2012/2013 Programme Specification Data. Environmental Science

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1 2012/2013 Programme Specification Data Programme Name Programme Number Programme Award QAA Subject Benchmark Statements Environmental Science P02123 BSc Hons Earth Science, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies Programme Aims The BSc (Hons) Environmental Science is an interdisciplinary / multidisciplinary degree programme that adopts a holistic approach to study human impact on the environment. Students may specialise in subject areas within the broad field of environmental sciences, but a holistic, overarching perspective is maintained via the core courses. The overall educational aim of the programme is to produce a student that has a sound understanding of environmental systems and the way humans impact and interact with those systems. Students exit the degree programme with a broad holistic understanding of science, sustainability and the environment and a specialist perspective developed within an area of the natural, physical or social sciences. Additionally, students will also develop their intellectual, analytical, critical and synthesising abilities related to their chosen fields of expertise. The approach to teaching and learning has been directly informed by the environmental science benchmark statement of Programme Learning Outcomes: Knowledge and Understanding A Knowledge and understanding of: The degree is organised so an interdisciplinary core, focusing on sustainability, disciplinarily, policy, law and epistemology, provides a framework for contextualising human impact on environmental systems. The depth of knowledge that a student gains within a particular area of environmental science will be strongly influenced by the level 6 research dissertation. The following list reflects the broad range of issues that students might study while completing an environmental science degree. The list is compiled with reference to the QAA Subject benchmark statement (2007) for Environmental Science and

2 Environmental Studies. The Earth as a system: An ecosystems approach to environmental science including an understand of the physical, biological and anthropogenic processes influencing the Earth s dynamic systems; The complexity and inter-relatedness of human and nonhuman components of the Earth's systems The role of the Earth's systems in supporting life The importance of timescale, from geological to short term, including cycles and feedback mechanisms Human systems and their interaction with global systems: The nature and organisation of human systems The interaction of human and Earth systems and the role of institutions, organisations and other stakeholders in managing and regulating the human impact on the environment. Human responses to environmental problems, for instance environmental impact assessment, management and policy; risk based management; the precautionary principle; limits to growth; sustainability and sustainable development. The relationship between the environment, human culture and attitudes. Inter-disciplinary/multi-disciplinary context: understand and appreciate the multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary nature of the subject, encompassing the principles and methodologies of the natural and social sciences; An interdisciplinary focus is maintained via taught courses while the level 6 dissertation allows for specialisation within a particular subject area. Terminology, nomenclature and classification Terminology, nomenclature and classification approaches drawn from the natural and social sciences and developed within the discipline itself. Environmental issues demonstrate an awareness of current environmental issues, and be able to critically assess the way in which those issues are assessed and managed; The global to local scale of human impacts on the environment. Human causes and consequences of environmental impacts. Students will become familiar with a range of practical environmental concerns

3 Programme Learning Outcomes: Intellectual Skills B Intellectual skills: A degree in ES will introduce students to the following list of intellectual skills. The intellectual depth that a student develops in any particular area will depend on the particular programme of study. This list of skills is drawn from the QAA subject benchmark for Environmental Science and Environmental Studies (2007). Recognising and using appropriate theories, concepts and principles from a range of scientific disciplines; Integration of theory with practice where appropriate Data acquisition, collation and appraisal Collection strategies for primary data (quantitative and qualitative) Manipulation and interpretation of statistical data Manipulation and interpretation of qualitative data Critical evaluation: the ability to critically analyse, synthesis and summarise environmental information and data. Application of knowledge in problem solving situations. Demonstrate an awareness of the role of science in the identification and solution of environmental problems. Understand the importance of ontology and epistemology in the construction of environmental problems. Carry with them a life-long curiosity about and interest in the environment; Demonstrate purposive/discerning observation skills; Understand the inter-relationships between social, economic, ecological and physical processes in creating the environment; Demonstrate informed decision making ability; Demonstrate the ability to judge and evaluate evidence critically; Demonstrate the ability to interpret data and text critically; Demonstrate the ability to abstract and synthesise information; Demonstrate the ability to develop reasoned argument and present a balanced case; Demonstrate the ability to take responsibility for learning and reflect upon their learning; Demonstrate the ability to apply knowledge and skills to problem solving in environmental science subjects; Recognise the broad ethical and moral issues associated with their subjects of study. Programme Learning Outcomes: Subject Practical Skills C Subject Practical skills: An ES student will normally develop practical skills in the following broad areas (see QAA subject benchmark for environmental science and environmental studies, 2007). train students in the range of skills and techniques applied in the environmental sciences; Developing investigative skills concerning planning,

4 conducting, and reporting on environmental issues equip students with the inductive, deductive, analytical and interpretative skills necessary in decision taking and management for environmental issues; The use of primary and secondary data Collecting, recording and analysing (quantitative and qualitative) data using appropriate techniques in the field and laboratory consistent with the students chosen courses (so emphasis might be on natural / physical / social science or a combination of them depending on the chosen options). Undertaking field and laboratory investigations in a responsible and safe manner, paying due attention to risk assessment, rights of access, relevant health and safety regulations, and sensitivity to the impact of investigations on the environment and stakeholders Demonstrate an ability to apply techniques and methodologies in environmental science in applied, practical solutions; Referencing work in an appropriate manner Learn appropriate laboratory skills consistent with optional courses, paying due concern to health and safety procedures Use of GIS and RS to analyse and interpret spatial data Appreciate the importance of objectively assessing the quality and appropriate use of the large range of information and data available relating to environmental science and issues; Become independent researchers capable of implementing a research project enhance the intellectual and imaginative abilities of students, permitting the identification and understanding of processes, linkages, interactions and feedback mechanisms that constitute the function of the environment of Earth; facilitate the learning process in students to ensure they are able to undertake problem solving for environmental issues; Programme Learning Outcomes: Transferable/Key Skills D Transferable/ key skills: A fundamental element of a degree in environmental science is the development of those skills that are relevant to a broad range of applications and chosen career options. Transferable skills are considered under four categories (see QAA Environmental Science and Environmental Studies subject benchmark statement, 2007): Communication skills: 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. Numeracy and C & IT skills Appreciating issues of sample selection, accuracy, precision

