will provide relevant literature in geography and the social sciences and will ask students to apply it selectively to the methodologies at the core of specific assessments.
The relation between theories and practices of development will be explored in the module, as well as how these have changed over time. This evolution will be placed within the context of wider changes in global political economy. The ways in which development interventions have been contested on the ground while the concept of development has been subject to challenge intellectually will also be explored.
This module will explain the different approaches towards addressing development issues and the divergent understandings of the means and goals of development that these reflect. The way in which particular places can or cannot be placed into a geographical categories such as ‘developed countries’ or ‘Global South’ will be discussed.
Students will learn about some key challenges (e.g., poverty, inequality, environmental change) commonly defined as ‘development’ issues, and the ways in which ‘development’ initiatives seek to address these problems. They shall then critically evaluate the differential impacts (e.g., along gender lines, or rural vs. urban areas) these initiatives may have. Finally, they will build on their fieldwork experience by designing a field trip on a similar theme to a new location.
The provisioning of affordable, low carbon and secure energy is a central challenge for the UK Government. This module provides an overview of energy technologies and the energy system within the UK. Students will focus on each of the key energy technologies learning how to detail its importance, its forms and uses, how much is produced, and its cost and environmental impact. Relevant policies and its current role in the energy mix will be outlined while energy distribution networks, overall policy drivers and future energy mixes will also be explored.
This module will equip the students with an understanding of the economic, political, technological, resource and environmental factors that affect decision making, which while specific to energy are applicable to the provisioning of other resources. It will offer the opportunity to think broadly across UK energy provisions and options for the future. The students will also get the chance to build on their numerical skills and understanding of energy units. They will also critically evaluate the importance of competing factors and summarise a complex concept in an easy to interpret infographic format.
This module introduces students to some of the major issues and debates related to the environment-society relationship through a series of lectures and workshops. The lecture series will provide explanations and insights regarding key ideas, concepts and theories and also provide examples of their practical application. Students will be actively encouraged to think critically about environmentalism and environmental management and to consider the lessons and the implications of the subject matter covered in each lecture. Group work conducted in workshops will include an analysis of how a major environmental controversy is presented to the public.
Students will engage with important historical, contemporary and emerging themes within environmentalism and environmental management, and will develop a broad understanding of the history of environmentalism and the different ways in which environmental concerns and interests are expressed. The module will address how different management approaches and strategies can be used to deal with change, complexity, uncertainty and conflict, and will promote the relevance of environmentalism and environmental management in contemporary society.
Additionally, students will develop practical skills for secondary research using published and web resources. The module will reinforce students’ ability to think critically about the nature of environmentalism and environmental management, as well as the ability to express and defend these thoughts through the medium of essay and examination questions.
Evolution is the fundamental concept in biology and an understanding of its processes and effects are important for biologists in all disciplines. The module aims to show how the morphology and behaviour of animals and plants is adapted to their environment through interactions with their own and other species, including competitors, parasites, predators and prey, and relatives. Students will explore the concept of adaptation to natural and sexual selection pressures at the level of the individual and the effects on the wider population.
Students will gain the ability to describe the roles that variation, heritability and selection play in the evolutionary process, along with a developed understanding of how numerical changes in population occur, and enhanced knowledge of how to analyse such shifts in order to make predictions about future changes. This module will also reinforce students’ understanding of the application of theoretical models, the changing effects of costs and behaviours due to circumstance, and how conflicts of interest might influence the reproductive success of individuals.
Students taking this module will gain a range of transferable skills including: report writing, data analysis and presentation, team working, verbal presentation, summarising technical texts and design of scientific enquiries.
A record of Earth’s geological history – its metamorphic, igneous, sedimentary and tectonic processes, and its surface paleogeography and climate – can be extracted from the analysis and interpretation of its rocks, minerals and fossils. Expanding on an earlier module in geology, this module examines such processes and products (rocks), focusing on how to interpret the geological history from the rock record. This is a strongly practical-based course, designed to provide students with key geologic skills required to interpret the rock record. Students will develop skills in the identification of minerals in thin section, identification of rocks and fossils in hand specimen, geologic map interpretation, use of topographic and geologic maps and field note books, field sketches, compass clinometers and stratigraphic logging, in addition to a range of skills in synthesising data in order to produce overall interpretations.
Students will gain the necessary skills required to describe and classify rocks in a specimen, and identify minerals in thin section. Students will develop a working understanding of how rocks are dated, and will utilise stereonets to extract sedimentological and structural data. Additionally, students will be able to interpret geologic maps, including sedimentological and structural data, and will determine past sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic environments of formation and the processes by which deformation and exhumation occur, along with developing the ability to apply Earth science field techniques in order to unravel the geologic history of an area.
This field module takes you to the historical European city of Paris where we investigate the social, political and environmental impacts which are globalizing food. You will engage in a geographic inquiry into the temporal and spatial links between production and consumption and discover how food, culture and politics are interwoven into daily life and that of the dinner table.
The seven-day field excursion will include visits to urban food settings (e.g. meat, fruit and vegetable markets); industrial food production sites (e.g. cold chain storage, dairy/cheese processing), and ethnic food-stands. We will conduct qualitative research with different actors in selected sites. We will also visit a regional viticulturist outside Paris. In Paris we will meet and discuss labour issues with migrant workers and union associations for fruit and vegetable growers. Each day will start with a short lecture which outlines the day’s theme and learning objectives, led by host-country scholars and by our own academic staff.
Students will be required to cover all costs associated with this module.
This module explores the characteristics of landscapes with an emphasis on the biogeographical and geomorphological processes that underpin them. Delivered in two integrated ways, this module will provide substantive material that will be taught through two weekly lectures before applying and developing the knowledge at twice-weekly field trips.
Students undertaking this module will develop a detailed understanding of key concepts of biogeographical and geomorphological interactions in three related environments. Additionally, they will gain the ability to communicate their knowledge in the area whilst demonstrating a critical appreciation of the conceptual base.
