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Undergraduate Geography 2016-2017

GG1008: GLOBAL WORLDS, GLOBAL CHALLENGES

15 credits

Level 1

First Sub Session

The course explores major, global-scale issues associated with environmental change, world resources and prospects for development (sustainable or otherwise).  Example topics include climate change, natural hazards, population growth, deforestation, water resources and global food supply.  The course is designed to appeal to all students interested in the relationships between people and the natural environment, irrespective of their academic background or degree intention.  The course combines aspects of the earth, environmental and social sciences.  No prior knowledge is assumed.

GG1510: GLOBAL WORLDS, LOCAL CHALLENGES

15 credits

Level 1

Second Sub Session

This course considers the geographical patterns that characterise the Earth’s physical and human environments and landscapes, and the processes that operate within and lead to changes in these. It is also concerned with the ways in which people occupy the Earth’s surface, their movements and settlements, and their perceptions and use of landscapes, resources and space. Lecture material is presented in study blocks covering: glaciology and palaeoclimates; biogeography and soils; economic, social and historical geographies; and issues surrounding sustainability. Key concepts and skills are reinforced through small group teaching (PC-classes and tutorials).

GG2013: PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENTS

15 credits

Level 2

First Sub Session

This course provides an understanding of environmental processes and landscape change through time and space. The course places Physical Geography as an integral component of Earth System Science. The first half of the course explores physical environmental processes, whilst the second focuses on evidence of environmental change across a range of temporal and spatial scales. Three themes of glaciology, hydrology and palaeoecology will be explored to illustrate the linkages and interactions between process and form over a range of temporal and spatial scales. The course is team-taught by staff with an emphasis on using examples from recent research projects.

GG2014: SPACE, ECONOMY AND SOCIETY

15 credits

Level 2

First Sub Session

GG2014 examines political, economic, social and cultural change from geographical perspectives. It makes use of a range of concepts and, being team-taught, uses case studies drawn from our own fields of research. Topics covered typically include: globalisation; economic geography; mobility and transport; political geography; rural change in Western Europe; and relationships between place and identity. The course is designed to be accessible to students from disciplines such as anthropology, economics, geography, history, international relations and sociology. It is intended to provide a foundation for higher level social science study, particularly in human geography.

GG2508: SKILLS AND TECHNIQUES IN GEOSCIENCES

15 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

This course introduces students to a range of scientific and social scientific skills and techniques used in Geography. The course involves a residential field trip in the Easter vacation, past venues have included: the Isle of Skye; the Isle of Arran, Inverness and the Cairngorms National Park. The trips enable students to employ skills and techniques learned in lectures and workgroup sessions to conduct original research into issues covered elsewhere.

Only available to students registered for programme year 2 of a Geography study aim or to students also taking at least 3 of GG2013, GG2014, GG2509 & GG2510

GG2509: ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY

15 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

Interactions between human society and our environment have never been more complex or more critical in order to place us on a pathway to more sustainable future. This course explores the diverse approaches and perspectives that help us think about, explain and address all of the environmental challenges that we face in the 21st century. Students will be introduced to these approaches and perspectives and will have the opportunity to apply them across a range of regional and global environmental issues such as climate change, sustainable tourism, the energy crisis and the ozone hole.

GG2510: MAPPING AND MONITORING THE ENVIRONMENT

15 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

In a digital era of GPS navigators and many online map tools (e.g. Google Maps), there is an increase demand for professionals able to understand and manipulate geographical data and use these to monitor processes at various scales. The course provides a solid background in the acquisition of geographical data, both onshore and offshore with classic field-based and remote sensing techniques. It covers the creation and interpretation of maps and looks at the history of remote sensing and its science as well as providing the essential basis to understanding what a Geographical Information System is.

GG3031: APPROACHES TO GEOGRAPHY

30 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

This core course is designed to introduce Honours students to key debates on the nature and scope of academic geography.  Geographers past and present have studied a huge variety of phenomena using a variety of tools for investigating their subject.  This course will help you understand this diversity.  Example topics include: the changing meaning of the ‘environment’; the use and abuse of statistical analysis; the influence of left-wing and post-modern perspectives, and the role of technology.  Students may specialise in particular aspects, or mix-and-match across the breadth of the discipline, as you wish.

GG3052: APPROACHES TO EARTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

15 credits

Level 3

Both Sessions

This year-long core course is designed to give Joint Honours students an advanced introduction to the history, philosophy and methodology of the earth and environmental sciences.  The first part examines key conceptual debates and innovations.  Topics include: the discovery of ‘deep time’, the development of ideas about ice ages, the ‘quantitative revolution’ in physical geography post-1945, the importance of digital technologies and the influence of environmentalism.  The second part, designed to support students’ own project work, addresses the implications for research: e.g., the possibilities and pitfalls of different qualitative and quantitative approaches.

