[skip to content]

x Desert Environments

Course Code:
Unit value:
Year of study:
Year 3
Course Description

This course aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the characteristics of desert environments, the environmental problems found in these regions, and the techniques that can be used to assess and mitigate them, using examples from both arid and semi-arid environments. It will enable students to gain an understanding of the important climatic, hydrological, geomorphological and ecological processes that occur in deserts, and examine the ways in which they are affected by human activities. Students will learn to identify environments adapted to high temperatures and the scarcity of water which are highly susceptible to a diverse set of anthropogenic influences leading to desertification, and to monitor the effects of desertification, as well as ways of rectifying these effects. The course will enable students to gain an understanding of the policy options for management of deserts, concentrating on the requirements of the UN Desertification Convention.

For more information on this course and to check that it is running, please contact Dr Debby Potts, Head of the SOAS Geography programme (debby.potts@kcl.ac.uk).

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the completion of the course students should be able to explain physical aspects of the semi-arid and arid environments. Understand they ways that people interact with semi-arid and arid environments. Understand the consequences of these interactions and the methods that can be employed to assess and mitigate any adverse effects.


20 lectures

Method of assessment

Assessment will be by two research essays at 50% of the grade each.