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Last modified: 28 Jun 2018 10:27

Course Overview

You will be trained in broad environmental thinking required to understand the complex nature of contemporary environmental problems.

The course aim is to work towards a sufficiently deep understanding of society’s relationship with the environment to appraise and start to address so-called wicked problems.

The course follows a textbook to allow immersion in the author’s ways of thinking. Key aspects of human-environment relationships will be developed through lectures and subsequent discussion.

You will engage in the co-production of knowledge by preparing and presenting worked out case studies themselves as starting point for debate on focal ‘objects of concern’.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Professor Rene Van Der Wal

Qualification Prerequisites


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

  • One of BSc Biology (Studied) or BSc Conservation Biology (Studied) or BSc Plant Biology (Studied) or Non-Graduating Student in Plant & Soil Science Erasmus (Studied) or BSc Zoology (Studied) or BSc Animal Ecology (Studied) or Non-Graduating Student in Zoology Erasmus (Studied) or BSc Marine Biology (Studied) or BSc Parasitology (Studied) or BSc Animal Behaviour (Studied) or BSc Behavioural Biology (Studied) or MSci Biological Sciences (Studied) or BSc Biological Sciences (Honours) (Studied) or BSc Plant and Soil Sciences (Studied) or BSc Biology - Education (Primary) (Studied) or Bachelor Of Science In Environmental And Forest Management (Studied) or Non-Graduating Student in Agriculture and Forestry Erasmus (Studied) or BSc Ecology (Studied) or BSc Wildlife Management (Studied) or BSc Forestry (Studied) or Non-Graduating Student in Forestry Iss (Studied) or BSc Forest Sciences (Studied) or BSc Geology (Studied) or BSc Geoscience (Studied) or BSc Geography (Studied) or BSc Environmental Science (Studied) or BSc Environmental Science (Physical Sci) (Studied) or BSc Geography-Geoscience (Studied) or BSc Biology - Education (Secondary) (Studied) or Erasmus Student Diploma in Science (Studied) or Non-Graduating Student in Science First Half-Session (Studied) or Non-Graduating Student in Science Full Year (Studied) or Non-Graduating Student in Science Eu (Studied) or Non-Graduating Student in Science Iss (Studied)
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

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

In this course students develop an understanding of the diverse and complex relationships Western societies hold with their environment. The first three weeks of teaching concerns unfolding topics succinctly covered by the textbook Environment and Society (Robbins, Hintz and Moore, second edition 2014), thereby furthering their understanding and critical thinking around the key ‘political ecology’ dimension Population and Scarcity, Markets and Commodities, Institutions, Environmental Ethics, Risks and Hazards, Political Economy and Social Construction of Nature. During the last two weeks of teaching students create and present lectures on chosen ‘Objects of Concern’. Nine of those are covered by the textbook so that all students will be able to familiarise themselves with each of them, and those students that selected a Concern working this up to provide the deeper and richer levels of understanding and generating debate around those.

Associated Costs


Further Information & Notes

This course runs in weeks 25-29, and is scheduled in Thread 1, so may have contact hours in any or all of these times:  Mondays, 9-13; Thursday, all day; Friday, 9-13.  If this is an optional course, there may also be contact hours on Wednesdays, 11-13.

Contact Teaching Time

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

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 30 August 2024 for 1st half-session courses and 20 December 2024 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: Continuous assessment (100%).

Resit: Similar to 1st attempt, with an opportunity to resubmit any failed elements of the continuous assessment.

Formative Assessment

A strong emphasis will be made throughout the course on informal verbal feedback during seminar and workshop sessions.


Each student will receive individual feedback and a mark for each task. Feedback will be provided as written comments. Groups will also be given generic feedback.

Course Learning Outcomes


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