Environment and Development

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Charles Palmer STC. S303


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Environment and Development and BSc in Environmental Policy with Economics. This course is available on the BA in Geography and BSc in Geography with Economics. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.


Applied Environmental Economics (GY222) and/or Intermediate Microeconomics (EC201)

Course content

This course explores the complex relationships between development, poverty and the environment. It covers a range of important natural resource and environmental issues in developing countries, and provides students with the necessary tools to critically evaluate how these issues have been addressed by different stakeholders and at different levels of governance. Using concepts and analytical tools grounded in political ecology and economics, the course will examine a range of topics, including: the politics of sustainable development; property rights and governance; the food-energy-water nexus; the resource curse; critical resource issues (including forestry, fresh water, and fisheries); biofuels; and urbanisation.

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

• Assess key debates related to sustainable development

• Critically evaluate relationships between development, poverty, natural resource use and the environment

• Understand the natural resource linkages between developing and developed countries


10 hours of lectures and 9 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 9 hours of classes in the LT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce one 1,000 word formative essay in the MT and one 750 word essay plan in the LT.

Indicative reading

Barbier, E (2005) Natural Resources and Economic Development, Cambridge University Press; Lopez, R., and M. Toman (2006) Economic Development and Environmental Sustainability. Columbia University Press; Fairhead, J and M. Leach (1996) Misreading the African Landscape: Society and Ecology in a Forest-Savanna Mosaic, Cambridge University Press; Fischer-Kowalski, M. and H. Haberl (2007) Socioecological Transitions and Global Change: Trajectories of Social Metabolism and Land Use, Edward Elgar; Meiksins Wood, E. (2002), The Origin of Capitalism: A Longer View, Ellen Meiksins Wood, Verso Press; Polanyi, K (1944), The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of our Time, Beacon Press; Scott, J (1991) Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition have Failed, Yale University Press; Ray, D. (1999), Development Economics, Princeton: Princeton University Press.


Exam (50%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (50%, 4000 words) in the LT.

Student performance results

(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)

Classification % of students
First 21.1
2:1 46.5
2:2 29.6
Third 2.8
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Geography & Environment

Total students 2016/17: 23

Average class size 2016/17: 12

Capped 2016/17: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills

Course survey results

(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 79%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


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Recommend (Q2.9)