Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

Human Ecology - BSc (Hons)

UCAS code CF17

2017

Human ecology is the study of the relationship and interactions between humans and their environment. It considers the ecological, evolutionary, historical and socio-political dimensions of different people's engagement with each other and their surrounding environment.

Overview

The aim of this subject is to better understand the diversity and complexity of such interactions. This helps us to understand and address the cascading ecological and social crises of the 21st century, and in our search for a more sustainable future.

This degree emphasises an interdisciplinary, holistic and cross-cultural approach to human environmental relationships, integrating social and natural studies on critical thinking about the place of humans on the planet, and the causes and consequences of the present-day ecological crises. 

Drawing on our unique range of expertise in conservation biology, landscape ecology, ecosystem services, social anthropology, and ethnobiology, this degree provides comprehensive training in the methods, tools and applications of human ecology. This includes qualitative and quantitative ecological and ethnographic data collection and analysis, field trips (in the UK and abroad; for example, the tropics and the Mediterranean), spatial analysis, and the application of research to practical problem solving.

Think Kent video series

In this talk, Dr Robert Fish of Kent, explains how the field of human ecology seeks to promote understanding of nature and the life-giving, life-saving and life-affirming role it plays in people’s lives.

Independent rankings

In the National Student Survey 2016, Anthropology at Kent was ranked 7th for overall satisfaction. Anthropology at Kent was ranked 9th for teaching quality in The Times Good University Guide 2017.

Anthropology and Conservation students who graduated from Kent in 2015 were the most successful in the UK at finding work or further study opportunities (DLHE).
Anthropology at Kent was ranked 5th for graduate prospects in The Guardian University Guide 2017.

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘wild’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Stage 1

Modules may include Credits

Economic growth and consumerism are threatening our planet and the future of human kind. This module provides a comprehensive introduction to environmental sustainability, using a strongly interdisciplinary approach based on environmental science and economics. In Part 1, we define environmental sustainability and explain how environmental sustainability can be assessed in relation to renewable resources, non-renewable resources and pollution. We consider the main threats to environmental sustainability such as climate change, pollution and resource exploitation and how they arise from the economic-environmental system. In Part 2, we explore environmental threats and issues in more detail focusing on issues such as species extinction, deforestation, climate change, and fossil fuel burning. Throughout Part 2 we actively consider potential solutions to current global economic and environmental crises for example, through the development of green technology, renewable energy, resource efficiency, recycling of materials, and green infrastructure.

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15

This module will introduce a range of fundamental concepts that underpin our understanding of biodiversity and, therefore, the conservation of biodiversity and associated ecosystem services. The differences and similarities between the multiple definitions for the term 'biodiversity' will be considered, in addition to examining how scientists are trying to assess the magnitude of biodiversity on the planet. Spatial and temporal patterns of biodiversity will be investigated, along with the importance of biodiversity (both use and non-values). The module will then explore the contemporary threats to biodiversity and provision of associated ecosystem services, in conjunction with a broad overview of the methods conservationists employ to protect and maintain biodiversity.

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15

This module is designed to introduce students to the range of basic practical and technical skills required across the School's BA and BSc programmes. The following areas will be covered:

Literary skills - different types of academic writing, and when and how to use them.

Reading skills - how to read an academic paper, how to precis an argument, how to make notes on a book chapter.

Bibliographical skills - how to construct a bibliography and the use of the library, online databases and full-text journals.

Correct referencing and the use of Endnote/Refworks.

Data collection and handling - the use of spreadsheets for simple statistics and graphs.

Planning projects and fieldwork.

The use of appropriate specialist software.

Photography and video skills.

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15

This module provides an introduction to contemporary discourses and issues surrounding the relationship between nature, environment and society. The module begins by introducing people to the idea of 'environment', and specifically, to the range of assumptions we might hold about the relationship between environmental processes and human identity and behaviour. We go on to examine how ideas of human-environment relations play out across different geographical and land use contexts, at a range of different spatial scales (global, national, regional, urban and rural), and within the context of different stakeholder and social groups (such as policy makers, pressure groups, the media, and publics), More generally we provide a framework for critically evaluating the values and ethical assumptions that lay behind human constructions and uses of the non-human world and how we might manage, respond to and construct a range of environmental issues from a government, business and civic society starting point. More generally, the module aims to introduce students to basic conceptual distinctions that cut across these relationships, including ideas of ‘local and global’, ‘culture and nature’, and ‘representation and materiality’

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15

This field based module explores how to interpret and assess the sustainability of land use systems. It involves local field investigations into different types and scales of system and the way these are valued and managed according to different, often competing, economic, social and environmental priorities for land. The local field investigations span key different contexts for learning. Contexts and emphasises will vary over each year according to teaching staff but may include:

• Land-use systems at the landscape scale –such as the management of protected areas designated for their biodiversity and cultural value.

