Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2014-2015 (archived)

Module GEOG41315: Research Frontiers of Human Geography

Department: Geography

GEOG41315: Research Frontiers of Human Geography

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2014/15 Module Cap


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • The aim of this module is to expose students to emerging international research in Human Geography through a series of seminars organised into thematic blocks directly linked to the Department’s research priorities. The module works alongside Advanced Research in Human Geography in that it allows students to examine a wider range of emergent research questions and problems, thus ensuring students are made aware of the spread of research paradigms and theoretical positions in human geography and are well informed of the latest thinking and ideas in their field of enquiry. At the same time, the module is designed to enhance student’s generic skills in interpreting and criticising research (through the production of a seminar critique) and in presenting complex material (through an oral presentation).


  • The course will be organised around themes that complement and enhance the research priorities and frontiers of international geographical research in the Department of Geography.
  • The specific themes will be determined on a yearly basis to ensure they are responsive to emerging research across the breadth of Human Geography and student interests.
  • Themes will be research areas, problems or questions that are beginning to be engaged with by groups of staff.
  • Each thematic block will be taught through a series of: (1) staff-led or researcher-led seminars discussing emerging research on the topic.
  • Each seminars will include a 45 minute academic paper or equivalent, a response by a group of students, and a group discussion moderated by a different group of students and (2) seminars by external speakers preceded by a discussion amongst the students and module convenor of pre-circulated readings.
  • Students will then select one theme to explore in more depth and will deliver a presentation at the end of term 2 on that selected theme.
  • Two workshops – one at the start of the course and the other after the end of the thematic blocks - will focus on the design and delivery of presentations including using audio-visual materials and skills and techniques of public speaking.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will have in-depth knowledge of how research at the frontiers of human geography engages with and responds to the emergent practices and processes shaping the contemporary world
  • Students will have detailed knowledge of the latest thinking and ideas around one major theme and critically evaluate the difference geographical thought and research makes to how that theme is understood
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will be able to critically and creatively engage with research into a wide range of contemporary geographical issues
  • Students will be able to understand the limits and possibilities of various ways of presenting and discussing geographic research
Key Skills:
  • Students will develop skills in creating and using audio-visual material for specific audiences
  • Students will develop new presentation skills, including styles of delivery, the use of rhetoric and modes of presentation and argumentation
  • Students will enhance their skills in synthesising information, deliberating and responding critically and constructively to arguments and the use of evidence

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Workshops, seminars and seminars with student responses

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Workshop 2 1 per term 2 hours 4 hours
Research Frontier Seminar 12 Weekly 2 hours 24 hours
Seminar 4 End of module 3 hours 12
Self-directed learning 110
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Seminar Critique Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Seminar Critique 2000 words 100% Yes
Component: Oral Presentation Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Oral Presentation 15 minutes 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Formative feedback on the response to the academic seminar and written and verbal feedback on the individual presentation.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University