Eco-innovation, being the development of new products, processes or services that support business growth with a positive environmental impact, is one of the key enabling instruments identified by the European Union for the transition to a more resource efficient economy. It is embedded in the Europe 2020 strategy for supporting sustainable growth. This module will provide several case studies which outline the way in which businesses have applied eco-innovation in practice Students will gain knowledge of the key approaches to, and models of, eco-innovation in a range of business and policy contexts in addition to a reinforced understanding of how innovative ideas can be turned into practical solutions for complex socio-environmental problems, and how different business models and financing approaches can be used to make the solution commercially viable and potentially profitable.
Students will gain knowledge of eco-innovation and understand how the concept relates to business opportunities for environmental goods and services. In addition, students will gain the knowledge and skillset required to analyse how both small businesses and large global organisations apply eco-innovation into their business planning, whilst
Evaluating business opportunities related to the environment in the context of products and services to address flooding or other complex problems. Students will learn how to create proposals for eco-innovation, and prepare presentations for a panel of experts, and will develop the necessary level of understanding required to analyse technical, financial, and environmental information from a wide range of sources in order to comprehend and evaluate strategies to address complex environment-society problems and challenges.
As a field course designed to complement other second year modules, this module provides hands on experience giving students the opportunity to apply a number of concepts and test the theories being addressed in those modules. This module will take the research approaches and techniques that are dealt with in a classroom and laboratory setting and will translate them into the field context, which therefore reinforces learning in the thematic areas of environmental subjects and the development of generic research skills, and, importantly, provides a coherent link between the two.
Students will develop the ability to demonstrate detailed insights into aspects of the physical, biological and anthropogenic characteristics of Mediterranean environments, and will gain an appreciation for the range of different approaches to solving environmental research problems. Additionally, the module will provide an enhanced understanding of the value of field observations in formulating research questions and hypotheses, and students will learn to combine key theoretical concepts together with generic research skills in order to design and implement a coherent scientific investigation.
Oceans are central to people’s cultures and identities, generate significant wealth, and are vital to securing food. However, the oceans, and the associated benefits, are increasingly under threat from human impacts. This module will examine the various relationships that people have developed with the marine environment, the threats facing these environments, and the policy narratives that have emerged.
Through a series of lectures that feed into seminars, students will learn about a range of topics that have informed ocean policy narratives. By digging deeper into the foundations of environmental thinking about the relationship between people and the sea, students will recognise the contribution oceans make to society and analyse contemporary grand challenges (e.g. climate change, food security, cultural integrity).
Students who demonstrate active engagement with the subject matter will develop a broad understanding of the diverse relationships people form with the sea. This would include an appreciation of the fact that the ocean provides a range of values and benefits to different people, and an insight into the threats and policies facing ocean ecosystems, fisheries, and coastal communities.
With this knowledge, students shall contrast two or more perspectives on ocean governance and coherently argue and defend the merits of a chosen perspective. To this end, they will present an articulate and coherent argument that synthesizes diverse sources of information in support for, or against, a particular narrative.
The contemporary world is full of intriguing political developments. Examples range from questions of national independence in the UK, through geopolitical concern with nuclear arms development, to humanitarian crises brought on by civil war. These political moments and their historical trajectories are united by an engagement with space and power; two themes that largely frame what might be called political geography. Against this background, this course examines the importance of politics to human geography and, indeed, geography to the study of politics. A range of classic ‘staples’ of political geography will be explored including engagements with geopolitics, nationalism and border studies. Additionally, we examine social movement activism and mobilisation, security and what it means to be a ‘superpower’. In all cases, theoretical grounding in these core themes will support empirical engagement with a range of case studies, both historical and contemporary.
Recent emphasis on global change and biodiversity has raised awareness of the importance of species and their interactions in determining how sustainable our lifestyle is. This module explores the factors that drive population and community dynamics, with a strong focus on multi-trophic interactions and terrestrial ecosystems.
Students will be introduced to population ecology and will discover the abiotic factors that regulate populations, life history strategies of populations, competitive interactions within populations, and meta-population dynamics, in addition to an understanding of how species interact both within and across trophic levels. The module exposes students to the belowground system and will look at how the species interactions and soil communities discussed impact on community structure and dynamics. The module aims to give students a fundamental understanding of ecology - such knowledge is essential for informing conservation and sustainable land-use practices, and efforts to mitigate climate change.
In order to complete this module, students will develop the ability to outline the primary factors that drive population dynamics, whilst critically discussing examples, and will reinforce their understanding of the implications of species interactions for community dynamics. Students will also gain a critical awareness of biotic responses and their contribution to climate change.
This module aims to provide students with broad understanding of the discipline of conservation biology. The module starts by defining biodiversity, discussing its distribution in space and time, and its value to humankind, before examining the key anthropogenic threats driving recent enhanced rates of biodiversity loss. The module then focuses on the challenges for conservation of biodiversity at several levels of the biological hierarchy: genes, species, communities and ecosystems, and the techniques used by conservationists at these levels. The final part of the module looks at the practice of conservation through discussion of prioritisation, reserve design and national and international conservation policy and regulation.
Students will develop a range of skills including the ability to discuss the principle threats to global biodiversity and the rationale for biodiversity conservation, in addition to application of a range of metrics to quantify biodiversity. Students will gain a critical understanding of the various approaches to conserving genetic, species and ecosystem diversity, as well as an enhanced knowledge of quantification of popularisation approaches to prioritisation of conservation goals, and how nature reserves can be designed to improve conservation potential.
This module aims to introduce and demonstrate the nature and properties of soils in an environmental context. It will provide an introduction to soil formation, soil description (including field work), chemical and physical properties, and biology, which will lead to the application of soil science to a variety of practical problems. This module gives exciting grounding in the nature and importance of soils in context with wider environmental issues. As well as detailed knowledge of fine scale soil processes, students will learn interdisciplinary thinking that helps them connect different and complex strands of knowledge from around the earth system.
