Undergraduate Programmes

 

FIRST YEAR SUBJECTS

FIRST SEMESTER

GGY 101: Fundamentals of Environmental Geography

This course provides an introduction to the spatial context of the natural environment, environmental processes and an overview of the broad range of environmental issues. The course is structured to familiarize students with human activities leading to environmental change and approaches to environmental restoration.

SECOND SEMESTER

GGY 102: Fundamentals of Human Geography

This course introduces students to the dynamics of the processes that shaped the modern world by humans. Students will be expected to familiarize themselves with the process with the aid of maps.


 

SECOND YEAR SUBJECTS

FIRST SEMESTER

GGY 202: Cartography

This course will focus on the development of skills in map construction and interpretation, and understanding modern cartographic techniques. This course is designed to introduce to students various types of maps and equipment, geometrical application of maps, thematic mapping, and aerial photographs.

Course topics: Introduction to cartography; Draughting equipment and their use; Methods of map interpretation; Statistical and weather maps; Introduction to aerial photographs; Interpretation of aerial photographs.

GGY 203: Climate and Hydrology

This course provides an advanced understanding of the field of climatology and hydrology. It covers themes such as weather elements, nature and importance of climate, thermodynamics of air and analysis of weather forecasting. It also provides an understanding of climatic variability, interaction between the hydrosphere and the atmosphere, and its variations over space and time. The course also leads students towards data collection and the applied aspects of climatology and hydrology.

Course topics: Evolution of the atmosphere; Weather elements and processes; Heat balance of the earth; Thermodynamics of the air; General circulation of the atmosphere; Climatic classifications; Observational methods and data analysis; Climatic variability and change; Global and basin hydrological cycle; Hydrometeorology; Surface hydrology; Ground water hydrology; Hydrological observation and data; and Water management

GGY 210: Economic Geography

The course provides a comprehensive knowledge of Economic Geography, facilitating further specialization in related courses in the third and fourth years. The course will introduce the scope and definitions, approaches to the study of Economic Geography and its relations with allied disciplines. Geographical perspectives related to primary production, location of agricultural activities, location factors in manufacturing industry, and services will be introduced. International interaction and economic regionalization will be covered.

Course topics: Introduction to Economic Geography; Location of economic activities; Geography of agriculture; Industry and services; World development; Economic regionalization; Globalization; and Evolution of the economic landscape (for selected regions).

GGY 211: The Geography of South Asia

This course has a thematic focus on the physical environment, poverty and political instability. The lectures and related course-work deal with various issues that are linked with (a) ecological disruptions caused by intensifying population pressures on the environment, (b) causes and consequences of poverty and entitlement failure, and (c) inter-group disputes and conflicts of the region.

Course topics: Introduction to South Asia ; Processes of modernization in South Asia ; Population growth and physical environment; Problems of resources use; Environmental degradation; Poverty, entitlement failures and economic inequalities; Development efforts; International disputes within South Asia ; and Sub-national inter-group conflicts in South Asia .

 

SECOND SEMESTER

GGY 201: Geomorphology

The course provides an advanced knowledge of the principles of landform development with special emphasis on fluvial geomorphology. It covers themes such as the historical development of geomorphology, theory and methodology of geomorphology, diastrophism and climatic geomorphology, fluvial processes and landforms, hill slope processes and hill slope hydrology, fluvial landforms, coastal landform processes, and sediment dynamics. Geomorphologic mapping and terrain analysis will also be introduced.

Course topics: Historical development of geomorphology; Diastrophism; Landforms and geomorphologic processes; Hill slope hydrology; Rock weathering and soil formation; Coastal landforms; and Geomorphologic mapping.

GGY 212: Population Geography

This course provides the students with a substantial understanding of population dynamics, and of significant population issues that all geographers need to be familiar with. This lecture program will trace the growth of Population Geography, introduce conceptual developments in demographic studies and population dynamics, and will lead on to the study of the more important population issues in developing countries with special emphasis on Sri Lanka. This course will provide a foundation for those who wish to follow population related study areas in third and fourth years.

Course topics: The Nature of Population Geography; Theories of population; Measurements of population; Population composition; Migration; Population trends; and Projections and policies.

