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More in this section Course Modules

3rd year modules

GG3001: Independent Dissertation

GG3001 is compulsory for all students. You undertake an individual piece of geographical research on an agreed topic. Preparation begins during Year 2 and students are allocated a member of staff as a dissertation adviser who will provide advice on research design, data collection and analysis. The final dissertation is submitted in January of Year 3 and is about 10,000 words in length.

GG3005: Independent Placement-Linked Dissertation 

GG3005 sees students bid for placement-linked dissertation places organised by staff. The placements have been in businesses, charities or third sector institutions. Details about the placement will be formally announced at the end of the Autumn term of the second year. Students are able to competitively bid for one of these placements at the start of the Spring term of the second year. Those that are not awarded a placement will be provided with group feedback and after discussing preliminary research ideas with relevant staff will continue with GG3001.

GG3013: Defending coastal & wetland environments

This course develops two main themes: firstly, natural and anthropogenic processes which act on, and cause management problems on, coastlines; and secondly, the methods by which these problems can be overcome with coastal defence. Integral to both these themes is the development of contemporary debates relating to hard and soft engineering; coastal defence as part of the wider field of coastal management; the integration of coastal tourism into defence management; and sea-level rise. These ideas are developed in practicals to give students experience of defence application and planning.

GG3014: Savannas

This course aims to provide a sound knowledge and understanding of the main ecological determinants of tropical savannas, namely plant available moisture, plant available nutrients, fire and herbivory, and their interactions and effects on savanna structure and functions. The course examines the influence of humans on tropical savannas, and the inter-relationships between ecological and anthropogenic factors.

GG3017: Conservation biogeography

This course examines how species and biological communities have evolved in response to changing geographies. The course integrates the study of the physical environment with the study of biological phenomena (species evolution, population biology, biological community structure), emphasizing conservation strategies in response to current global change. 

GG3018: Global Warming

This course looks to understand the difference between "natural" and "anthropogenic" climate change and discuss why scientists are confident that global warming is; 1) occurring and 2) a result of human activity. It debates the  validity and uncertainty associated with the methods and estimates of future climate change, and  outlines and critiques the impacts of these change on different parts of the Earth system and different regions of the world. 

GG3019: Wetland Environments 

In this module, we use wetlands to explore how scientific knowledge of an environmental system can contribute to policy, management and conservation decisions. Wetlands exist globally in every climatic zone from the polar regions to the tropics. They are vitally important ecosystems because of their environmental and social value. For example, wetlands act as carbon stores; support biodiversity; supply water, food and fuel; and provide valuable environmental and archaeological archives. However, wetlands are vulnerable to over-exploitation and many wetlands have been degraded due to human use, poor management and impacts of climate change. This module takes a holistic view of wetlands and explores the scientific basis of the human and environmental impacts on an ecosystem and how conflicts between different ecosystem users can be managed. 

GG3021: Rivers & landscape

This course aims to provide a conceptual framework for understanding contemporary fluvial processes. It also seeks to extend understanding of river response to contemporary environmental change, especially those induced by human intervention in the catchment, and to illustrate the principal problems of river management in both developed and developing world contexts.

GG3026: Glacial Environments

This third year course provides a detailed critical assessment of modern and Quaternary glacial environments, processes and products, including glacial erosion, transport, deposition and tectonism, in glaciofluvial and glaciolacustrine systems. The emphasis is on understanding the links between the cryosphere and environmental change, past, present and future.

GG3028: Digital Landscapes

Digital Landscapes seeks to understand remote sensing has led to paradigm shifts in our knowledge of global environmental change, and  provide practical experience of using digital topographic and satellite data. It also  examines examples of how remote sensing contributes to improved understanding of environmental change of contrasting processes and environments e.g.: a) digital terrain data and earth surface processes; and b) sateliite observation of the hydro-, cryo- and biospheres.  

GG3034: Arid Africa

This course investigates the climatic history of the presently arid regions of Africa, the geomorphological evolution of the African landscape and the manner in which human populations have adapted to their surroundings. The course links the long-term environmental and geomorphic development of arid regions and the growth of human populations and their relationship with their environment, to present day human resource use. It also examines the future challenges posed by the environment to human populations.

GG3046: Mammals in a changing World

This course enables students to examine mammalian responses to different environments and to human intervention both during the Pleistocene and at the present day. Topics covered include; mammalian evolution and the nature of the fossil record; mammalian biogeography and the factors controlling past and present mammalian distributions; the physiological and behavioural adaptations of mammals to polar, desert, forest, grassland and montane environments; current threats to mammalian communities. The course includes a one-day field trip. 

