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2014/15 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE5472M Environmental Policy and Governance

15 creditsClass Size: 80

Module manager: Dr James Van Alstine

Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable

Year running 2014/15

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

Within this module, we examine the multiple pathways through which human-environment interaction is governed. We recognise how both structural forces and multiple actors at multiple scales may shape and constrain environmental governance processes and outcomes. A central focus of the course is how the alleged limitations of conventional state-led environmental protection have given way to a proliferation of 'new' environmental policy instruments where state-market-civil society distinctions blur. We explore these changing modes of environmental policy and governance within and between the international, regional, national and local scales of analysis. The course illustrates these ongoing processes through the use of practical examples from both developed and developing countries. The seminars showcase the wide-range of research being undertaken within the Sustainability Research Institute. For further information contact


On completion of this module, students should:
1. Be familiar with the changing ways in which environmental governance processes and outcomes are shaped and constrained in different contexts.
2. Understand the significance of scale (i.e. global, national, local) and networks in environmental governance.
3. Understand the different roles that governments, markets and civil society actors can play in influencing environmental governance.
4. Understand the nature, influence and limits of different modes of environmental policy and governance.
5. Understand the changing role of government and the significance of institutional capacities in shaping the abilities of governments to exert influence.
6. Be familiar with cross-cutting issues such as risk, science and the contestation of knowledge in environmental governance.
7. Have improved written communication skills.
8. Be more confident public speakers.


Part I: Core Concepts and Debates
1. Introduction and Overview
2. Global environmental governance
3. Multi-scale environmental governance
4. Agency in environmental governance

Part II: Beyond the 'Controller' and Towards the 'Facilitator' or 'Enabler' State?
5. What role for 'traditional' environmental policy instruments?
6. What role for 'new' environmental policy instruments?
7. Environmental and climate policy integration

Part III: Cross-Cutting Issues and Future Directions
8.Local and cross-scale environmental governance
9.Risk, science and the contestation of knowledge in environmental governance
10.Future directions in environmental policy and governance

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours120.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

- 6 hours reading per lecture/seminar (60 hours)
- Preparation for essay (30 hours)
- Preparation for exam (30 hours).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Formative feedback provided during seminars starting in week 1.
- Summative feedback will be provided for a 2,500 word essay.
- There will also be a written exam at the end of the term.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 30 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 13/04/2015


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