GGY 213: Political Geography

Political Geography is one of the most prominent sub-disciplines in Human Geography. The political dimension in geography is now being appreciated in other sub-disciplines in Human Geography as well. The course introduces empirical and theoretical knowledge in the field of Political Geography to students, and makes them aware of its research potential to review the main issues in Political Geography, and familiarize students with the key issues in Sri Lankan Political Geography and the changing political map of the world.

Course topics: Introduction to Political Geography; The Concept of Political Geography; The state in crisis; Colonialism; Geopolitics; Political geography of resources; The geography of federalism; Green politics; Electoral politics; Ethno-nationalist politics; and The devolution of power in Sri Lanka

GGY 214: Biogeography

This course focuses on the distribution of organisms, and examines the dynamics and assemblages of organisms. In this context, the ecosphere or the interaction between the living and non-living entities is central. Thus historical distributions, succession, and population dynamics are studied. The course also covers spatial aspects related to biodiversity, and pays attention to the influence of man as a biogeography agent. Biogeography methods will be introduced as part of the course. This course also includes some field work.

Course topics: Introduction; The ecosphere; Historical distribution; Quaternary biogeography; Major biomes; Island biogeography; Biodiversity; Man as an agent; and Biogeography methods.


 

THIRD YEAR SUBJECTS

 

FIRST SEMESTER

GGY 301: Philosophy of Geography

This course critically examines the question: What is Geography? The objective of the course is to familiarize students with the historical evolution of the discipline of geography, and the philosophies, approaches, and methodologies that came to define geography. The course will also examine the contemporary debate in geography on place and the environmental paradigm, and postmodernism. Special attention will be paid to the increasing theoretical orientation of modern geography.

The topics considered in the course include: What is geography?a critical review of definitions; The evolution of Geography; Exploration, environmental determinism and the reaction to it; Subdivisions of Geography; The problem of physical human division; The interdisciplinary nature of Geography and synthesis; The new regional geography and the concept of space; Scale and geographic conclusions; Social theory and Geography; The environmental paradigm in Geography; and the Status of Geography in Sri Lanka.

GGY 303: Sri Lanka Environment

The course provides for an in-depth study of the physical environment of Sri Lanka Structured to cover the different components of the natural environment. It makes a thorough examination of the existing geological, geomorphic, hydrological, climatic, and pedological and biogeographically research on Sri Lanka . The course has a special focus on contemporary problems concerning the environment.

Course topics: Global and Regional setting; human environment relation in Sri Lanka ; geomorphology and geological evolution; hydrological feature; weather patterns, climate and climate change; flora and fauna; natural and man-made hazards; environmental policies; International conventions.

GGY 351: Environmental Change

This course introduces environmental dynamism and its consequences for the global environment. Using modeling approaches to environmental change, students are introduced to a variety of perspectives for studying environmental change and contemporary environmental problems. The module is structured thematically to provide a balanced understanding of environmental change. The course combines lectures, workshops, and fieldwork sessions, with students involved in a range of individual and group-based projects.

The course will focus on the following topics: Environmental dynamics; an introduction to environmental change; Historical records and evidence; Human response; Modeling approaches to environmental change; the application of models; and Field sessions.

GGY 353: Agricultural Geography

This course is meant for students who wish to acquire a specialized knowledge in Agricultural Geography after an initial exposure to the subject of Geography in general at the university level. The course is designed to provide an understanding of the evolutionary processes, the scope and contents, and the methodology of this specialized branch of Agricultural Geography. Inquiry into the elements of agricultural landscape and the factors affecting them is followed by a survey of agricultural types and regions using analytical and classificatory models.

The course consists of introduction to evolution, definition, scope, methods, relationships, factors affecting agricultural production and decision making, green revolution and agrarian change, classification, and agricultural types and region, land reforms and agrarian reforms and agricultural planning and policies.

GGY 354: Industrial Geography

This course is designed to give comprehensive knowledge about the location of manufacturing industries, which played an important role in the emergence of contemporary society in many countries of the world. The course introduces basic principles of the location of manufacturing industries and, hence, describes the various concepts and theories that examine the location of industries from single plant firms to large industrial corporations. With the view of spatial evolutionary patterns of industrialization, the course discusses the relationship between national economic strategies and international trends in manufacturing.