5 and uncertainty during collection, recording and analysis of data in the field and laboratory Preparing, processing, interpreting and presenting data, using appropriate qualitative and quantitative techniques and packages Solving numerical problems using computer and noncomputer based techniques Using the Internet critically as a means of communication and a source of information. Interpersonal/teamwork skills 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. Self management and professional development skills Developing the skills necessary for self-managed and lifelong learning (e.g. working independently, time management and organisation skills) Developing an adaptable and flexible approach to study and work the ability to self manage the learning experience develop students confidence, judgement and selfawareness; produce graduates who are capable of pursuing further study at the MSc or PhD Levels Programme Learning Outcomes: Graduate Attributes Teaching and Learning Methods n/a A Teaching and learning: A degree in Environmental Science (ES) is characterised by the broad nature of its subject content. Within ES students are provided with a broad introduction to the physical, natural and social sciences in level 4. Courses at level 5 and level 6 provide an integrative framework in science and sustainability. At level 4 and level 5 students normally follow an indicative route of study through the degree. In level 6 students complete a research dissertation, a readings course and attend formal lectures to develop in depth knowledge in particular areas of the subject. Teaching and learning strategies are varied and designed to facilitate a broad range of learning situations. Strategies include lectures, practicals, student centred learning, tutorials, seminars, role play. Fieldtrips play a fundamental role is giving students experience of the real world examples of issues in environmental science. Student centred learning is also used to allow students

6 to increase their critical understanding of concepts and develop their own reflective thoughts about environmental issues. B Teaching and learning The approach to teaching and learning is designed to promote the progressive development of deep reflective learning and the ability to apply subject knowledge to environmental issues. Intellectual skills are developed through lectures, seminars, tutorials and fieldtrips. Students learn about theoretical aspects during formal lectures. Ideas and concepts are then applied in a real world setting in practical work, seminars and fieldtrip situations. Student centred learning is also used to allow students to increase their critical understanding of concepts and develop their own reflective thoughts about environmental issues. In order to develop intellectual skills students are exposed to a range of learning situations that include role play and case study approaches. There is a strong approach to the encouragement of reflective learning practise amongst the student body. This is evident in the critical approach to coursework (e.g. literature portfolios) as well as the use of discussion and questions during lectures. Throughout their degree students are made aware of the tensions that exists in debates concerning the construction of knowledge regarding environmental problems and issues. Such an approach requires students to be able to contextualise theories and concepts from a wide range of information sources. C Teaching and learning Subject practical skills are developed in a co-ordinated and progressive manner throughout the programme. As students progress through the degree greater emphasis is given to the independence and mastery of skills. Subject practical skills are taught and assessed within subject specific courses, the research methods courses, fieldtrips and the final year dissertation. In particular the research methods courses, the generic level 4 and level 5 field courses and subject specific field courses provide the necessary practical skill training necessary to allow students to complete their final year dissertation. The

7 dissertation is worth 60 credits and is designed to further enhance and develop students ability to be independent researchers while developing their practical skills appropriate to their chosen area of environmental science. D Teaching and learning Transferable skills are delivered via the key skills / tutorial sessions, embedded within courses and developed on field trips. In particular the key skills / tutorial sessions in level 4 and level 5 form a major element of the delivery of transferable skills. In level 4 all Environmental Science students are given a personal tutor which they see every other week (in groups of no more than six students). Running in tandem with the small group tutorials are a series of seminars which develop a comprehensive programme of key skills activities (including writing skills, self-development awareness, seminar skills, referencing skills, note taking etc.). At level 4 the focus is on nurturing the students to ensure that they have the appropriate skills development for the degree that they are embarked upon. At level 5 the emphasis is in independence, that is making sure that students are able to make the transition to independent researchers during their final year. Students are required to produce a PDP as part of their level 4 tutorial programme. This PDP is then updated by the students in level 5 and level 6 and finally linked to the production of a CV. Assessment Methods A Assessment Methods: A broad array of assessment methods are used to enable different aspects of students intellectual and creative abilities to be evaluated. These include: coursework (essays, critical reviews, practicals, seminars, poster presentations) phase tests, and end of year exams. Each assessment method is designed to evaluate different aspects of the students skills portfolio and includes presentation skills (oral and written), critical awareness, knowledge and understanding, practical skills and problem solving. B Assessment Methods: A variety of assessment methods are used that include essay coursework, formal examinations, numerical exercises, oral presentations and fieldtrip activities. C Assessment Methods: A variety of assessment methods are used to assess subject practical skills. These include practical exercises (which may take a variety of forms but include computer based exercises and

8 laboratory based exercises) essays, field based tasks, reports. D Assessment Methods: Transferable skills assessment is embedded within the assessments of the course subject material. For instance oral communication skills are assessed via seminar presentations, writing skills are assessed via essays and reports, time management is assessed via the ability to hand work in on time, team working is assessed within group practical work and seminar presentations etc. Key skills enable students to have the tools with which to successfully study for a degree.

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