Skip to main content

Unit information: Geographies of Nature and Environment in 2022/23

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

Unit name Geographies of Nature and Environment
Unit code GEOG20015
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Morgan
Open unit status Not open
Units you must take before you take this one (pre-requisite units)

GEOG10003 Key Concepts in Human and Physical Geography and GEOG10002 Geographical History, Thought and Practices

Units you must take alongside this one (co-requisite units)


Units you may not take alongside this one


School/department School of Geographical Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science

Unit Information

‘Geographies of Nature and Environment’ will introduce second-year undergraduate students to key aspects in the human geographical study of global environments and nature. The unit aims to address the epistemology and semantic production of ‘nature’ and ‘the environment’, as well as analyse key factors underlying how geographical drivers of natural and environmental change are differently understood. Emphasis will be given to the historical, cultural, political, and economic study of environments and nature from the early-modern period to the present. The focus will be on the Global North and the Global South, with geographical emphases on early modern Europe and historical and contemporary nature/environment issues in the Americas; historical and contemporary environmental change and its human responses in polar regions, South Asia and the Pacific; and, different approaches to understanding and relating to nature and environment from around the globe. Specific geographical contexts of study may include analysing indigenous and non-western approaches to nature and environment, change in historical and contemporary wetlands and riverine environments, plant and forest ecologies, animal geographies, island and coastal geographies, carbon, energy and extractive landscapes, polar and cold climate geographies, and urban geographies.

Your learning on this unit

Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

1. Assess contemporary theoretical and empirical debates in the human
geographical analysis of global environments.
2. Communicate the geographical complexities of defining and describing
global environmental issues.
3. Integrate historical, cultural, political, and economic analyses of global
environments to understand its varied geographical significance and
4. Critically evaluate historical and contemporary societal responses to
environmental change, as well as geographical debates in environmental
history, environmental humanities, political ecology, and decolonial
5. Communicate the significance of key factors underlying geographical
drivers of environmental issues.
6. Demonstrate the inter-disciplinary nature of studying human geographies
of nature and environment, in their historical and contemporary aspects,
and so further an awareness of relevant conceptual and empirical
research in cognate disciplines.
7. Demonstrate analytical and conceptual skills in written work.

The following transferable skills are developed in this Unit:

•Written and oral communication
•Discursive analysis of multiple and interdependent textual forms
•Lateral, critical and analytical reasoning
•Planning and implementing applied research projects

Links between learning outcomes and methods of assessment:

  • The assessments will test students’ applied understanding and academic scholarship on the critical geographies of nature and environment, and will require them to be conversant with key themes, concepts and case studies covered in lectures, readings, discussions, films, etc.
  • The assessments will require students to use written communication, critical reasoning, and organisational skills to demonstrate the relationship between concepts/theories and empirical material, and to make effective use of wider literatures to support critical arguments.

How you will learn

The unit will be taught through a blended combination of online and, if possible, in-person teaching, including

  • online resources
  • synchronous group workshops, seminars, tutorials and/or office hours
  • asynchronous individual activities and guided reading for students to work through at their own pace

How you will be assessed

Summative assessment will be comprised of two coursework-based papers, one due in TB1 and 1 due in TB2. Details below: 1 x 2,000-word essay (34%) [ILOs 1-7], due TB1. The first essay will assess the first taught component (the first one-third) of the unit. 1 x 2,000-word essay (66%) [ILOs 1-7], due TB2. The second essay will assess the second and third taught components (the second two-thirds) of the unit. Responses to the essay questions for the second assignment will require synthetic analysis across the second and third taught components.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. GEOG20015).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.