GG3047: Volcanoes

This course aims to provide an overview of the geography of volcanoes and allow students to develop their research interests in either the physical geography of volcanoes or the influences of volcanoes on aspects of human society. Students will first need a good basic grasp of the underlying tectonic and volcanological influences on different volcanic provinces, volcanos, and an overview of major volcanic centres and eruptions as context for the remainder of the course: (1) Volcanos and climate change including abrupt and long term trends and also Super-volcanoes and significant Quaternary climate change; (2) Volcanic products as tie markers of the correlation of climatic records and the testing of climate models; (3) Volcanic impacts on past societies including genetic bottlenecks, species extinctions, societal collapse, major loss of life and economic stress;  (4) recent volcanic impacts on societies and management and mitigation strategies; (5) human compounding of volcanic risk; and (6) volcanoes as drivers of economic development including geo-tourism.

GG 3053: Regeneration and urban policy

This course examines elements of urban regeneration in the context on modern society needs. The course integrates a range of issues, providing an insight into the theories and concepts relating to urban and regional development; the changing role of urban and regional policies in the UK; and the role of the state in addressing problems of geographical variations in standards of living. Throughout, students are exposed to practical examples of urban and regional policies and programmes, and introduced to the skills necessary to appraise such policies.

GG 3056: Geographies of commodities

This course explores the geographies of commodities and the commodification of geographies. In capitalist societies, commodities are ubiquitous, the materials of our everyday lives and places. The clothes we wear, the food we eat, the spaces we live in, even our own bodies and minds, are all routinely bought and sold. This course offers the chance to reflect on the geographical character and implications of this widespread commodification. Using case studies it considers broader questions about the kind of spaces, places and geographical knowledges produced through commodity culture.

GG3060: Post-Capitalist Cities

This course explores how contemporary cities are dominated by capitalist processes, but also how people are forging new means of existence that lie outside of those processes. The modern city is a complex set of inter-related processes, some of which aid in the urbanisation processes, but also create inequality and social polarisation. Through innovate methods carried out in London, this course allows learners to explore how cities can house activities that contest, react and resist the dominant forces of capitalism. 

GG3061: Geopolitics of Media & Communications 

This course examines the relationship and interaction between geopolitics (and geopolitical knowledge), the media and communications technologies. In particular, this module combines an interest in both (i) the role of ‘the media’ (film, radio, television and journalistic output) in communicating real life events and ‘geopolitical imaginaries’ to audiences, and (ii) the emergence of the media and communications technologies as official devices of geopolitics and ‘statecraft’. 

GG3062: Images of Earth: From Homer to Google

Geography comprises diverse ways of imagining, interpreting and picturing the globe and its landscapes, and the implications of these for human existence. This course examines the role of cartographic images in representing space at different scales (from the global to the local) and in shaping western geographical imagination in different historical periods. While following a chronological pattern from Classical antiquity to the present, classes are arranged thematically, with a specific focus on the different cultural contexts in which cartographic representations were produced and with which they actively interacted.

GG 3064: Exploration, science & the making of Geography

This course examines the connections between exploration, ‘discovery’, and science in the making of geography. Through an examination of the practices of science and geography the course considers how knowledge about the world was put to order and how, in turn, it facilitated Europe’s various imperial projects. In tracing the production, circulation, and reception of geographical knowledge, the course addresses certain important questions, including what we take reliable knowledge to be, whom we consider to be credible producers of it, and how its reception is influenced by social, political, and religious circumstances.

GG3065: Geography of Museums & Collections

This course is about the geography of collecting and collections. The gathering up of objects from places near and far, their arrangement according to some principle or system, and their display in a variety of forms are all inherently spatial processes.  The history of collecting raises questions about the geography of acquisition, especially the networks through which artefacts and specimens are obtained whether for learning, for profit or for pleasure. Similarly, the evolution and exhibition of collections – whether in the home, the museum or the gallery - depends on particular kinds of spatial arrangements through which objects take on their meaning.  All these developments are reflected in the growing significance of collaboration between geographers and museums.

GG 3067: Geopolitics on Film

This course uses film as a point of departure to analyse and interpret geopolitical issues associated with international warfare, identity politics, global change, North-South relations, security, sovereignty, spying and intelligence gathering. The course also allows you to develop an understanding of the methods and sources academic researchers use to critically interpret film and visual cultures more generally.

