BA Geography with International Study

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Dynamic Earth

Course unit fact file
Unit code GEOG10422
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


What is Physical Geography and what does it mean to be a Physical Geographer? The Earth is an ever-changing system and driven by dynamic processes and remarkable events.  Currently the planet faces many challenges - climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, natural hazards, land use and management, declining resources to name a few.

Building on the themes introduced in Semester 1 (e.g. GEOG 10401 Environmental Processes and Change), we will explore the role of Physical Geography in tackling some of these ‘grand challenges’ and discover how geographical research is expanding our understanding of key processes.

After an introductory lecture, the course will be delivered through a series of thematic lectures focusing on a specific topic each week. A range of Physical Geography staff members will teach on the course, each giving a week’s lecture and associated reading on specialist and timely research themes.  Previous lectures have covered: wildfires, radioactive contamination, global biodiversity, landslides, flooding, and dust in the environment.


  • To gain a robust understanding of fundamental Physical Geography processes.
  • To understand the range of scientific approaches used in Physical Geography. 
  • To relate these concepts and approaches to a range of case studies from leading researchers in the Geography department. 
  • To explore the role of the Physical Geographer in an ever-changing world.

Teaching and learning methods

The course is primarily lecture-based. Each week the two-hour lecture will include class discussion and activities. Students will be expected to complete assigned readings between lectures.  A high level of attendance is expected and will ensure that you are well supported for the course assessment. The module will be supported by a compressive Blackboard site including extended reading, supplementary materials, and online resources.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate a scientific understanding of a range of physical geography processes.
  • Recognise the different approaches and methods of investigation in Physical Geography.
  • Demonstrate your knowledge of Physical Geography through use of key case studies.
  • Recognise potential areas for your own future research e.g. dissertations. 

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Feedback methods

  • Verbal formative feedback through Q&A, discussion sessions within the lecture courses;
  • Individual verbal formative feedback on a wide range of issues via consultation hours;
  • Feedback on your progress with practice exam questions;
  • Feedback on exam performance in second year academic advisor meetings.

Recommended reading

Readings will be assigned from a range of sources and each week there will be a dedicated list of essential reading. Wider reading is essential in order to do well in the final examination.

A useful text for the course:

Holden, J. (ed.) (2008) An Introduction to Physical Geography and the Environment. Harlow: Pearson.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 78

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Gareth Clay Unit coordinator

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