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Geography Courses

Year 1

The processes of economic development and globalization, and the economic interdependence of countries in the modern world; Basic theories, concepts, and methods for describing, measuring and analyzing patterns of economic and social development; The main factors that have contributed to uneven patterns of economic development, such as the distribution and exploitation of natural resources, and the process of industrialization, technological change and globalization; The section on agriculture and the food industry illustrates in depth many issues related to economic development and globalization, including the role of agribusiness in food production and food consumption, and the impacts of traditional and modern agricultural production systems on the environment; The geographical dimensions of world hunger and malnutrition in relation to the structure of the world economy and world agriculture; Prospects for future agricultural development.

Modern Approaches to the Study of Population Geography; The Human and Physical Factors determining Population Distribution and Dynamics; Theories of Population Change, including Malthus’ and Neo-Malthusian Thoughts; The Demographic Transition Theory; The Sources of, and Problems associated with, Population Statistics; How to Measure Fertility, Mortality and Migration; Population Projection Techniques; Family Planning and Population Control Efforts around the World; The Status of Women and its Crucial Role in Population Dynamics; Major Causes of Death around the World, including AIDS; The Role of Migration in Population Dynamics; Culture, Population and the Environment. Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Urbanization in both the Industrialized World and the Developing World, and Theories on the Geographical Distribution of Human Settlement.

A modern holistic approach to the study of the earth system. Introduction to climate science: the processes operating within the atmosphere and biosphere, including general circulation of the atmosphere, ocean-atmosphere interactions, and global climate systems. Emphasis on the impacts and consequences of human-environment interactions. Spatial and temporal variability of these processes on local, regional and global scales. The primary causes, both natural and human, and consequences of climate change and the impact of a changing climate for communities both within and outside the Caribbean region. Particular emphasis on the impacts of climate change on the biosphere, as well as their implications for agricultural systems. Introduction to the study of biogeography, focussing on the geographical features of biodiversity at different geographical scales, and reviewing ideas about ecosystem processes and vegetation disturbance and succession.

Modern approaches to geomorphology and soil science; The main geomorphic processes in the context of endogenic and exogenic systems from a global perspective; The geomorphology section examines and describes endogenic systems and processes. The internal structure of the Earth and the geographic patterns of global relief of the solid surface in the context of plate tectonics. The relationship between global tectonics and the patterns and styles of volcanic activity; The passive control of rock type and geological structure in relation to landscape form and process; The soils section examines and describes the main exogenic systems and processes; The geographical patterns and types of rocks. Aspects of soil science from a geographical perspective through an examination of the main soil-forming factors, and analysis of physical and chemical soil-forming processes; Exogenic systems in relation to the main geomorphic agents of water, wind and ice in the context of fluvial, slope, aeolian, karst, glacial and periglacial systems.

Year 2

An in-depth study of the hydrological cycle, evaporation/transpiration, and rainfall-runoff relationships in hydrogeology. The factors affecting evaporation and evapotranspiration from free water surfaces and soils. Different estimates and measurements of evaporation and evapotranspiration and soil moisture storage and movement. The nature and origin of different types of aquifers, their geological properties, the various types of groundwater flows to wells, flows within aquifers under steady/nonsteady conditions. Techniques of hydrogeological investigation, including drilling and pump testing. The hydraulics of surface water systems and seasonal variability of the flow pattern in streams and rivers. Flooding and drought. Special emphasis on the water resources of Jamaica and other Caribbean islands.

An introduction to key concepts, theories and empirical studies in the field of urban geography; The course deals with a variety of contemporary and relevant issues pertaining to urban growth and development, including patterns and processes of global urbanization, urban housing challenges and solutions, global urban consumerism, neighbourhood dynamics and changes, urban governance and social justice, cities and climate change, migration, race and ethnicity, and the built environment; The course draws upon a variety of examples and case studies, especially from the developing world.

The course aims to provide some basic knowledge of the key aspects of the history and philosophy of geographical enquiry, and to provide the theoretical and practical skills required to develop and conduct a research project in geography. Training in the application of geographical research methods and techniques, data collection, data and statistical analysis, and the technical presentation of results. Training in how to define a research topic, how to identify relevant literature, how to prepare a research proposal, and how to present data.

The course introduces natural and anthropogenic hazards drawing upon key principles of geomorphology, climatology, plate tectonics, oceanography and geophysics. With reference to specific case-studies, it examines hazards and risks related to volcanic and seismic activity, mass movement and karst landscapes, hydro-meteorological phenomena, coastal processes and anthropogenic hazards such as water availability and contamination, regional and global pandemics and fire as well as the impact of climate change on different hazards. The course will adopt a specific emphasis on the spatial analysis of hazards, vulnerability and risk. Students will compare both natural and anthropogenic hazards based on their predictability, magnitude, frequency, scope of impact, controllability, duration and destructive potential and will be exposed to a wide range of hazards affecting Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

The course introduces students to the theory and general principles of GIS and to practical skills and hands-on experience in its use: the fundamental concepts and basic functions of a GIS; the properties of GIS maps; the structure of a GIS database; coordinate systems and map projections; methods of performing simple vector and raster spatial analysis. In lab exercises students will work with ArcMap to visualize geographic data, create maps, query a GIS database, perform spatial analysis using common analytical tools, and solve geographical problems using a systematic approach. The course introduces the core functionality of GIS software packages such as ArcMap, ArcCatalog, and ArcToolbox.