Course topics: Introduction to Industrial geography; Location factors; Classical industrial location theories; Neo-classical industrial location theories; Co-operate growth and industrialization; Trends and patterns of industrialization in the 19th and 20th centuries; The influence of liberal economic policies on the growth of industrialization in developing countries; and Industrialization and its impact on the environment.

GGY 356: Development Geography

This course will provide a broad understanding of both theoretical and practical aspects of development from a geographical perspective. The objective of the course is to enable students to understand the complexities of underdevelopment and relate that knowledge to Sri Lanka as a developing country. The course will draw on empirical examples from Europe , USA , South Asia , Latin America , and Africa .

The course will provide a basic knowledge in four main areas: (1) conceptualizing and defining developmentWestern and Eastern interpretations; (2) theories of developmentmodernization (economic, psychological, and sociological); political economy (classical, Marxist, neo-Marxist, and post-Marxist); alternative theories (sustainable development, eco-feminism, and action oriented approaches); (3) the global political economy of development and underdevelopmenthistorical trends and geographical patterns of the world economy, debt, aid, trade; and (4) development planningobjective approaches and the Sri Lankan experience of regional development.

 

SECOND SEMESTER

GGY 302: Research Methodology

This course provides students with a basic knowledge and understanding of the research methodology and techniques in geography. The course is specially designed to provide competence to undergraduates to conduct independent research.

The course consists of a preliminary survey of the nature of scientific inquiry and research, the identification of research problems, methods of geographical research, data collection, the application of elementary statistical techniques, and sampling and field study methods. The course is divided into the following sections: basic elements of research; field methods; data collection and processing; and data analysis and presentation. End of this course, students are expected to submit a research proposal relevant to their final year thesis topic.

GGY 304: Socio Economic Geography of Sri Lanka

This course is designed to focus on a range of issues that relate to the three most formidable challenges of contemporary Sri Lanka : poverty, environmental degradation and political instability. The course is expected to serve as a forum for discussing, from geographical perspectives, the achievements and failures of Sri Lanka 's efforts at developmenti.e., improving the quality of life, ecological costs and the sustainability of such efforts, and the intractability of solutions to inter-group conflict.

Course content: Sri Lanka as a developing country; The phenomenon of poverty in Sri Lanka; Demographic transformations; Paradigms of development effort; Agrarian change and agricultural development; Changing trends of plantation agriculture; Industrial development; The energy crisis; and Inter-group conflict.

GGY 305: Automated Cartography and Surveying

This course introduces automated cartography and surveying methods to undergraduates. The course consists of three parts. Part One is designed to provide a working knowledge of cartographic applications, and focuses on methods of automation, peripherals used for automation, and the skills needed to use automated cartographic tools. Part Two will provide the basics and training in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in the wider context of the Information Society. Part Three will provide a working knowledge of surveying methods and applications.

Course topics include: An introduction to conventional cartographic instruments; An introduction to automated cartographic techniques; Data automation; Map automation; Display techniques; GIS: definitions; Spatial data and spatial information; Data input; Processing and output techniques; GIS applications; An introduction to arc view extensions; Surveying methods; The collection and processing of field data, sketches; and Processing field data and plotting plans and maps.

GGY 352: Settlement Geography

This course provides the student with a comprehensive knowledge of the geography of settlements, concepts of settlement location, and models of settlement development. Conceptual and applied knowledge of settlement geography and contemporary issues like migration and refugees will also be covered.

Topics will include: An introduction to Settlement Geography; Concepts; Spatial patterns; Geographical factors affecting spatial patterns; Changing patterns in settlements; Settlement planning; and Settlement policies in developing countries.

GGY 355: Gender and Development

This course introduces geographical perspectives related to gender studies with an emphasis on concepts of feminism and gender. The course is structured to cover various policy approaches, the historical evolution of different approaches, and the gender implications of social, economic, political and environmental interventions in the developing countries. Students will get an exposure to national policies and planes of action for women introduced since 1976 with special emphasis on Sri Lanka , and develop diagnostic skills in gender analysis and gender integrated planning. This course combines lectures, discussions, analysis and presentations.

