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Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

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.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Nicholas Spedding

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Either Programme Level 3 or Programme Level 4

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

  • Geography (GG) (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

The course is designed to introduce students to key debates, both past and present, on the nature and scope of academic geography. As such, it provides essential background for study of geography at an advanced level, irrespective of any intended specialisation. Wherever possible, parallels are drawn between the physical, environmental and human branches of the subject, although the reality (or otherwise) of geography as a single, coherent discipline is also put under scrutiny. Students are encouraged to take a critical stance towards the various claims made for and against the different types of geography, and the notion of geography as a 'contested enterprise' forms a major theme of the course.

Further Information & Notes

This course may not be taken as part of a graduating curriculum with GG 3052 or GG 3071.

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: One two-hour examination: (40%) and coursework (60%), made up of one seminar presentation plus two written exercises (e.g., an essay and a report).

Resit: Original coursework carried forward (60%) plus one 2-hour written examination (40%). Under exceptional circumstances, resubmission of failed coursework components, with mark for those components to be capped at CAS 9.

Formative Assessment

There is no stand-alone, formal formative assessment. However, the course includes a dedicated introductory session on reading, writing and talking Honours geography and a group tutorial to support the first written assignment. Feedback on summative assessments should help students to improve their subsequent performances within the course and for follow-up second half-session courses.


Students receive individual, written feedback on their coursework using standard comments sheets. We also provide whole-class feedback via MyAberdeen. This includes the main points of answers/tutors' mark schemes to encourage students to review where they gained and lost marks.

Course Learning Outcomes


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