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Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

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; and economic, social and transport geographies. Key concepts and skills are reinforced through small group teaching (PC-classes and tutorials).

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 1
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Edward Schofield

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

This course examines how geographical patterns and processes are reflected at a variety of spatial scales (from global to local). Related study blocks will address:

  • Palaeoclimates: the key factors driving global climate changes during the Quaternary period (approximately the last 2.6 million years), and the evidence for this.
  • Geocryology: patterns, processes, sediments, and landscape features associated with the Earth’s snow, ice and frozen-ground environments.
  • Biogeography: factors governing the spatial distribution of life on the planet, ranging from micro-organisms to global-scale vegetation formations.
  • Soils: their formation, degradation and management.
  • Economic geography: the geographical study of people’s efforts to make a living, focusing on aspects of the changing economic geography of Scotland since 1914.
  • Social geography: this will consider the patterns and underlying causes for changes in Scotland’s population during the modern era. Aspects of social inequality are also explored.
  • Transport geography: the movement and connections between people, goods and information on the Earth’s surface, with links to a number of important environmental issues (e.g. climate change, air pollution).

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:

Exam, 34% (one hour, with students answering one question only)

Two pieces of coursework, each assignment 33%, .


Resit: coursework (66%, resubmission of failed components permitted, but with mark capped at D3); one-hour examination (34%)


Formative Assessment

The course includes practical exercises on how to conduct an effective literature search, and the production and interrogation of digital maps.


Students receive individual, written feedback on their coursework using standard comments sheets. Students are encouraged to discuss this feedback with their workgroup tutor.

Course Learning Outcomes


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