Students will be able to describe the nature and roles of soils in the environment, and will gain the level of understanding required to describe the nature and role of soils in the environment. Successful students will be able to give a basic account of soil chemical and physical properties, as well as soil biology, and will develop the ability to discuss applied aspects of soils, specifically nutrient recycling and carbon storage.
The dissertation project is an individual and individually supervised extensive project ending in submission of a substantial dissertation report. Students will choose from a set of dissertation research areas or topics based on a LEC-wide list compiled by the module conveyor. There will be regular meetings with dissertation supervisor, and students will develop a specific dissertation topic, along with research questions, aims, objectives and methods. This will be followed by a period of background reading, discussion and planning, before their dissertation drafts are analysed, marked and a final draft of up to 10,000 is submitted in week 11 of the term.
Students must take active involvement in the module and make good use of interaction with the supervisor in order to deepen their subject specific knowledge and ability to work independently. Depending on the discipline, style and topic, students may focus on methods, field techniques, lab techniques, or a combination of computer and software tools.
You will have the option of taking either a Dissertation or a Dissertation with External Partner. However, please note that students taking a Study Abroad year must take the Dissertation option.
The placement dissertation provides you with experience of the workplace in a context that is relevant to your academic study. It enables you to take your academic knowledge and to experience at first hand how it can be applied in the workplace. You will also get to see how the requirements of a particular organisation influence the interpretation and implementation of academic knowledge. The placement thus provides a unique opportunity to study the ways in which the academic and commercial worlds intersect and to appreciate both the opportunities and constraints involved in applying geographical, environmental and biological knowledge in a real-world context. The experience will both enhance your academic knowledge and understanding and improve your employability in sectors relevant to your degree.
You will have the option of taking either a Dissertation or a Dissertation with External Partner. However, please note that students taking a Study Abroad year may not take this option, as the work placement element would clash with the year abroad.
With a focus on pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial history, this module provides a focus on the representations of Africa, such as how the ‘dark continent’ has been portrayed in different cultural settings by the media, art, NGOs, governments and public. These representations will be compared and contrasted with, on the one hand, our own perceptions of Africa and, on the other hand, how Africans see themselves. Students will discover African reactions to racial stereotyping during colonial and post-colonial times, and will be introduced to the work of Frantz Fanon, as well as exploring the challenges, constraints and opportunities of rural communities, such as how they manage their livelihood, welfare, development and survival in response to a changing socio-political, economic and ecological environment.
Students will learn to demonstrate a concise understanding of the topic through examinations and coursework, and will develop practical skills such as debating and group discussion, with the aim to critically engage with current perceptions of Africa in newspapers, film, television, visual art, literature amongst other media. Additionally, the module will address the different approaches towards the subject from a Euro-American versus African perspective and will equip students with the ability to develop a detailed understanding of post-colonial theory as a critical lens to study contemporary challenges in Africa.
All cities are shaped by the flows and forces that connect them to other places. Whilst these connections enable cities to become vibrant and creative, this module will focus on a number of challenges that might arise from globalisation.
Students undertaking this module will develop spatial thinking whilst exploring a range of features including urban networks and politics, such as poverty, global change and security. The module will explore the cities’ resulting transformations through a combination of readings, lectures, group activities and fieldwork. The module will also present students an opportunity to compare the experiences of cities in different parts of the world.
This module explores climate change in the context of it being a ‘wicked problem’. The aim is to provoke students to look beyond the simple narratives pushed at us about climate change and to start to think critically as wicked problems require us to do. In doing so, students are invariably forced to abandon often naive assumptions about what can and can't be done to tackle climate related risks. Despite understanding climate change from the perspective of wicked, problems often lead to a sense of powerlessness.
This module employs debate and discussion as its primary learning devices. As a result, students will be expected to actively participate in debate, holding and developing their line of argument both in small groups and in class wide discussions and debates. The module also employs a group structure and activities to engender team working skills. Practical decision making is a theme running through the module supported by approximate quantitative analysis.
By the end of this module, students will recognise the role of societal and climate dynamics in climate change management, and will gain the necessary knowledge required to comprehend the basis of sustainable development arguments in the context of climate change management to be able to perform simple, yet meaningful evaluation of a range of climate related options. Further skills which can be gained from this module include the ability to distinguish the relative positions of adaptation, mitigation and geoengineering and to be able to argue between various options within each.
This module will address the major challenges facing tropical forest regions, such as deforestation, biodiversity loss and rural poverty. Students will spend eight days participating in field work in Brazil, where they will study topics in conservation and ecology, along with development. Whilst studying in the Jari region of the north-eastern Brazilian Amazon, students will engage with a range of research approaches necessary to address conservation and socio-economic issues, including biodiversity monitoring.
Students will be required to conduct social surveys in rural communities, and the module will address a range of literature from conservation science, tropical ecology, agricultural economics and sustainable development. They will analyse evidence based on ecological and well-being indicators, and will develop research ideas for monitoring social and ecological systems in tropical forest regions, making informed viewpoints from the point of view of diverse actors.
Additionally, the module will offer students an opportunity to develop critical arguments based on evidence from natural and social sciences. They will gain the ability to write effectively using a diverse evidence base, and will be able to critically evaluate international and national policies.
Coral reefs are one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on Earth and have inspired the development of some of the most far-reaching theories in ecology. These ecosystems are distributed throughout the tropics and often dominate the shallow seas. They are also important for many millions of people worldwide yet are under increasing threat from climate change and more direct anthropogenic disturbance.
This module aims to provide a solid grounding in coral reef biology, ecology and evolution, with a focus on corals and reef fishes, building on broad ecological principles laid down in previous years. Students will apply this understanding to evaluate threats and their potential solutions, developing an appreciation of the precarious nature of the most complex habitat in the oceans.
Specifically, the students will explore how and where coral reefs have emerged through time and adapted to life in the oceans, the delicate balance of interactions that allow their enormous variety of species to coexist, and emerging threats and solutions to their continued existence.
