Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POL2065: Environmental Politics

This module descriptor refers to the 2017/8 academic year.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:


1. Introduction

2. History of environmental politics and key issues

3. Green political thought

4. Policy responses to environmental problems: sustainable development and ecological modernisation

5. Environmental communication and public controversies

6. Campaigning: social movements and non-governmental organisations

7. Environmental knowledge and science/policy interfaces

8. Publics, participation and environmental justice

9. Regulation, markets and valuing the environment

9. The UK, the EU and environmental protection

10. Global environmental politics and international agreements


The module will be taught through 11 weekly lectures and 10 weekly seminars immediately following the lecture session (starting week 2) and 130 hours independent study.


The lectures will provide an outline of core concepts and theories to structure discussion, which will be carried through into seminar sessions following each lecture. All students will be expected to have prepared for each session by covering the reading scheduled for each topic and every student should expect to contribute to the discussion. We will explore primary source materials as well as secondary literature, so be prepared to analyse both!


Every class will start with a brief rundown of the environmental politics of the week, so please keep your eyes open for relevant news stories. Bring these to class either as physical clippings or URLs. Please record these in a physical or electronic diary or folder - this will provide you with a key resource for class discussions and for preparing your assessments. Your news ‘scrapbook’ should be handed in alongside your presentation report at the end of the course. MS Office One Note or Evernote (https://evernote.com/) are useful software tools for this purpose

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity1111 x 1 hour lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity10Tutorials
Guided Independent Study129Reading and seminar preparation (70 hours); Preparation and completion of case study (30 hours); Research, analysis and preparation of presentation (15 hours); Preparation and completion of presentation report (10 hours); Following module-related news events (4 hours).

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).

House of Commons EAC: http://www.parliament.uk/eacom

United Nations Environment Programme: http://www.unep.org/

European Union: http://europa.eu/index_en.htm

A useful resource for conducting research is the Web of Science. This allows you to conduct searches of all the major academic journals. You can find details of the Web of Science at: http://www.library.ex.ac.uk/guides/essentials/wos.pdf

Also Google Scholar is useful, particularly for finding open access copies of material not available through the library: http://scholar.google.co.uk