Understanding Environmental Change (Nankai) DUMF5116

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This course provides an introduction to issues that arise when managing natural environments in the face of mounting physical and human pressures, and the impacts of climate change. Conceptual approaches and methods for assessing how landscapes have changed over time are introduced, along with conceptual and legal frameworks, an understanding of new environmental risks and how they can be mitigated, and case studies from different settings worldwide.


Teaching will be over a 2-3 week period, with further time for practical work, study & reflection, and examination.

Requirements of Entry

Admission to Joint Graduate School

Excluded Courses





Essay on selected topic of environmental change (50%)

Report on environmental risk assessment (20%)

Report on ecosystem based approaches (20%)

Student-group led seminar (10%)

Course Aims

■ To provide a process-based overview of processes of change in selected environments in order to understand ways in which they may be managed sustainably;

■ To introduce examples of policies and practices for sustainable environmental management, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction;

■ To consider the impact of climate change on the environment, and the consequences for societies.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Explain how environmental change happens at a range of scales;

■ Explain the key processes operating within selected environments and how these produce change;

■ Discuss policies and strategies for sustainable environmental management over long and short timescales;

■ Discuss the significance of climate change as a cause of selected environmental changes;

■ Critically assess the literature on the impacts of climate change on the landscape;

■ Explain the role of legal frameworks in constraining environmental management;

■ Explain the links between ecosystems, development, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction;

■ Measure ecosystem services.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.

Attendance at all practical sessions and tutorials is compulsory.