BSc (Hons) Geography

Do you want a degree that will give you unforgettable experiences, alongside the essential skills that will improve your employability? Our BSc (Hons) Geography degree will take you from local to international fieldwork destinations, from rural Pembrokeshire to New York’s iconic cityscape, the hazardous, volcanic landscape of Sicily or working with communities in Uganda. Through this process of experiential learning, you will study contemporary and relevant issues that will engage you in an exploration of the political, economic, environmental, social and cultural activities that shape people and places in a global society. The physical environment will also be studied including the processes that shape and change it, and the tools we use to manage it.

Our Geography degree enables you to either choose to study human and physical geography, or you can choose to specialise and focus on physical or human geography elements in your final year, depending on what interests you the most. Whilst fieldwork is central to your geography experience you will also have the opportunity to engage in community projects as well as learning through a mixture of lectures, workshops, seminars, tutorials and practical laboratory work, including hands-on training in bespoke GIS and remote sensing labs.

Study Mode 2017 Duration Start Date Location
Full-time 3 Years September Pontypridd
Study Mode 2018 Duration Start Date Location
Full-time 3 Years September Pontypridd

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.

Year One

Introductory Geographical Information Systems
You will be introduced to the structure of a G.I.S. and provide an understanding of its key components. As the module progresses you will develop basic and intermediate technical skills in G.I.S. functionality.

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.

Year Two

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

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
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
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.

Dissertation (Optional)
The module will allow you to undertake a detailed investigation in order to provide experience in the method and practice of sustained, focused and rigorous research and to place their findings within the existing framework of knowledge.

Work-based Learning
You will undertake a period of 60 hours of work based learning under the direction of an employer and an academic supervisot. This will provide you with a range of opportunities from existing short-term-term/part-time work placements, teaching observation posts, Voluntary Sector and Local Government positions, and research assistant posts.

 

Teaching

You will learn through 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.

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.

Careers workshops and work-based learning are all built into the course. Engaging you in a range of participatory learning environments will encourage you to develop your portfolio of transferable skills, build confidence and become an employable graduate. Through this approach you will develop the knowledge and skills necessary for appreciating the relationship between human and non-human environments and working to sustain their delicate balance. This is further enhanced through the GeoScience Seminar Series, which is supported by the Royal Geographical Society.

Additional Fees

All residential field courses are optional but carry an additional cost, although staff work hard to keep those costs to a minimum. Students may be required to pay for inoculations and visas for travel to some of the countries visited on these field trips.

Assessment

You will be assessed using a range of approaches depending on your module choice and year of study which could include: essays, examinations, laboratory reports, group project work, oral and poster presentations. Other assessment methods may include reflective report writing, community based strategy development, consultancy-style reports, and multimedia project work.

UCAS Code
F801
Institution Code
W01

Accreditations

This programme has been accredited by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). Accredited degree programmes contain a solid academic foundation in geographical knowledge and skills, and prepare graduates to address the needs of the world beyond higher education. The accreditation criteria require evidence that graduates from accredited programmes meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including subject knowledge, technical ability and transferable skills.

Placements

Our Geography degrees produce motivated and able graduates with a range of key skills. They are highly valued by employers for the scope of their knowledge, and have excellent communication and critical thinking skills. Laboratory work and field projects ensure our students have strong research and team working skills.

Employability skills and work-based learning are built into our geography courses. For example, in the first year of our geography courses, we identify the skills and experiences you already have and how they can be enhanced through your studies. In the second year, early career strategies, interview techniques and CV writing are integrated into your studies. The final year gives you the opportunity to undertake work-based learning and to conduct project work.

We run a lecture series during the year that is endorsed by the Royal Geographical Society. Speakers range from academics presenting cutting-edge research, to industry professionals exploring applied research topics.

Facilities

As well as making use of the great outdoors, our geology, geography and natural history students work in modern laboratories and classrooms. Our new George Knox laboratories are part of a £15m investment in science for the University, meaning you will be taught in new and well-equipped spaces. These join the Grade II listed Alfred Russel Wallace building, which is also used for teaching. Our students use a variety of fully equipped geographical information systems (GIS), media editing and IT laboratories, each carrying industry-standard research and specialist software.

Lecturers

Entry criteria detail typical offers but USW considers all applications on an individual basis which means that we could make offers based on qualifications, personal profile and experience. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed may also be acceptable.

Typical A-Level Offer

BCC to include a Science such as Geography or Mathematics but to exclude General Studies

Typical Welsh BACC Offer

Grade C and BC at A Level to include a Science (which may be Geography or Mathematics) but to exclude General Studies

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit in a relevant Science subject

Typical IB Offer

29 points to include 16 points at Higher Level – to include Higher Level Geography grade 5 or Mathematics grade 5.

Typical Access to HE Offer

Science or Maths Diploma with 60 credits overall to include 45 level 3 credits equating to 12 Distinctions from Science units, 18 Merits and 15 Passes

Additional Requirements

GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics and English at Grade C or above, or their equivalent but consideration is given to individual circumstances

International Entry Requirements

We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.

English Requirements

In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.

However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.

All fees are per year. Once you have started your course, your fee will remain the same for each year of study.

August 2017 - July 2018 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU: £9000
  • Full-time International: £11900

August 2018 - July 2019 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU: TBC
  • Full-time International: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are significant additional costs either obligatory or optional these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
Kit (Uniform and Equipment) * £50 - £180
Field work requires rugged walking boots/shoes and waterproof and thermal clothing.
Field Trips * £50 - £75
Field trips in the UK will be paid for by the University. Students will be expected to provide food.
Other:
Please note that students who successfuly secure a placement in industry or abroad to complete their projects would be expected to pay for their own travelling costs to and from the venue during the period of placement. The cost of this will of course vary and some students have also paid for accomodation close to their place of work for the duration of their placement. Students are provided with reading lists but are not expected to buy any books, instead students are actively encouraged to make use of the extensive learning resources of the University. Many books are available as ebooks. The course uses the many computing facilities of the Glyntaff campus (students are not expected to buy their own computer but having a personal PC will help with their studies)

UK and EU students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK/EU residing applicant, applying for year 1 of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly

International students

Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK/EU

Apply now 

Admissions statement

You can find career opportunities in environment agencies and consultancies, town and country planning, public administration, retail management, utility companies, teaching or further study.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.