Module code: ENG3212

Module Overview

This module is centred on a week-long field trip which explores the product life cycle of some case study consumer products which are followed from cradle to grave - ie. field or mine, to the factory, to the retailer, to the consumer and then disposal back to the environment. Drawing on insights gained during the field trip, students critically reflect on the extent to which life cycle thinking and circular economy approaches can increase the sustainability of consumption.

Module provider

Sustainability, Civil & Env Engineering

Module Leader

MURPHY Richard (Sust & CEE)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

JACs code:

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 15

Independent Learning Hours: 93

Seminar Hours: 7

Practical/Performance Hours: 15

Guided Learning: 10

Captured Content: 10

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

  • Introduction to life cycle thinking approaches

  • Introduction to the Life Cycle Assessment methodology

  • Social Life Cycle Assessment and Life Cycle Costing

  • The concept of sustainable design

  • Assessing the life cycle of a fast-moving consumer good

  • Assessing the life cycle of a household good

  • Limitations of life cycle assessment

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Field work report 50
Coursework Critical reflection essay 50

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to assist students develop their understanding life cycle approaches to assessing the sustainability of products and services.

The summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • A field work report which documents the life cycle of case study products, worth 50% of the module mark

  • A critical reflection essay, worth 50% of the module mark

Formative assessment and feedback:

Formative feedback will be through a range of interactive discussions held during the field work trip and subsequent seminars where students will be encouraged to critically reflect the sustainability of each stage of the life cycle of some case study products. Students can prepare a draft critical reflection essay plan to discuss with the lecturer and receive verbal feedback on the planned structure.

Module aims

  • To introduce students to life cycle thinking approaches for assessing the sustainability of products
  • To introduce the key principles of sustainable design
  • To analyse the life cycle of some consumer products and consider how the environmental impact of these products could be reduced
  • To consider critically the limitations of life cycle assessment

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Understand the concept of life cycle thinking and be able to explain its relevance for industry CK
002 Be able to analyse a product from a life cycle perspective to identify its key sustainability impacts CKPT
003 Appreciate the potential strength and weaknesses of a life cycle sustainability assessment CK
004 Recognise that delivering sustainable outcomes involves applying a range of sustainability skills to overcome internal and external challenges CK

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • Develop students' understanding of life cycle approaches for assessing the sustainability of a product or service.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Captured content lectures: (10 hours)

  • Workshops (15 hours)

  • Seminars (7 hours)

  • Practical hours (15 hours)

  • Independent learning (103 hours)

Students are required to do preparatory readings and watch the captured content lectures prior to the five day field work trip. During the field work trip students will visit a variety of sites as they follow some consumer products from their cradles to their graves. These site visits will be supplemented with workshops and seminars to discuss the product life cycle and its assessment. Following the field work trip there will some follow-up seminars on campus where students are encouraged to critical reflect on the sustainability of the products examined via review of their life cycles.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ENG3212

Other information

The Centre for Environment and Sustainability is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience, in line with the Surrey Curriculum Framework. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills and capabilities in the following areas: Sustainability: Adopting a whole life cycle perspective is critical when seeking to increase the sustainability of a product or service. This module introduces students to whole life cycle thinking as students consider the life cycles of a range of products. Employability: During this fieldwork module students will visit a variety of sites and hear from a range of industry speakers. This professionally focused learning via practical case studies allows students to apply their learning to real world problems. The interaction with sustainability practitioners helps students to better understand the career paths open to them and how they might access these careers. It also opens up professional networking opportunities.

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.