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2020/21 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE2371 People, Sustainability, and the Environment

20 creditsClass Size: 100

Module manager: Dr Stephen Whitfield

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2020/21


SOEE1111Sustainable Development

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module provides an understanding of the relationships between human needs and the environment, focusing in particular on the world’s poor. It explores different perspectives on the goals of improving human wellbeing and environmental conservation, particularly the extent to which these might be complementary, compatible or contradictory goals, and how this intersects with broader social phenomena such as globalisation, gender and property rights . The module considers how different disciplines and approaches from across the social and natural science view the relationships between people, sustainability and the environment. The first semester of this module considers different concepts within this relationship, whilst the second considers different disciplinary perspective on it.


By the end of the module you should be able to:
- analyse the complex interrelationships between human wellbeing, poverty and the natural environment, including cause/effect relationships across scales from the local to the global and placing the issues within the wider debates surrounding sustainability.

-understand, appreciate and critically analyse the different approaches brought by different disciplines and perspectives from across social and natural sciences to the issue of human needs and the environment

Skills outcomes
The module places considerable emphasis on:
- recognising and using subject-specific theories, paradigms, concepts and principles;
- analysing, synthesising and summarising information critically, including prior research;
- applying knowledge and understanding to address familiar and unfamiliar problems;
- recognising the moral and ethical issues of investigations and appreciating the need for professional codes of conduct;

The module places moderate emphasis on:
- referencing work in an appropriate manner;
- communicating appropriately to a variety of audiences in written, verbal and graphical form.

The module places some emphasis on:
- collecting and integrating several lines of evidence to formulate and test hypotheses;
- receiving and responding to a variety of information sources (eg textual numerical, verbal, graphical).


- Definitions of ‘poverty’, ‘development’ and ‘property’ and examination of the assumptions underlying them; -Approaches to understanding environment and poverty relations, such as political ecology, political economy, livelihoods frameworks, ecosystem services, valuing natural resources, biodiversity conservation, ethnographic approaches, participatory methods and approaches.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours173.00
Total Contact hours27.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

48 hours - background reading for seminars
38 hours - preparation for exam
37 hours - preparation for research paper
40 hours - background reading per lecture (20 x 2 hours).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Formative feedback will be provided in workshops and seminars.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Assignment2,000 word50.00
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 00 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: 10/08/2020 08:46:33


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