The course seeks to explain the dynamic nature of the development process and its impact on economies, societies and the environment in the context of an increasingly globalized world. It introduces relevant ideas, theories and concepts from social science disciplines, but focuses on how geographers bring spatial concepts and geographical models to bear on the theory and practice of development. It links theories and concepts with development policy through case studies. The spatial dynamics of the global economy are highlighted through the lens of economic globalization. Sections highlight world industrialization, international trade and trade liberalization, and rural development. Special emphasis is placed on the Caribbean region in relation to the problems of sustainable development in small island developing states; environmental issues such as environmental degradation and climate change; and tourism development models.

An interdisciplinary approach to the study of environmental change, looking at examples of the complex interactions between human activity and the different environmental spheres (geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere). Core components include global environmental change, sea-level change, natural climate variability, anthropogenic climate change, 21st-century climate projections, and tropical forest dynamics. The course examines the primary causes, both natural and human, and the consequences and impacts of environmental change both within and outside the Caribbean region

The course examines modern approaches to the analysis and interpretation of geomorphic processes and landforms in the context of coastal, fluvial and slope systems, and provides an in-depth examination of geomorphology in tropical settings.

Principles of diving including the properties of water, pressure and buoyancy, gas laws, and air consumption; Physiology of diving including the effect of pressure on the human body, adverse effects of gases, barotraumas, the role of nitrogen in decompression illness (DCI), signs and symptoms of DCI; Safe diving practices including the use of decompression tables, diver rescue techniques and emergency ascents; Diving Equipment; Diving as a tool for scientific research including an introduction to the fauna and flora of coral reefs; Underwater sampling and survey methods data collation and analysis.

Year 3

Introduction to Urban & Regional Planning; History and Evolution of Planning in Britain ; The Seers Planning in the Americas; Theories of Planning; Water and Sanitation ; Strategies for Housing the Urban Poor; The Global Urban Energy Crisis; Urban Safety and Security; Adapting Cities to Climate Change. 

Soil Formation, Weathering Processes and Products in the Humid Tropics; Humid Tropical Soils and Land-Use Problems Semi-Arid Tropical Soils and Land- Use Problems; Desertification (Slope Failure and Tropical Land Management. Soil Erosion and Tropical Land Management); Land Degradation (Land Classification and Land Capability); Land Management and Environmental Change. 

Global Change: impacts of trade liberalization and climate change on export agriculture and domestic food production - includes case studies. Population growth and the diffusion of agricultural innovations - contrasting models of the dynamics of agricultural change. Economic and Behavioural Approaches to Decision Making among Small-Scale Farmers in Developing Countries - includes approaches to risk reduction. The Role of Indigenous Knowledge in Traditional Agriculture - includes case studies based on Jamaican research. Sustainable Rural Livelihoods and Sustainable Hillside Farming - includes approaches to soil conservation and land management in hillside farming systems. 

An overview of recreation and leisure; The connections between globalisation, mobility and tourism. And the growth of mass tourism; The urban tourism system including a classification of the main elements and its role in urban renewal; The goals, principles and practice of sustainable tourism including its emergence from the concept sustainable development; The characteristics of ecotourism and a critical assessment of selected case studies; A critical analysis an analytical framework for analysing the balance between resource use and sustainability in the Caribbean tourism; The changing approaches to tourism planning as well the main aspects on the planning process, including local community participation; An advanced insight into the contested nature of tourism developments and the ways that socio-political factors render some tourist spaces as zones of exclusion and marginalisation; Introduction to the components, goals and challenges associated with conducting an Environmental Impact Assessment. The role of certification programmes as measures of sustainability in tourist development practices; The nature and outcomes of connections between the agriculture and tourism sector with specific emphasis on the experiences of Jamaica; The role sex tourism plays in shaping social and economic landscapes and, by extension, the identity of places; The concept of vulnerability from multiple perspectives including the vulnerability of the tourism industry to external shocks, natural hazards, the impact of crime and health related challenges.

The course involves a series of steps in which the student progress through the various stages of the formulation of a research project, the execution of the Project and presentation of results. At the first stage, students must complete a research proposal based on a literature search. The proposal involves the formulation of a research question, a statement of research design and methodology and includes details of any sampling methods, laboratory techniques and methods of analysis to be used. The proposal is assessed, and the proposal must satisfy the assessors before the student can proceed to the next stage. At the second stage, the student is assigned to a supervisor who assists with the fine-tuning of the research design and methodology, before students proceeds to the field data collection stage. A third stage involves the submission of progress report to the supervisor, and the report includes an indication of a work plan to complete the data analysis and write up. The final stages of the course are the formal graded assessment of the project and involve a multi-media presentation of the research results, and the submission of a dissertation. 

