Readings in Geography and Environmental Science

Module summary

Module code: GEOY1030
Level: 6
Credits: 15
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Natural Resources Institute
Module Coordinator(s): Frances Hawkes



This module aims to develop students’ critical thinking skills. Students will be exposed to published research and encouraged to reflect on and discuss in-depth this material. Ultimately, this module aims to equip students with the skills to critique and evaluative technical material and the ability to find and use evidence to support their evaluations.

Learning outcomes

On completing this course successfully you will be able to:

1 Critically reflect on current research and/ or classic viewpoints within a chosen area of geographic or environmental science enquiry.
2 Demonstrate writing and oral communication skills commensurate with engaging in research level subject specialist material.
3 Contextualise given material within broader discussions/ arguments in the chosen field.
4 Comment on publication-quality research and provide appropriate and relevant evidence to support those comments.

Indicative content

Student will pick from a range of specialist reading topics. These contemporary topics link into staff research and consultancy agendas. Examples topics include:

• Environmental impact of organic and conventional farming techniques
• Brownfield - industrial wasteland or natural treasure?
• Impact of future climate change on biological/environmental interactions
• Environmental archaeology
• One Health: the intersections between biodiversity, ecosystems and human health
• Sustainable communities and regeneration
• The Anthropocene – are we living in a new age?
• Feed the world: the implications of the current yield-gap on future food provision amid population and climate change impacts

Teaching and learning activity

This is a readings based module and will involve small group tutorial-led teaching with critical and reflective discussions of academic papers. Guided reading and exercises will be provided by staff, to be completed by students before subsequent meetings. Students will be required to read and critically comment on a range of study material. Students will meet with the group tutor every other week, where they will be required to demonstrate completion of the learning activities. While the lecturer acts as a discussant, the emphasis in tutorials will be on student contribution to the learning experience in the form of critical reading, reflective practice and verbal elaboration of key conceptual ideas. Discussion, rebuttal and debate are encouraged, moderated by the lecture, who will summarise key points at the end of each session. It is envisaged that this method of teaching at level 6 will help student to develop their academic learning and hone other key skills including: recognising and respecting the views and opinions of others; evaluating publication-level research and using evidence to support these evaluations; developing the skills necessary for self-managed and lifelong learning, develop the ability to self-manage the learning experience; continuing to develop skills to allow effective communication to an audience.


Portfolio: 100% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Learning Outcomes:1 - 4.
Word Length:3,000
Outline Details: Portfolio comprising reflections and critiques of published research articles.

Formative Assessment supporting student learning:
A draft of the Portfolio is submitted for formative feedback at least four teaching weeks before the summative assessment deadline.