BA History and German / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Climate Change & Society

Course unit fact file
Unit code HSTM33501
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


  • The unit suits students of all academic backgrounds who are willing to ‘think from scratch’ and use creative approaches and ‘out-of-box’ thinking about today’s most celebrated of environmental issues.
  • Explore why climate change became the environmental and socio-economic problem of the century? Why had it taken so long after the discovery of the greenhouse effect for politicians to become aware of its cataclysmic potential? Who and why brought the issue to the policy arena?
  • The unit proceeds thematically, discussing the various formats of the climate problem: from the issues of scientific uncertainty and denialism, to the problems of institutional governance and international agreements, to the economic issues of emission control and the environmental justice between global North and South?
  • We also explore how climate change featrues in the public sphere and whether the media work to be transparent in conveying the scientific knowledge.


This unit explores why climate change attracts so much public, political and economic attention during the last fifty years. What makes it so important that recent books about the problem have titles such as 'This Changes Everything.'Is climate change changing everything? Is it changing anything? The unit covers the issue from various perspectives: scientific, cultural, political, economic and media.

What weather and climate mean to different groups and institutions, and how these meanings influence the ways in which people individually and collectively respond to the climate change problem?

The course is suited to Arts, Humanities and Science students interested in the scientific, social and policy aspects of climate change.This course unit is also available as a 10 credit course unit (UCIL 33201)

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding: students will be able to:

  • Be conversant with theories, methods and skills to study climate change from different historical, cultural and social perspectives.
  • Understand the scientific foundation and key concepts that underlie global climate change
  • Gain knowledge about the varieties of interactions between climate, science and social organisations (publics, government, private sector, indigenous communities)
  • Analyse key elements of climate policy and the politics of climate negotiation
  • Assimilate new information and integrate it into class activities and research projects

Intellectual skills: student will develop the skills to:

  • Investigate in greater detail a specific problem, carry out innovative research and come up with innovative analytical methods to find out the relevant answers. 
  • Become familiar with the language and knowledge-base necessary to discuss the science, history and policy of climate change with their peers
  • To close-read and interpret the statements on climate change and policy implications
  • Think contextually: understand how environmental issues emerge as social problems that require policy measures
  • Evaluate the nature of information presented in policy documents and the media

Practical skills: students will be able to

  • Propose original research topics applicable to local climate governance policies from behavioral, educational or infrastructural perspectives
  • Develop conceptual apparatus to understand the policy, public and economic statements regarding the climate change regime
  • Communicate orally during their weekly debates and in less-structured seminar discussions.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • The unit requires that students critically read and analyse select academic and media materials, research original topics, prepare for oral presentations, argue opposing views in real-time.
  • Skills include: team work in preparation and presentation of research, critical and policy-oriented thinking, skills to understand the ‘hidden’ framings of climate change statements; writing skills: academic and for specific audiences.


Transferable skills and personal qualities



Assessment methods

Essay, 1500 words: 25%

Expedition Photo Essay,1000 words: 25%

Project, 3500 words: 50%

Feedback methods

Students will receive individual feedback on their essay assignments, as well as their project.

All submitted coursework will be returned with annotations and comments on Blackboard explaining the rationale for the marks given.

All feedback on written coursework will be given within two weeks time, unless otherwise specified.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 11
Seminars 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 178

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Vladimir Jankovic Unit coordinator

Return to course details