• Exploring and managing woodland environments– including the culture and practice of woodland management.

• Farming and agricultural change –spanning the environmental and economic dimensions of changes in farming systems and wider supply chain

• Urban ecosystems and landscapes – including a focus on the role of green infrastructure for linking people to the natural world

• Touristic and leisure landscapes – linking sustainable landscapes to a major sector for economic regeneration and growth

The module will include four day-long field trips to local (kent-based) sites over the course of the term and contextualised through supporting lectures and group exercises. The trips will be timetabled to avoid clashes with existing student commitments (and may include attendance at weekend and during reading weeks). The module will provide practical learning to complement theoretical issues explored across anthropology and conservation programmes. The emphasis throughout will therefore be on learning from the experience of people and organisations directly engaged in creating, cultivating and managing land for different kinds of human benefit.

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15

This module introduces students to a wide-ranging view of the relationships among people, other animals and plants. The module will provide social, political and cultural perspectives on these relationships and will introduce students to some of the technical aspects of ethnobiology. The module emphasises the importance of culture in mediating the use of plants and animals among humans, and explores the role of wild and domestic plants and animals in human evolution, including the way human societies have manipulated and altered the landscape. Contemporary problems in conservation, development and human and animals rights are also explored.

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15

The broad aim of this module is to provide students with practical field experience in biodiversity monitoring and assessment methods. Specific aims are to introduce students to a range of basic field techniques and develop their skills in the collection, analysis and presentation of field data. The module provides an essential practical element of the Wildlife Conservation programme.

The module is spread over the latter half of the Spring Term, the Easter Vacation, plus the Summer Term. Spreading the course out in this way allows different groups of organisms to be examined as they become available for survey and the dates may vary slightly from year to year. Groups of students will each undertake survey or monitoring projects under the supervision of a member of staff. Each project will assess the biodiversity of an appropriate taxonomic group (eg.. invertebrates, birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, plants, etc.) in either a terrestrial or freshwater habitat. Students will be expected to arrive at an appropriate design for data collection in discussion with their supervisor, carry out the survey, analyse the data and present a short seminar on their results at the end of the week.

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15

The aim of the module is to link theory and practice in wildlife conservation. A number of practical conservation problems will be used to introduce key theoretical concepts that underlie modern biodiversity management. Particular emphasis will be placed on the challenges of collecting and analyzing data for understanding threats, establishing conservation priorities (at the species and habitat levels) and informed decision-making. Students will develop an understanding of the practical skills and scientific principles that underlie conservation management goals and plans at different geographical and temporal scales.

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15

The module will begin with the question of what defines a plant and how they related to the other kingdoms. This will then lead on to a journey from the plant cell to vegetation communities and how they interact with, and are import to, other groups of organisms. The module will then finish with a discussion surrounding the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (from the Convention on Biological Diversity) and the targets within this document

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15

Social Anthropology is a discipline which arose with other social sciences in the mid- to late-nineteenth century, social and cultural anthropology has made a speciality of studying 'other' peoples worlds and ways of life. With increasing frequency, however, anthropologists have turned towards 'home', using insights gained from studying other cultures to illuminate aspects of their own society. By studying people's lives both at 'home' and 'abroad', social and cultural anthropology attempt to both explain what may at first appear bizarre and alien about other peoples' ways of living whilst also questioning what goes without saying about our own society and beliefs. Or, to put it another way, social and cultural anthropology attempt, among other things, to challenge our ideas about what we take to be natural about 'human nature' and more generally force us to take a fresh look at what we take for granted.

