BA Geography with International Study

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:

Course unit fact file
Unit code GEOG20351
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Glacial and periglacial environments are of major importance for understanding and reconstructing modern and past climatic and environmental change. This course will examine glacial and periglacial processes in modern-day settings and show how this knowledge can be used to reconstruct past glacial and periglacial environments. Examples will be referenced from the British Isles and around the world.


The unit aims to: -

  • Examine the role of glacial and periglacial processes in wider environmental change
  • Evaluate processes leading to the development of glacial and periglacial landforms
  • Explore approaches used to reconstruct past climate and environmental conditions from glacial and periglacial geomorphology 
  • Consider the glacial history of the British Isles and beyond (including international examples) as a means of understanding present-day landscapes and resources.


  • Introduction
  • Glaciers and Climate 
  • Glacial erosion, transport and deposition 
  • Glacial geomorphological mapping 
  • Glacial reconstruction 
  • Fieldtrip 
  • Lowland glaciation 
  • Upland glaciation 
  • Periglaciation
  • Conclusions

Teaching and learning methods

Total: 30 hours

3 : 2 Lecture : Non-lecture ratio

Lectures (18 hours)

Seminars (6 hours)

Field teaching (6 hours)

Knowledge and understanding

  • Explain the significance of glacial and periglacial processes in global environmental change
  • Evaluate the processes leading to the development of glacial and periglacial sediments and landforms
  • Evaluate current understanding of the glacial history of the British Isles and elsewhere around the world

Intellectual skills

  • Summarise the place of specialised glaciological knowledge within the wider context of global change
  • Critically evaluate debates and arguments from academic literature
  • Source and review examples and case studies from published work

Practical skills

  • Show how a range of methodological techniques can be used to reconstruct changes in past environmental conditions from glacial and periglacial evidence
  • Demonstrate an ability to reconstruct glaciers from the glacial geomorphological record
  • Use glacial reconstruction techniques to determine changes in temperature and / or precipitation through time

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Demonstrate an ability to compile a clear and concise report on a practical exercise
  • Develop written and visual presentation skills
  • Employ basic spreadsheet datasets and formulae to manipulate numerical data

Assessment methods


Assessment Type





Open Book Unseen Exam


2000 words




1.5 hours


Within 15 working days



Feedback on exam scripts following the exam period










Formative Assessment Task

Length (word count/time)

How and when feedback is provided

Reconstruct a glacier and the climate conditions required to sustain that glacier2 hoursIn-person during seminar




Recommended reading

Introductory texts (further reading provided each week of the course):

Benn & Evans (2010) Glaciers and glaciation. Arnold: London.

Bennett & Glasser (2009) Glacial geology: ice sheets and landforms. Chichester: Wiley.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Fieldwork 6
Lectures 18
Seminars 6
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Christopher Darvill Unit coordinator

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