Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Geography


Type Tied Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham
Tied to L702
Tied to L704
Tied to F800
Tied to F803
Tied to LA01
Tied to LA02
Tied to LA03
Tied to LMV0
Tied to LMV1
Tied to LMV2
Tied to LMVA
Tied to LMVP
Tied to CFG0
Tied to FGC0
Tied to CFG1
Tied to CFG2
Tied to X1F8
Tied to X2F8
Tied to X3F8
Tied to X4F8


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • The module introduces students to a broad range of concepts and approaches in physical geography, using scale, from global to local, as the organizing framework.


  • The module provides an integrated framework for the study of the environmental systems of the Earth
  • The module examines five important themes in physical geography through a variety of scales, from global to local: 1) Climate processes and change; 2) Quaternary glaciations and landscapes; 3) Sea-level change; 4) Water and water resources; and 5) Active tectonics and mountain environments
  • The module will also address the interconnections between these themes

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
  • understand the importance of time and rates of change through a consideration of contemporary Earth processes and longer-term environmental change
  • understand how humans have affected these processes and changes
  • apply these themes at a conceptual level and with reference to selected case studies provided in lectures and student readings
Subject-specific Skills:
  • On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
  • understand general principles (e.g. timescales, spatial variability, procees and form) of Physical Geography and relate them within and between the key themes of the course
  • critically engage with key issues in Physical Geography
  • understand the range and scope of approaches to Physical Geography
Key Skills:
  • On successful completion of the module students are expected to be able to:
  • assess and interpret material presented in lectures
  • present logical written arguments
  • critically evaluate a range of literature on selected themes in Physical Geography
  • abstract information from multiple sources

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

  • The module framework is based on a programme of lectures.
  • These lectures provide the context in which facts and introductory concepts are conveyed, contributing to building knowledge and understanding.
  • Lectures are complemented by self-paced tutorial exercises in which concepts introduced in lectures can be explored in more detail, and which will allow students to develop their ability to undertake independent work. Each tutorial is supported by an interactive session to allow students to ask questions and receive feedback on their work.
  • Comprehensive reading lists provide students with the means to undertake independent study and learning.
  • Two essays (one formative, one summative) provide students with scope to explore in greater detail selected themes drawn from module.
  • A short group film/video will contribute to the module learning outcomes by providing students the opportunity to demonstrate their comprehension of module content, to evaluate evidence, synthesise information, and, in a self-directed manner, to communicate complex information through its contextualisation.
  • Technical aspects of the module will be summatively assessed in class, by means of timed multiple choice and/or short-answer questions;
  • • The remainder of the summative assessment is based on an unseen examination paper designed to assess student's acquisition of the interdisciplinary nature of the learning outcomes by means of an essay-style question.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 34 Twice weekly 1 hour 34
Interative Tutorial Support Lecture 5 Five times annually 1 hour 5
Self-paced tutorial exercises 5 Five times annually 1 hour 5
Preparation and Reading 156
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Multiple Choice Test Component Weighting: 10%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Short answer/multiple choice test %
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 30%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Online 24 hour unseen examination 2 hours (recommended) 100%
Component: Essay Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1 (max 4 x A4 sides) 100%
Component: Group Video - Short film Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
1 video short film (4 minutes in length) 100%

Formative Assessment:

Formative assessment includes one formative essay (max 4 x A4 sides) plus detailed feedback given on the summative essay.

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