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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Architecture and Landscape Architecture

Postgraduate Course: Landscape Science: Geography (ARCH11135)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis module is developed around a series of lectures covering different aspects of physical geography together with some ecology and cultural geography followed by a set of student led seminars focused around a deeper investigation of specific geographical themes. There are some fieldtrips that focus on recognizing and understanding geomorphological processes and their relationship to the emergence of the landscape as we see it today.

Aims of course
To encourage learning and discussion of natural processes, the interdependence of people and the natural environment and the role of the landscape architect within this context.

Mode of delivery
Lectures, site visits, student led seminars and discussion
Course description This course runs over the whole of semester 2, focusing on physical geography geology, geomorphology, climatology and soils and looking at how the ecological and cultural patterns and processes of the landscape have followed on from and been influenced by these. It involves lectures plus some field trips to look at landscapes, principally in Edinburgh and East Lothian. It forms a basic understanding of how to interpret the landscape from a geographical perspective. You will also take a specific theme and landscape and, through research, prepare both a group assessment of a theme and your own analysis of an area and write a research paper. Field work will support this through direct observation.

A whole day site visit to the area of Dunbar in East Lothian will include a chance to observe and to test your theoretical knowledge in the field. Assignments will take place on site which will contribute to the summative assessment of one learning outcome (LO1).


The course will:

1: Teach you the geological, geomorphological, climatic and soil processes that form the physical basis of the landscape and how to analyse them

2: Teach you how the ecological and cultural patterns and processes that form the landscape are linked to physical geography

3: Teach you how to write a research-based paper
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Pre-requisites


Prohibited combinations
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  100
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 9, Fieldwork Hours 11, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 78 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The assessment for this course is based on three elements: one formative and two summative:

1. A formative presentation based the theme you have selected for the research paper.

2. A single 2000 word research paper on the Physical Geography of a regional landscape and how this has affected Ecological/Human/Cultural aspects of the same landscape. For this you should take an area that you know and are familiar with and to which you can bring personal experience. This may be your home area or a place you know from visits, perhaps regular holidays or where you have worked or spent a gap year. The area should be a landscape, ie. not a whole country, a huge region nor a small site such as a park. It should be fully referenced using a range of high quality sources in combination with field observation (where feasible).

The paper should cover how the geology, geomorphology, climate and soils produced the landscape we can see now (Part 1, approx. 1300 words) and then briefly describe how ecology and human activity has subsequently shaped the landscape on the top of and together with the results and ongoing physical geographical processes (Part 2, approx. 700 words).

3. Assignments from fieldwork where concepts discussed in class will be applied through observation and analysis of various locations using worksheets where you will answer questions through notes, and by making sketches and sections about specific aspects of geography.

The learning outcomes are weighted equally, but the two summative assessments contribute in different ways to the learning outcomes:

LO1: 100% fieldwork assignments
LO2: 100% research paper
LO3: 100% research paper

Students must pass all learning outcomes. The aggregation of failed Learning outcomes with passing learning outcomes to generate an overall pass mark is not permitted. Failure of one learning outcome will result in a Forced Fail (FF) outcome.
Feedback Formative feedback is provided orally on the development of the initial research paper subject and structure.

Summative feedback is provided on the research paper and fieldwork in relation to the relevant LOs.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. To demonstrate an understanding of the basic processes of geology, geomorphology, soils, climate, ecology and culture through field observation and analysis.
  2. To demonstrate an ability to gather information from a wide variety of appropriate academic and other sources and to synthesise it to form an integrated picture of a given landscape.
  3. To communicate knowledge and ideas about geography and its relationship to landscape architecture through a group seminar and an individual research paper.
Reading List
Core texts:
Bell, S. (2012) Landscape: Pattern, perception and process (2nd Edition, Routledge, Abingdon

Bell, S. (2004) Elements of Visual Design in the Landscape (2nd Edition) Taylor and Francis, London

Smithson, P., Addison, K., Atkinson, K. (2008) Fundamentals of the Physical Environment. Routledge,

Clowes, A. and Comfort, P (1987) Process and Landform. Oliver & Boyd, p.335. (out of print).

Goudie A. (2001) The Nature of the Environment. Blackwell
Barry R.G., Chorley R.J. and Chase T. (2009) Atmosphere, weather and climate. Routledge

Brady N.C. and Weil R.R. (1999) The nature and properties of soils. Prentice Hall, p881
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The course provides experience in searching for and critically evaluating information from a range of sources. The seminar provides opportunities to develop communication skills in oral presentation and the group work provides opportunities to develop skills working with others while the essay requires autonomy.
Special Arrangements Landscape Institute criteria: physical and natural environment.
Course organiserDr Simon Bell
Tel: (0131 6)51 5828
Course secretaryMs Katerina Sykioti
Tel: (0131 6)51 5744
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