Course topics include: Gender and feminism; Policy approaches; Critique on gender relations; Gender and space; Women and sectoral development; Gender, environment and feminism; Gender analysis; Gender planning principles and procedures; and Gender impact assessment.

GGY 357: Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

The objective of this course is to provide the philosophical, conceptual, legal, and technical basis for Environmental Impact Assessment. EIA is now considered as one of the most effective tools of operationalizing the concept of sustainable development at the national level. The course will explain the institutional setup and procedure of EIA in Sri Lanka . Special attention will be paid to EIA best-practice, methodologies adopted, and the skills required. The students will be trained through the course in the preparation of an EIA report. The course also includes a field visit to an actual project site and the preparation of a mini-EIA report.

The course focuses on conceptual bases for EIA, legal and institutional aspects of EIA in Sri Lanka, scope of EIA, scientific bases for EIA, EIA process and methodology, social impact assessment, environmental economic analysis, and the preparation of an EIA report.


 

FINAL YEAR SUBJECTS

 

FIRST SEMESTER

GGY 451: Natural Resource Management

This course focuses on the theoretical and practical issues pertaining to natural resources and their management. The lecture programme will introduce theoretical content related to eco-centrism, techno-centrism and ethnocentrism, and examine various approaches and solutions to resource management issues in developing countries. The course will stimulate students to examine contemporary problems in the management of renewable resources and examine the role of resource planning. Students in the course will be required to follow field sessions and to prepare a resource map.

Course topics include: Introduction to the resource paradigm; Principles and theoretical approaches; Resource distribution, resource conflicts, resource management systems and issues, local communities and resource management, international strategies, resource management concerns, and resource mapping.

GGY 455: Watershed Management

This course examines problems of land degradation in Sri Lanka in the context of humid tropics, and discusses watershed management as an eco-strategy to arrest such trends and to maximize water yields while minimizing soil erosion. The course also imparts a practical understanding of watershed management issues in Sri Lanka through selected case studies.

Course topics include: Scope and definition; watershed classifications; Approaches to watershed management; Watershed management issues; watershed management strategies; Economics of watershed management; national watershed management policy and new watershed management strategies.

GGY 456: Regional Planning and Development

The main objective of this course is to provide a comprehensive understanding of current regional development problems, both in developed and developing countries, and the formulation of appropriate development plans to resolve these problems. The course will introduce principles, methods and techniques in regional development planning. The evolution of concepts and theories and the various strategies adopted by different countries in regional planning will be examined. The course aims to provide training in the formulation of regional development plans to solve specific regional problems. The course consists of lectures, workshops, student assignments, and classroom presentations.

Course topics include: Introduction to regional planning; the concept of regionalization; Strategies and approaches to regional planning; the experience of developing countries; and New challenges.

GGY 459: Cultural Geography

The aim of this course is to provide a broad understanding of the history, theories, and methodologies of cultural geography. The course will introduce certain key geographical concepts such as place, sense of place and landscape, and these will be discussed in relation to Sri Lanka .

The course is organized under four broad subject areas: 1. Space and culture, new cultural geography; 2. Cultural change as spatial changetheories of cultural change, historical forces of cultural change, localization and globalization; 3. Cultural geography of South Asia especially of cultural groups, questions of national culture, cultural revivalism, and multi-culturalism; and 4. Methodologies of cultural geographydescriptive and interpretive methods, ethnography, and documentary sources. Some sections of this course will be conducted in the form of seminars at which students are required to read papers and participate in discussions.

GGY 460: Urban Geography

This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to the field of urban geography. Emphasis will be placed on the concepts, theories, and classical empirical studies, relating to the subject area referring to Asian Cities. The scope of this course covers the major areas in urban geography, namely, the theories and models of urban spatial form, underlying structures and processes, socio-spatial dimensions of modern urban areas, residential, commercial and industrial space, and urban environmental concerns.

