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GEOG101 Global Human Environments data-versionlabel=2 >

Unit rationale, description and aim

Geography is focused on understanding the world around us; the rich diversity of environments, places, peoples and cultures across the planet, and the inequalities within and between places. Students studying geography want to understand their place in the world, including the connections with and dependence on the environment for our survival, attachments to the places we live and visit, and our connections with and dependence on places and people throughout the world.

This unit is an introduction to the study of geography, environment and society, and to thinking geographically about the world around us through the three core concepts of space, place, and scale. Students will use a range of learning approaches to examine patterns of social, economic and cultural diversity (and difference) from the perspective of local, national and international situations. The main subject areas students will examine in this unit are: historical geography, population geographies (demography), urban geographies, cultural geographies, development geographies and economic and political geographies. Indigenous perspectives of Geography are woven through the unit to examine core geographic concepts such as space, place, time, territory, land, from an intercultural perspective. This unit will also introduce key skills in geography and the social sciences, such as data capture and interpretation, field work and mapping, skills that will be useful in a wide range of subject areas and degrees, and for a range of future employment opportunities.

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.

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

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:

  • An introduction to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander geographies (pre- and post-European contact)
  • Human settlements in space and time 
  • Australian urban and rural systems 
  • Historical geography and human connections with nature in history
  • Cultural landscapes
  • Economic geography 
  • Global cities and urban forms 
  • Population geography (global population dynamics, migration and 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 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

Examination: 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

Boyle, M. 2021. Human Geography: An Essential Introduction, 2nd Edition. Wiley-Blackwell.

Brunn, S.D., 2019. The International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment and Technology. Taylor and Francis.

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

Fouberg, E.H. and Murphy, A.B., 2020. Human geography: people, place, and culture. John Wiley & Sons.

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

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

Tate, S. and Hopkins, P. 2021. Studying Geography at University: How to Succeed in the First Year of Your New Degree. Routledge

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

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