GEOG201-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023

Environmental Processes: Principles and Applications

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 20 February 2023
End Date: Sunday, 25 June 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 5 March 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 14 May 2023


The course explores the fundamental principles and applications of knowledge related to the surface of the earth in the sub-disciplines of geomorphology, climatology and hydrology. Systems studied include landforms, glaciers, climate, and rivers. The main objective of the course is to explain the spatial and temporal characteristics, and the interaction between these systems in an interdisciplinary manner by drawing extensively from New Zealand examples.

The aim of this course is to investigate a range of physical environmental processes affecting the surface and the sub-surface of the Earth. It covers the fundamental scientific principles underpinning different branches of physical geography, namely geomorphology, climatology, and hydrology.

The Earth’s surface is shaped by a complex interaction of physical processes that operate over different spatial and temporal scales. During this course, we will look at a range of different environments and processes, with a focus on rivers, estuaries, and coasts as case studies to apply key theories. We will look at the processes of erosion and deposition that occur as we follow the movement of sediment and water down mountains and hillslopes, through rivers and estuaries, and to meet the coast. We will also look at the role humans can play in impacting different landforms and processes, and how these impacts can be managed or predicted. A variety of real-world case studies will be used, drawing on examples from New Zealand and internationally.

Although physical geography has been traditionally sliced into several sub-disciplines, the course also aims to discuss interactions and relationships between different spheres of physical geography. The concepts taught in this course provide the conceptual basis for the course GEOG211: Environmental Processes: Research Practice. It is strongly recommended that you take GEOG211 as an accompanying course to GEOG201.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learning outcomes:
    Upon successful completion of GEOG201, students should:
  • Have gained an understanding of physical environmental processes affecting the Earth’s surface;
  • Be able to understand the concepts that drive geomorphology, sediment movement through the landscape, climate, and hydrology;
  • Have gained some familiarity with analysis techniques commonly used in these sub-disciplines
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

      Employable, innovative and enterprising

      Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.


Any 30 points of 100-level Geography, or
entry with approval of the Head of Department


GEOG201 prior to 2009.

Timetable Note

2 x 1-hour lectures per week.
4 x 2-hour labs throughout semester (approximately 1 lab every 2-3 weeks).

Course Coordinator

Sarah McSweeney


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Lab practicals 30%
On-line quizzes 30%
Exam 40%


Any 30 points of 100-level Geography, or entry with approval of the Head of Department.

GEOG201 prior to 2009.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $916.00

International fee $4,750.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see School of Earth and Environment .

All GEOG201 Occurrences

  • GEOG201-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023