Karst Rocks and Material Properties (Karst Processes and Controls, Karst Landform Systems, Applied Karst Geomorphology); The Geomorphic Legacy of Sea-level Change and Paleo-Coastal Environments; Coastal Forces and Processes; Coastal Landform Systems; Applied Coastal Geomorphology. 

Spatial and temporal variations in precipitation. Creation of rainfall maps using isohyetal, arithmetic mean and Theissen polygon method. Statistical methods for calculating return periods for rainfall and flood data. Hydrograph separation using computational methods and calculation of baseflow, inter and overland flow. Types of flooding and flood hazards in Jamaica. Climate change and hydrological hazards. Hydrologic Simulation models, steps in watershed modelling, description of model’s principles, mainly HEC HMS models Flood plain hydraulics - principles and concepts of HEC RAS (1D) model including case studies. Hydraulic properties of aquifers and their methods of determination. Groundwater flow calculations and flow variation under different climatic and non-climatic conditions. Geophysical and geological investigations for groundwater sources. Groundwater contamination and transport model. Groundwater wells: types and methods of drilling. Water resources of the Caribbean, with special emphasis on Jamaica. Climate change and challenges in the water sector: Jamaica and the Caribbean.

Introduction to Caribbean Geography; The Caribbean Environment; The Caribbean as a Social and Economic Space; Morbidity and Mortality: Geographical Dimensions of Caribbean Health.

Core Course for the Major in Geography only; Commencing 2021/22

Students are expected to spend 30 hours per week for approximately 6 weeks working in one of the pre-selected participating organisations. They are required to: 1) Make contact with the Departmental Internship Coordinator to discuss the internship experience and any work-related or logistical issues 2) Maintain a daily log of hours worked and a brief description of the work performed 3) Submit a final report summarizing and evaluating the internship experience; and 4) Complete a Curriculum Vitae and attend a mock interview at the Office of Placement and Career Services, UWI (Mona). In all instances, there must be some geographic implications or relations in the assigned task or responsibilities.

Commencing 2022/23

Recent impacts of disasters globally, regionally and nationally have emphasized the need to safeguard human lives and property. Demographic changes, urbanization, human settlement patterns, land-use practices and political and social dynamics have each exacerbated the vulnerability of SIDS to the effects of natural and man-made disasters. This course introduces students to the basic principles and techniques in disaster risk management. It examines how vulnerability and hazard interact to create disasters and how planning processes and interventions can help reduce disaster vulnerabilities and increase resilience at every stage of the disaster management cycle including disaster mitigation, preparation, response, and recovery.  The course further assesses the international, national and local frameworks, approaches, and methods for disaster prevention, preparedness and vulnerability reduction such as the Hyogo Framework for Action, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Comprehensive Disaster Risk Reduction Framework and the Community based disaster risk management framework.

To be replaced in 2022/2023

An introduction to the basic principles and techniques in disaster management; A study of theory, hazards, vulnerability, response capability, risk Evaluation, disaster scenarios, disaster management, preparedness, prevention, emergency response, and simulation; Basic concepts of geology, geomorphology, tectonics and geophysics in the study of natural hazards, with special reference to the Caribbean; Hazards and risks related to volcanic activity, earthquakes, landslides, hydrometeorological processes; flooding and hurricanes; Hazard mapping. Approaches to natural hazard loss-reduction.

This course provides a theoretical and practical basis for understanding present-day tropical environments and the causes of global environmental change as well as for assessing the scale of human interference in natural environmental processes. While the causes and effects of climate change are global in scale, the course focuses on aspects directly relevant to the Caribbean Region, which include sea-level change, the influences of the different modes of climate variability (E.g. ENSO; NAO; AMO) and tropical cyclone activity.

Indicative topics include: documentary records of past climate change; biological 'proxy' records of climate variations and their quantification; the record of climate variability in the Tropics; low-latitude/high altitude ice-core records; oceanic records and past history of oceanic circulation and sea surface temperatures; role of atmosphere-ocean interactions (e.g. ENSO) on global climate change; sea level change; palaeotempestology; General Circulation Models (GCMs) of the global climate system; the concept of climate 'determinism' and human ecodynamics.

Review of GIS principles, concepts and components; Spatial Data Representation models; Remote Sensing principles, concepts and components; GNSS principles, concepts and components; GNSS Geodata acquisition; Spatial data generation and acquisition; Geodatabase creation and population; Data Automation; Geodatabase query; Geo-visualization techniques; GIS Web Mapping; (Geospatial Web Services); Mobile GIS Solutions ; GIS Programming & Application Development; Geospatial data analysis; Spatial Statistics; FOSS; SDI & Geospatial standards

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