BSc (Hons) Geography (Including Foundation Year)

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Geography is dynamic. On this Geography course, you’ll explore how the environment affects society, its economy and culture, and in turn, how we adapt and transform that environment.

Accredited by the Royal Geographical Society, this Geography degree has been designed for students who enjoy the different traditions in geography. It incorporates major elements of physical and human geography, and some geographical information systems (GIS).

Field courses and the opportunity for residential fieldwork ensure a rich experiential degree. Previous fieldwork locations have included Sicily, Athens and Santorini, New York, Hong Kong, Uganda and South Africa.

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You can design your Geography degree around human or physical geography or focus on both elements, depending on your interests. Each year you will explore a diversity of critical issues challenging 21st century societies, environments and cultures, from local to global scales. You will also build your knowledge and skills through structured pathways of study which elevates the student learning experience and graduate employability to a significantly higher level through the opportunity for extended work placements, opportunities to work on real projects and Project Management.

Foundation Year: Geography degree

  • Key Ideas in Geography: The module will introduce you to a diversity of key ideas and skills applicable to the study of geography in the early twenty first century. It will explore the Earth, human relationships with the earth and people’s relationships with one another, all of which vary across time and space. Key among these are ideas of space, place, time, scale, landscape, nature, global systems, development and risk which will provide an understanding of both the human and physical world and illustrate the interdisciplinary linkages and tensions between them.
  • Geo-field Techniques: Fieldwork is central to Geography and Geology providing the student with first-hand experience of the issues which will be explored during their course of study. The UK based fieldwork undertaken will depend on the student cohort and will use a range of appropriate data collection techniques which can be applied to both quantitative and qualitative analysis. This active engagement with the external world in a given fieldwork location will provide the opportunity for the student to apply methods to more complex field environments, identifying problems and designing research.
  • Foundations of Earth Science: The module will focus on rock types and rock formation, and the resources extracted from rocks, particularly in the context of the UK. This will include an introduction to rocks, minerals and fossils, using them to discover and understand the history of the Earth and life on Earth. This will include an introduction to: plate tectonics, rocks and hydrocarbons, rocks and water, climates in earth history and the Geology of other planets.
  • Foundation Ecology and Environmental Science: A basic consideration of what we understand by “the environment” will be introduced, followed by an overview of ecological processes and the principles ecosystems and environments inhabited by living organisms. This will provide a foundation to understanding principal human impacts on the natural environment. The module will also include an overview of basic methods of environmental sampling and measurement.
  • Key Skills and Professional Development: This module will develop the key kills required to complete a degree and continue to engage in lifelong learning: such skills include: identifying learning strategies, critical thinking, academic writing/practice, presentation skills, preparation for employment, and professional conduct. You will be introduced to academic life and expectations, beginning with identifying your own strengths and weaknesses as an active learner, you will then evaluate and reflect on your approach to learning and utilise new skills to improve your experience.
  • Scientific Data Literacy: Using accessible examples and simple terms, this module looks to provide you with the understanding of and ability to apply simple mathematical tools that will allow you to obtain, interpret, manipulate, present and explain the significance of scientific data and appreciate the role mathematics plays in the sciences. This will include; understanding and manipulating numbers; an introduction to quantitative science, units and measurement; the principles of basic arithmetic, decimals and the use of significant figures, fractions, indices and scientific notation.

