Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

To be effective as a geographer you need to be able to examine the relationships between people and places and build an understanding of places and their populations worldwide. This is particular relevant to students today, where an understanding of the location of places and their cultural characteristics is needed to successfully comprehend and appreciate our increasingly interdependent and complex world.This unit is an introduction to Human Geography, a diverse subject that examines the relationships between people and places. The aim of this unit is to introduce key subject areas in Human Geography that will enable you to gain an appreciation and understanding of places and their populations worldwide. Patterns of social, economic and cultural diversity (and difference) are examined from the perspective of local, national and international situations. The five main subject areas you will cover in this unit are: Historical Geography, Population Geographies, Urban Geographies, Cultural Geographies and Economic Geographies. Indigenous perspectives of Geography are woven through the unit, as with other ACU Geography units, to examine core geographic concepts such as space, place, territory, land, from an intercultural perspective. This unit will also introduce key skills in Human Geography, such as field work and mapping, skills that will be useful in wide range of subject areas and degrees, and for future employment opportunities.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Describe how historical, economic, social and ecological forces interact to influence the nature and location of human activity (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9)

LO2 - Use a foundation of transferable skills that include observation and the evaluation of data sources, geographical skills (including field work and mapping), and written and/or oral communication (GA7, GA9) 

LO3 - Use reading and research skills to examine and explain the patterns and processes affecting places and their populations (GA5, GA9)

LO4 - Identify and reflect on the history and key theories of the discipline of Geography (GA5, GA9). 

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include: 

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander geographies (pre- and post-European contact) and World Indigenous connections with place 
  • Social, cultural and environmental impacts of colonialism, and Post-colonial geographies 
  • Australian urban and rural systems 
  • Economic geography 
  • Global cities and urban forms 
  • Population geography (global population dynamics, migration & Australia’s population) 
  • Distinct natural-human environments: night-time economies, World Heritage areas etc. 
  • Gendered places 
  • Economic globalisation 
  • Development and inequality 
  • Resource development and settlement patterns, the geography of tourism 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit uses face-to-face instruction during class. The in-class lecture component is used to convey new material and offer students the chance to engage and ask questions in person. The tutorial portion of the course is to be used as a resource to offer students the opportunity to put their knowledge learned in lectures to use and gain hands-on experience and learn and practice Geographical skills. At times, field work may be conducted instead of schedule tutorials and lectures. This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, video etc. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks for this unit have been designed to contribute to high quality student learning by both helping students learn (assessment for learning), and by measuring explicit evidence of their learning (assessment of learning). Assessments have been developed to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. These have been designed so that they use a variety of tasks to measure the different learning outcomes at a level suitable for first year study in geography. The field work research project requires students to demonstrate, develop and apply key geographical and research skills to the understanding of the processes that influence patterns of human activity. The skill development tasks examine student development of different geographical skills that are developed sequentially during tutorial periods. The final assessment, an end of semester examination, requires students to demonstrate their understanding of the topics covered in this unit and also the research, communication, and geographical skills they have developed. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Fieldwork research project: this task requires students to use reading and research skills to develop an understanding of the patterns and processes affecting places and their populations 


LO1, LO2 

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9 

Skill development tasks that include observation and the evaluation of geographical sources, and written and/or oral communication skills. These take place shortly after weekly tutorials to allow rapid assessment and feedback on gradual skill development  


LO2, LO3,  

GA5, GA7, GA9 

Exam: Formal semester-end examination where students will be required to (a) describe how economic, demographic, social and ecological forces interact to influence the nature and location of human activity, and (b) outline the history and key theories of the discipline 


LO1, LO4 

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9 

Representative texts and references

Couper, P. 2015. A Student's Introduction to Geographical Thought: Theories, Philosophies, Methodologies. Sage, London. 

Dicken, P. 2015. Global Shift: Mapping the Changing Contours of the World Economy (7th edition). Sage, London. 

Knox, P.L. and Marston, S. 2016. Human Geography: Places and Regions in Global Context, Global Edition (7th edition). Pearson, Boston. 

Mayhew, S. 2015. A Dictionary of Geography (5th edition). Oxford, London. 

Northey, M. et al. 2015. Making Sense in Geography and Environmental Sciences: A Student's Guide to Research and Writing. OUP 

Ritzer, G. 2011. Globalization: The Essentials. Wiley-Blackwell, UK. 

Rubenstein, J.M. 2017. The Cultural Landscape: An Introduction to Human Geography, Global Edition (12th edition). Pearson: Harlow, United Kingdom. 

Waitt, G,. et al. 2010. Introducing Human Geography: Globalisation, Difference and Inequality (1st edition). Pearson, Sydney. 

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