Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Geography


Type Tied Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham
Tied to L702
Tied to L704
Tied to LA01
Tied to LA02
Tied to LMV0
Tied to LMV1
Tied to LMV2
Tied to LMVA
Tied to QRV0
Tied to QRVA
Tied to CFG0
Tied to FGC0
Tied to CFG1
Tied to CFG2




  • NONE

Excluded Combination of Modules



  • To undertake critical analysis of the ways in which economic, cultural, and social transformations in Europe are shaping, and being shaped by, cities
  • To apply key concepts in human geography through fieldwork based on a leading European metropolis in order to develop a specialist understanding of these processes


  • The course combines a mixture of lectures, film showings, workshops and fieldwork to address a broad range of topics across contemporary human geography. A key aim of the course is to enable students to develop their own research ideas and to undertake original research based on Berlin, following a theme and topic of their choice. As a result, lectures and workshops are focused on developing themes and critical understanding of core debates so as to inform research projects. The following are examples of the principal themes addressed in order to help develop research ideas:
  • The changing nature of European cities and the role of the 'urban' in European history
  • The politics of memory and memorialisation
  • Urban nature and cultures of non-human life
  • Political change and contestation, from squatting to public protest
  • European culture, identity and representation
  • Urban mobilities and movement
  • Berlin as a site of refugee integration
  • European identity and European politics
  • Urban development and the social infrastructure of the city

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • To critically assess urban change in Europe
  • To demonstrate and deploy a range of research skills, working as part of a group
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To analyse and understand the role of a range of actors and institutions in these processes
  • To demonstrate and deploy a range of research skills, working as part of a group
Key Skills:
  • At the end of this module, students are expected to be able to:
  • Demonstrate a variety of communication skills including: evaluating and synthesising information from a range of sources including film, academic texts and various other forms of urban writing; present their findings and analysis both individually and as part of a group, including through oral communication with visual aids; researching, structuring and writing an academic essay; responding, engaging and commenting on each other's work; researching, structuring and writing a longer research report that critically reflects on their engagement with the city
  • Demonstrate a capacity to reflect critically on the themes introduced in the course: to engage in depth with academic texts and other texts presented as part of the course; to identify key arguments in a text and be able to analyse the claims; to evaluate the evidence that different texts offer; to make a judgement about whether the evidence is convincing and persuasive; to make judgements about the strengths and weaknesses of an argument in relation to the questions put forward as part of the course
  • Demonstrate a capacity to evaluate and build on academic performance: through the formative and summative assessments; responding to feedback; managing time effectively
  • Demonstrate a capacity to carry out a research project: by keeping notes of the findings; learning to make sense of those notes through an engagement with academic texts; to engage critically with the spatial and temporal limits of that research work
  • To work effectively as part of a team, including in the design of a collaborative research project

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

  • Lectures will impart part basic facts and information and will consist of discussions to help students understand and reflect on key theoretical approaches
  • Reading lists and lecture materials will be posted on Learn Ulra to assist student learning
  • Concepts will be explored in more depth in lectures through discussions and in field-based project work.
  • Films will be used to illuminate and reflect on reading and the field class, and to explore the links between films and urban change.
  • Workshops will be used to develop independent research design skills to be applied in a field-based project.
  • The seminar will enable students to practice their presentational skills and comment on and discuss each other’s work.
  • Drop-in sessions are provided to allow for tailored support and feedback for poster preparation.
  • The residential fieldtrip will reinforce student understanding of theoretical approaches and show how they can be applied. It will also provide training and experience in project design, research and analysis, while developing student individual and group working skills
  • The field course will consist of a week in Berlin and will involve:
  • 1 day of introduction to the city, covering themes developed in lectures
  • 4.5 days student-led project work on one of the themes
  • 0.5 day of summative group presentations
  • Students will receive formative feedback on presentations in the seminar at the end of Term 2.
  • Students will be required to submit a report on one project (their choice) for summative assessment. Their ability to interpret and apply theoretical concepts to empirical examples and their ability to explain things clearly and support their argument with appropriate reference to the general literature will be tested through a field-based project report. The report also assesses skills of research design, implementation and analysis.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lecture 7 Varies 2 hours 14
Lecture (fieldtrip Health & Safety briefing) 1 Term 2 2 hours 2
Poster Preparation Drop-in 1 Term 1 2 hours 2
Workshops (Project Preparation) 1 Term 2 2 hours 2
Seminar (Formative Project Presentations) 1 Term 2 3 hours 3
Film Showing 5 Terms 1 and 2 2 hours 10
Field Course 1 Easter Vacation 6 days 42
Reading & Preparation 125
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Group poster on module themes Component Weighting: 15%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Group poster on module themes 100% None
Component: Group presentation in the field Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Group presentation in the field 20 minutes 100%
Component: Field-based project report 8 x sides A4 (individual submission) Component Weighting: 65%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Field-based project report 8 x sides A4 100% None

Formative Assessment:

Verbal and written feedback will be given on the formative group presentation ahead of the fieldtrip. Verbal and written feedback will be given on the summative group presentation (and associated slides) in preparation for the writing of the project report.

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