Core course

This list is intended to indicate suitable background reading - you do not have to read everything and they are provided purely as a starting point for inspiration!  For each module you will find a text book or two plus some readily accessible online resources that might be of interest.  More suggestions will be made during the course.

Required reading – classic core texts

Three key books that were critical agenda setters of their day set out the historical context to the environmental and sustainability challenges we are faced with now.  The Core Course will enable you to update and critique these seminal works to provide you with a thorough understanding of the causes of environmental problems and the scope for potential solutions. You are expected to have read these three classic texts (there are copies in the library) by the end of the Core Course because they will provide you with a solid foundation of understanding of the key issues (they are also potentially examinable as part of the integrating questions in the Core Course exams):-

  • Rachel Carson (1962), ‘Silent Spring’, Houghton, Mifflin, USA
  • Donella H. Meadows, Dennis L. Meadows, Jorgen Randers and William W. Behrens III, (1972), ‘Limits to Growth’, New York: New American Library (report to the Club of Rome) (the original not the 2002 update) available online
  • World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) (1987), ‘Our Common Future’, (aka Brundtland Report), United Nations/Oxford University Press.

Other than the three ‘required’ classic texts above, there are no 'must have' books for the Core Course, since so much depends on an individual student's background. Decisions on which books, if any, to purchase are best left until you have had a chance to look at them. Recommended reference texts will be available in the library and/or as e-books or online.


Recommended reference texts

Recommended by module

Ecology in Context

  • Ecology: From Individuals to Ecosystems, 4th Edition Michael Begon (University of Liverpool), Colin R. Townsend (University of Otago), John L. Harper (University of Exeter) ISBN: 978-1-4051-1117-1,  Paperback,  752 pages,  July 2005, ©2005, Wiley-Blackwell
  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  • Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) (2005)
  •  Ecological Applications: Toward a Sustainable World. 2 007.  Colin R. Townsend ISBN-10: 1405136987 ISBN-13: 978-1405136983

Environmental Economics

  • Field, B.C., Field, M.K. (2005, 2007), Environmental Economics: An Introduction: International Edition. McGraw-Hill.(6th edition now av ailable)
  • Hanley, N., Shogren, J. and White, B . (2001) Introduction to Environmental Economics, Oxford University Press, Oxford. (2nd ed now available)
  • Bized economics - a useful online resource that provides an introduction to core economics principles, particularly helpful if you have no economics background

Environmental Law

  • McGillivray, Donald and Bell, Stuart. Environmental Law (2013) (8th Edition) (Oxford University Press) (earlier editions available in the library as well)
  • Environmental and Energy Law, Karen Makuch and Ricardo Pereira (Editors) (2012), Wiley-Blackwell, 676 pages, ISBN: 978-1-4051-7787-0 
  • The British and Irish Legal Information Institute is an online resource featuring access to UK, Irish and EU case law and legislation plus access to other selected worldwide sources
  • Dr. Zen Makuch, the Environmental Law Module Convenor. will make an additional dedicated set of materials available to you as well

Environmental Policy and Management

  • Dryzek, J (2005) The Politics of the Earth, Oxford University Press
  • Sheate, W.R. (2009), Tools, Techniques and Approaches for Sustainability: Collected Writings in Environmental Assessment Policy and Management, World Scientific, Singapore, 410pp.
  • European Environment Agency (2010) State and Outlook of the Environment (SOER) 2010 – available online

Environmental Pollution and Control


Quantitative skills and uncertainty

  • Ni ssani, M (1997) Ten Cheers for Interdisciplinarity: The Case for Interdisciplinary Knowledge and Research, The Social Science Journal, Volume 34, Number 2, pages 201-216, available online
  • Miller, M and Boix-Mansilla, V (2004) Thinking Across Perspectives and Disciplines, GoodWork™ Project Report Series, Number 27, available online
  • Bryan F. J. Manly  (2001)  Statistics for Environmental Scie nce and Management. Chapman and Hall/CRC Press.  ISBN 1-58488-029-5. (2nd ed available)
  • Social Research Methods website - an excellent online resource that provides an introduction to the principles of different kinds of research and the use of qualitative and quantitative methods
  • John Adams blog – Risk in a hypermobile world