Module Catalogue 2024/25

GEO1023 : Environment and Society

GEO1023 : Environment and Society

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Christopher Hackney
  • Lecturer: Professor Andrew Henderson, Professor Alastair Bonnett, Dr Nick Cutler, Dr Seb Pitman, Dr Kathryn Manzo
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Pre Requisite Comment



Modules you need to take at the same time

Co Requisite Comment



This module will introduce students to a range of environmental issues within geography through both a human and physical geography lens. The main aim of the new module is to emphasize that an interdisciplinary approach is required to address the grand environmental challenges facing contemporary societies.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module content will be developed through detailed case studies embedded within the overarching conceptual framework of "The Anthropocene". Lecture content will be frammed around four main themes that will provide the broad content:

1) Climate
2) Biodiversity
3) Pollution
4) Sustainability

The syllabus is developed in such a way that these four themes are broad enough to involve a large pool of colleagues, to make the long-term delivery of the module sustainable. Each of the four themes will be co-taught by human and physical geography colleagues, exposing students to varying perspectives and lenses on the issues taught.

The start of the module will focus on setting the scope of the module and introducing concepts of the Anthropocene from a Human and Physical Geography perspective. Having set out the scope of the module, the remainder of the content would then be broken into the four overlapping themes, each corresponding to a contemporary ‘crisis’ in the environment. Each theme will consist of a block of lectures split evenly between a Human and Physical Geography lens. Examples of what may be included within each block include (but are not limited to):

1) Climate - The politics of CoP, the scientific basis for the IPCC reports, climate change and development, mediating climate change, climate change and civilisation, etc.
2) Biodiversity - The biodiversity crisis, biological conservation (theory & practice), activism, valuing nature, re-wilding, etc.
3) Pollution - Racialisation of pollution, UK rivers (sewage discharge), microplastics, mine waste and exotic pollutants, 'acid rain', etc.
4) Sustainability - Food and soils, aggregates (sand, gravel), renewable energy, production, the build environment, etc.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

At the end of the module students will be able to:
a) demonstrate how scientific knowledge informs policy and the management of environmental issues;
b) understand how environmental issues in the past inform contemporary debates and how current knowledge underpins the prediction of future change.
c) Comprehend how many of the major environmental challenges facing societies around the world, and responses to them, are informed by both human and physical geography factors

Intended Skill Outcomes

The module will enable students to:
a) critically evaluate coverage of contemporary environmental issues (e.g., the climate & biodiversity crises);
b) assess competing arguments and approaches to environmental problems, integrating both natural (Earth science, environmental science) and social (economic, political, ethical) considerations;

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:0022 hours PiP lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1137:00137:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery31:003:003 x 1 hour drop in surgeries targetted to assessments. One linked to the Semester 1 MCQ exam, and two one hour session (one each for Human and Physical Geography) tied to the second exam assessment in Semester 2.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time42:008:004 x 2 hours scheduled online Q&A session at the end of each block of themed lecture delivery with one hour delivered each by a Human and Physical Geographer.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will provide an overview and introduction to the environmental issues being discussed from a human and physical geography perspective.

Guided independent activities will allow students to enhance their learning by engaging through critically assessing academic and grey literature, media reports and popular science material around key themes discussed in the lectures.

Timetabled Q & A sessions will allow the students to discuss the content of each theme of teaching thereby consolidating their learning and strengthening interdisciplinary knowledge.

Drop in sessions will be arranged around the assessments, with one prior to the MCQ exam, and two (one Human and one Physical) around the final examination.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Digital Examination601A2060 mins online multiple choice question examination
Digital Examination1202A80Open book examination
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The computer assessed multiple choice exam tests students understanding of key concepts and framings from the first half of the course. The open book exam will ask students to select from a range of questions focus with each question based on an issue discussed in the lectures.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


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The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2024 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 2025/26 entry will be published here in early-April 2025. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.