GG3057: LAND AND MARINE CONSERVATION

15 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

This course is designed for students with an interest in how best to make use of land, water and cultural resources. It examines aspects of the science, ethics, aesthetics, economics, law and politics of landscape management.  Example topics include: ecosystems services, national parks, ‘wild’ land, and sustainable tourism, illustrated using case studies from Scotland, the rest of the UK and further afield.  Teaching includes presentations from external speakers working in environmental conservation.  Students can select a case study of their choice to research and write-up as part of the course assessment.

GG3068: DATA ANALYSIS

15 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

This course is a mix of 1 hour lectures and 1 hour practical sessions using statistical analysis software (SPSS). It is very much a ‘hands-on’ course and a wide range of datasets are employed to give you confidence in the application of statistical techniques. The course is designed to give you the skills to undertake exploratory data analysis, test for relationships (using correlation and regression), and test for differences between sample data (from the Sciences and Social Sciences). Classical statistical analysis techniques are introduced and the value of multivariate statistics to detect patterns in complex data sets is also explored.

GG3069: REMOTE SENSING AND GEOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION SYSTEMS

15 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

After learning about the theoretical bases in GG2510, this course covers the practical aspects of remote sensing and GIS. It is entirely hands on, and students learn through a series of exercises that becomes progressively more challenging and more specific to different geographical disciplines. By the end of the course students will be familiar with key remote sensing and GIS software and will have learned their fundamental tools. These are highly demanded skills in the job market at present, so this course is strategic for those students potentially interested in a job where these types of tools are employed.

GG3071: APPROACHES TO GEOGRAPHY

15 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

This core course is designed to introduce Honours students to key debates on the nature and scope of academic geography.  Geographers past and present have studied a huge variety of phenomena using a variety of tools to investigate their subject.  This course will help you understand this diversity.  Topics include: the changing meaning of the ‘environment’; the use and abuse of statistical analysis; the influence of left-wing and post-modern perspectives, and the role of technology.  Students may specialise in particular aspects, or mix-and-match across the breadth of the discipline, as you wish.

GG3570: CONCEPTS IN HUMAN GEOGRAPHY

15 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

This course provides an opportunity to explore, in depth, the development and application of four important concepts in human geography. Each concept is introduced in a lecture and then discussed in a related tutorial and individual coursework assignment. The course analyses the development and research application of key ideas, and introduces you to contemporary conceptual debate in the discipline. In these ways GG3570 provides an excellent springboard for Senior Honours study. Which concepts are covered will depend on the composition of the teaching team. In recent years they have included: networks; resilience; landscape; and transnational migration.

GG3573: RESEARCH DESIGN

30 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

This core course builds on GG2508 to provide an introduction to the conduct of research in the Geosciences at an advanced level.  It is intended to familiarise students with the skills necessary to design, implement and write up effective research.  These skills will support work on undergraduate dissertations and other project work.  The course also introduces careers research skills, and explores how you can best make use of your degree in the 'real world' after graduation: workshops run in partnership with the University's Career Service provide practical advice and training on how best to develop your career.

GG3574: RESEARCH DESIGN

15 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

This core course builds on GG2508 to provide an introduction to the conduct of research in the Geosciences at an advanced level.  It is intended to familiarise students with the skills necessary to design, implement and write up effective research.  These skills will support work on undergraduate dissertations and other project work.  The course also introduces careers research skills, and explores how you can best make use of your degree in the 'real world' after graduation: workshops run in partnership with the University's Career Service provide practical advice and training on how best to develop your career.

GG3575: TECHNIQUES IN PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY

15 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

This course provides an introduction to and training in multiple techniques which are used in Physical Geography. These are directly related to our research strengths in glaciology, hydrology and palaeoecology. This develops skills across a range of techniques which can be subsequently applied to dissertation projects, for advanced 4th year courses, for higher level education. These techniques all represent transferable skills with may be used applied in the workplace. There are three field days where data are collected with subsequent lab classes providing instruction on how to analyse and interpret the data.

GG4016: TRANSPORT GEOGRAPHY

15 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

This course assesses the opportunities to develop a sustainable transport system in Britain and elsewhere. It questions whether mobility is a fundamental human right; whether we can rely on technological solutions to mitigate environmental problems from transport; how the environmental, social and economic costs and benefits of new transport infrastructure can be traded off against each other; the role of spatial structure in the development of sustainable transport systems and the extent to which urban and rural challenges require fundamentally different solutions.

