In year three, the dissertation is the only core module. Alongside this, you can choose from a range of advanced modules appropriate to your degree and your year two optional choices.
This module provides a general introduction to the subject of earth observation. This involves analysing remotely sensed images, typically acquired from instruments on board satellites or aircraft, to investigate spatial phenomena on the Earth's surface.
Example topics include the use of global image data sets to investigate climate change, analysis of satellite sensor imagery to identify wildlife habitats and conservation concerns, and urban land use mapping from detailed aerial photography. Theoretical lectures cover the concepts underpinning remote sensing, including the physical principles determining image creation, fundamental image characteristics, methods of image analysis and uses or applications of earth observation.
There is also a strong practical component to the module, with regular practical exercises on various forms of digital image analysis.
Environment, Development and Livelihoods
This module investigates key linkages between development, livelihood and environmental issues in the global South, with particular reference to competition and conflict over environmental resources. Attention is placed on exploring these from the perspectives of different income, gender and community groups and contrasting their everyday realities with key development concepts and aggregate statistics.
Major themes include:
- linkages between poverty, environmental quality and livelihoods
- integration of environmental issues into development thinking and practice
- debates about overpopulation versus overconsumption
- urban environmental issues, slums and informality
- water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and livelihoods
- industry-related environment, development and livelihood issues
- competition and conflict in agrarian environments
- forest-based development and livelihood issues
This module will expose you to current practices, technologies and ideas existing at the forefront of environmental modelling. The module offers an opportunity for you to experience the theory and practice associated with key developments that are occurring in major modelling domains and the most recent advances from the research community.
The module will comprise four parts:
- Modelling the impacts of climate change
- Modelling biogeography
- Hydrology and hydroinformatics
European Landscapes (Italy field course)
An interdisciplinary module which introduces the principles of historical ecology and landscape history, drawing on a wide range of sources including historical maps and documents, field survey of vegetation and landscape features and oral history using Liguria as a case study. This includes a field trip to Liguria, full costs will be supplied nearer the time of the trip.
European Urban Geographies (Berlin field course)
This module covers:
- the historical development of the city of Berlin, to be visited on a field excursion (full costs will be supplied nearer the time of the trip)
- a critical approach to the cultural, historical, social and economic geography of Berlin
- a wide range of methodologies for conducting urban field work
Small group teaching is integral to the module. You are assigned into a group of three or four for the purposes of conducting small group project work while in Berlin. Frequent meetings are held between teaching staff and the small groups before, during and after the field course to support preparation for and the carrying out of research while in Berlin, as well as the writing-up of individual reports.
This module considers human attempts to manage and restore freshwater environments, specifically rivers, lakes and wetlands. It considers changes in the fluvial system that occur in response to river management and engineering and examines approaches to restoring the natural functions of rivers that have been heavily degraded by human impacts.
The module examines some of the main stressors on lakes and wetlands, and approaches for their management using an ecosystem-scale approach. The principles by which restoration practice is guided will be considered, and criteria for selection between alternative strategies will be introduced. The module will consider water quality and legislative requirements for freshwater bodies.
The module includes a field trip where you will visit a local nature reserve and develop a management plan with input from management practitioners and land-owners. You will also be able to engage with river management practitioners in a series of guest lectures.
Geographies of Money and Finance
This module explores the economic geographies of money and of contemporary processes of financialisation. Competing theories of money, and the changing landscapes of finance and the financial services industry are explored at a variety of spatial scales.
Spaces examined include the global financial system, the UK retail financial market, the City of London and the emergence of local currency systems. More specifically, the following core topics are covered:
- Financial crisis
- The history and theory of money
- Financial services and financial intermediation
- Globalisation and the international financial system
- The City of London as international financial centre
- Landscapes of retail financial services
- Alternative and imagined landscapes of money
Geographies of Violence
This module will cover:
- political, historical, and cultural geographies of war
- spaces of internal violence and non-violence relating to colonialism, anti-colonialism, religious nationalism, and decolonisation/partition
- spaces of terrorism and the war against terror
- case studies from a variety of national and international contexts
Geospatial Technologies: Mobile, Augmented and Virtual
This module focuses on the uptake of digital geographic information across a wide range of applications in society and the research agenda that is underpinning these developments. We will explore the use of location-aware mobile devices and techniques for geo-visualisation that are visually immersive and interactive. Content is organised as follows:
Part I: Digital Geographic Information in the public domain
Here we consider how a convergence of technologies (positioning, communication and processing) has allowed digital geographic information to make an impact 'beyond the desktop' at both a global scale through the web, and at a personal scale via the mobile device. This includes virtual globes, 'open' and 'linked' geographic information, Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI), location-based services, and mobile geospatial apps.
