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Unit of study_

GEOS3924: Global Change, Sustainable Livelihoods (Adv)

Semester 2, 2022 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

GEOS3924 has the same thematic content as GEOS3524 however with elements taught at an Advanced level.

Unit details and rules

Unit code GEOS3924
Academic unit Geosciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6
GEOS3524 or GEOS2112 or GEOS2912
A mark or 75 or above in (GEOS2X21 or AREC2005 or GOVET2228 or GEOS2X11 or GEOS2X23 or GEOS2X16)
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Jeffrey Neilson,
Lecturer(s) Jeffrey Neilson,
Bill Pritchard,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Participation Seminar participation and leadership
Participation in seminar discussions and debates
10% Ongoing During seminars
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3 LO2
Small continuous assessment Discussion blog posts
Post through Canvas discussion board
15% Ongoing Various
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3 LO2
Small test Take-home mid-semester exam
24-hour Take-home mid-semester exam
20% Week 07
Due date: 13 Apr 2021 at 15:00
24 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Research Report
Written task
35% Week 09
Due date: 07 May 2021 at 17:00
2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Small test Take-home end of semester exam
Take-home end of semester exam
20% Week 13
Due date: 01 Jun 2021 at 15:00
24 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3 LO2

Assessment summary

  • Take-home exams: Two take-home exams will be held in weeks 7 and 13. Each is worth 20% of the final UoS mark. More information on each exam will be provided during lectures prior to the exam. There is no exam during the scheduled examination period. Failure to complete either of these exams will result in a mark of zero, unless Special Consideration is formally granted by the Faculty office.
  • Research Report: You will participate in an existing research project being undertaken in the School of Geosciences related to global development and livelihoods. Each student is required to do a different project, and to arrange a meeting with the academic supervisor for that project.
  • Canvas discussion posts:  Throughout the semester, you are required to make posts on the Canvas Discussion Board. These should be posted during the week of the seminar topic and will be closed by the following Monday. These posts are in lieu of tutorial papers, and you are expected to: i) respond to the discussion question/topic/reading; ii) critically reflect on the required readings; iii) demonstrate a clear understanding of the topic; and iv) respond appropriately to (and not repeat arguments made in) previous posts. You are expected to make at least 3 posts throughout the semester and contribute approximately 800 words (this is a guide only).
  • Seminar participation and leadership: Seminars will be student-led, which means that each student is required to sign-up via Canvas to lead one seminar throughout the semester, upon which you will be assessed. All students are expected to participate actively in seminar discussions. You should come along fully prepared to participate in critical debates on the discussion topics. The expression of informed opinions is welcome! You will be assessed based on your ability to actively and thoughtfully participate in discussions throughout the semester.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Student’s work is i) innovative, ii) original and iii) highly analytical. Written work is at a standard that could potentially be published for a broader readership, and it contains no factual, referencing or grammatical errors. Demonstrates an intimate conceptual understanding of a broad literature and uses this to make sophisticated arguments and promote thought-provoking discussion during lectures and tutorials. Draws on a wide variety of reference material to develop advanced understanding of pertinent development issues.


75 - 84

Performs at a high level of competence meeting at least two of the three HD criteria. Written work is at a high standard with few factual, referencing or grammatical errors. Demonstrates a strong conceptual understanding of the literature and uses this effectively to make logical arguments and actively engage in class discussions. Able to clearly articulate an understanding of all concepts in an exam format.


65 - 74

The defining difference between a ‘credit’ and ‘distinction’ grade is a powerful and original argument binding essays together in a Distinction and the possible appearance of some factual, referencing or grammatical errors in a Credit grade. Credit essays will, however, still have a logically constructed argument and be well-written, but may lack originality or flair. While raw data will be used, it may be less effectively presented. Credit-level exam responses will address the question and comply with basic requirements of the task, but may do so indirectly or suggesting a partial understanding of the question. Provides original and thoughtful contributions to debate most of the time, capturing the main points of the seminar in an informed way with solid attendance.


