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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Geography

Undergraduate Course: Environmental Sensitivity and Change (GEGR08001)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines the dynamics of the Earth System, paying particular attention to the concepts of systems, thresholds, feedbacks, sensitivity and fragility. We explore the importance of past events in understanding the present, and vice versa.

This course is open to all university students: priority for places is given to students on the Geography degree programmes, other Geoscience degrees and Sustainable Development.
Course description This course examines the dynamics of ecosystems and the environment from local to global scales, and from decades to millenia. In the course we focus on 1) understanding the drivers of environmental change from decades to millennia; 2) the responses of Polar, Temperate and Tropical regions to environmental change and their roles in further reinforcing change to both climate and ecosystems; 3) human-environment interactions and 4) methods & concepts that enable you to interpret environmental change. We examine the concepts of systems, thresholds, feedbacks, sensitivity and fragility, and how this relates and aids our understanding of environmental change. We explore the importance of past events in understanding the present and future.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Physical Geography (GEGR08010) OR Earth Dynamics (EASC08001)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  120
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 7, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Revision Session Hours 40, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 123 )
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) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Written Exam: 50%, Course Work: 50 %, Practical Exam: 0%.
Degree Project (2000 words max) 40%
Degree Examination (2 hours - 20 multiple choice questions, 6 short answer questions and 2 long answer questions) 50%
Class Mark 10% (based on tutorial assignments and tutorial attendance).
Students are required to pass both degree essay and exam to pass the course.
Feedback Feedback is provided at multiple stages. Students submit tutorial assignments, and receive feedback on each piece of work they submit. Tutorial assignments cover written work, oral presentations and group work. There is a tutorial specifically on exam revision to familiarise students with the structure and style of the exam. Students receive detailed feedback on the degree essay submitted in week 8.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)Environmental Sensitivity and Change2:00
Resit Exam Diet (August)Environmental Sensitivity and Change2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the scope of environmental sensitivity change and the diversity of scientific approaches to examining past, present and future environmental change
  2. Be able to assess and analyse drivers of environmental change across Polar, Temperate and Tropical Regions
  3. An ability to discuss the merits and shortcomings of major concepts and theories and evidence presented in support of these
  4. Develop reasoned arguments incorporating evidence and literature from an interdisciplinary research field
  5. Take responsibility for your learning via assigned reading, literature research and the preparation of class work and the degree essay
Reading List
There is no set text for this course - the content covered in the course is broad. The best, most appropriate, up to date and relevant information is to be found in the form of scientific papers and book chapters that will be provided throughout the course. Essential readings will be posted online the week before each lecture they are associated with. A list of additional but not essential readings will also be provided.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the scope and main areas of environmental sensitivity and change, and the scientific approaches to principle issues within the focus of the course.
Students will also be able to demonstrate an ability to acquire and apply specialist knowledge.
Finally, students will be able to communicate effectively both orally and in writing.
Special Arrangements This course is open to all university students: priority for places is given to students on the Geography degree programmes, other GeoScience degrees and Sustainable Development.
Additional Class Delivery Information 2 x 1 hour lecture per week plus tutorials. Practicals as required.
Course organiserDr Robert Bingham
Tel: (0131 6)51 4635
Course secretaryMiss Carry Arnold
Tel: (0131 6)50 9847
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