GG 3069: Geographies of home

This course considers ‘home’ as a key site and spatial imaginary in the contemporary world. Conceptually the course considers the long-established suppression of home and its more recent revival in research across the humanities and social sciences. The focus on both the global North and global South allows students to understand the complexity of meanings and experiences of home in different communities and countries across the world. The course is structured to encourage students to explore both the making of home, but also challenges and disruptions to home through engagement with vibrant inter-disciplinary literature on this topic. Ultimately the course encourages students to consider the theoretical, empirical and policy importance of geographies of home.

GG 3076: Gender and Development 

This is an advanced level course which examines approaches to gender and development in the Global South. The course is structured to encourage students to see the links between development theory and practice, and in particular how and why the gendered dimensions of development practices and outcomes differ spatially and temporally. The main themes explored are: approaches to gender and development; social constructions of gender and gender ideologies; researching gender; gender and employment; households; migration; role of NGOs; gendered 
politics; health; technology. These themes will be related to both rural and urban contexts, using case studies from throughout the Global South. The course addresses gendered dimensions of difference and inequality; the importance of recognising the specificity of place in the constructions of gender; the spatial variations in gendered processes, and historical changes in the experiences of men and women and approaches to gender and development policies; how policy interventions operate at a range of scales; the specific contribution of the discipline of Geography to the understanding of gender and development.

GG3083: Cities & Development in the Global South

This This multidisciplinary course seeks to contextualise urban problems in broader global development processes, exploring the links between national and local policies as well as the economic, social, demographic, institutional, cultural and political relationships between the global North and South, urban governance, planning and environmental policy in the global South. It aims to provide students with an understanding of cutting edge conceptual and operational debates in global urban development theory and practice.
At a time when three-quarters of the world's urban population and over 90% of future urban population growth will be in the developing world, it is vital we understand relationships between urban and development issues from variety of thematic, theoretical and empirical perspectives of contemporary urban policy.

GG3084: Mobilities

The world is moving, and we have perhaps moved much further and more intensely than ever before. But far from romanticise our mobilities as celebrations of speed and fluidity, or reduce them to a line from A ---- B, this course explores mobility as a highly uneven and unequal process bound up in the constitution of our economies, politics, landscapes and everyday lives. This Mobilities course will introduce and develop the approaches of mobility studies as a way to make sense of the mobile constitution of society. From infrastructure programmes and digital technologies; policies of mobility and mobility policies; mobility spaces and architectures; border security; to the simple act of getting to work, the course will interogate mobility as a key concept within geography and the wider social sciences.

GG3085: Challenging Development?:  Disasters, Conflict and Human (In)Security

Despite the optimism at the end of the Cold War on the 1990s, the geopolitical world today seems more fragile and insecure than ever; with violent internal and regionalised conflicts visible across the Global South, the crisis in the Middle East and North Africa spilling over to neighbouring states, mass migrations of vulnerable populations becoming more common and resulting in humanitarian emergencies of epic proportions. This global insecurity is further put to the test by a more erratic climate as well as large-scale natural disasters. Against this backdrop, this course takes a human security approach to development and asks one simple question: What are the main challenges to people-centred development and how can these be addressed? The course considers this question with reference to conflict, disasters and climate change, humanitarian aid, military interventions and social movements. 

GG3090: Critical GIS

This course provides a critical perspective on goals and purposes of GIS from the perspective of identities and representations.  It will also develop practical skills in applied work with Critical GIS and the GeoWeb. The following questions inform lecture content: what is the role of geographic information systems and geospatial technologies on collective and individual senses of self and identity?  How do these systems and technologies shape society?  In what ways does the increasingly seamless integration of mobile technologies and global positioning systems into everyday lives affect senses of security and/or empowerment? 

GG3160: Cultural Imaginations of Nature

Nature is perhaps the most complex word in the English language, Raymond Williams stated, because it includes within it the major variations of human thought. This advanced level course will examine the ways in which the geographies of Nature/nature are bound up with their representations. Students will gain an understanding of key critical concepts in the debates (such as nature-culture, wilderness, and posthuman nature), and will learn to critically evaluate and analyse these via a range of cultural representations, including essays, fiction, non-fiction, and film. Students will be guided to develop and articulate their own original positions within these debates, and by the end of the course will be able to apply them to their own chosen cultural texts. The seminars and lectures are arranged to foreground the active role of cultural representations in shaping the ways in which natural objects, processes, and spaces continue to be perceived, theorised, and encountered. We will explore a range of genres and sources, asking questions such as: What is nature? Does it include us? How does the way that we think about it affect its and our entwined fates and agencies? 

Video: Introduction to field courses in the department

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