Skip to main content


GEO1020 : Introduction to Physical Geography

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Darrel Maddy
  • Lecturer: Dr Seb Pitman, Professor Andrew Russell, Dr Christine Batchelor, Dr Rachel Carr, Dr Stuart Dunning
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0



Physical Geography is a fundamental component of Geography. Understanding of the Physical Environment is essential for all Geographies as it underpins environmental management and gives essential context to, and widens our understanding of, patterns of human activity. Physical Geographical knowledge informs human interactions with a changing and dynamic environment. This module provides a ‘spring-board’ for more specialised Physical Geography modules in stages 2 & 3.

Aim: to provide an introduction to Physical Geography.

Specific aims:
(1) To provide an introduction to the development of Physical Geography
(2) To provide an introduction to the methods and approaches employed in Physical Geographical investigation.
(3) To provide an introduction to the Earth’s major physical systems with a focus on the lithosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere.
(4) To provide understanding of the causes of change within these systems over a range of timescales.
(5) To provide an understanding of the relationship between physical processes and resulting landforms and landscapes.

Outline Of Syllabus

Atmospheric processes
Fluvial processes and landforms
Quaternary environmental change
The Lithosphere
Landscape dynamics
Coastal processes and landforms
The Cryosphere

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture181:0018:00PIP
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture41:004:00Live Online
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1137:00137:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities51:005:00Structured Guided Learning - Asynchronous Online
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time61:006:00Q&A and feedback sessions - Live Online
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will provide an overview of the principals of Physical Geography across a range of environments.

Guided independent activities will allow students to enhance their learning by engaging with a number of interactive websites and databases. Students will engage with physical geographical landscapes and themes via directed activities using photos and videos.

Timetabled Q & A sessions will allow the students to discuss the content of each block of teaching thereby consolidating their learning.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M301200 words
Essay2M301200 words
Computer assessment1M10Canvas Test
Computer assessment1M10Canvas Test
Computer assessment2M10Canvas Test
Computer assessment2M10Canvas Test
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Computer-based assessments will test understanding of concepts and techniques introduced in the lectures and supported by independent reading.

Essays will test students independent research and written presentation skills in addressing a physical geography question.

Reading Lists