Module Catalogue 2018/19

GEO1005 : Environmental Issues

  • Offered for Year: 2018/19
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Maarten van Hardenbroek van Ammerstol
  • Lecturer: Dr Nick Cutler, Dr Andrew Henderson, Dr Andy Large
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment

A-level Geography or equivalent

Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



This module introduces key concepts in geography, earth science and environmental science. It encourages reflection on the natural and human processes affecting and affected by the natural global environment. Strategies for prevention and mitigation of a range of environmental issues will be presented.

Outline Of Syllabus

1.       Environmental issues: overview of environmental science and Earth’s physical system
2.       Biodiversity: ecological principles, evolution, conservation management
3.       Environmental degradation: global environmental change, pollution, waste
4.       Natural resource security: terrestrial and water resources, energy, minerals
5.       Climate change: Earth's climate system, past present and future climate change
6.       Human societies: human population, ancient civilisations, geopolitics

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

At the end of the module you will be able to:

1. Describe and evaluate key environmental issues, by drawing on environmental and Earth science principles, assessing competing arguments, and acknowledging the role(s) played by science in monitoring, prevention and mitigation.
2. Describe and evaluate key inter-relationships between the environment and human activities.
3. Identify the contributions that geographers can make to environmental study.

This module introduces key concepts in Geography and Earth and Environmental Science. It encourages reflection on the natural and human processes affecting and affected by the natural global environment.

Intended Skill Outcomes

1. Use of formal ecosystem concepts and Earth science principles to analyse environmental change.
2. Use of space/time models to understand the nature of environmental problems and solutions.
3. Ability to evaluate competing arguments and approaches to environmental problems drawing both on natural (Earth science, environmental science) and social (economic, political, ethical) considerations.
4. Critical analysis of media/web coverage of environmental issues.

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Critical Thinking : Assessed
    • Literacy : Assessed
    • Information Literacy
      • Source Materials : Present
      • Synthesise And Present Materials : Assessed
  • Self Management
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Innovation And Creativity : Present
      • Initiative : Present
      • Independence : Present
      • Problem Solving : Assessed
      • Adaptability : Present
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Oral : Present
      • Interpersonal : Present
      • Written Other : Assessed
    • Team Working
      • Collaboration : Present
      • Leadership : Present
  • Application
    • Occupational Awareness : Present
    • Social Cultural Global Awareness : Present

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture241:0024:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching33:009:00Practical lab (individual)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching41:004:00Problem-based learning (Group)
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity1163:00163:00N/A
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
GEO1021Environmental Issues (Semester 1 for Exchange Students)
GEO1022Environmental Issues (Semester 2 for Exchange Students)
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The dominant teaching method is the comprehensive, well-illustrated and up-to-date lecture, heavily backed by widely available texts, and by use of the media. This delivers a new intellectual milieu, new techniques of thought (e.g. ecosystems) but also new responsibilities to take a critical approach to science/ society interaction. A series of small problem-based learning exercises will be used to support the lecture materials, encourage engagement with the scientific literature, and develop study skills. These will contribute to the summative assessments (submitted in semester 1 and 2).

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
PC Examination601A25Computer Aided Exam
PC Examination602A25Computer Aided Exam
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prob solv exercises1M5Group 300 words
Practical/lab report1M15Individual 250 words
Practical/lab report2M30Group and Individual 750 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The computer assessed exams enable the understanding of key concepts to be assessed throughout the course. The exams comprise a variety of question types, to test knowledge, understanding and application of material.

The problem-based learning and practical lab reports are based on individual and group work and will be assessed with reports (300 words, 250 words, and 750 words, respectively) in response to the environmental problems set out for the students.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2018/19 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2018/19 entry will be published here in early-April 2018. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.