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30

This module is an introduction to biological anthropology and human prehistory. It provides an exciting introduction to humans as the product of evolutionary processes. We will explore primates and primate behaviour, human growth and development, elementary genetics, the evolution of our species, origins of agriculture and cities, perceptions of race, and current research into human reproduction and sexuality. Students will develop skills in synthesising information from a range of sources and learn to critically evaluate various hypotheses about human evolution, culture, and behaviour. This module is required for all BSc and BA Anthropology students. The module is also suitable for students in other disciplines who want to understand human evolution, and the history and biology of our species. A background in science is not assumed or required, neither are there any preferred A-levels or other qualifications. The module is team-taught by the biological and medical anthropology staff

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30

The module introduces students to the major figures who have shaped the discipline of Anthropology (both socio-cultural and biological) and take them through the historical development of the discipline. Major thinkers such as Marx, Weber and Durkheim on the one hand, and Linnaeus, Lamarck, Darwin and Mendel on the other, are introduced, and their influence on and contribution to the discipline traced. The module will provide an historical outline of major schools of thought within Anthropology - evolution, diffusionism, functionalism structuralism, postmodernism, socio-biology, evolutionary psychology - in both Britain and the USA, and examine the relationship between socio-cultural anthropology and biological anthropology from an historical perspective.

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15

Stage 2

Modules may include Credits

This course is designed to introduce and re-affirm statistical concepts, and their correct use and relevance to field biologists. Introductory topics will include measures of central tendency, frequency distributions, the normal distribution, standard errors, and how sample parameters, and null hypotheses apply in real biological situations. Further topics will include one- and two-tailed tests, chi-squared test, regression analysis, and analysis of variance. The role of probability in field biology will be considered, and its application to biological questions. Throughout this taught course, emphasis will be placed on practical application of statistics as much as possible, and when and how they are applied. Since there is both a theoretical and practical component to this course, students should aim to link the theory presented in lectures with the practical sessions and field trip parts of the course. The field trips will be towards the end of the course, by which time students will have been exposed to sufficient statistical methods, and be ready to apply it. By the end of the module, students should have a knowledge of the underlying principles of biological statistics, be able to evaluate from a theoretical stand-point and in practise, statistical results, and have a sound appreciation of the benefits and limitations of different statistical techniques and their application to field biology.

The role of this module has been to provide students with the statistical knowledge to conduct their data analysis for their research project, and to reinforce the appreciation and knowledge of statistical methods within a biological framework. It is often the case that students in the second and third years of their degree are able to execute statistical analysis via computer programmes, but lack an appreciation of what the statistical results actually mean, and the ability to correctly interpret them in the context of their research. This module is designed to address these issues through a combination of lectures on statistical topics within a biological framework, and practical tasks and exercises.

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15

The overall aim of this module is to provide students with an outline of the principals of Spatial Analysis and to introduce a range of methods for collection and analysis of spatial data. Particular attention is paid to the development of students’ analysis skills through the use of remote sensing techniques and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). GIS are increasingly being used in wildlife conservation and environmental sciences in general to help solve a wide range of “real world” environmental and associated social problems. As the current trend in ecological studies moves towards the acquisition manipulation and analysis of large datasets with explicit geographic reference, employers often report shortages of relevant GIS skills to handle spatial data. Thus, this module will introduce the use of GIS as a means of solving spatial problems and the potential of GIS and remote sensing techniques for wildlife conservation providing the student with marketable skills relevant to research and commercial needs. Topics will include:

• understanding the major concepts in Spatial Analysis;

• introduction to the principles of GIS;

• introduction to remote sensing

• data structures in GIS;

• data sources and methods of data acquisition

• georeferencing, co-ordinate systems and projections

• working with raster and vector data

• mapping (how to create and transform maps),

• ArcGIS -overview of ArcGIS, ArcMap, ArcCatalog; ArcToolbox, Spatial Analyst.

• GIS operations (Calculating area, Intersection of polygons etc)

• manipulation, spatial data query and analysis of a wide range of environmental and socio-economic information relevant to wildlife conservation

These topics will be taught using a combination of lectures and practicals. The practical classes will provide hands-on experience using ArcGIS which is the most widely used GIS system. Students will be able to use knowledge and skills acquired in this module in practical project work.

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15

Primarily intended to offer a critical analysis of the concept of development, particularly as it is used to talk about economic and social change in the developing world, the module shows how anthropological knowledge and understanding can illuminate 'development issues' such as rural poverty, environmental degradation, international aid and humanitarian assistance, climate change and the globalization of trade. Topics discussed include the role of anthropology in development practice, by examining some of the methods being used to either study or participate in current development projects, whether at local, national or international levels of intervention.

