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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE1450 Environmental Politics and Policy

10 creditsClass Size: 105

Module manager: Dr Monica Di Gregorio

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

- How have environmental concerns been reflected in political debates? - How have bodies like the UN or the EU, or countries like the US or the UK intervened to protect the environment? - What is the role of environmental agencies in delivering policies, and how influential have they been? This course will introduce the key issues that define the nature and influence of different forms of environmental politics and policy. It will introduce the key historical stages in the evolution of environmental politics and policy, focusing particularly on the influence of environmental groups. It will then examine the factors that shape the 'life cycle' of environmental policy from political struggles, political decision making, policy design, policy implementation and policy impacts. The course will conclude with an assessment of contemporary developments and future directions in environmental politics and policy. This module is taught in semester 2 through lectures and seminars and is assessed by an essay.


On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. understand the political nature of many environmental problems
2. articulate links between politics, policy and the environment
3. demonstrate familiarity with the origins and evolution of different forms of environmental policy
4. evaluate the significance of the institutional context within which environmental policies are formulated and implemented
5. understand the significance of the different stages of the environmental policy process
6. understand the factors that shape the ability of different actors to exert influence within the different stages of the environmental policy process
7. use different criteria to evaluate the performance of different forms of environmental policy
8. critically analyse the key features of various cases and trends in contemporary environmental policy
9. access, understand and critically evaluate academic research papers
10. demonstrate improved written communication skills
11. demonstrate increased confidence in participating in group discussions and public speaking.


This module wil:
- introduce the history, evolution, origins and influence of environmental policy;
- examine the different arenas where policies are introduced from the global (ie United Nations), the European (ie European Union), the national (ie UK) and the local (ie city-level) scales;
- examine the power of different political groups and NGOs, and the significance of different inputs into the policy process;
- also evaluate the nature and influence of different environmental policy instruments and the impacts that implementing agencies (ie the Environment Agency) have on the practical aspects of policy;
- conclude by examining the new roles for markets (ie investors, consumers) and civic actors (ie NGOs, the public) in the policy process.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours80.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

- 2 hours reading / lecture/seminar (40 hours)
- Preparation for assignment (40 hours).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Formative feedback provided during seminars from week 1 onwards.
- Summative feedback on written assignment due in week 9 and returned in week 11.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,000 word essay100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

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: 08/02/2019


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