KE4007 - Environmental Science

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What will I learn on this module?

In this module you will learn about the fundamental principles of chemistry and physics associated with a range of stressors that impact on man and the environment, including air, water and soil pollution, radioactivity and climate change. You will learn key environmental analysis skills, including laboratory and field based methods to measure both biological and chemical data. You will develop skills to collect suitable environmental samples, and how to process and report on your findings. Some of the key topics you will cover include:

• Chemical composition of the natural environment.
• Water resources and pollution.
• Pollution of sediments, soils and groundwaters.
• The chemistry of the global climate and processes affecting the release and sequestration of greenhouse gases.
• Ozone depletion; causes and implications.
• How humans are influencing the natural environment and processes.

In addition to learning key concepts that will be needed throughout your degree, you will also gain a deeper appreciation of current issues that face the world today and approaches that can be used to help mitigate its impact.

On completion of the module, you will achieve a chemical basis for understanding your local and global surroundings, and have learnt fundamental skills that will open up new employment opportunities.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn though a mixture of lectures, seminars, fieldwork and laboratory sessions. Your timetabled activities will be supplemented by substantive online learning tools made available via the module’s electronic learning platform (eLP) to broaden and deepen your understanding.

Lectures will be used to introduce key concepts and principles, with an emphasis on real world case studies; helping you to understand the causes of current regional and global issues (e.g. heavy metal pollution, climate change, ozone hole depletion) and how they may be addressed and managed in the future. Seminars will provide you with a fuller appreciation of select topics with group discussions around interactive reading lists.

You will develop new field and laboratory based practical skills through fieldwork, sample collection and analysis.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Initially, you will receive a series of lectures to give you the fundamental framework and knowledge needed to understand environmental chemistry and our impact on our planet. In semester 1, seminar sessions based around group reading will provide an informal environment for discussion with your tutor, and additional opportunities provided for you to meet and discuss your development and any queries you may have. Laboratory sessions will also provide opportunities to work closely with lecturers, as you gain key analytical skills.
During semester 2, fieldwork and associated practicals will allow you to work in small groups with a range of teaching staff whilst you conduct your own environmental research, exploring a natural environment and how its influenced by human impacts. Staff will support you whilst you put to practice your theoretical knowledge by teaching you new field techniques and skills.

Class materials will be supplemented by a series of online resources on the module eLP site. This includes electronic reading lists and a series of guided lectures that can be followed in your own time.

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: Discuss the key chemical and physical principles associated with global and regional scale processes.

• MLO 2: Explain how humans influence natural environmental systems.

• MLO 3: Conduct environmental research and present the findings clearly.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• MLO 4: Demonstrate key field and laboratory based analytical skills.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• MLO 5: Work effectively as part of a team during fieldwork and towards presenting an oral presentation.

How will I be assessed?

In semester 1 you will be set an online test and an unseen exam. Together, the tests will contribute to 50% of the overall module assessment (20% online-test/ 30% exam). The online test will be delivered via the module eLP site and will allow for rapid assessment and feedback (MLOs 1,2,4).

In semester 2, you will be asked to give an oral presentation and produce a report. In small groups, you will collect, measure and analyse a range of abiotic (physical and chemical parameters) and biotic (animals and plants) measurements. Each group will give a small talk, presenting their findings to the rest of the group (20%). Formative feedback will be provided to each group during the data gathering and analysis process, and prior to delivering the presentation. Using data from all groups, you will also produce individual reports worth 30% toward the overall module assessment (MLOs 3 and 5).





Module abstract

In this module you will learn about the natural environment and how humans are affecting it. The module covers a broad range of topics, focusing on the chemical basis upon which we can understand our local and global surroundings, and identify how they are undergoing change. Through field based enquiry and laboratory measurements, you will measure natural and human impacted systems and develop skills in interpreting diverse measurement types (e.g. chemical and biological data). Your will gain a deeper understanding of critical issues including air, water and soil pollution, radioactivity and global climate change though a range of lectures, seminars and online resources.
As a core Level 4 module, you will meet a series of research active staff and learn key skills necessary to equip you for the rest of your degree programme.

Course info

UCAS Code F840

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 2020

Fee Information

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