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15

The module will begin with an introduction to research. Students will be asked to think about what counts as research, how research validity can be assessed, and. Subsequent sessions will give training in the design and use of (a) qualitative interviews and (b) (quantitative) questionnaires. Sessions will also be devoted to processing and analysis of qualitative data, and also basic descriptive statistics to analyse quantitative data, but not inferential statistics, since this is covered in a separate core module on statistics in the BSc programme (DI508). Towards the end of the module we will look in more depth at the principles of research design in order to help students begin to plan their final year research projects

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15

The aim of this module is to introduce students to recent developments in natural resource management focused on the ideas of natural capital, ecosystem services and sustainable landscape management and thus a module set firmly with the socio-ecological tradition of human ecology. The module will trace the traditions of this gradual harmonisation of resource management discourse and how it plays out conceptually, empirically and at the interface of environmental science, policy and practice. The module will also set this tradition in a critical frame, drawing back to underlying assumptions about the idea of nature, and the relationship between nature, economy, human development and well-being. It will also have a practical edge by covering issues of environmental citizenship and the ethical, procedural and practical rationales that underpin different forms and levels of engagement in environmental decision making.

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15

‘European Societies’ surveys the social anthropology of contemporary Europe, with a focus on Western European urban and rural societies. The module explores changes in European societies since the end of the Cold War, including conflict related to the reorganisation and ‘fortification’ of Europe’s southern and eastern borders. We read ethnographies exemplifying contemporary approaches to studying industrial and post-industrial societies. We critically review key debates in the study of community and identity politics; nationalism and ethnic conflict; borders, migration and transnationalism; tradition, modernity, and heritage; tourism; industrial and post-industrial work; new religious movements; and biosocialities. A further focus is interrogation of the concept of ‘Europe’ itself, through analyzing the process of ‘Europeanization’ within the EU, and issues raised by the financial crisis; and through presenting ethnographic vantage points from which students can rethink the idea of ‘Europe’ for themselves. The module includes a critical history of anthropological study of Europe and the Northern Mediterranean, with special attention to the role of the University of Kent in the development of the regional literature. It is designed to be accessible to anthropology students, and those interested in European studies more generally.

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15

This is an introduction to environmental anthropology, and a critical exploration of theories concerning the relationship between culture, social organisation and ecology. The topics covered will include problems in defining nature and environment, environmental determinism and cultural ecology, biological models and the concept of system, ethnoecology, the description of subsistence, the concept of cultural adaptation, the ecology of hunting and gathering peoples, low intensity agriculture, intensification, environment, culture and development, and the anthropology of the environmental movement.

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15

This module introduces students to the discipline of behavioural ecology, with particular reference to non-human primates. The module looks at the patterns and principles that can be generalised from the variation in behaviour and ecology across primate species. Set within an evolutionary behavioural-ecological framework, this module combines established findings with the latest research. It emphasises the importance of direct observations of primate behaviour and the use of theoretical models with which to make sense of these data. The module covers social and reproductive behaviour within primate groups, the nature and evolution of primate societies, and cognition and communication, as well as interactions between primates and their environments: primates as foragers, predators and prey. The module will make particular use of multi-media technology to allow students to see and hear primates in their natural habitats.

Read more
15

This module seeks to engage directly with the central provocation of the Anthropocene: that the speed, scope and scale of human industrial activities are having unparalleled, unintended and poorly understood impacts on the earth as a system, thus contributing to and significantly expanding the scale and risks associated with the crisis of modernity and its multiple dimensions: environmental, social, political, and cultural. In response to this crisis, and especially in light of the fact that human activities are so profoundly entangled with biological, ecological and geological process, a number of academic disciplines are reconsidering many of their core categories, boundaries and approaches. The Anthropocene constitutes an important, novel and challenging problem and a unique case study to attempt a more careful and effective integration of the different intellectual traditions and methods as exemplified in SAC: social and biological anthropology, human ecology and conservation. Some of the main areas covered in the module include: 1) introduction to the Anthropocene- approaching the Earth as a system 2) The stratigraphy of industrial development and debates about the onset of the Anthropocene 3) Rethinking the nature-culture divide 4) The Anthropocene dilemma: humans as agents or victims? 5) Thinking the planet: challenges for science and governance.

Read more
15

Creative Conservation will engage students with a range of ways of thinking critically about conservation issues and their communication whilst developing their own creative practice and skills portfolio. The approach will seek to take a truly interdisciplinary approach, exploring these issues form a range of disciplinary perspectives and seeking syntheses and new imaginings in addressing them. Topics of focus will be chosen from amongst:

• History of place and the relationship with nature – esp. East Kent and the Blean

• Photography - and the use of the still image

• Video - as representation and a research tool

• Art and Conservation - craftwork, eco-regional design and natural resource utilisation

• The Wildlife Documentary - a critical deconstruction and analysis

• Conservation, Religion and Culture

• Campaigning for Conservation

• Conservation and Agriculture

• Literature and Storytelling

• Conservation and Cuisine - benefit or burden to the conservation mission?

