AF7022 - Economic Policies for the Environment

What will I learn on this module?

Combatting climate change is one of the core developmental challenges of the 21st century. This module explores the inter-linkages between continued economic growth and environmental degradation from a political economy perspective. Specifically, you will focus on key debates surrounding the causes and consequences of the accelerating climate crisis and assess the strengths and weaknesses of different forms of remedial action. In so doing, you will develop an in-depth understanding of the political economy context for what is known as the Anthropocene: the era in which human activity has been the dominant influence on the climate and the environment.

You will be exposed to different theoretical paradigms that analyse the inter-relationships between economic markets and current ecological challenges facing humanity. These will include mainstream environmental economic perspectives, eco-socialist and eco-feminist frameworks, and degrowth theory. You will then proceed to examine some of the interconnected crises of climate change that are besetting the biosphere such as water scarcity, ecological pressures from modern food production, and biodiversity losses. The final part of the module will focus on appraising contemporary responses to these crises including the creation of green markets, carbon trading, renewable energy deployment and political economy transformation through social movements and a Green New Deal.

The module will be particularly useful to students wishing to pursue careers that address contemporary environmental challenges including impact investment; environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG); government climate policy; academic or consultancy-based research, environmental activism, and intergovernmental environmental diplomacy.

How will I learn on this module?

You will be supported by a teaching and learning plan (TLP), which outlines the formal sessions, together with tutor-directed study and independent reading. The module will be taught through lectures (24 hours) and seminars (12 hours). The lectures are the primary medium used to deliver the subject material required to enable students to achieve the module learning outcomes. Lectures will be research-led with a significant practical component attached to them. The emphasis will be on having high levels of engagement in understanding theory, analysing real-world case studies and the critical evaluation of policy outcomes. In this module, students will also be exposed to guest lectures by leading scholars in the field of environmental governance.

The seminars will be used to reinforce knowledge and critical understanding of the theories and concepts covered in class through case studies, discussion questions and class presentations. The seminar materials will be distributed in advance. The seminars will involve the discussion of case studies, critical thinking questions and group presentations based on pre-assigned readings and videos. Seminars will also provide you with an opportunity to interact with the teaching team and gain one-to-one feedback. Formative assessment will take place through individual and group activities during the seminars including discussion of journal articles, discussion questions and individual/group presentations.

The module will involve both directed and independent learning. Directed learning will centre upon a range of activities including engaging with suggested readings, videos, documentaries and revision materials, preparation for interactive activities including group/individual presentations and analysing case studies, revising the feedback solutions provided and use of the discussion board to learn and share knowledge. Independent learning will thus centre upon deepening and broadening your knowledge of the subject matter through a range of learning activities that will include reading, critical thinking, reflection and research. Critical reflection on knowledge, experience and explicit development of competence underpins the learning and teaching philosophy.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The module is supported by the e-learning portal, which includes the Teaching and Learning Plan, lecture materials, seminar tasks, detailed guidance on the assessment, as well as additional material for independent study.

The module tutor will ensure that all relevant materials and instructions are readily accessible to you. All lectures will be recorded and uploaded to the e-learning portal which you will be able to access to consolidate your knowledge and develop deeper understanding of the subject material. An electronic reading list includes core material to support your lectures/seminars and a comprehensive range of academic journal articles, conference papers, academic reports, case studies and video links that will introduce you to the theory and practical applications introduced in the module.

Lectures and seminars are designed to be interactive and will utilise the latest educational technology to ensure your learning experience is useful and enjoyable. Seminars are also designed to provide you with continuous relevant and timely feedback to support your learning.

Two of the seminars will take place in the form of feedback surgeries. In these sessions students will be provided with the opportunity of receiving individual feedback on pre assigned work and address their queries.

In addition to the lectures and seminars, the teaching team will maintain dedicated office hours each week where you can drop in and ask any questions pertaining to the module.

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:

ML01: Demonstrate a holistic understanding of the political-economy context of current environmental challenges, as well as the key theoretical paradigms/debates to analyse the interlinkages between economic growth and environmental sustainability.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

ML02: Equip students with the appropriate analytical prowess to critically understand the relative strengths and limitations of the current policy prerogatives put in place to tackle the ecological crisis.

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

ML03: Develop in students research, analytical abilities, intellectual curiosity, reflective learning and team working skills that will be valuable in employment and self-employment

How will I be assessed?

Formative Assessment

The formative assessment will comprise of discussion questions based on pre-assigned readings, videos, short documentaries and case studies which will be distributed to you in advance. There will be individual and group discussion of these case studies during the seminars. This will encourage your active participation in the learning process throughout the semester. The e-Learning portal will be used to permanently host these tasks after release to ensure that you can access the information required at all times.

Two of the seminars will comprise of feedback surgeries where in you will be provided with the opportunity to get one to one feedback on the summative assignment.

A bi-weekly MCQ quiz will be put on the e-learning site, Blackboard to test your knowledge and engagement with the module.

Summative Assessment

A 3000 word inquiry based assignment where in students will be expected to analyse a real word environmental problem by applying one of the key theories covered in the module. The assignment will be written in the form of a standard journal article (80%)

A 1000 word reflective essay on the “Dilemmas of Economic Growth.” In this reflective commentary students will present their own perspective of the inter-linkages between economic growth and environmental challenges. They will also reflect on the insights that they gained from working on this module and the development of their inter-personal and intra-personal skills (20%).

Both assessment components will address (MLO1, MLO2, MLO3).





Module abstract

This module explores the inter-linkages between continued economic growth and environmental degradation in society. This remains one of the foremost developmental challenges facing humanity today. You will critically examine the key theoretical paradigms surrounding the causes and consequences of climate change. You will also be exposed to the debates surrounding policy prerogatives to tackle environmental problems ranging from market based solutions to technocratic prerogatives, political economy transformations and social movements. Formal lectures will be combined with seminar sessions and empirical case studies will be introduced to develop research skills, analytical rigour and critical thinking. The module will thus equip you with an in-depth knowledge of the political economy aspects of environmental challenges which will be useful in a range of career settings including environment, social and corporate governance (ESG), impact investment, climate policy, and environmental diplomacy

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 Year Full-Time
2 other options available

Department Newcastle Business School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing.

Full time Courses starting in 2023 are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but may include elements of online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future. Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


Current, Relevant and Inspiring

We continuously review and improve course content in consultation with our students and employers. To make sure we can inform you of any changes to your course register for updates on the course page.

Your Learning Experience

Find out about our distinctive approach at

Admissions Terms and Conditions

Fees and Funding

Admissions Policy

Admissions Complaints Policy