This interdisciplinary module draws on perspectives from Geography, Conservation Science, Archaeology and more to explore the past, present and future of Amazonia. You will cover a broad range of topics, including debates around the question of whether the Amazon is a pristine forest or a cultural artefact; deforestation and agricultural transitions; conservation and extractive reserves; mega-dams and environmental justice; rural-urban migration and future resilience of Amazonian socio-ecological systems. By the end you will have learnt to see the world’s largest rainforest and its people through a variety of lenses, and that almost everything you thought previously about the Amazon was wrong!
Students will learn both the principles on which remote sensing systems operate, and how useful environmental information can be derived from remotely sensed data. From this, students will be able to compare the information provided by remote sensing sensors from several areas of research such as ecology, biology, geography, geology, marine and atmosphere science.
They will also develop image processing skills and learn how remote sensing data can be used to extend our understanding of ecosystems and global environmental changes.
The aims of this module are fulfilled by initially examining the physical basis of remote sensing in terms of the characteristics of electromagnetic radiation and its interactions with the Earth's atmosphere and biosphere. This physical basis is also examined in terms of how the sensors and satellites operate in a modern earth system observatory. The techniques used to analyse and interpret images will then be used to understand local, regional and global environmental changes.
This is followed by an investigation of the environmental applications of remote sensing. Here, satellite images from NASA, ESA and several international space agencies are used to illustrate the increasing importance of remotely-sensed data for environmental and climate applications.
Laboratory practicals allow students to study the physical principles of remote sensing, and computer practicals are used to demonstrate image analysis techniques using ENVI Imagine: a state-of-the-art software package.
Food and Agriculture in the 21st century explores the social, political and environmental challenges facing food systems in the world today. This includes the history, culture and development of contemporary food systems. The focus is on the industries’ interactions with plants, animals and the landscape, and the resultant debates regarding food security and food sovereignty. Through the exploration of case studies from across the globe, students will consider the connections between changing diets, landscapes and agrarian reform. They will also develop innovative and alternative solutions for the future.
The module encourages the development of skills in debate and analysis by drawing on environmental history, human geography, anthropology, sociology, historical and political ecology and cultural studies.
Students will ultimately be able to describe the social, ethical, economic and environmental challenges facing food systems and understand the connections between production and consumption and how these have shaped the contemporary food systems.
This module covers both the principles of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and GIScience, and provides practical experience in the use of GIS using ArcGIS, a leading windows-based package. Students will engage with a number of theoretical issues, such as the problems of representing real world phenomena in GIS databases, and will consider emerging trends within the discipline such as WebGIS and the Open Source GIS movement. Lectures also explore the use of GI in government, commercial and academic sectors and related employment opportunities, and are complimented by a series of practical sessions in ArcGIS. Initial exercises are concerned with creating, manipulating and querying spatial data using the core functionality of the software, and subsequent exercises demonstrate more sophisticated forms of spatial analysis using a range of extension products including Spatial Analyst, Network Analyst and ArcScene.
Over the duration of the module, students are required to source their own data, conduct appropriate analyses and produce a project report. This combination of concepts, theories and practical experience provides students with the requisite skills to enter the graduate workplace, and they will learn how to explain how data may be modelled, captured, stored, manipulated and retrieved from within GIS. Additionally, the module will enhance students’ abilities in a range of areas, such as the design and implementation of a spatial database and appropriate forms of analysis, knowledge of the latest developments and emerging issues and trends in GIS and GISc.
This module takes a broad look at geological hazards, covering contemporary events, to those that have shaped the Earth over geological time. Specific hazards are addressed, including earthquakes and tsunamis, terrestrial and sub-marine landslides at a variety of differing scales, landslide triggering and principles of run-out, volcanic hazards (eruption styles, plumes and pyroclastic flows) and extreme events which civilisation has yet to witness.
The module explores in depth the fundamental processes involved, and to what extent events can be predicted. Case histories of national and international disasters will be used to illustrate these hazards, with the inherent risks and potential mitigation measures discussed. The module develops a sense of human-place in the geological world, promoting an understanding of how the geological world impacts human society, and what can be done to limit that impact.
Students will be able to describe and explain the processes responsible for the occurrence, recurrence and magnitude of geological hazards, and will gain the knowledge needed to evaluate hazard prediction methods. Additionally, students will gain a critical understanding of risk mitigation strategies, with reference to examples from around the world, and will gain the practical knowledge required to apply simple principles of analysis of slope failure using a variety of natural hazard situations. Students will also be able to demonstrate how simple probabilistic models may be applied to forecasting earthquakes, and discuss the uncertainties inherent in these techniques.
This module will give you an insight into the physical dynamics and ecological interactions within glacial systems. We begin with the concept of mass and surface energy balance, determining when and where snow and ice melt may occur. This determines how water flows through a glacier and introduces the concept of hydrological regime. We then study the implications that this has for glacial dynamics and the legacy of past glacial systems in the environment. Where ice sheets and glaciers overlie active volcanic systems there is currently very little understanding of how the two forces interact - does volcanic activity control glacier behaviour or is it the other way round? We introduce the concept of studying glaciers as ecosystems, rather than just physical systems in the landscape, and discuss recent advances in glacier hydrochemistry in the context of climatic change.
Students taking this module will reinforce a number of field skills, including field observation and recording. The module provides first-hand experience of glacial process and their impacts on and interactions with the dynamic tectonic landscape of Iceland. The module’s range of topics will include the ways in which glaciers interact with the surrounding landscape. This will involve observation, recording and understanding of geomorphological features and ice-volcanic interactions. Much of the learning will be of a practical nature, involving development of field observation and recording skills, mapping of geomorphological features in the landscape, logging of snowpack properties, observation and recording of glacial sedimentary features and properties.
The module provides a range of transferrable skills such as the ability to collect field data, and process and interpret the results. Students will effectively deploy practical, quantitative, communication and team work skills, and will learn to demonstrate an appreciation for the subject of glaciology and an enthusiasm for the study of physical geography based on first-hand experience of observing glacier landscape interactions within the field environment. Additionally, students will develop an appreciation for the fundamental principles of glaciology and understand how glaciers fit into the broader study of the physical environment, as well as gaining the ability to demonstrate an appreciation for the enquiry-based approach to learning in the field environment and understand how this can be used across disciplines and in the development of dissertation research questions.