• Performance Ethnography - a theoretical framework for action research in conservation

In each case the theoretical, as well as the applied practical aspects of the topic will form a core component of the learning and teaching.

Read more
15

The driving causes of biodiversity loss are not just ecological, but also political, economic and cultural, and conservationists need to acquire the knowledge and skills to address broader social contexts. This module aims to introduce students to cutting-edge debates about the place of local people in biodiversity conservation, and provide them with an overview of the essential role that the social sciences play in the analysis of environmental issues. Objectives of the module are to provide students with a broad conceptual understanding of the social context of conservation, and particularly of the importance of politics and economics; knowledge of the history of conservation approaches towards local communities; familiarity with key issues in the implementation of community conservation; and a critical approach to analysis of the current conservation-preservation debate.

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15

The aim of the module is to cover major overarching and current issues, such as understanding biodiversity in the fossil record, extinction rates and how they are calculated, and how many species are there and why it matters. By looking at these "bigger picture" issues conceptual thinking will be brought in; for example how using basic biological knowledge, we can estimate the number of species on Earth. In addition, there will be guest lectures, and discussion of current global issues that are making the press such as the results of major international conferences; past examples included the outcomes of the Copenhagen conference on climate change and the concept of 'Planetary Boundaries'.

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15
You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Stage 3

Modules may include Credits

Primarily intended to offer a critical analysis of the concept of development, particularly as it is used to talk about economic and social change in the developing world, the module shows how anthropological knowledge and understanding can illuminate 'development issues' such as rural poverty, environmental degradation, international aid and humanitarian assistance, climate change and the globalization of trade. Topics discussed include the role of anthropology in development practice, by examining some of the methods being used to either study or participate in current development projects, whether at local, national or international levels of intervention.

Read more
15

The module is considered as an important element of Wildlife Conservation undergraduate training. The opportunity to engage in personal research is seen as an essential element of academic training in all disciplines. The particular skills necessary to undertake research, whether practical fieldwork or laboratory work or a desk-based study, can only be taught through the medium of practically orientated investigative tasks. The principle objective in the research project is to assist students in gaining insight into the organisation, analysis and communication of research. The approved investigation may be novel i.e. one that has not previously been carried out, or it may repeat previously executed work for comparative or control purposes.

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30

‘European Societies’ surveys the social anthropology of contemporary Europe, with a focus on Western European urban and rural societies. The module explores changes in European societies since the end of the Cold War, including conflict related to the reorganisation and ‘fortification’ of Europe’s southern and eastern borders. We read ethnographies exemplifying contemporary approaches to studying industrial and post-industrial societies. We critically review key debates in the study of community and identity politics; nationalism and ethnic conflict; borders, migration and transnationalism; tradition, modernity, and heritage; tourism; industrial and post-industrial work; new religious movements; and biosocialities. A further focus is interrogation of the concept of ‘Europe’ itself, through analyzing the process of ‘Europeanization’ within the EU, and issues raised by the financial crisis; and through presenting ethnographic vantage points from which students can rethink the idea of ‘Europe’ for themselves. The module includes a critical history of anthropological study of Europe and the Northern Mediterranean, with special attention to the role of the University of Kent in the development of the regional literature. It is designed to be accessible to anthropology students, and those interested in European studies more generally.

Read more
15

This module introduces students to the discipline of behavioural ecology, with particular reference to non-human primates. The module looks at the patterns and principles that can be generalised from the variation in behaviour and ecology across primate species. Set within an evolutionary behavioural-ecological framework, this module combines established findings with the latest research. It emphasises the importance of direct observations of primate behaviour and the use of theoretical models with which to make sense of these data. The module covers social and reproductive behaviour within primate groups, the nature and evolution of primate societies, and cognition and communication, as well as interactions between primates and their environments: primates as foragers, predators and prey. The module will make particular use of multi-media technology to allow students to see and hear primates in their natural habitats.

