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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE1450 Environmental Politics and Policy

10 creditsClass Size: 115

Module manager: Dr Monica Di Gregorio

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

How have environmental concerns been reflected in political debates? How have different policy actors intervened to protect the environment? How do political parties, businesses and environmental groups influence policies? This course focuses on the key issues that define the nature and influence of different forms of environmental politics and policy. It first introduces the key historical stages in the evolution of environmental politics, focusing on the role of value systems and the evolution environmental political thought. It then investigates the role of three main societal actors, political parties, business and environmental groups, in shaping environmental policy. It then examines 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 introduces various types of environmental policy instruments, and then investigates and assesses the ability of different types of policy instruments to deliver environmental protection. The course concludes 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 open book exam.


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 and political 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. understand different types and applications of environmental policy instruments and be able to critically evaluate their performance.
9. critically analyse the key features of various cases and trends in contemporary environmental policy
10. access, understand and critically evaluate academic research papers
11. demonstrate improved written communication skills
12. demonstrate increased confidence in participating in group discussions and public speaking.


This module will:
- introduce the history, evolution, origins and influence of environmental politics and policy;
- examine the different arenas where policies are introduced with particular focus at national and local scales;
- examine the power of different political groups, including parties, business and civil society, and the significance of their distinct inputs into the policy process;
- investigate how different actors shape environmental policy processes
- introduce and explore the application of different types of environmental policy instruments, including economic, mandatory, voluntary and information-based environmental policy instruments.

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: 30/06/2021 16:25:47


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