You can travel the world studying natural hazards on this rewarding course, and learn how to support communities when they need it most.
Having taught Geography for over 40 years, Coventry is ranked as one of the 7th best universities in the UK for ‘Geography and Environmental Studies’ in the Guardian University Guide 2019.
This course applies geographical knowledge to the study of natural hazards, such as volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, wildfires, tropical cyclones and associated flood events. You will gain an in-depth understanding of the processes responsible for these hazards, which affect millions of people each year. You will learn the key principles of geology, geomorphology, hydrology and climatology and how to map, analyse and potentially predict natural hazards, so that you can help communities prepare for and respond to their impact.
In the first year, students will touch upon topics covered in our other two Geography degrees (BA and BSc), while also taking a bespoke module from the Disaster Management programme. All of our Geography degrees encompass significant fieldwork, both here in the UK and overseas, with recent trips visiting locations such as Gambia, Mallorca, Morocco and Tenerife.
All of our Geography degrees are designed to develop your knowledge of the spatial organisation and evolution of the human and physical environment, within the broad field of geographical and geoscientific inquiry.
In all three years, you will be supported to develop your practical analytical and problem-solving skills, with appropriate training in how to conduct robust independent research in the laboratory or in the field, as well as detailed critical analysis and methods of reporting.
Why choose this course?
Recognised nationally for the excellence and quality of our Geography teaching, we benefit from strong academic links with universities in Reykjavik, Venice and Stockholm, as well as government institutions, such as the Hawaii and Alaskan volcano observatories.
Our academics are all active researchers and incorporate their findings into their teaching practice wherever possible to ensure content stays up-to-date and relevant. Recently for example, Coventry academics have undertaken volcanic research in Hawaii and development research in Uganda.
This course takes an integrated and practical ‘geographical’ approach to the study of natural hazards at a local and global scale. You will have the opportunity to learn how to apply the latest techniques for hazard assessment and mitigation with opportunities for hands-on experience, both in the field and within our modern GIS and Simulation Lab, which features industry-standard software like ArcGIS and ENVI.
Throughout your studies, you will have the chance to undertake residential fieldwork locally and across the UK to build up your experience of the geography and hazards. There are also opportunities for international fieldwork. In the past, for example, students have visited Taiwan, which, due to the frequent earthquake, steep slope, weak geological formation, erodible soil and intensive rainfall in summer season, faces a number of different natural hazards, such as earthquakes, typhoons, flooding, landslides and land subsidence. Students have also visited the volcanic island of Tenerife, to examine the hazards posed to residents and visitors and to see, often for the first time, an active volcano.
Research by the Higher Education Careers Service Unit (HECSU) has found that Physical and Geographical Sciences have one of the highest employment rates of all science subject areas. We have an outstanding track record for graduate employability with 100% of our graduates in work or further study six months after graduating (DLHE 2014/15). Of those employed, 92% were in professional level roles.
International experience opportunities
Geography is a global subject and international themes are core to our teaching. Whilst the UK experiences natural hazards such as flooding, it rarely experiences some of the more destructive events, such as earthquakes, tsunamis and severe storms. As such, much of our teaching relies of using case studies from overseas, such as the tsunamis that regularly impact the Pacific region and hurricanes which often hit the Caribbean.
All students are given the opportunity to complete an overseas field course as part of their studies. For example, past students have visited Taiwan and Tenerife, where they examined the natural hazards posed by the island’s active volcano, and to understand the measures that can be taken to address these. Others undertook a community outreach programme in Indonesia, assisting local communities in development projects such as building and maintaining rural schools. In all cases, the fieldtrips are designed to enable you to see first-hand how particular natural hazards pose a significant threat in different environments, enabling you to apply your specialist research skills in an international context.
You can also take the opportunity to work or study abroad. Past students have spent time working at the volcano observatories in Alaska, Hawaii and Mexico; others have undertaken placements with GNS in New Zealand and with the United States Geological Survey in California. Others have gone to study at one of our associate universities teaching in English throughout Europe, America and the Far East. The Geology and Natural Hazards programme at the University of Reykjavik in Iceland has proved popular.
Employment prospects are excellent for graduates with specialist skills and knowledge in natural hazard assessment and prevention. As the incidences of geological hazards increase, so too does the need to monitor, prevent, warn and manage their impact.