KE5016 - Environment, Development and Sustainability

What will I learn on this module?

You will learn about environmental issues globally, examining the relationship between the process of development (widely understood) and environmental change. Environmental issues such as sustainability, climate change, desertification, deforestation, water scarcity, wildlife and biodiversity loss, mining and resource extraction will form the focus of the module. These will be contextualised in terms of changes in livelihoods, agriculture, governance, gender relations, population, technology, foreign investment and land ownership and poverty. Initiatives for tackling some of these problems, such as internationally agreed frameworks, community-based natural resource management (CBNRM), ecotourism, urban planning, and corporate social responsibility, among others, will be critically examined. Examples will be taken at a range of scales from the local to the regional and across different geographies spanning the Global North and Global South. You will also learn some key tools and frameworks that are valuable in employment in the development sector, such as stakeholder analysis, logical framework analysis and participatory research tools. Through providing an opportunity to develop creative solutions to development problems in the form of project design, this module will enhance your employability skills.

How will I learn on this module?

Lectures will be used to introduce the key topics of the module. Seminars, films, workshops, directed tasks and independent learning will be utilised to enable you to develop a more nuanced and detailed understanding of complex processes and interactions and the application of key tools and frameworks. Case study material will also help to provide greater depth of understanding.

Beyond timetabled sessions, your independent study will be guided and supported through your engagement with a range of directed tasks which will be reviewed in class. On line resources will be available on the eLP.

Practical skills such as stakeholder analysis and designing a log frame will be considered through workshops and class activities.

Directed and independent learning tasks will be suggested each week to allow you to explore the module material independently, allowing you to shape your assessment task from an early stage. In this regard, seminar time will also be allocated to assessment briefings whereby you will be encouraged to develop your work and allowed to ask any questions. All your learning will be supported through resources made available on the module ELP.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported academically by a comprehensive module handbook outlining key dates, all seminar worksheets and assignment briefs for the academic year, plus key books and journals to help you plan your learning and time. You will be given directed reading from each lecture via an electronic reading list, while other learning resources, such as links to government or public-policy reports and documentary films will be added to the eLP throughout the course. On-going opportunities for formative feedback on the progress of your assignments will be available and there will be sessions especially focused on deciding the detail of the second assessment. Your tutors will provide an open door policy. You will receive tailored written feedback on the written assignments.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

• Knowledge & Understanding:

• MLO 1: Critically examine human causes (social, political, economic, demographic) of environmental issues
• MLO 2: Evaluate interventions for sustainable development
• MLO 3: Critically explore the changing nature of natural resource ownership and management in the wider context of development processes and the implications for resource sustainability

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

• MLO 4: Demonstrate skills in research project design, analysis and presentation

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

• MLO 5: Critically assess the nature and role of indigenous knowledge, the rationality of indigenous resource management practices using evidence and a justified argument.

How will I be assessed?

The summative assessments on this module are a coursework essay assignment (70%) and a poster presentation (30%). The essay will address MLOs 1, 2, 3 and 5 exploring the key human causes of environmental challenges, evaluating interventions to address these in a sustainable manner.

The poster will address MLO 4 focusing on the more practical and professional aspects of project design in the subject area.

Formative support and feedback relating to essay preparation and the poster presentation will involve Q&A sessions and interactions with staff in seminars. Students will work in groups on poster presentations but final submissions will be on an individual basis.





Module abstract

This module focuses on key issues and debates around environmental issues and how they link to social, political, economic, demographic change. Topics explored include: Climate change, deforestation, desertification, water and food security, wildlife loss and biodiversity, land grabbing, tourism, carbon capture initiatives, community-based natural resource management, etc. You will also develop practical skills, such as stakeholder analysis and logical framework analysis. Teaching involves lectures to introduce and develop key ideas and issues together with more interactive, seminars, workshops and films. Assessment will involve a coursework essay and a poster presentation. You will receive formative support and guidance throughout the assessment process enabling you to fully develop crucial employability skills.

Course info

UCAS Code L700

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Geography and Environmental Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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