UniMelb’s Famine: The Geography of Scarcity is a fantastic subject for those interested in a Geography major either through the Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts. It explores the driving factors behind famine through a variety of lenses.

How it is run

The subject itself is run with two 1-hour lectures and a 1-hour tutorial. The tutorial is the only compulsory part of the subject. You should aim to attend the lectures, but the information is available through Canvas if you were to miss a class.

The assessment

The subject has two mapping tasks for you to complete, these are relatively easy and you can easily get H1’s in both. It is more of a checklist assessment than a subjective one.

There is a major essay, that in all honesty, can be quite challenging in first year university. It is a research essay that sees many struggle to find accurate and reliable sources.

The exam is multiple choice and is run in an online format. It is 25 questions over around 75 minutes – however this can vary year to year.


Try and get along to all of the lectures. In my opinion, this is a unique subject, in that every lecture covers off on a different area, completely different from the one before.

When studying, I felt as though it was better to absorb as much of the concepts in the lectures rather than take detailed notes, as many of the concepts require a macro view.

To get a H1, especially if you are unfamiliar with research essays, I would advise being extremely precise with maps, as these can easily bring your marks up as they are both worth a combined total of 30%. After you understand the concepts, I recommend going back through the course and taking tailored notes for the exam, focusing on any areas of weakness. If you have taken tailored notes and have understood the concepts of the course well, then the multiple choice online exam shouldn’t pose too many difficulties.

For the essay, if you haven’t already, get someone to show you how to use the library tool properly. It can be a lifesaver. If you are stuck for resources, go to the bottom of the provided research article and use the cited sources there as a starting point for further research.