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School of Social Sciences

Student in the Alan Gilbert Learning Commons
BSocSc Politics and International Relations
Gain the skills to critical examine international and comparative politics.

BSocSc Politics and International Relations

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
Environmental Politics

Unit code POLI20982
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Politics
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course will introduce students to some of the key historical, theoretical and practical dimensions of environmental politics and policy.  In particular, it explores:

  • the political nature of environmental problems and controversies;
  • the diverse historical, political, and cultural roots of contemporary environmental problems and controversies;
  • connections between local and global environmental issues;
  • challenges posed by environmental issues to political institutions;
  • power relationships between developed and developing countries, and between social groups within political communities; and
  • the various strategies and tactics used for environmental advocacy and change.

Emphasis is placed on the complexity of contemporary environmental issues and on developing the skills necessary to analysing and responding to them effectively.  

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit successful students will be able to demonstrate:

1.       Understanding of the range of perspectives on environmental issues and how environmental issues maybe understood as political issues

2.       An ability to apply theoretical tools in the analysis of environmental problems and controversies

3.       A capacity for research and reasoning.

Teaching and learning methods

The course will be taught on the basis of ten two-hour lectures and ten one-hour tutorials. Lectures include a mix of traditional lecture material, interactive question and answer sessions, small tasks in break-out groups, and videos. Tutorials will be student-led, involving group work linked to role-play, debate and simulation scenarios for a case study linked to each of the contemporary issues covered. 

Assessment methods

Essay: 2,800 words worth 40% (to be submitted in week 12)

Argumentative Portfolio: 2,800 words worth 40% (to be submitted in week 8)

Group Presentation: 20 minute presentation worth 20%

Feedback methods

Politics staff will provide feedback on written work within 15 working days of submission.

Students should be aware that all marks are provisional until confirmed by the external examiner and the final examinations boards in June.

For modules that do not have examination components the marks and feedback for the final assessed component are not subject to the 15 working day rule and will be released with the examination results.

You will receive feedback on assessed essays in a standard format. This will rate your essay in terms of various aspects of the argument that you have presented your use of sources and the quality of the style and presentation of the essay. If you have any queries about the feedback that you have received you should make an appointment to see your tutor.

On assessments submitted through Turnitin you will receive feedback via Blackboard. This will include suggestions about ways in which you could improve your work in future. You will also receive feedback on non-assessed coursework, whether this is individual or group work. This may be of a more informal kind and may include feedback from peers as well as academic staff

Recommended reading

Preliminary Reading:

  • Doyle, Timothy, Doug McEachern and Sherilyn MacGregor (2015) Environment and Politics (4th edition). London and New York: Routledge.
  • Carter, Neil (2007) The politics of the environment: ideas, activism, policy (2nd edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Carl Death Unit coordinator
Sherilyn MacGregor Unit coordinator
Matthew Paterson Unit coordinator

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