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


City Campus


171H School of Science


Sem 2 2018,
Sem 2 2019,
Sem 2 2020

Course Coordinator: Dr Serene Ho

Course Coordinator Phone: -

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 12.12.15

Course Coordinator Availability: By apppointment, by email

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

This subject is all about exploring the physical processes that have shaped our world It is a core first-year subject for those enrolled in BH116 and BH117 and as such, it aims to introduce you to the four main physical systems of Earth: atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and biosphere. While not conventional, we will also take the opportunity to introduce you to a fifth system: space!

Why is it important to know about Earth’s physical processes? Because we have inherited a physical world where the rates and types of change are so dramatically different from what has been historically experienced that we are now in a climate emergency. In this subject, we will learn theories and concepts about physical processes in and between the four main geosystems. I will introduce you to some examples of climate issues and we will work together to apply what we learn in class to grasp contemporary climate-related challenges.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

On completion of this course you should be able to:

  1. Define core terms, concepts, and geo-processes in each of Earth’s four major geosystems and the relationships that link them as a system-of-systems.
  2. Describe fundamental geo-processes within each geosystem and how these impact upon the formation/degradation of relevant major landforms.
  3. Recognise major climatic conditions and explain the geo-processes resulting in or affecting their development.
  4. Critically analyse, evaluate and communicate information about the physical aspects of climate change and relevant mitigation strategies to a variety of audiences.

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 group-based learning activities. Learning materials will be made available online as required including lecture materials, supplementary readings and videos.


Total study hours:

One hour of lectures and one hour of tutorial per week contact. You should expect to spend a minimum of four hours per week in independent study.



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:

Assessment Task 1: Class Test 1

Weighting 15%

This assessment task supports CLO 1, 2 and 3.

Assessment Task 2: Group Assignment 1

Weighting 30%

This assessment task supports CLO 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Assessment Task 3: Class Test 1 (15%)

Weighting 15%

This assessment task supports CLO 1, 2 and 3.

Assessment Task 4: Group Assignment 2

Weighting 40%

This assessment task supports CLO 1, 2, 3 and 4.