GG4023: GEOGRAPHY DISSERTATION

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

The Honours dissertation provides students with the opportunity to produce a piece of independent and original research on an approved topic.  Advanced level knowledge of a sub-area of the discipline is developed through independent study supervised by a member of academic staff.  This course is compulsory for any students completing a single Honours degree in Geography and for any joint Honours student who has not registered to complete a dissertation in their other Honours subject.

GG4069: GLACIOLOGY

15 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

This course explores the behaviour of glacier ice, its role as an integral part of the climate system and in shaping the environment.  It investigates how glaciers form and flow, the effect this has on their surroundings (erosion, transport and deposition) , and the response and contribution of the cyrosphere to climate change.

Students will learn to: explain the mechanisms of glacial mass balance, dynamics, hydrology, erosion and deposition; evaluate the contribution of glacial fieldwork, remote sensing and modelling to our understanding of the cyrosphere; and assess the impact and response of glaciers and ice sheets on/to climate change.

GG4071: ENVIRONMENTAL HYDROLOGY

15 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

This course aims to introduce students to key concepts and approaches used to understand, monitor and model rivers and river basins. It focuses on understanding the movement of water through river basins and the links between river flow regimes, habitats and ecosystems. Students are introduced to a number of important approaches used in modern day hydrology and the insights that these provide into how river basins are structured and function, both hydrologically and ecologically.  The course involves a mixture of traditional lectures, dealing with state-of-the-art knowledge, and hands-on computer based exercises.

GG4072: RURAL AND AGRI-FOOD GEOGRAPHIES

15 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

Through lectures, student-led seminars and presentations by external experts, this course enables students to engage at an advanced level with social, economic and policy issues and changes associated with contemporary countryside and agri-food geographies at local, regional, national and international scales.  Course topics include: rural socio-economic restructuring; accessibility and service provision; a conceptually-informed exploration of changing agri-food networks; the Common Agricultural Policy; the move towards a multi-functional countryside; and rural futures scenarios.

GG4537: GEOGRAPHICAL ISSUES

30 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

This core, ‘capstone’ course is designed to develop further students’ critical understanding of the contemporary intellectual and real-world contexts in which the academic discipline of geography – and its graduates! – operates.  The course involves the preparation of seminar presentations and short papers on a series of issues pertinent to contemporary geography.   This work should showcase new philosophies and methodologies; and/or the relationships between geography and other academic disciplines; and/or applications of academic geography to real-world problems.  Students also consider how they can best make use of their degree after graduation, with preparation of a reflective, career-planning report.

GG4571: ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE

15 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

This course delves into the environmental changes that have occurred since the end of the last ice age 14,000 years ago (the Lateglacial and the Holocene). We will explore the evidence used to reconstruct past environments from proxy records preserved in archives such as peat bogs and the ice cores that suggest that climate and environmental conditions have been far from stable. Our discussion of the evidence will show that the Lateglacial and Holocene are characterised by a series of major but short-lived climatic oscillations as well as permanent transformations as a result of increasing pressure as human population has developed.

GG4572: DIGITAL GEOGRAPHIES

15 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

The rapid evolution of technology has had many impacts on the study and practice of Human Geography, altering traditional notions of space, place and time, and introducing opportunities for novel research. In this course, we use a mixture of theory and application to familiarise students with issues and innovations in Digital Geography ranging from the digitisation of social practices and networks to digital divides and the problem of privacy.

GG4573: MONTANE ENVIRONMENTS

15 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

The fieldtrip explores the physical geography of the Italian Alps. The course is based around an eight day residential field-course located In the shadow of the Mont Blanc Massif supported by taught and student-led sessions on campus.  Students have the opportunity to study glacier dynamics and geomorphology, alpine hazards such as avalanches, mountain ecology and the dynamics of alpine rivers. Students complete independent research projects, conducted in small groups, on topics they select themselves and which are developed with support from an academic supervisor.  The course will also provide research training in physical geography.

GG4574: HUMAN GEOGRAPHY: HONOURS FIELD COURSE

15 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

The fieldtrip is based in Boston, Massachusetts, a compact city with much of historical and contemporary interest to Human geographers.  The course is based around an eight day residential field-course supported by taught and student-led sessions on campus.  Students complete independent research projects, conducted in small groups, on topics they select themselves and which are developed with support from an academic supervisor.  In previous years project topics have included transport, tourism, immigration, housing and urban regeneration.

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