Read more
15

Students will learn about the evolution and significance of food production, especially in relation to globalisation, identity and health. The module will cover different modes of food production, the domestication of animals and the cultivation of staple crops in the course of social development. it will look at different theories about the importance of food production for the rise of urban cultures and organised religion, and the relationship of food production systems to trade, colonial expansion and the process of globalisation. Moving from production and distribution to eating itself, the module will cover notions of food identity at collective and individual levels, by looking at the process of food preparation and consumption and abstinence in different cultural settings. We will also look at various forms of disordered eating, the dynamic relationship between cultures and eating and contemporarary debates over fast food, genetic engineering, and personal identity against the background of rising food prices, regional food shortage and the management of famine in different countries.

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15

This module seeks to engage directly with the central provocation of the Anthropocene: that the speed, scope and scale of human industrial activities are having unparalleled, unintended and poorly understood impacts on the earth as a system, thus contributing to and significantly expanding the scale and risks associated with the crisis of modernity and its multiple dimensions: environmental, social, political, and cultural. In response to this crisis, and especially in light of the fact that human activities are so profoundly entangled with biological, ecological and geological process, a number of academic disciplines are reconsidering many of their core categories, boundaries and approaches. The Anthropocene constitutes an important, novel and challenging problem and a unique case study to attempt a more careful and effective integration of the different intellectual traditions and methods as exemplified in SAC: social and biological anthropology, human ecology and conservation. Some of the main areas covered in the module include: 1) introduction to the Anthropocene- approaching the Earth as a system 2) The stratigraphy of industrial development and debates about the onset of the Anthropocene 3) Rethinking the nature-culture divide 4) The Anthropocene dilemma: humans as agents or victims? 5) Thinking the planet: challenges for science and governance.

Read more
15

This is an introduction to environmental anthropology, and a critical exploration of theories concerning the relationship between culture, social organisation and ecology. The topics covered will include problems in defining nature and environment, environmental determinism and cultural ecology, biological models and the concept of system, ethnoecology, the description of subsistence, the concept of cultural adaptation, the ecology of hunting and gathering peoples, low intensity agriculture, intensification, environment, culture and development, and the anthropology of the environmental movement.

Read more
15

This module is a general introduction to visual anthropology. It includes treatment of cross-cultural cognition and symbolic analysis, the social history of still photography and film relating to ethnographic subjects, the study of national and regional cinematic traditions (outside Europe and America), the comparative ethnography of television and broader consideration of issues of social representation and political ideology in visual imagery, combining empirical ethnographic analysis of these issues with the alternative (complementary) contributions of scholars of visual imagery from a literary and humanistic tradition of interpretation. It includes a short practical introduction to different visual media, but extended practical experience is available only through the project modules.

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15

Environmental Law I involves lectures covering the following topics:

• Introduction: basic concepts in Environmental Law

• Public health origins and statutory nuisances

• Regulatory approaches at national, European Community and international levels

• The legal protection of the aquatic environment

• Waste management and the legal protection of land quality

• The legal protection of air quality

• The integration of pollution control

• Enforcement at national and European Community levels

• Alternative approaches to environmental protection

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15

This module will inform students how climate has influenced the diversity of life on Earth, from past to present, and its likely future impacts. We will begin with a summary of the physical science basis of contemporary climate change and the role that anthropogenic factors have played since the commencement of the industrial era. We will then explore the biological and ecological impacts of climate change on individual organisms, populations and communities, with particular emphasis given to understanding how species are responding. The module will then explore how conservation biologists are using particular interventions to ameliorate the most harmful and destabilising effects of climate change. From a more general perspective, the social, economic and political ways in which climate change can be mitigated will be assessed

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15

The driving causes of biodiversity loss are not just ecological, but also political, economic and cultural, and conservationists need to acquire the knowledge and skills to address broader social contexts. This module aims to introduce students to cutting-edge debates about the place of local people in biodiversity conservation, and provide them with an overview of the essential role that the social sciences play in the analysis of environmental issues. Objectives of the module are to provide students with a broad conceptual understanding of the social context of conservation, and particularly of the importance of politics and economics; knowledge of the history of conservation approaches towards local communities; familiarity with key issues in the implementation of community conservation; and a critical approach to analysis of the current conservation-preservation debate.

Read more
15

The aim of this module is to explore the evolutionary, ecological and biological concepts underlying biodiversity. Patterns of species richness, endemism and extinction risk will be examined at different spatial scales using recently available global datasets for mammals, birds and amphibians. We will consider the abiotic and biotic processes that explain these patterns including: - climatic, latitudinal and altitudinal gradients; topography; productivity; habitat heterogeneity and human population density. The main anthropogenic threats to biodiversity will also be examined including climate change, habitat loss, fragmentation, over-exploitation and invasive species. Finally, predictive models of future biodiversity loss will be appraised.