The module will require students to make accurate recordings of field observations and data, integrate these with available published information, and present data and interpretations to their peer group and lecturers; whilst doing so, they will demonstrate independent, critical thinking, fostered through an approach of problem based learning. Among other knowledge, the module will provide an understanding of how glaciers operate and interact with the surrounding landscape, as well as the influence of volcanic activity on glacier dynamics.
The aim of this module is to introduce the concept of the Earth system and how the different components interact with each other to shape the Earth's climate and control how the climate might change. The module begins with underlying concepts that shape the Earth's, before considering natural and human drivers of climate change, including volcanoes, solar output, greenhouse gases and land use change. In addition, it will also introduce the computer models and global observation networks that scientists use to understand the Earth system as well as the IPCC process.
This module provides students with an introduction to the physical processes which influence global climate change, leading to a better understanding of Earth system science and give them a clear understanding of the Earth system and the human impacts on it, and how scientists investigate this area with Earth system model.
Students will gain the level of experience and knowledge necessary to demonstrate subject specific skills, such as how to calculate a global 2-compartment radiative budget, along with an understanding of the major parts of the Earth system and how they interact. Students will develop the communication skills required to describe what an Earth system model is, and will be able to explain pollutant sources and sinks.
This module will examine how biological understanding can contribute to “global change solutions” in respect to a number of key issues, including food production, biofuels and the continuing protection of the ozone layer. However, it will also place that biological understanding in its wider context, not least by considering how the same fundamental information on specific biological approaches can lead to diametrically opposed positions on the utility and desirability of actually using the biology (e.g. the debate around GM crops).
Students will examine how different interpretations of biological technology relate to the underlying biology, and will additionally benefit from a workshop that will consider the needs of “science communication” beyond the scientific community. The module will not only provide a detailed understanding of a range of “global change solutions”, it will also consider how biology is used (and abused?) in assessing climate change and the possible responses and solutions.
Successful students will be able to describe the biology of a range of examples of both responses to global change, and possible biology-based solutions to ameliorate those responses, and recognise the wider context of the underlying biology of global change effects and/or solutions, for example in policy or the practical deployment of new technologies. Students will develop their critical skills, enabling them to evaluate the biological evidence in relation to global change effects and solutions, and assess how such evidence is used to support sometimes diametrically opposed views specific issues. This module will enhance students’ ability to write effective, concise, accurate summaries of complex biological topics in styles appropriate for different audiences, e.g. the scientific community, policy makers or the general public.
This course is about understanding the sustainability challenges, issues and debates in moving towards a responsible form of global consumption. Through theoretical and practical learning based on both geographic and broader social science literature, we will analyse existing and prospective value chains in a critical fashion. We analyse contemporary debates over the possibilities for consumption to be sustainable. How do companies, government, producers and consumers negotiate consumption’s relationship with the environment, economic growth, justice and labour rights?
Topics investigated in more detail include Fair Trade, commodity chain analysis, the commodification of nature, and corporate social responsibility. In-class debates and learning will draw upon key theories and use a range of case studies and empirical material drawn from ‘real world’ examples and initiatives. These will be supplemented by a fieldtrip to Garstang (the world’s first ‘Fair Trade Town’) in order to see how ethical consumption can permeate across geographical scales and spaces.
This course is based at the Slapton Ley Field Studies Centre, South Devon in the summer and centres on a study of the hydrological processes governing nitrate eutrophication of Slapton Ley, a coastal freshwater lake of ecological significance. The course offers a unique opportunity to examine an actual environmental problem - eutrophication - through the integration of field measurements and laboratory analysis. Field measurements, in small groups, will combine qualitative observations with borehole hydraulic testing and some geophysics. Laboratory analysis will include contaminant breakthrough experiments, soil physical properties, nitrate chemistry and topography-based simulation modelling. Your understanding of the nitrate remediation measures will be reinforced through a field visit on 'Catchment Sensitive Farming' led by Natural England staff.
This module introduces the underpinning aspects of geophysical and remote sensing techniques used to investigate the Earth's surface and near surface. The techniques covered are illustrated by case studies demonstrating their advantages and limitations, for example, for the investigation of contaminated sites and sites suitable for exploitation (e.g. for minerals or for hydrothermal energy) and for monitoring hazardous regions such as volcanoes. The module delivers a synoptic view of active and passive techniques, seismic, gravity, magnetic, radar and electrical methods for sub-surface characterisation and GPS, radar and laser techniques for surface measurements. The techniques are linked through developing an understanding of measurements in terms of both spatial and temporal coverage and resolution.
Students will develop a range of skills necessary to describe the range of applications of geophysical measurements, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different geophysical and remote sensing techniques. Students will gain the practical experience required to assess appropriate measurement strategies for specific environmental problems and identify sources of geophysical measurement error. Additionally, students will be able to relate different geophysical measurements in terms of spatial and temporal coverage and resolution.
In this module, students will be shown how, through manipulation of species, communities and ecosystems, habitats can be managed in a sustainable way that preserves and enhances their aesthetic, scientific, recreational, and often utilitarian, value. The creation of new habitats will be considered, as well as management of existing areas of conservation interest. The module is largely taught by external lecturers who are directly involved in the application of ecological principles to practical problems.
Students will develop the level of ability required to describe the nature of selected habitat types, as well as explaining a series of underlying ecological processes which necessitate management. Students will also be able to identify the techniques used for conservation management specific to a range of habitat types, in addition to reinforcing a range of transferrable skills, such as the ability to present scientific data clearly and concisely, in both written and oral format. Students will learn to work autonomously as well as being involved in group work.
Join a discussion and debate where you are encouraged to critically examine primary literature and ideas on topical issues in conservation biology in the UK and globally. Gain an understanding of the key factors that constrain conservation and of the interdisciplinary nature of conservation problems in the real world.
