Major Theme Code: CSGE001 & Minor Theme Code: CSGE051 Theme Title: Physical Geography
GCSE: Maths & English Language at Grade ‘C’ or above A levels: One Science Subject
FIRST YEAR COURSES
Course outline: The Physical Geography course introduces a wide range of topics studied in contemporary physical geography. Teaching takes the form of lectures, fortnightly tutorials and fieldwork, and
students are expected to undertake an extensive programme of reading for the course in addition to completing practical work in their own time. The tutorials are used to integrate and consolidate material
taught in both modules in this course. In particular, students are encouraged to begin to develop their own geographical abilities to appraise geographical research critically, and to formulate geographical
questions and investigate them through data collection, analysis and interpretation.
Module Code: GEOG151 Title: Environment, Process & Change No of Wks: 20 Terms Taught: M/L exam/cwa: 60/40%
This course examines environmental processes and their impacts at a range of spatial scales. Global climate and associated environmental change, the processes of flow producing distinctive landscape
forms on land and in oceans, the processes structuring Earth’s resources and the environmental and societal implication of resource depletion and environmental change are all explored within the context
of contemporary approaches to physical geography and using examples drawn from a variety of environments.
Module Code: GEOG153 Title: Geographical Skills B No of Wks: 25 Terms Taught: M/L/S Prac/Field report/test: 33/33/34%
This course provides an introduction to the skills used by geographers to analyse problems in geography. Quantitative and qualitative analysis, the use of geographical information systems and cartography
to display and analyse data, and the application of field techniques to geographical problems are taught within the context of contemporary conceptual approaches, and the course emphasises the links
between human and physical geography in the study of both environmental and societal processes. Practical assignments using these skills are completed in the student’s own time.
SECOND YEAR COURSES = 0.5 unit each
Module Code: GEOG203 Title: Earth Surfaces Processes No of Wks: 10 Terms Taught: M Lec/Prac/Trip: 20/4/8 exam/cwa: 60/40%
The aim of this course is to provide an advanced level overview of the processes that determine the nature of the Earth’s surface features and their interactions with human society. The course will cover
atmospheric, hydrological, sedimentary, oceanic, glacial and volcanic processes. The course will take a theoretical, process-based perspective, but will illustrate concepts with case studies and examples
throughout. The course will be assessed via laboratory and fieldwork exercise reports and a written examination.
Module Code: GEOG204 Title: Interacting Landscapes: Biogeography & Geomorphology No of Wks: 10 Terms Taught: L Lec/Field Trips: 12/2 exam/cwa: 70/30%
This course will explore the interaction between biogeography and geomorphology in four contrasting but contiguous environments, namely: mountains and moorlands; lake basins; lowland plains;
estuaries and coasts. Three lectures will be devoted to each environment and will be similarly structured. The first two lectures will be devoted to biogeography and geomorphology while the third will
bring these themes together and examine their interactions. The triplets of lectures will be supported by two compulsory fieldtrips. One will examine upland environments and lakes, the other coastal and
plus one or both of:
Module Code: GEOG209 Title: Environment & Society No of Wks: 10 Terms Taught: M Lec: 20 cwa: 100%
This course deals with the ways in which the environment is perceived, understood, valued and managed in developed societies. Under Theme 1 (Environmentalism), important contemporary perspectives
on how environmental problems are viewed and contextualised, and how interest in, and concern for, the environment is expressed by different groups of people. Under Theme 2 (Environmental
Management), attention is focused on how society can deal effectively with the change, complexity, uncertainty and conflict that characterises many contemporary environmental problems and concerns.
Module Code: GEOG210 Title: Natural Resources & Sustainable Development No of Wks: 10 Terms Taught: L Lec: 20 exam/cwa 50/50%
This course draws upon human geography, social anthropology, social legal studies and development studies to critically review a wide range of approaches to understanding selected concepts and
practices concerning sustainable development. Drawing upon examples from Latin America, South and South East Asia and Africa, it first introduces the idea of ‘development’ and traces how its meaning
has evolved in line with changing global politics and economics. It then looks at how these ‘top-down’ approaches to development have attempted to rebuild relationships with ‘bottom-up’ and alternative,
participatory and local forms of development. Issues addressed during the course range from bio-prospecting to mining, forest conservation to water and gas wars, and from human impacts on climate
change to weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of biotechnology for ensuring food security.
