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Faculty Handbook

Module Description

Please ensure you check the module availability box for each module outline, as not all modules will run each academic year.

Department: Geography


Type Tied Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2016/17 Module Cap Location Durham
Tied to QRV0 Combined Honours in Arts
Tied to F800 Geography
Tied to L702 Geography
Tied to X1F8 Education Studies - Geography
Tied to CFG0 Natural Sciences
Tied to FGC0 Natural Sciences
Tied to LMV0 Combined Honours in Social Sciences


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • The module introduces students to a broad range of concepts and approaches in physical geography, using scale, from global to local, as the organizing framework


  • The module provides an integrated framework for the study of the environmental systems of the Earth
  • The module examines five important themes in physical geography through a variety of scales, from global to local: 1) Climate processes and change; 2) Quaternary glaciations and landscapes; 3) Sea-level change; 4) Water and water resources; and 5) Active tectonics and mountain environments
  • The module will also address the interconnexions between these themes

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
  • understand the importance of time and rates of change through a consideration of contemporary Earth processes and longer-term environmental change
  • understand how humans have affected these processes and changes
  • apply these themes at a conceptual level and with reference to selected case studies provided in lectures and student readings
Subject-specific Skills:
  • On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
  • understand general principles (e.g. timescales, spatial variability, procees and form) of Physical Geography and relate them within and between the key themes of the course
  • critically engage with key issues in Physical Geography
  • understand the range and scope of approaches to Physical Geography
Key Skills:
  • On successful completion of the module students are expected to be able to:
  • assess and interpret material presented in lectures
  • present logical written arguments
  • critically evaluate a range of literature on selected themes in Physical Geography
  • abstract information from multiple sources

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module is based on a programme of lectures
  • These lectures provide the context in which facts and introductory concepts are conveyed, contributing to building knowledge and understanding
  • Lectures are complemented by small-group tutorials in which concepts introduced in lectures can be explored in more detail
  • Full reading lists provide students with the means to undertake independent study and learning
  • Formative assessment and 50% of summative assessment is set, marked and returned in tutorial groups.
  • Three essays (two summative) provide students with scope to explore in greater detail selected themes drawn from module
  • The remainder of the summative assessment is based on an unseen examination paper designed to assess student's acquisition of (1) the technical aspects of the module by means of short-answer questions; and (2) the interdisciplinary nature of the learning outcomes by means of an essay-style question
  • Tutorials also provide a forum enabling active acquisition of skills
  • NOTE: this module also includes a suite of pre-arrival study skills exercises, which are delivered to students electronically via duo for completion between early September and mid-October (prior to the first tutorial meeting). Details can be found in the Formative Assessment text box below. Where non-single Honours students join the module late, the module tutors will allow additional time for completion of the pre-arrival study skills exercises.

Teaching Methods and Contact Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 40 Weekly 1 hour 40
Tutorials 5 Five times annually 1 hour 5
Preparation and Reading 155
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Unseen written examination made up of two parts: the first is made up of short questions to evaluate technical understanding across the range of materials covered in the module; the second is made up of essay-style questions. 2 hours 100%
Component: Tutorial Essays Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
tutorial essay 1 (max 4 x A4 sides) 50%
tutorial essay 2 (max 4 x A4 sides) 50%

Formative Assessment:

Prior to their first tutorial (scheduled for mid-October), students will be asked to complete a series of study skills tasks based around the following indicative themes: Exploring academic literature Critical reflection Effective essay writing (introductions, paragraphs and conclusions) Note taking How to avoid Plagiarism Time management Marking previously submitted essays The tasks will be made available to incoming students via duo during September, with an expectation that they will be completed prior to their first tutorial, so that comprehensive group feedback can be given. Other formative assessment includes one formative essay (max 4 x A4 sides) plus detailed feedback given on the two summative essays

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University