This module covers primarily the physical processes and phenomena that govern the nature of lakes, rivers and estuaries. It also covers the biological and chemical processes that operate within the framework of their physical structure and investigates how the physical, chemical and biological aspects of lakes, rivers and estuaries influence and relate to each other.
Students shall become well versed in the following areas: the nature and functioning of aquatic environments, the ways in which physical, chemical and biological processes and phenomena interact in the environment, and ways in which fundamental scientific concepts play out in the environment.
From this, they will be able to determine the water quality and ecological health of these areas. Students will also acquire the skill of interpreting data sets generated by instrumentation that are widely deployed for monitoring and management purposes in lakes, rivers and estuaries.
They will also learn how curiosity-driven scientific understanding can be applied in the exploitation, management and conservation of aquatic environments.
This short-term field course offers students an opportunity to experience and engage, actively and critically, with the geography of New York city. Students will learn to apply theoretical ideas and knowledge learnt from previous modules in the context of New York, whilst reinforcing their awareness of cultural, political and social issues. The module will also equip students with the knowledge required to provide reflections based on first-hand experience of the complex fabric of life in New York, explaining this in terms of the writings of other academics.
Initially, students will attend a series of meetings, designed to set the context and expectations of the field course, whilst exploring key themes such as identity, inequality and difference. The meetings will also provide an opportunity to arrange project groups, and to discuss existing geographical literature on New York city.
Once preparation is complete, students will spend six nights in New York, where they may participate in activities such as visiting activist groups in different parts of the city, as well as exploring the ‘Ground Zero' site to reflect on local and global consequences and debates. Additionally, students will undertake self-planned group-based research work, and observational work of New York as a city of consumption. Activities are subject to change over time, but recent visits have provided opportunities to see Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty and the Tenement Museum, which has educated students about the history of migration and populating of the city, and shifting patterns of community identity. Trips may also feature 'Highline' linear park and the Lower East Side community gardens to examine forms of nature in the city, and subway transects will lead students through New York's different districts, in order to produce commentary of identity of areas and changes between them.
Modern resource-intensive agriculture has proved incredibly successful in delivering relatively abundant, cheap food (at least in the developed world), but sometimes at considerable environmental cost. Therefore the general public is usually keen to embrace "sustainable agriculture" but is generally unaware of the economic and food production costs of proposed changes in crop management. By emphasising the concept of crop resource use efficiency, this module focuses on the viability of less intensive agricultural systems.
Students will critically examine primary literature on topical issues concerning the sustainability of different agricultural systems. They will gain an understanding of the key factors constraining food production, and the environmental and food production consequences of different crop production systems.
In addition to gaining the ability to identify key issues affecting the sustainability of agriculture, students will critically appraise the literature on these issues, and will develop the skillset required to recognise the economic and societal problems constraining the adoption of more environmentally sustainable agriculture. Ultimately, students will gain the ability to discuss alternative scenarios and solutions for key environmental problems associated with agriculture and document said issues in a cogent and critical manner.
In this module, students will learn the mechanisms by which radiation damages the body and the systems by which we measure and control exposure to radiation. The sources of naturally occurring radioactivity and radioactive contaminants and their behaviour in the environment will be studied in order to better understand how people can become exposed. Students will become better equipped to understand and evaluate the risk to human populations of nuclear accidents.
Through the study of specific radiation-related case studies, students will develop an understanding of risk in a wider context, being able to contribute more thoughtfully to nuclear-related debates in society. They will practice and develop their numerical skills through the determination of radioactive decay, learning to manipulate and solve basic radioactive decay law equation in the process.
Laboratory classes will be used to demonstrate concepts addressed in lectures, and students will be encouraged to put the data generated into the wider context. For example, students will practise dose assessments, and linking those back to the processes that control the fate and distribution of radionuclides in the environment, hence developing skills in synthesis and evaluation.
This module builds on students’ current knowledge to develop a deeper understanding of the Earth's internal structure and dynamics, and interactions between surface and deep processes. Evidence from a variety of geophysical techniques is evaluated, including the rapidly developing field of seismic tomography, which produces fuzzy images of thermal and compositional anomalies such as mantle plumes and subducted lithospheric plates. Students will read a variety of journal articles as a basis for discussion of current theories and controversies about how the Earth works.
By completing this module, students will demonstrate a good understanding of the principles behind, and applications of, a variety of geophysical techniques in addition to an enhanced ability to compare, contrast and synthesise different types of evidence about how the Earth works. Students will also gain the necessary level of knowledge to be able to discuss and distinguish current theories and debates, such as the mantle plume controversy, and will learn to apply stereonets to determine earthquake focal mechanisms.
As the world becomes increasingly urbanised, so too does the power of urban infrastructure to shape the dynamics of cities and the experience of everyday life. Urban infrastructure is key to sustaining much that we take for granted, for example travel, food, water, energy, communications, and waste. It follows that changes to the way infrastructure is managed will impact both the city as a whole and the experience of everyday urban life. This module examines ways of understanding urban infrastructure as a ‘socio-technical assemblage’, a term that will become more familiar throughout the module. Using case studies from around the world you will engage with the changing pressures on infrastructure and the challenges of building resilient futures. You will learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, a workshop and field course activities.
This module expects students to apply a range of skills already developed in previous modules Geology, Natural Hazards, Geoscience in Practice and Geological Hazards. It allows students to improve their theoretical and practical knowledge of volcanic processes by studying the evolution of a basaltic volcano. Students will explore a wide range of the complex physical volcanic processes that take place both on the surface and beneath volcanoes, including lava flow emplacement, intrusive and explosive events. This problem-based learning module covers two levels of problems: the higher-level problem (e.g. understanding the plumbing system of a complex volcano or the role of ‘volcano spreading’ or slope instability in the evolution of volcanoes) will occupy the entire module. Lower level problems will be solved at a number of key localities where students will be expected to unravel the processes involved.
