Course Title: Physical Geography

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Physical Geography

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


145H Mathematical & Geospatial Sciences


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2016

Course Coordinator: Dr Colin Arrowsmith

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 2042

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 12.11.17

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

This course introduces you to the key facets of physical geography, namely geomorphology, meteorology, oceanography and hydrology.
You will explore early methods used by scientists to date the age of the earth before investigating current earth formation theory; discuss reasons for geomorphological variation across the earth’s surface; and review the tectonic and gradational landform processes that shape our physical environment.
In meteorology you learn about concepts relating to temperature, air pressure and atmospheric moisture and the global and local effects of atmospheric variability on weather patterns. You will also examine global and local climatic patterns and their classification.
In oceanography you discover coastal processes and how the oceans shape our coastlines.
Finally in hydrology you examine the movement of water beneath and above the earth surface.
This course provides you with the background for further study in physical geography and geomorphology.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

On completion of this course you should be able to:

1. Define the broad relationships operating within and between the major environmental systems discussed
2. Describe the basic processes operating within the atmosphere, lithosphere and the earth surface systems and their effects on landform evolution and land degradation.
3. Interpret basic data from the field and other sources and display it visually in the form of maps and graphs
4. Recognise major landform features and major climatic conditions and explain the processes underlying their development.
5. Analyse hydrological landscapes and interpret types of landforms that would generate these hydrological patterns including their various geometries.
6. Synthesize climate change data and present an analytical report based on this data.

This course contributes to the development of the following Program Learning Outcomes in BH116 (Bachelor of Applied Science (Surveying) and BH117 (Bachelor of Science (Geospatial Science):

1.1 Describe the fundamental and applied scientific knowledge that underpins surveying and the geospatial sciences.
4.1   Communicate effectively by means of oral, written and graphical presentations to peers and a wider audience.
5.1   Appreciate the environmental, social, legal and international aspects of actions and decisions in surveying and the geospatial sciences.
6.1   Be self-motivated and personally responsible for your actions and learning.

Overview of Learning Activities

In this course you will actively participate in a series of classroom lectures and practical classes. You will work on the practical component in fortnightly exercises. This will involve map interpretation, analysing climate statistics, analysing climate, and geomorphic landforms. You can access the course material online. This material will include lecture summaries, video links, practical exercises, and a “Blog” activity based around a geomorphic exercise conducted in the field.  Tutorial exercises will also be conducted online.

Two hours of lectures and two hours of practical exercise per week contact.  There are also six tutorial exercises online. You should expect to spend a minimum of four hours per week in independent study.
There will also be a “Blog” exercise which is conducted as an individual exercise outside class time.

Overview of Learning Resources

As a student enrolled in this course at RMIT University you can access the extensive learning resources provided in the school and in the library, such as books, journals and other course-related materials (electronic and paper-based) The library offers extensive services and facilities, geared to assist you in completing your studies successfully.
A list of recommended references will be provided.

A library subject guide is available at:

Overview of Assessment

☒This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment Tasks:

Early Assessment Task:  Practical exercise 1
Weighting 6%
This assessment task supports CLO 3 and 5.

Assessment Task 2:  Practical exercise 2
Weighting 6%
This assessment task supports CLO 2, 3, and 4.

Assessment Task 3:  Class test 1
Weighting 25%
This assessment task supports CLO 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Assessment Task 4: Practical exercise 3
Weighting 6%
This assessment task supports CLO 2, 3, and 4.

Assessment Task 5: Blog activity
Weighting 20%
This assessment task supports CLO 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Assessment Task 6: Practical exercise 4
Weighting 6%
This assessment task supports CLO 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Assessment Task 7: Class test 2
Weighting 25%
This assessment task supports CLO 1, 2, 3 4, and 5.

Assessment Task 8: Practical exercise 5
Weighting 6%
This assessment task supports CLO 2, 3, and 4.