The Natural World (F8510)

15 credits, Level 4

Autumn teaching

This interdisciplinary module provides you with a foundation for studying physical geography and biodiversity. After introducing earth system science as a framework for the module, you consider the evolution of the planet by looking at the key components and interrelated processes of the:

  • geosphere
  • hydrosphere
  • biosphere
  • atmosphere.

You’ll look at major drivers of the climate system and environmental change. You’ll explore elements of earth structure and composition, continental drift, plate tectonics and geological time, before examining key principles of macro-evolution and biodiversity including:

  • patterns and processes
  • the history of life
  • major extinctions and radiations
  • historical biogeography.


100%: Lecture


100%: Examination (Distance examination, Multiple choice questions)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 20 hours of contact time and about 130 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: