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Physical Geography: An Introduction to the Global Environment


This course gives you a general introduction to the field of Physical Geography and Ecosystems Sciences.

Course contents

By taking this course, you will increase your understanding and general knowledge about processes in the lithosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and the atmosphere. Many of our students take this course as the introduction to the BSc programme in Physical Geography and Ecosystems Analysis, a program which qualifies you to apply for no less than five different Master's programmes at our department. However, this course is also an excellent complement for students having other fields as their main subject, for example Biology, Ecology and Environmental Science. It can also be taken outside of any programme.

Rocks, soils and landforms

You'll learn about minerals and rock types that build our planet. You will also study geomorphology, which is the science about landforms and how these are shaped by:

  1. processes inside the crust of the earth  endogenic processes  and
  2. processes acting on the surface  exogenic processes  and how these affect and are affected by biological processes and human interaction

Meteorology, climatology and hydrology

One part of the course deals with meteorology, climatology and climate change, hydrology and oceanography. This will enable a holistic understanding for mechanisms acting on what is generally referred to as Global Change.

Ecosystems science

Ecosystems Science will teach you about the biomes of the world. A biome is a contiguous area with similar climatic conditions. You will learn about the relationship between biomes and specific processes active in different biomes, such as soil forming processes.

Scientific methods

One week of the course is dedicated to field measurements, e.g. topographical mapping, and other geographical exercises to become familiar with maps and coordinates. You will also be introduced to Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to analyse environmental issues, and you will be introduced to different models and analytical tools for describing processes and phenomena in the world around us. You will also be introduced to scientific writing, and get the opportunity to practise in a group work where you will get continuous feedback.


Teaching on the course consists of lectures, practical exercises, field trips, seminars and group work. The exam is a traditional written exam.

Course literature

HESS, Darrrel (2014) 11th ed. Physical Geography. A Landscape Appreciation. 454pp. ISBN: 9781292020914.

Recommended additional literature

Allaby, Ailisa and Allaby, Michael, 2020, A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. Oxford Univ. Press. Available as e-book and print. Printed copies (3 ex) at the Geolibrary. Print ISBN-13:9780198839033, eISBN: 9780191874901. E-book access for students registered at Lund University at LU library. Log in with your student credentials.

More info on the course litterature as pdf.


Course coordinator

Course facts

Level: Basic
Credits: 15 ECTS
Period: Autumn, period 1
Language of instruction: English
Prerequisites: General admission requirements, and courses corresponding to the following Swedish Upper Secondary School Programs: Mathematics 2, Science 2 (Biology 1+Chemistry 1+Physics 1a/1b1+1b2 equals Science 1+2)

Course syllabus