On completion of this module, students will express the ability to systematically observe and interpret field evidence for emplacement processes of volcanic rocks, along with gaining the knowledge required to describe the intrusive, effusive and explosive processes that take place during volcanic eruptions. Students will also demonstrate the ability to recognise the role of regional tectonics, gravitational deformation of the volcano and major slope instabilities on the evolution of basaltic volcanoes. The module will also prepare students with the level of practical knowledge necessary to explain the problems of dealing with volcanic hazards on heavily populated active volcanoes.
Water is fundamental to life and is therefore a critical natural resource for human society and for all ecosystems. Employers of graduates from a wide range of environment-orientated degrees increasingly value understanding of the frameworks and technologies through which water resources can be conserved and restored, alongside the interactions between water and other natural resources such as land. This module focuses on providing this understanding, drawing on a wide range of real-world examples from the UK water sector. Students will cover the major UK and European regulatory frameworks that currently drive water resource management, the technologies available to treat wastewater, the approaches used to assess chemical and biological water quality, and the links between agricultural and urban development and water quality. This learning will be reinforced by field visits to wastewater treatment works, and by practical work dealing with datasets collected by the Environment Agency of England and Wales.
Over the duration of the module, students will be required to apply standard Environment Agency statistical procedures to assess chemical water quality, along with applying standard Environment Agency procedures to evaluate biological water quality. The module will enhance students’ ability to identify the strategies for assessing and managing water quality in the UK, and they will be able to derive simple dilution models to describe pollutant concentrations in river networks. Finally, students will gain the knowledge required to be able to explain and describe the fundamentals of water treatment processes.
Students undertaking this module will learn about the human and physical aspects of the Mediterranean environment. The module will focus on the distribution, allocation and use of water, whilst exploring the ways in which land use or land management affect the water environment.
Students will learn about the physical constraints on water availability whilst analysing the role of government institutions and private companies in developing and managing water for a range of purposes.
By participating in a four-day field course, students will have the opportunity to experience the distinctive environmental, cultural and socioeconomic nature of the Istrian peninsula. Generally, the module is designed to develop students' independent and group-based skills and enhance their knowledge related to water, particularly in the Mediterranean environment.
This module will build on the third year project to enhance student independence and provide greater experience of the research environment.The aim is for students to conduct an extensive research project in one focused area of science aligned with the research interests of the Lancaster Environment Centre.
Students may choose one of these topics in consultation with the module convenor and potential supervisor, or suggest their own topic to potential supervisors for consideration.
As part of the dissertation process, students will formulate a relevant hypothesis; design suitable experimental or other appropriate means of testing that hypothesis; and evaluate the data arising from such tests. Then they will critically review the investigative technique they have adopted and the results it obtained,and justify the conclusions arising from their investigation in a concise and constrained style.
This module aims to explore and reconfigure the ways in which climate change is understood through a focus on the social, rather than the scientific-environmental discourses that have dominated the policy and politics of climate change. This module give you a wide-ranging and intensive introduction to the politics, cultures and theories of climate change research in the social sciences and humanities. You will be able to critically evaluate different theoretical perspectives on a range of climate change debates and present alternative arguments.
Environmental auditing is a widespread management activity in both the public and private sectors of economies across the entire world. The module is designed to introduce students to the principles of environmental auditing and to give them practical experience in the use of key methods and techniques.
As part of the module, students will review and evaluate company environmental policies and undertake an environmental audit for a client organisation. This module has been designed to meet the professional standards and requirements for new entrants to the environmental auditing field.
Once this module is completed, each student will have advanced their understanding of the origins and history of environmental auditing. They will also be aware of the main drivers behind the emergence of this field, and will have gained the ability to apply key auditing tools and techniques. Students will have gained sufficient knowledge and experience to go on to design and conduct their own on-site assessments and prepare audit reports for clients in a professional manner.
Students will gain a critical understanding of key concepts, principles, tools and techniques for the management of natural resources and the environment. Particular attention is given to the challenges of dealing with complexity, change, uncertainty and conflict in the environment, and to the different management approaches which can be deployed in ‘turbulent’ conditions.
Contemporary environmental problems will be examined and interpreted from both an academic and policy perspective. In order to do this effectively, students will learn to evaluate and critique arguments and evidence related to environmental problems, and will demonstrate advanced understanding of alternative management concepts through constructive debate.
This module introduces students to the fundamental principles of GIS and remote sensing and explores how these complimentary technologies may be used to capture, manipulate, analyse and display different forms of spatially-referenced environmental data. This is a highly vocational module with lectures complimented by computer-based practicals (using state-of-the-art software such as ArcGIS Pro and ENVI) on related themes. At the end of the module students are required to complete a project in which a functioning analytical environmental information system is designed and implemented in order to solve a specific problem.
The aim of this module is to provide students with a theoretical foundation for the study of development and the environment from a geographical perspective. Students will focus on understanding the ways in which scholars have brought together development theory alongside the analysis of nature-society relations in the developing world.
This module provides students with a critical understanding of the evolution of contemporary development discourses and new ways of thinking about the relationship between environment and development. Key topics of discussion include theories of development, indigenous knowledge and development, biotechnology and food security, and the political economy of natural resources.
Ultimately, this module will enhance student’s academic skills to develop reasoned arguments through the analysis, interpretation and critical appraisal of complex evidence, with a module designed to deepen student’s understanding between theory and practice.
The aim of this module is to enhance the research training given to Masters students in order to improve the general quality of dissertations and research reports.
Students will be provided with basic training in research approaches, methods and techniques so they are able to describe the research traditions associated with the geography discipline, and design and undertake geographical research using appropriate methods of data collection and analysis.
In addition to this, students will undertake detailed literature reviews and formulate research questions, their answers of which will demonstrate an understanding of writing styles, structures, formats and other conventions which are common to academic research.
Recent graduates have entered careers using their degree-related skills in roles such as teaching, land surveyors and environmental consultants. Others have found employment with the transferable skills that they have gained and are working as teachers, in banking and in other commercial sectors. Many Lancaster Geography graduates go on to further study, with recent graduates following Masters-level programmes in Resource and Environmental Management, IT and Data Communication and Transport Planning. Graduates from our North America scheme often return to continue their studies or work.
