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Last modified: 18 Aug 2022 16:35

Course Overview

This course begins with study of the physical workings of the Earth and the interactions between living organisms and their environments.  We then look at the effects humans are having on the planet, potential solutions to global problems and thoughts on the future.

Teaching is by staff with different subject specialisms who give both variety and immediacy to course material.

Exposure to the problems we are facing both now and in the future will help you make informed choices in your everyday life.

A range of ‘wet’ and computer-based practicals enhance the classroom teaching and develop generic scientific skills.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 1
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study Yes
  • Cath Dennis

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Undergraduate Programme
  • Either Programme Level 1 or Programme Level 2

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

The study of ecological and environmental issues requires us to integrate information from many different subject areas. This course is designed to give you an introduction to how the Earth functions, in terms of both geography and biology, and then goes on to look at current issues that are affecting those functions. An exciting multidisciplinary approach, combining key topics from biology, ecology, environmental science and the earth sciences will provide a solid foundation for futher study in any of these areas. By the end of the course, students should have

- a sound basic knowledge of how an integrated approach to studying topics from biology, chemistry, ecology and environmental science contributes towards an understanding of how terrestrial and marine systems are sustained.

- an appreciation of important spatial and temporal aspects of ecology and environmental science and why these are important to the management of natural systems.

- an ability to carry out and report on basic experimental measurements and data analysis pertaining to aspects of ecology and environmental science.


Over 11 weeks, taught topics covered include
(note that these may vary slightly between years)

Biogeochemical cycles


Intra & interspecific interactions


Human demography


Climate change & mitigation

Sustainable food production


Use of ‘Excel’

Associated Costs

Students should possess a Howie laboratory coat and safety glasses. Further details of requirements can be found on the course's MyAberdeen page. The cost listed here is approximate. GBP 23.00

Details, including assessment, may be subject to change until 31 July 2022 for 1st half-session courses and 23 December 2022 for 2nd half-session courses.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

  • 3 Lectures during University weeks 26 - 35
  • 4 Lectures during University week39
  • 1 Practical during University weeks 27, 29, 31, 33, 35

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessment, may be subject to change until 31 July 2022 for 1st half-session courses and 23 December 2022 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

Alternative Assessments

(i) Lab reports x 5, total 50% - one group assessment, the rest individual
(ii) Lecture-based tests x 5 total 10%
(iii) End of term online test 40%

Alternative Resit Arrangements

Students will repeat whichever elements of the assessment were failed or not completed at first sitting; the marks for elements already passed will be carried forwards

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
FactualRememberILO’s for this course are available in the course guide.

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