Undergraduate Course: Physical Geography (GEGR08010)
|School||School of Geosciences
||College||College of Science and Engineering
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||The course provides a foundation for the understanding of fundamental concepts and current ideas in physical geography for the Geography degree programmes. The course begins by considering in broad terms the development of physical geography and the key concepts and phenomena of change and evolution, cycles, fluxes and events, the environment as resource and hazard, and the human impact on the environment. The remainder of the course explores these themes in more detail in the context of the atmosphere, the hydrosphere and pedosphere, and the biosphere. The course emphasizes the importance of spatial variation, and temporal and spatial scale, and interactions between human society and the biophysical environment.
The course provides a foundation for the understanding of fundamental concepts and current ideas in physical geography for the Geography degree programmes. The course begins by considering in broad terms the development of physical geography and the key concepts and phenomena of change and evolution, cycles, fluxes and events, the environment as resource and hazard, and the human impact on the environment. The remainder of the course explores these themes in more detail in the context of the atmosphere, the hydrosphere and pedosphere, and the biosphere. The course emphasizes the importance of spatial variation, and temporal and spatial scale, and interactions between human society and the biophysical environment.
Part 1: Context and major themes
1. Introduction: outline of the course and course administration
2. Why is the Earth's physical geography as it is, and not something else?
3. The changing Earth
4. The development of Physical Geography
5. Physical geography as resource and hazard
6. Physical geography transformed: the Anthropcene
Part 2: The atmosphere
7. The climate of Earth and other planets
8. Earth's climatic zones
10. Weather events
11. Changing climate in the Quaternary and the Anthropocene
Part 3: The hydrosphere and pedosphere
12. The hydrological cycle
13. Catchment hydrology
14. Water and society
15. Introduction to soils
16. Soil classification
Part 4: The biosphere
17. The biosphere and global change
18. Ecosystems, carbon and climate
19. What is biodiversity and where is it?
20. Dynamic biogeography
21. Forests, people and environment
22. Course summary
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
|Additional Costs|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2015/16, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 22,
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 5,
Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 4,
Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2,
Summative Assessment Hours 37,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Additional Information (Learning and Teaching)
Students are required to pass both the degree coursework and the exam in order to pass the course.
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Written exam: 60%, Coursework: 40%
The assessment is in two parts: a 2000 word (max) degree essay and a multiple choice exam.
The degree essay has a choice of titles, and details on the preparation and submission of the course essay are given at the start of the course.
The course exam consists entirely of multiple choice questions that will assess your understanding of the material across the whole course content- this includes material covered in the tutorials and practicals, as well as in lectures and in their associated reading. There will be 50 questions in the exam with a choice from five options for each question. Each correct answer will gain one mark; there will be no marks deducted for incorrect answers.
At least 40% must be achieved in each component (and overall) to pass the course.
||On this course formative feedback will be provided in various ways, including oral and/or written comments students receive on their tutorial or practical assignments and feedback on responses to questions in lectures. Such formative feedback is very important as it helps improve understanding of the course content and refine skills in writing clearly and concisely.
Written feedback is provided on the degree essay.
||Hours & Minutes
|Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)||Physical Geography||2:00|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- an understanding of the nature and development of physical geography
- an appreciation of the concepts and phenomena of change, evolution, cycles, fluxes and individual events as the context for understanding of the physical geography of the present world
- an appreciation of the way the biophysical environment interacts with human societies
- an understanding of the major processes involved in the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the pedosphere and the biosphere
- an appreciation of importance of spatial variation and scale in physical geography
|1. Cox, C.B. and Moore, P.D. 2010 Biogeography: An Ecological and Evolutionary Approach (8th edn) (Wiley).|
2. Holden, J. 2012 An Introduction to Physical Geography and the Environment (3rd edn) (Pearson).
3. Goudie, A.S. 2013 The Human Impact on the Natural Environment (7th edn) (Wiley).
4. Lomolino, M.V., Riddle, B.R., Whittaker, R.J. and Brown, J.H. 2010 Biogeography 4th edn (Sinauer Associates Inc.).
5. Shonk, J. 2013 Introducing Meteorology (Dunedin Academic Press).
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||Students will gain experience of critically evaluating scientific papers and of synthesizing information, of producing written summaries and analyses, of discussing issues in a group (tutorial) format, and of undertaking the practical analysis of environmental processes.
||This course is open to all university students: priority for places is given to students on the Geography degree programmes and Sustainable Development.
|Keywords||Physical geography,atmosphere,hydrosphere,pedosphere,biosphere,environment,human society
|Course organiser||Dr Nick Hulton
Tel: (0131 6)50 2531
|Course secretary||Miss Sarah Mcallister
Tel: (0131 6)50 4917
© Copyright 2015 The University of Edinburgh - 18 January 2016 4:04 am