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15

Creative Conservation will engage students with a range of ways of thinking critically about conservation issues and their communication whilst developing their own creative practice and skills portfolio. The approach will seek to take a truly interdisciplinary approach, exploring these issues form a range of disciplinary perspectives and seeking syntheses and new imaginings in addressing them. Topics of focus will be chosen from amongst:

• History of place and the relationship with nature – esp. East Kent and the Blean

• Photography - and the use of the still image

• Video - as representation and a research tool

• Art and Conservation - craftwork, eco-regional design and natural resource utilisation

• The Wildlife Documentary - a critical deconstruction and analysis

• Conservation, Religion and Culture

• Campaigning for Conservation

• Conservation and Agriculture

• Literature and Storytelling

• Conservation and Cuisine - benefit or burden to the conservation mission?

• Performance Ethnography - a theoretical framework for action research in conservation

In each case the theoretical, as well as the applied practical aspects of the topic will form a core component of the learning and teaching.

Read more
15

This residential module is designed to provide students with first-hand experience of ecological processes, biodiversity and conservation issues associated with humid tropical environments. Tropical rainforests are the most biologically diverse habitats on Earth and the loss of rainforest is of tremendous conservation concern, both due to loss of diversity as well as its consequences for global warming. Topics to be covered in the curriculum include:

• Ecological processes and services in tropical rainforests including nutrient cycling, decomposition, pollination and seed dispersal.

• Rainforest structure and defining characteristics of pristine and disturbed habitats.

• Rainforest community ecology and tropical forests as centres of ecological diversification and biodiversity.

• Practical training in ecological techniques and survey methods for a range of terrestrial taxonomic groups.

• Anthropogenic factors affecting rainforests including logging, fragmentation, global warming & agriculture.

The module will take place in a field studies centre at a rainforest location where there is an adequate infrastructure to ensure an acceptable standard of logistical support and health and safety conditions. Students will spend time working in forest and non-forest systems, and there will be an emphasis on practical training in ecological survey and assessment methods. Teaching on conservation will be integrated with short visits to surrounding sites to gain direct appreciation of the issues, problems and solutions surrounding rainforests and their wildlife.

Participation in the module will be dependent on maintaining a clean disciplinary record during registration on the degree programme prior to the module. These requirements may be waived in individual cases at the discretion of the module and programme convenors where we judge that there is a strong case for allowing the student onto the module.

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15

Human-wildlife conflicts and resource competition imply costs on human social, economic or cultural life and on the ecological, social or cultural life of wildlife concerned, often to the detriment of conservation objectives and socio-economic realities. This module aims to introduce students to the magnitude and multidisciplinary dimensions of human-wildlife conflicts (HWC) and resource competition, and current approaches and challenges in mitigating and preventing HWC. We will explore how theoretical frameworks for approaching HWC are most often confined within disciplinary boundaries and how more holistic approaches can better equip conservationists and other professionals in dealing with the issue. Using a variety of teaching and learning methods, students will learn about issues involved in determining and analysing HWC, and planning, implementing and evaluating conflict mitigation or prevention schemes.

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15

Teaching and assessment

In addition to lectures and seminars, we run laboratory and computer practicals and field trips.

Modules use a variety of approaches enabling students to gain theoretical and practical understanding, through formal lectures, seminars, workshops, computer practicals and tutorials, role playing, laboratory exercises and fieldwork (in the UK and abroad).

Most modules are assessed through a mixture of coursework – including not only essays and written reports but also more practical tasks such as presentations and mini-projects – as well as exams. Some modules are assessed only by coursework.

You also have an opportunity to conduct a field-based research thesis in your final year. This gives you practical experience of developing a research proposal and research questions, to finding appropriate methods, conducting research, analysing and interpreting results, writing up a full research project and giving an oral presentation. 

It also provides the opportunity to use a range of research methods in a variety of contexts to explore key environmental, geographical, anthropological issues and participate in the advancement of knowledge. We offer you the opportunity to conduct your research project either in the UK or abroad.