Course topics include: Introduction to urban geography; The process of urbanization; Demographic characteristics of urban populations; Urban functions; Ranking of urban centers; Urban land use; Concept of social space and urban social geography; Intra urban inequalities; and Urban problems.

GGY 461: Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

This course provides the theoretical principals of GIS at an advanced level, while introducing students to potential areas of GIS applications. It will also train students in the use of popular software.

Course content includes: Introduction to GIS; The main components of GIS; The nature and type of geographic information; Data models; Special reference systems and geo referencing of geographic data; Database concept; Spatial analysis functionality; Spatial data sources and errors; GIS application and Project work.

 

SECOND SEMESTER

GGY 452: Medical Geography

The course is intended to provide a basic knowledge in the field of Medical Geography through a systematic approach to understanding the geography of health and health care. This course provides the necessary geographical background to understand the relevant disease processes and health related issues. The students will also gain an understanding of the environmental and spatial parameters of diseases and health care. The course also imparts a practical understanding of geographical disease pattern and health issues in Sri Lanka through selected case studies.

The course introduces concepts and techniques of geography to investigate health related topics. This course is divided into the following sections: Introduction to medical geography; Environment and health; Population and health; Migration and health; Economic development and health issues; and Health intervention policies and programmes.

GGY 453: Coastal Zone Management

The course introduces students to coastal geography and issues related to coastal zone management. Emphasis will be placed on the interface between land and water, the coastal ecosystem, and human activity, and coast conservation problems. The course is intended to strengthen observational and analytical abilities of students.

Areas to be explored in the course include: The coast-land-water interface; Components of the coastal system; Coastal dynamics (waves, tides, currents); Erosion; Accretion and sediment budget; Coastal ecosystems; Human activity in the coastal zone; Sea-level rise and its implications; Socioeconomic implications of coastal erosion; Coast conservation in Sri Lanka; and Coastal zone management planning.

GGY 454: Tropical Environment

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the bio-physical setting of the tropical region with emphasis on human-environmental interaction. This course provides an understanding of how tropical ecosystems function, and introduces contemporary environmental issues of developmental interest. The course consists of three modules on environmental context, contemporary problems, and development intervention.

Emphasis will be given to the tropical region and its environment, ecosystems in the tropics and their functions, tropical climate and climatic region, geomorphologic processes, tropical soils and pedalogical processes, the human-environmental interaction, and consequences of international pressure and strategic interventions.

GGY 457: Remote Sensing

This course covers the theoretical aspects of the field of remote sensing and provides hands on experience using popular image processing software. The student will be exposed to visual interpretation and digital processing of satellite imageries and aerial photographs.

Course content includes: Electro-magnetic radiation; Aerial remote sensing; Multispectral sensors; Digital image processing; and Hands on practical experience in ERDAS-PC based image analysis system.

GGY 458: Landscape Geography

This course is designed to expose students to the concepts and theories needed for a comprehensive understanding of the cultural landscape from the geographical point of view. The theory and sociology of knowledge in the areas of the social sciences and the humanities will be taught, enabling students to create new knowledge on the cultural landscape. Various mapping skills will be developed to present landscape across space and time.

Course topics include: Philosophical concepts of geography and landscape; Conceptualization of landscape and landscape tradition; Theoretical debates on geography and landscape; Landscape dynamics; Production of knowledge and landscape; Landscape management; Critical review of merger work of eminent landscape geographers; and Practical sessions on landscape mapping.

GGY 462: Microclimatology

This course provides an understanding of both theoretical and practical aspects of the field of microclimatology. It will introduce the principles and simple methods of evaluating the radiation budget, turbulent transfer, and the water balance. Emphasis is placed on the application of microclimatological principles and methods to address biological and agricultural problems. The course combines lectures, assignments and tutorials.

Course topics include: Introduction to microclimatologydefinitions and scales; Radiation fluxprinciples and methods, earth surface heat budget, radiation laws; Turbulent transferprinciples and measurements of turbulent transfer; Soil heat flux principles of heat transfer in the soil; Microclimatology of water bodiesheat balance and radiation, balance of water bodies; Earth surface water balancewater balance and its components; and Microclimatological applicationsapplications of microclimatological principles and methods to biological and agricultural problems.

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