50 - 64

Addresses the question and complies with the basic requirements of the task, but indicates a rudimentary understanding of key concepts, with limited exploration of reputable literature, and whose written work usually contains some factual, referencing or grammatical errors. Contributes sometimes to class debate, but doesn’t show a deep conceptual understanding of the issues, and may have some unexplained absences.


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Deductions of 5% per day will apply for late submissions.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Development strategies and global economic structures (NEILSON) Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 02 The Asian economic miracle (and crisis) and the role of the state (NEILSON) Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 03 Regional development and global value chains (NEILSON) Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 04 Building economic, environmental and social accountability into value chains (Pritchard) Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 05 Voices from Below: What is ‘development’? (PRITCHARD) Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 06 The politics of development and aid (NEILSON) Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 07 Sustainable livelihoods and fortress farming in Indonesia (NEILSON) Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 08 Livelihoods in Indonesian coastal communities (Yunie RAHMAT) Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 09 Livelihood diversification and migration in India (PRITCHARD) Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 10 Food security, human rights and development (PRITCHARD) Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 11 Livelihoods, climate change and environmental adaptation (PRITCHARD) Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 12 Conservation, Indigeneity and development in Sarawak (June RUBIS) Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 13 END-OF-SEMESTER EXAM Project (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4

Attendance and class requirements

Due to the exceptional circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, attendance requirements for this unit of study have been amended. Where online tutorials/workshops/virtual laboratories have been scheduled, students should make every effort to attend and participate at the scheduled time. Penalties will not be applied if technical issues, etc. prevent attendance at a specific online class. In that case, students should discuss the problem with the coordinator, and attend another session, if available.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

In this course, you are expected to read! The content of the following readings is assessable in the exams.

Week 1           Development strategies and global economic structures

Hartwick, E. (2009). Dependency, International Encyclopedia of Human Geography (Eds. R. Kitchen and N. Thrift). Elsevier. (5 pages)

Rodrik, D. (2006). Goodbye Washington Consensus, Hello Washington Confusion? A Review of the World Bank’s Economic Growth in the 1990s: Learning from a Decade of Reform, Journal of Economic Literature, 44(4): 973–87.

Week 2           The Asian miracle (and crisis) and the role of the state

Rigg, J. (2002). Of miracles and crises: (re–) interpretations of growth and decline in East and Southeast Asia, Asia Pacific Viewpoint. 43 (2), 137-156.

Week 3           Value chains, strategic coupling and regional development

Yeung, H, W-C. (2015). Regional development in the global economy: A dynamic perspective of strategic coupling in global production networks, Regional Science Policy & Practice, 7(1), 1-23.

Week 4           Gender and development

Chant, S. and Sweetman, C. (2012). Fixing women or fixing the world? ‘Smart economics’, efficiency approaches, and gender equality in development. Gender & Development, 20(3):517-529

Zulfiqar, G. (2017). Does microfinance enhance gender equity in access to finance? Evidence from Pakistan. Feminist Economics, 23(1):160-185

Week 5           The Politics of Development and Aid

Ferguson, J. and Lohmann, L. (1994). “The anti-politics machine: 'development' and bureaucratic power in Lesotho.” The Ecologist 24 (5). 176-181. (6 pages)

Sachs, J. (2005). Can Extreme Poverty Be Eliminated? Scientific American (September 2005), 293(3), 56-65,   (10 pages)

Additional materials on the Millenium Villages project

EconTalk (2014). Russ Roberts with Nina Munk on Poverty, Development, and the Idealist, January 27, 2014.

EconTalk (2014). Russ Roberts with Jeffrey Sachs on the Millennium Villages Project, March 17, 2014

Mitchell, S et al. (2018). The Millennium Villages Project: a retrospective, observational, endline evaluation, The Lancet Global Health, 6 (5). e500-e513

Bendavid, E. (2018). The fog of development: evaluating the Millennium Villages Project. The Lancet Global Health, 6(5), e470-e471.

