Available in 2021
Course code



20 units


4000 level

Course handbook


This course builds knowledge and understanding about the history and philosophy of research in the social, environmental and natural sciences. This knowledge and understanding is used to develop insights into the ways that geographical and environmental problems are conceived and acted on. The course enhances skills and capacities in reading and literature reviewing, critical reasoning and argument, essay writing and verbal communication. The course includes: discussions of theoretical and applied directions in geographical and environmental studies; student-based presentations of key issues; on-line bibliographic searches, statistical analysis and writing techniques.

Availability2021 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2021
  • Semester 2 - 2021

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. An advanced comprehension of geographical and environmental contemporary issues and their historical dimensions.

2. An advanced understanding of cross-disciplinary approaches to economic and environmental factors and structures and their impacts at local, regional and global scales.

3. An advanced comprehension of the variety of theoretical approaches with which to examine and evaluate geographical and environmental processes and problems.

4. A wide range of skills and methods necessary to undertake a complex analysis and communication of geographical and environmental issues and to critically analyse measures, indicators, reports and policies.


  1. Approaches and Definitions of:
  • First World/Third World and North/South-paradigm
  • Economic and cultural interpretations of progress and growth
  • Understandings of nature/culture and environment
  • Holistic interpretations
  1. Critical analysis of geographical and environmental theories and their paradoxes:
  • Economic, political, cultural, social and environmental theories
  • Geographical models, indicators and measurements
  • Alternative approaches
  1. The history and philosophy of research approaches:
  • Social and physical science epistemologies
  • Environmental approaches
  • Ideological contradictions
  1. Advanced skills development:
  • Oral presentation and discussion
  • Essay writing

Assumed knowledge

A major in the appropriate discipline with a minimum credit grade average.

Assessment items

Essay: Essay

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

Self-Directed Learning

Self-Directed 8 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

Each GEOG Honours student will present a short 15min seminar in their first semester and a 1/2hr seminar in their second semester.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.