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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Geography

Undergraduate Course: Global Change (GEGR08011)

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 the 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, although priority is given to students on the Geography degree programme, other GeoSciences degrees and Sustainable Development.
Course description This course examines the dynamics of ecosystems and the environment from local to global scales. 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 and 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 examine the importance of past events in understanding of environmental change and explore the importance of past events in understanding the present and future.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  120
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 18, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 8, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 170 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework: 50%, Exam: 50%
Coursework: Degree essay (2000 words max): 50%
Exam: 2 answer questions (24 hour exam).

Students are required to pass both the degree essay and exam to pass the course.
There will also be three formative tutorial assessments as part of the course (Weeks 3, 5 and 9).

Assessment deadlines:
Week 8 - Degree essay
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.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the scope of environmental sensitivity and 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. 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 across an interdisciplinary research field;
  5. Take responsibility for learning via assigned reading, literature research and the preparation of class work and the degree essay
Reading List
There is no 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.
Keywordsenvironmental change,global change
Course organiserDr Eva Panagiotakopulu
Tel: (0131 6)50 2531
Course secretaryMiss Leigh Corstorphine
Tel: (01316) 502572
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