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Unit information: Key Concepts in Human and Physical Geography in 2020/21

Unit name Key Concepts in Human and Physical Geography
Unit code GEOG10003
Credit points 40
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Monteiro
Open unit status Not open



Introduction to Quantitative Geography; Geographical History, Thought and Practices

School/department School of Geographical Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science


The aim is to provide an integrated, overarching introduction to a broad range of Human and Physical Geographical concepts and processes that will equip students with the skills and knowledge to both select and carryout Geography units in later years. The unit is designed to teach different aspects in different ways and to encourage students to make and explore links between elements within and between Human and Physical Geography.

Key aspects of Physical Geography to be covered include:

  1. Atmosphere
  2. Freshwater
  3. Ocean
  4. Earth and Life on Earth.
  5. Changing Ice

Key aspects of Human Geography to be covered include:

  1. Inequality – comprising a broad introduction to social, political, population, urban and development geography
  2. Cultural Geography
  3. Historical Geographies of Knowledge

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this Unit students should be able to:

  1. Identify and understand physical processes operating in different environments and over different time and space scales;
  2. Identify and understand the stores and fluxes within different environments;
  3. Describe the mechanisms by which different environmental/landscape processes take place;
  4. Undertake simple calculations of fluxes, perform simple laboratory and computing experiments, write scientific reports, manipulate data and plot appropriate graphs;
  5. Grasp key concepts and themes pertinent to human geography;
  6. Mobilise a set of case-studies that relate to environmental, historical, economic, social and cultural geography.

The following transferable skills are developed in this Unit:

  • Written and oral communication
  • Numerical and analytical
  • Problem solving
  • Critical reasoning

Teaching details

The unit will be taught through a blended combination of online and, if possible, in-person teaching, including

  • online resources
  • synchronous group workshops, seminars, tutorials and/or office hours
  • asynchronous individual activities and guided reading for students to work through at their own pace
  • practical and/or field work; students who either begin or continue their studies in an online mode may be required to complete laboratory practical and/or field work, or alternative activities, in person, either during the academic year 2020/21 or subsequently, in order to meet the intended learning outcomes for the unit, prepare them for subsequent units or to satisfy accreditation requirements.

Assessment Details


  • A topic brief (25%). [ILOs 1-6]
  • A physical geography online, multiple choice exam at the end of TB1 (10%). [ILOs 1-3]
  • A physical geography online, multiple choice exam at the end of TB2 (15%). [ILOs 1-3]
  • A 2000-word essay on an area of Human Geography (25%). [ILOs 5-6]
  • A 2000-word essay (25%) requiring the students to integrate different aspects of the unit. [ILOs 1-6]


Students will also take the following formative practicals:

  • Atmosphere;
  • Rocks and soils;
  • Oceans;
  • Darcy's Law;
  • Biosphere;
  • Practical on one or more areas of Human Geography.

Reading and References

Physical Geography:

Essential reading:

  1. Ahrens, C.D. (1999) ‘Meteorology Today’ (6th ed), Brooks-Cole, Pacific Grove, California.
  2. Benn, D.I. and D.J.A. Evans (1998) ‘Glaciers and Glaciation’, Arnold, London. (Chapter 3: Glaciers and Meltwater).
  3. Holden, J. (ed.) (2008) An Introduction to Physical Geography and the Environment (2nd Ed.). Prentice Hall, London.
  4. Jones, J.A.A. (1997) Global Hydrology: Processes, resources and environmental management. Longman, Essex.
  5. Smithson, P., Addison, K. and Atkinson, K. (3rd ed.) (2002) Fundamentals of the Physical Environment. Routledge, London.

Human Geography:


  • Paul Cloke, Phil Crang and Mark Goodwin, eds. (2014) Introducing Human Geographies, 3rd edition. London: Routledge.
  • Vincent J. Del Casino Jr., Mary Thomas, Paul Cloke, Ruth Panelli (2011) A Companion to Social Geography. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Jon Anderson (2015) Understanding Cultural Geography: Places and Traces. Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Timothy Dyson (2010) Population and Development. London: Zed Books.
  • Paul. L. Knox, John Agnew, Linda McCarthy (2014) The geography of the world economy, Abingdon: Routledge.