THIRD YEAR COURSES = 0.5 unit each CAN BE CHOSEN FROM: (dependent on whether 1.5 or 2.0 second year units taken, to equal 3 units in total)
Module Code: GEOG303 Title: Project No of Wks: 30 Terms Taught: M ,L, S Lec: cwa: 100%
This project can only be taken after consultation with Dr Blackburn prior to registration as this involves tutorials (in Michaelmas & Lent of 2nd yr) which are part of your preparation for the project. This
course involves writing a thesis of around 6,000 words on an approved topic linking Geography and the second joint major subject. The completed project must be submitted no later than the departmental
deadline 4 pm Friday 12th March 2010, week 19 Lent term. An extension will be granted only if supported by a medical certificate. Late projects will be penalized.
Module Code: GEOG352 Title: Holocene Environmental Change No of Wks: 5 Terms Taught: L1 Lec: 20 exam: 100%
The Holocene is the last ca.11, 500 years of earth history that encompasses the most important phases of human development and landscape evolution. Its study provides an historical perspective on
contemporary problems such as climate change, deforestation and soil erosion. The first part of the course deals with natural environmental change beginning in the immediate post-glacial period. It then
considers early human ecology, the origins of agriculture and the environmental impact of dynastic civilisations in the Mediterranean and Meso America. Examples are drawn from around the world but
an emphasis is placed on the tropics and other low-latitude regions. The study of the Holocene enables the identification of background processes, abrupt, often catastrophic events and the sensitivity of
landscapes to change. The subject is approached from a scientific perspective but students will be required to synthesise material from a variety of sources. *Not available 2010/11
Module Code: GEOG353 Title: Recent Change in Aquatic Environments No of Wks: 5 Terms Taught: M1 Lec/Prac: 4/7 cwa: 100%
The last 200 years have seen important water quality changes in many lakes and reservoirs. In some parts of Europe acid rain has caused severe pollution of some water-bodies and led to major ecological
changes. Elsewhere, changing land-use practices have increased nutrient levels, leading to damaging blooms of blue-green algae and fish-kills. An examination of the causes and consequences of these
problems using the evidence contained in the sediments of lakes will be made. A substantial part of this course will involve practical laboratory work. Techniques of environmental reconstruction
including sediment and diatom analysis will be used to detect recent water quality changes in a local lake or reservoir. The respective roles of human agency and environmental change on lake catchment
ecosystems will be critically discussed and strategies for water resource management evaluated. *Not available in 2011/12.
Module Code: GEOG367 Title: Coastal Processes No of Wks: 10 Terms Taught: L Lec/Prac/Trip: 15/5/8 exam/cwa: 50/50%
To be able to define and understand the shoreline change and the environmental issues facing the coastline, one needs a basic knowledge of physical coastal processes. The aim of this course is to gain
such an understanding through the study of hydrodynamics, sediment transport and morphology. The importance of their interactions and complexity will be also addressed. It is expected that students will
be able to make coastal changes predictions using linear wave theory and sediment transport formulae by the end of the course. The course consists of lectures, fieldwork and practicals using IT. Students,
working in small groups, will use the knowledge gained throughout the course to address practical problems from around the UK coast. Coursework will consist of the students proposed solutions to these
Module Code: GEOG370 Title: GIS: Principles & Practice No of Wks: 10 Terms Taught: M Lec/Prac: 10/20 exam/cwa: 50/50%
This module covers both the principles of GIS and GIScience and practical experience in the use of GIS using ArcGIS Desktop, a leading windows-based package. Lecture topics address theoretical
issues, such as the problems of representing real world phenomena in GIS databases, and also considers emerging trends within the discipline such as the growth of location-based services and related
developments in data sharing. Lectures also explore the use of GI in government, commercial and academic sectors and are complimented by a series of practical sessions in ArcGIS. Initial exercises are
concerned with creating and manipulating spatial databases using the core functionality of the software. Subsequent exercises demonstrate more sophisticated forms of spatial analysis using a range of
extension products including spatial analyst and network analyst.The last two practical sessions are dedicated to individual project work during which students are encouraged to develop their own
databases and perform appropriate analyses in order to provide insight into a problem with a spatial dimension. A project handbook with detailed information on project management and assessment
criteria is issued towards the end of the module.
