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The University of Southampton

ENVS1004 Environmental Science: Concepts and Communication

Module Overview

This module focuses on environmental issues across a range of themes and provides a focal point for the first year of the undergraduate Environmental Science programmes, in terms of knowledge and understanding, and study skills. The module considers knowledge and understanding of the environment in an inter- and multi-disciplinary basis. The summative coursework assignment works towards combining and analysing information to enable prediction of change and response to interventions. The seminars demonstrate the wide variety of information which is available about the environment, and the ways in which information can be drawn together to understand environmental processes and to inform decisions regarding the environment. Good practice and efficiency in study are introduced via elements of lectures and tutorials. Approaches to developing and reinforcing the generic and subject specific skills needed to be an effective environmental scientist are also provided. Lecture sessions are used as a means to present and consider contemporary environmental issues, and to augment academic and employability skills. Lecture sessions on key skills are aligned with and complementary to tutorials. Tutorial activities and tasks have two main purposes: (1) to reinforce and develop further the academic skills introduced in lectures (e.g. via guided self-study exercises), and (2) encourage student-centred learning via formative assessments focusing on contemporary environmental topics or themes.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The need for both a multi-disciplinary and an interdisciplinary approach in advancing knowledge and understanding of Earth systems, drawing, as appropriate, from the natural and the social sciences
  • The processes which shape the natural world at different temporal and spatial scales and their influence on and by human activities
  • The terminology, nomenclature and classification systems used in environmental science
  • Methods of acquiring, interpreting and analysing environmental science information with a critical understanding of the appropriate contexts for their use
  • Issues concerning the availability and sustainability of resources, for example, the different value sets relating to the Earth's resources as commodities and/or heritage
  • The contribution of environmental science to debate on environmental issues and how knowledge of these forms the basis for informed concern about the Earth and its people
  • The contribution of environmental science to the development of knowledge of the world we live in
  • The applicability of environmental science to the world of work
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Recognising and using subject-specific theories, paradigms, concepts and principles
  • Analysing, synthesising and summarising information critically, including prior research
  • Applying knowledge and understanding to complex and multidimensional problems in familiar and unfamiliar contexts
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Receiving and responding to a variety of information sources (eg textual, numerical, verbal, graphical)
  • Communicating appropriately to a variety of audiences in written, verbal and graphical forms
  • Using the internet critically as a means of communication and a source of information
  • Identifying individual and collective goals and responsibilities and performing in a manner appropriate to these roles
  • Recognising and respecting the views and opinions of other team members
  • Evaluating performance as an individual and a team member
  • Developing the skills necessary for self-managed and lifelong learning (eg working independently, time management and organisation skills)
  • Identifying and working towards targets for personal, academic and career development
  • Developing an adaptable and flexible approach to study and work
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Referencing work in an appropriate manner


- Contemporary environmental issues; - Information sources and resources; - Subject and study skills; - Communication skills. - Employability.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, student presentations and tutorial sessions, with an emphasis on student participation. The lectures and seminars are delivered by the module leader and other staff. The student presentations are student-led with guidance from tutors. The tutorial sessions are conducted in groups by the personal academic tutors. Learning activities include: - Attendance at lectures, seminars and workshops - Attendance and participation in group tutorials. - Self-directed learning. - Private study – research for and preparation of formative and summative tasks and assignments. - Preparation and delivery of tutorial group presentations - Attendance at tutorial group presentations - Preparation for a summative examination - Participation in seminars and discussion groups

Follow-up work12
Preparation for scheduled sessions20
Completion of assessment task50
Wider reading or practice12
Total study time150





MethodPercentage contribution
Essay 50%
Take-away exam 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s) 50%
Take-away exam 50%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules


To study this module, you will need to also study the following module(s):

ENVS1006Environmental Science: Research and Applications
ENVS1005Quantitative Methods
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