Programme aims

Our aims are to:

  • produce a broad, sophisticated and interdisciplinary approach to the study of human-environment relationships as socio-ecological, complex, and dynamic systems 
  • equip students with strong, state-of-the-art technical skills for quantitative, qualitative and spatial data collection and analysis of human-environment interactions
  • provide students with a sound foundation in the scientific and humanistic approaches to the study of human-environment relationships, allowing them to consider the interaction between biophysical, ecological, historical and socio-cultural processes and dynamics
  • sensitise students to the importance of pattern, process, scale, time and space in the study of complex systems and how these affect our understanding of biological, social and cultural diversity, as well as of human adaptation to the environment and to environmental change
  • facilitate the educational experience of students through innovative opportunities for learning during fieldwork and hands-on approaches to analytical tools
  • provide students with the opportunity to gain direct, practical experience relating to research and to the applied dimensions and social impact of their degree, with options for work, study and field trips abroad
  • ensure that the learning experience provides transferable skills necessary for professional development, analytical problem-based solving, interpersonal development, autonomous practice and team-working, in a manner which is efficient, reliable and enjoyable to students
  • equip interdisciplinary graduates with the ability to think critically and creatively and with the necessary practical and research skills to prepare them for high-level postgraduate studies or for a competitive job market
  • prepare graduates for leading employment roles in the interdisciplinary fields of human ecology, nature conservation, environmental protection and sustainable development, in the commercial, private or public sectors.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • fundamental concepts of human ecology and how they relate to patterns and processes
  • biological and evolutionary perspectives on human adaptation to the environment
  • human diversity in conceptions of human-environment interactions
  • principles of biocultural diversity, its threats and conservation
  • the cognitive and social aspects of traditional environmental knowledge systems and their potential in tackling social and environmental crises
  • social and cultural adaptation to the environment and to environmental change
  • socio-cultural, political and institutional aspects of landscapes and ecosystems, landscape history, social memory, representation and identity
  • the role of social, political, economic and cultural factors in shaping landscapes and ecosystems, both ‘natural’ and anthropogenic
  • environmental and land-use change processes and patterns, and their relation to the co-evolution of social and ecological systems and complexity
  • the different concepts and analytical frameworks of space and time
  • principles of biodiversity conservation and habitat management
  • valuation, ecosystem services and their relation to governance and political economy.

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual abilities in the following areas:

  • general learning and study skills
  • critical and analytical skills
  • ability to express ideas in writing and orally
  • the design, implementation, analysis and write-up of a research project
  • ability to effectively research, organise and interpret scholarly materials
  • ability to formulate and test theories
  • ability to make a structured and logical argument
  • ability to use mixed methods for problem solving.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in:

  • field biology (such as surveys and sampling)
  • natural/biological scientific research
  • qualitative and quantitative analyses of social and ethnographic data
  • mapping and spatial analysis skills (Geographic Information Systems)
  • laboratory work (ecological, biological anthropology
  • documentation of local knowledge systems
  • research design and statistics
  • interactive media research tools, including online research and visual approaches
  • appraising environmental, landscape and land-use changes
  • evaluating the sustainability of resource use
  • advising decision-makers on land-use changes and management of social-ecological systems.

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in the following:

  • digital/IT/online
  • presentation
  • report and proposal writing
  • time management
  • library skills
  • independent research
  • group work. 

Careers

The goal of the programme is to offer a degree that provides highly marketable skills and a deep understating of current issues in human-nature interactions.

Using our network of NGOs and consultancy companies, we identified the top required skills that successful employees should have. This propgramme has been designed to equip students with the necessary theoretical and practical skills which are highly demanded by employers in a wide range of fields relating to:

  • environmental management
  • conservation
  • international and community development
  • science
  • research.

This programme also provides a solid foundation for postgraduate studies in a number of disciplines within the humanities and natural sciences.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advise about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events. 

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.

Fees

The 2017/18 tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £13810
Part-time £4625 £6920

UK/EU fee paying students

The Government has announced changes to allow undergraduate tuition fees to rise in line with inflation from 2017/18.

In accordance with changes announced by the UK Government, we are increasing our 2017/18 regulated full-time tuition fees for new and returning UK/EU fee paying undergraduates from £9,000 to £9,250. The equivalent part-time fees for these courses will also rise from £4,500 to £4,625. This was subject to us satisfying the Government's Teaching Excellence Framework and the access regulator's requirements. This fee will ensure the continued provision of high-quality education.

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

Funding

University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

The Government has confirmed that EU students applying for university places in the 2017 to 2018 academic year will still have access to student funding support for the duration of their course.

Scholarships

General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either Mathematics or a Modern Foreign Language. Please review the eligibility criteria.

Full-time

Part-time

The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact information@kent.ac.uk.