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2018/19 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 2018/19

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 and between multiple scales and levels 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 levels of analysis. The course illustrates these ongoing processes through the use of practical examples from both developed and developing countries. The seminars engage critically with the core readings and 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. Understand the nature, influence and limits of different environmental policy instruments.
2. 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 in environmental governance.
3. Understand the different roles that governments, markets and civil society actors can play in influencing environmental policy and governance.
4. Understand the changing role of government and the significance of institutional capacities in shaping the abilities of governments to exert influence.
5. Be familiar with cross-cutting issues such as risk, science and the contestation of knowledge in environmental policy and governance.
6. Have improved written communication and group work skills.
7. Be more confident public speakers.


Part I: Introduction to environmental policy instruments

1. Introduction and Policy instruments 1: Environmental regulations
2. Policy instruments 2: Market-based instruments
3. Policy instruments 3: Information-based instruments
4. Policy instruments 4: Voluntary instruments

Part II: Theory and conceptual debates

5. Theories of the policy process
6. Multi-scale environmental governance
7. Global environmental governance

Part III: Cross-Cutting Issues and Future Directions

8. Agency in environmental governance
9. Risk, science and the contestation of knowledge in environmental governance
10. Environmental policy and governance in the Anthropocene

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 policy instrument report (15 hours)
- Preparation for exam (45 hours).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Formative feedback provided during seminars starting in week 1.
- Summative feedback will be provided for the policy instrument report
- There will also be a written exam at the end of the term.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ReportPolicy instrument report (1,000 words)30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)30.00

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 mins70.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)70.00

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: 30/04/2018


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