Year One: Geography degree

  • Landform Systems
    The module aims to introduce you to the principles of pedology and geomorphology, including surface processes and the resultant landforms and features.
  • Introductory Field and Research Skills
    The module will introduce you to a wide variety of field techniques, description and interpretation methods which will allow you to investigate, gather, process, display and present geographical/earth science data and materials.
  • Landscapes in Transition: The module traces the development of the contemporary city from its origins in the industrial revolution of the mid-eighteenth century through to the emerging post-industrial urban society including an examination of urban design and planning, representations of national space, utopian visions and imagined landscapes.
  • A Sustainable Wales: You will be introduced to the debates over the meaning of the ‚nation’ before examining competing ideas of the Welsh nation, the process of devolution and the manner in which the Welsh nation is currently being articulated. You will then explore the relationships between sustainability and the Welsh nation and examines the implications for Wales as a region at the periphery of the European Union.
  • Introduction to Data Analysis and GIS: You will examine a range of methods which will allow you to process, analyse, manipulate, display and present geographical/earth science data. It will also be introduced to the wide spread usages and applications of G.I.S. with a variety of geospatial data.
  • The Dynamic Earth: The module will introduce you a wide breadth of Earth Science at an introductory level. This will provide a broad introduction to the Earth, including its physical structure, surface, form and the large scale systems that shape and affect it.

Year Two: Geography degree

  • Reconstructing Change: You will examine the principles and methodologies of palaeoecological and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction techniques, and review some of their applications and limitations in terrestrial and marine environments.
  • Participatory Geography: This module will introduce you to participatory geography through working in collaboration with community groups on development projects.
  • Fluvial and Glacial Environments: The module will develop a critical understanding of the geomorphological processes and landscapes that result from the movement of water across the landscape.
  • Landscapes of Consumption: This module begins with an overview of consumption and the central role it has acquired within the Social Sciences, as both theory and method, in the past decades. The ideas of the consumption society, the consumption paradox and the symbolic economy of consumption will also be examined.
  • Understanding Sustainable Development
    The module will consider how processes of change operate and are conceptualised in the broader framework within which local sustainability is set. The role and participation of local government, and the individual citizen in community development is also considered.
  • Techniques in Geography: The module will focus on key geographical challenges facing the world at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Residential fieldwork will be undertaken which will utilise a range of techniques including terrain analysis, mapping, survey work, geophysical investigation and more.

Year Three: Geography degree

  • Management of Environmental Hazards: The module will allow you to predict and assess the risks posed by the wide range of environmental hazard types that can affect human life and society and explain the issues and problems involved in the mitigation of hazards and evaluate the strategies used to manage them.
  • Climate Change: You will critically examine the causes, consequences and records of climatic change on a variety of spatial and temporal scales from natural and anthropogenic causes.
  • Regional Geography Field Course (optional): The module will develop and safely practice a range of advanced practical and analytical field techniques and provide you with an opportunity to draw on a range of skills and geographical knowledge developed over previous years of study.
  • Urban Geography: You will explore different aspects of the social and cultural geography of the contemporary city, with particular focus on the way in which the city sponsors and supports social and spatial difference.
  • Rural Geography: We will critically evaluate the changing role of the British countryside in the twenty first century by exploring the different ways in which rural society has been defined and socially represented. Focus will centre on perceptions associated with the rural idyll and notions of community and the way in which the countryside is becoming increasingly commodified.
  • Reading the Contemporary Landscape (optional): The relationship between society, land and landscape is deeply complex. The module begins by examining how we see, envision, imagine and represent the world. It continues by exploring the many ways in which it has shaped the cultures and landscapes we inhabit, as well as our future hopes and fears. Central to this will be an emphasis on everyday as well as special landscapes, urban greenspace and green infrastructure, in addition to rural landscapes.
  • Earth Observation (optional): You will explore the use of remote sensing, satellite and UAV imagery in environmental management and develop intermediate practical skills in data fusion of RS and GIS datasets and understand how the products are applied to a wide range of environmental issues.

Teaching

This Geography degree is taught via a mixture of lectures, workshops, seminars, tutorials, practical laboratory work and community project work. Fieldwork, both day and residential also provides the ideal opportunity for building your transferable skills.

Hands-on training in bespoke GIS and remote sensing labs further develop your practical skills. We also run a GeoScience Seminar Series, which is supported by the Royal Geographical Society.

The number of hours of formal teaching will vary depending on your module choice and year of study and can be timetabled throughout the week. Fieldwork is also timetabled, including both day, half day and residential. Normally, depending on the module, it will consist of 48 hours of contact and 152 hours of independent study.

nathan chapman, BSc Geography

 

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