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Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

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.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 1
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Nicholas Spedding

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Either Programme Level 1 or Programme Level 2

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

  • 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

Related study blocks will address:

  • How the planet works. The interdependence of natural and human systems: interaction of atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, world cultures, economic and political systems.
  • Global environmental change. Atmosphere and oceans. The relationships between land cover and land use, population, and development. Political, economic and ethical consequences.
  • Resources, development and environmental degradation. Natural resources as the foundation of prosperity and human well-being. Agricultural and industrial development, social and environmental justice.
  • Globalisation, society and lifestyles. What are the impacts of global economic and technological change? What is sustainable development and is it achievable?

Further Information & Notes

This course may not be included in a graduating curriculum with GG 1005, GG 1006 or KL 107Y.

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 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st attempt: coursework: - practical and presentation (67%), plus one-hour exam (33%). 

Resit: coursework (67%, resubmission of failed components permitted, but with mark capped at D3); one-hour examination (33%)

Formative Assessment

The course includes a workgroup exercise on assessment of essays and a formative, spreadsheet practical exercise.


Students receive individual, written feedback on their coursework using standard comments sheets. For the practical and in-class tests we also provide whole-class feedback via MyAberdeen. We also put model answers/mark schemes for other coursework on MyAberdeen to give students the chance to self-assess their own performance.

Course Learning Outcomes


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