Lancaster University is dedicated to ensuring you not only gain a highly reputable degree, but that you also graduate with relevant life and work based skills. We are unique in that every student is eligible to participate in The Lancaster Award which offers you the opportunity to complete key activities such as work experience, employability/career development, campus community and social development. Visit our Employability section for full details.
Fees and Funding
Our annual tuition fee is set for a 12-month session, starting in the October of your year of study.
Our Undergraduate Tuition Fees for 2020/21 are:
Undergraduate tuition fees
For students starting at the University for the 2020 session, subsequent year’s fees may be
subject to increases. UK fees are set by the UK Government annually. For international
applicants, any annual increase will be capped at 4% of the previous year’s fee. For more
information about tuition fees, including fees for Study Abroad and Work Placements, please
undergraduate tuition fees page.
Applicants from the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man
Some science and medicine courses have higher fees for students from the Channel Islands and the
Isle of Man. You can find more information about this on our
Island Fees page.
For full details of the University's financial support packages including eligibility criteria, please visit our fees and funding page
Students also need to consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation it may be necessary to take out subscriptions to professional bodies and to buy business attire for job interviews.
This programme has been accredited by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). Accreditation recognises programmes that deliver the geographical knowledge, understanding, skills, approaches and professional attributes expected of high-quality geography graduates, as recorded in the QAA Subject Benchmark Statement for Geography.
The course was a great transition from studying Geography at A level and focused on enhancing my skills to the next level. As a geographer, I've always loved exploring and getting out there, and that's exactly what my course enabled me to do.
At Lancaster, I've had the opportunity to continue studying both human and physical aspects of geography. The first year of my course gave me a great taster of both, leading me to specialise more in my second year. I chose to balance my studies between physical and human geography, but you can choose to focus more on one or the other if that's what you'd like to do. The degree is yours to be flexible with.
There's a great selection of modules, including interdisciplinary modules. I went on a water management trip to Croatia which combines aspects of physical and human geography. There's definitely something for every kind of geographer.
There are loads of opportunities to develop your learning at Lancaster, and fieldwork is the main one for me. I've visited Kendal to focus on implementing field management measures. I've visited White Scar Caves to look into hydrology and water systems. In laboratory sessions, I've done everything from studying rock formations in geology to studying flow rates in water. Not only is it varied and interesting, but it's also been brilliant to learn these industry skills to prepare me for life after my degree.
The Careers Service at the University ran a module for us, which was a four-week course on how to write a CV, the best places to look for jobs, and how to create a good cover letter and more, which was invaluable.
Emily Christopherson, BSc Geography
Learn on location
We take full advantage of our natural surroundings to create amazing fieldwork experiences, in addition to the opportunities to travel the world with optional overseas field trips. Fieldwork is a fascinating way to develop your practical skills. You'll gain hands-on experience of a wide range of environmental, ecological and geological situations that will place your studies in the context of real-world issues.
Experience glacial processes first-hand and their impacts on the dynamic tectonic landscape of Iceland. You will learn how glaciers interact with the surrounding volcanic landscape. As well as developing your practical field skills, you will also observe the stunning Icelandic scenery and understand how glaciers fit into the broader study of the physical environment.
You’ll have the opportunity to visit various food settings, including urban markets, industrial food production sites and ethnic food stands. You will also explore the temporal and spatial links between food production and consumption, and discover how food, culture and politics are woven into daily life and that of the dinner table!
The Amazon is a fascinating place to explore the conservation and development challenges facing tropical forests. You will visit people's homes and agricultural plots to understand the challenges faced by local people. This is a unique opportunity to work alongside experts and understand the challenges of pursuing biodiversity conservation while reducing poverty.
This trip offers you the opportunity to engage critically with the geography and inequality of New York. You will visit activist groups and learn about migration and gentrification. Throughout the trip, you will study the links between cultural, economic, political and social processes and the ways they influence life in New York City.
Lectures provide an introduction to the key issues and findings in each topic. An expert in that particular field will deliver each module. Lectures usually last either one or two hours and should be complemented by reading the relevant literature on the topic. We provide online reading lists, suggesting suitable books and journals which will be available either digitally or in print from our library.
Tutorials are usually one-hour sessions where you will be encouraged to discuss your learning with a small group of fellow students, under the guidance of a tutor. We encourage you to make the most of these groups by becoming used to speaking out, listening to others and learning to present yourself with confidence. You'll become experienced in being part of a team and explore the topics under study together.
Many of our modules include practical sessions alongside lectures and tutorials. These are designed to help you discover the critical biological principles underpinning your study, while also developing your skills which you will be able to put to use throughout your degree and future career.
The assessment process varies across modules but includes laboratory reports, essays, independent project reports, group presentations, multiple-choice tests and exams. Assessment is an on-going process, rather than being left solely until the end of the degree. We can offer feedback to you throughout your degree and, equally as importantly, it relieves pressure on you when modules are examined at the end of each year.
The information on this site relates primarily to 2020/21 entry to the University and every effort has been taken to ensure the information is correct at the time of publication. The University will use all reasonable effort to deliver the courses as described, but the University reserves the right to make changes to advertised courses.
In the event of a course being withdrawn or if there are any fundamental changes to your course, we will give you reasonable notice and you will be entitled to withdraw your application. You are advised to revisit our website for up-to-date information before you submit your application. Further legal information.
The amount of time you spend in lectures, seminars and similar will differ from year to year. Taken as an average over all years of the course, you will spend an average of 6.9 hours per week in lectures, seminars and similar during term time.
A broad range of assessments methods will be used throughout the degree. As a guide, 63% of assessment is by coursework over the duration of the course.
Our Students’ Charter
We believe in the importance of a strong and productive partnership between our students and staff. In order to ensure your time at Lancaster is a positive experience we have worked with the Students’ Union to articulate this relationship and the standards to which the University and its students aspire. View our Charter and other policies.