Population Geographies A:Past and Present GEOG4113

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2 (Alternate Years)
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

Population Geographies 1: Past and Present is a 10-credit Honours Geography option course designed to introduce students to the academic study of Population Geography, a long-recognised sub-discipline of Geography concerned with the geographical dimensions of human populations. This course will provide an in-depth investigation of current issues, allowing students to think critically for themselves about the ideas and counter-ideas, literatures and scholars, and worldly examples and applications of population geography, older and more recent.


3 hours per week over 5 weeks

Requirements of Entry

Students should have completed Level 2 Geography at minimum of grade D3

Excluded Courses





Group Presentation - 15%

Course essay - 2500 words (85%)

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

■ To introduce students to the academic field of Population Geography, tracing its origins, traditional concerns, critical self-reflections and partial reconstruction in recent years.

■ To explore different ways of conceptualising the subject-matter of Population Geography: at its most general, meaning how the phenomena/constructs of 'population', 'space' and 'place' can be understood, particularly in combination.

■ To explain the different ways in which human populations can be conceptualised, 'measured', represented and debated - and the place/role of Population Geography in these respects.

■ To critically assess the traditional concerns (theories, methods and objects) of Population Geography, and to investigate how more recent versions of the sub-discipline have sought to rework such concerns.

■ To discuss arguments about 'the body count' - which bodies matter, where, when and why, and to who? - as central to the reworking of contemporary Population Geography.

■ To explore arguments about 'life stories' - how can individuals and populations bear witness to their own living and dying, sickness and health, loving and grieving - and the complex entanglements of such life stories with space and place.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Describe the subfield of Population Geography, older and more recent.

■ Discuss the connections between 'population', 'space' and 'place'.

■ Explain different conceptions of human population, its 'measurement and representation.

■ Compare and contrast more traditional and more contemporary (more 'critical') versions of Population Geography, particularly in terms of differing theories, methods and objects of study.

■ Discuss the issues at stake when debating 'the body count'.

■ Discuss the issues at stake in creating and witnessing 'life stories'

■ Think, read and write critically as apprentice human geographers interested in matters of population.

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.