Module Code: GEOG377 Title: Quaternary Environmental Change No of Wks: 10 Terms Taught: M Lec/Sem/Prac: 20/4/4 exam/cwa: 67/33%
The aims of this course are for students to: a) acquire a sound understanding of the great environmental changes which occurred during the Quaternary period (i.e. the last ~ 1.8 million years) and of the
extent to which the modern environment is the result of those changes b) to use this understanding as a context against which to assess recent, present and future environmental changes of anthropogenic
origin. The Quaternary Period has been a time of enormous environmental changes, on both a global and a local scale. The most obvious is the growth and decay of ice sheets in mid-latitudes, but this
went hand in hand with many other changes throughout the globe. As the lectures and practicals proceed, you should try to relate each topic to the ‘big picture’ of associated global changes, keeping in
mind six great interlinked ‘themes’ of environmental change during the Quaternary, as follows: a) the growth and decay of ice sheets; b) the changing level of the sea; c) changes in atmospheric and
oceanic circulation; d) terrestrial biological changes; e) human influences; f) the engine of the ice ages.
Module Code: GEOG382 Title: Environmental Magnetism No of Wks: 10 Terms Taught: L Lec/Prac: 14/6 exam/cwa: 50/50%
Magnetic minerals are an increasingly utilised source of environmental proxy information. The content, mineralogy and grain size can be sensitive indicators of past climatic climatic change, changes in
sediment budgets, sediment delivery and source mechanisms. In present-day environments magnetic minerals can also be short or long-term indicators of environmental pollution related to fossil fuel
combustion. Magnets produced by some types of organisms can also be significant. In the human organism these can act as potential tracers for certain kinds of health disorders. The aim is to introduce
these growing topic areas, which covers a range of environmental issues. The aims are methodologically driven (much like GIS), but with a wide range of application areas in geography. The intentions
are to foster understanding of: 1) The types and sources of magnetic minerals in the environment. 2) The mechanisms and pathways by which these materials are produced, dispersed, modified and finally
deposited in environmental systems. The context through which it is possible to interpret mineral magnetic data in terms of environmental change.
Module Code: GEOG385 Title: Glacial Systems No of Wks: 10 Terms Taught: M Lec/Prac/Sem: 14/3/3 exam/cwa: 50/50%
The aim of this module is to give insight into the physical dynamics and ecological interactions within glacial systems. Understanding begins 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. The implications this has for glacial
dynamics and the legacy of past glacial systems in the environment is studied with reference to the above processes. The concept of studying glaciers as ecosystems rather than just physical systems in the
landscape is introduced in conjunction with recent advances in glacier hydrochemistry and discussed in the context of climatic change.
Module Code: GEOG388 Title: Lakes, Rivers and Estuaries No of Wks: 10 Terms Taught: M Lec/Prac: 18/9 exam/cwa: 50/50%
The module will be split into three topics: lakes, rivers and estuaries. Focus will be on physical (hydrodynamic) processes, but there will be strong links between these and related geomorphic, biological
and chemical processes in these environments.
Each third will comprise (a) a 50-minute classroom session on post-graduation employment potential related to each topic. If possible, this will centre on a presentation by an external speaker from a
graduate employer, which will be followed up with a Q&A/discussion session, led by the course convenor, linking to the science/physical geography covered subsequently - if an external speaker is not
possible to organise, I will make the initial presentation and then lead the discussion; (b) five 50-minute classroom sessions covering scientific and physical geography aspects (see below); (c) a 3-hour
practical session based on analysing field data.
Second year: GEOG203, 204 plus one or both of GEOG209 &/or GEOG210 Mark 1: GEOG203 Mark 4: 3rd year module
Third year: Choice dependent on units taken in second year: Mark 2: GEOG204 Mark 5: 3rd year module
Mark 3: either GEOG209 or 210 Mark 6: 3rd year module
Content Minor Theme Assessment
Second year: GEOG203, 204 Mark 1: GEOG203 Mark 3: 3rd year module
Third year: Choice dependent on units taken in second year: Mark 2: GEOG204 Mark 4: 3rd year module
This theme can be taken as a major theme = 3 units or as a minor theme = 2units