Week 6           Evaluating the effectiveness of development interventions

White, H. (2013). An introduction to the use of randomised control trials to evaluate development interventions, Journal of Development Effectiveness, 5(1), 30-49

Anonymous (2019). Free exchange: Works in progress, The Economist, 433(9170), Nov 23 edition, page 78.

Week 8           Sustainable livelihoods framework

Serrat, O. (2017). The Sustainable Livelihoods Approach, Knowledge Solutions: Tools, Methods, and Approaches to Drive Organizational Performance, Springer. 21-26. DOI 10.1007/978-981-10-0983-9_5

Scoones, I. (2009) Livelihoods perspectives and rural development, The Journal of Peasant Studies, 36 (1): 171-196

Week 9           Livelihoods and Indigenous peoples in the Amazon

Cunha, M.C., Almeida, M.W.B. (2000) Indigenous People, Traditional People, and Conservation in the Amazon. Daedalus, vol. 129, no. 2, 2000, pp. 315–338.

Mauro, F. and Hardison, P. D. (2000) Traditional knowledge of indigenous and local communities: International debate and policy initiatives, Ecological Applications, 10(5), pp. 1263–1269.9.

Additional materials

UN (2007), The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, available:

Kumar, A., Singh, T. P. and Gautam, S. (2017) International and National Framework on Access and Benefit Sharing, in Al., K. P. L. et (ed.) Biodiversity for Sustainable Development. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing, pp. 3–15.

Week 10 Conservation and development in Sarawak

Readings to be confirmed

Week 11 Rural livelihood diversification in Cambodia

Marschke, M. J., and Berkes, F. (2006). Exploring strategies that build livelihood resilience: a case from Cambodia. Ecology and Society, 11: 42

Teh, L.S., Bond, N., Krishna, K.C., Fraser, E., Seng, R. and Sumaila, U.R. (2019). The economic impact of global change on fishing and non-fishing households in the Tonle Sap ecosystem, Pursat, Cambodia. Fisheries research, 210:71-80

Week 12 Food security and climate change in India

Rasul, G. & Sharma, B. (2016) The nexus approach to water–energy–food security: an option for adaptation to climate change, Climate Policy, 16:6,682-702, DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2015.1029865 

Pritchard, B. (2016) The impacts of climate change for food and nutrition security: Issues for India. In Nautiyal, S., Schaldach, R., Raju, K.V., Kaechele, H., Pritchard, B. & Rao, K.S. (eds) (2016) Climate Change Challenge (3C) and Socio-Economic-Ecological Interface-Building, Springer, Geneva, pp.11-25.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Exhibit a broad and coherent body of knowledge of economic geography, global development and livelihoods and acknowledge the contested and situated nature of this knowledge.
  • LO2. Integrate a deep understanding of geographical concepts and principles to describe processes that shape development processes globally.
  • LO3. Apply geographical principles creatively, critically and appropriately to specific spaces, places and environments, with a focus on the Global South.
  • LO4. Contribute effectively as a member or leader of diverse teams, working with consideration of cross-cultural perspectives within collaborative, interdisciplinary contexts.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Students have appreciated the interactive approach to lectures and we have increases the number of flipped learning opportunities during lectures. Reading time is being specifically offered at the start of both exams.

Work, health and safety

We are governed by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 and Codes of Practice. Penalties for non-compliance have increased. Everyone has a responsibility for health and safety at work. The University’s Work Health and Safety policy explains the responsibilities and expectations of workers and others, and the procedures for managing WHS risks associated with University activities.

General Laboratory Safety Rules

  • No eating or drinking is allowed in any laboratory under any circumstances 
  • A laboratory coat and closed-toe shoes are mandatory 
  • Follow safety instructions in your manual and posted in laboratories 
  • In case of fire, follow instructions posted outside the laboratory door 
  • First aid kits, eye wash and fire extinguishers are located in or immediately outside each laboratory 
  • As a precautionary measure, it is recommended that you have a current tetanus immunisation. This can be obtained from University Health Service:


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