Part II: Virtual Geographic Environments
Here we look at the role and impact of multi-dimensional geographic visualisation to support decision making, environmental impact assessment, and the communication of spatial context. This includes animation and 3D graphics, advances in data capture, urban and rural landscape visualisation, interaction design and immersion, augmented and virtual realities.
Global Climate Change
The module covers the following:
- A review of modern climate systems and forcings
- Climate modelling, projections of future climate change and their uncertainty
- Controversies around climate change, the argument between believers and sceptics and the ways in which climate change is communicated to and perceived by the public
- The impact of climate change on the world's physical and built environments, water and food resources, and human health
- Mitigation and adaptation to future climate change including the role played by policy markers and NGOs
This module explores the relationships between health and place. The module is organised thematically in two broad sections. The first section considers the historical growth of institutions such as the asylum and the hospital, as well as the development of sanitary science and the public health movement. It uses these to consider who is responsible for health.
The second section is devoted to critical health geographies, with a focus on topics such as gender, physical activity and obesity. It examines the role of power and place relationships in shaping health outcomes and the experience of health.
Just Futures and their Geographies
This module examines some of the significant challenges facing contemporary society through a justice lens. It introduces theories and concepts of justice in and beyond geography including just transitions, more than human and multi-species justice, environmental justice, social justice, economic justice, futures, digital justice and works these concepts through a series of empirical case studies including the food system, digital geographies, and migration. In doing so, the module crosses a number of sub-disciplinary fields of human geography.
Landscape, Culture and Politics
The module brings together cultural and political geography to examine the connections of politics, culture and landscape. The focus is on England, where landscape has long been central to questions of power and identity, whether at local, regional, national, international or imperial scales. Relations of power shape landscapes, and the identities of those who inhabit them and move through them. From the agricultural and industrial ‘revolutions’ and the empire of trade in the 18th century, down to the political and cultural upheavals of the 21st century, landscape has played a key role in shaping national identity, in England as elsewhere.
The module traces the history of landscape, culture and politics in England, and shows how legacies of the past shape debates today. From political disputes over the UK’s relationship to Europe, to anxieties over our relationship to land and environment, to the ways in which legacies of empire and slavery inform landscape and recast English identity, the module shows how cultural, historical and political geography helps to make sense of a transforming world.
Living with Climate Change in the Yucatan (Mexico field course)
This module considers the quaternary evolution, environmental and settlement history of the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, building explicitly on material covered in Environmental Change. The focus of the course will be evolution of the present climate and environment of the lowland tropics and the interaction between the natural environment and human societies.
The module is based on a 10 day residential field trip to the Yucatan and project work associated with this. Full costs of the field trip will be advised nearer the time of the visit. The main elements are:
- an overview of climate dynamics in the tropics, with particular emphasis on changes in the monsoon, the impact of sea level change and drivers of change from mid-latitudes
- critical review of methods of environmental reconstruction, dating techniques and sampling methods (waters, soils, sediments)
- archives of change relevant to the study area, primarily lakes and cave systems
- quaternary history of the Yucatan
- mesoamerican archaeology and cultural change in the Yucatan
- exploration of the possible role of climate in driving societal change
River Management and Restoration (Mount St. Helens field course)
This field-based module examines river processes and dynamics within the context of human efforts to manage and restore dynamic river systems. The module is taught during a 12-day field course to the Mt St. Helens National Monument in Washington State, USA and a four-week river change detection and visualisation project that will run through the remainder of the autumn semester.
The post-1980 eruption landscape of Mt St. Helens and its wider region is one of the world's most important natural laboratories for the study of severely disrupted rivers. You will enjoy a unique opportunity to gain hands-on, practical skills in river management by working in this exciting and demanding environment. The module is structured around two core questions:
- What are the likely impacts of the Mt St. Helens eruption on the region's river systems, riparian settlements and environments over the next 50 years?
- What are the practical, management options that should be considered for mitigating these impacts?
Tropical Environments in the Anthropocene
Tropical environments are some of the most important ecosystems on the planet. Their ecosystems hold over 75% of global biodiversity, their forests contribute to climate change mitigation and they provide resources that support millions of people. However, they are also subject to stressors admits a growing population, pressures from an increasingly globalized world as well as weak governance.
As a result, these ecosystems are being lost or degraded, polluted, overexploited, and invaded by non-native species, which permanently alters their biodiversity and their ecosystem functioning, often with global consequences. This module explores the importance of tropical environments as well as the threats and debates that may determine their future.
Unearthing the Past
This module explores the nature of past climatic and environmental change across the Earth system. It considers evidence for rates of past climate change, possible drivers of those changes and the changing balance between natural and anthropogenic drivers of environmental change through time.
The practical nature of research into these topics will be introduced through a series of lecture as well as laboratory and computer practicals, exploring how the topics of palaeoceanography, palaeolimnology, isotope hydrology and Quaternary glaciations can be used to understand the world we live in.