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Accredited by the Royal Geographical Society, this foundation course in Geography is designed for students who do not meet the admissions criteria for direct entry to the BSc (Hons) Geography degree. You’ll start by completing a foundation year, which provides well structured support, allowing you to develop your scientific skills and knowledge.
Our Geography degree emphasises issues that shape people and places in a global society. You'll investigate critical issues that are challenging the 21st century, from the local to global scale and analyse the relationship between human and non-human environments, and how to sustain their delicate balance.
You'll explore how the environment aﬀects society, its economy and culture, and in turn, how we adapt and transform that environment.
Field courses ensure a rich experiential degree. Previous fieldwork locations have included Sicily, Greece, New York, Hong Kong, Uganda and South Africa. Follow us on Twitter.
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.
The Foundation Year will provide an opportunity for you to study both the physical and social sciences, and to gain further technical background. Successful completion will enable you to progress to year one of the degree programme.
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.
The Geography degree is taught 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.
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.
Assessment combines a mixture of more traditional methods including: essays, examinations, group project work, oral and poster presentations with an array of more innovative methods which include: reflective report writing, community based strategy development, and multimedia project work.
This Geography degree 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 University’s location for fieldwork is second to none. Cardiff, Wales’s capital city, the Brecon Beacons National Park, and the Glamorgan Heritage Coast are all nearby and provide a natural laboratory for study.
We offer a rich and diverse international portfolio of fieldwork too. You could study sustainable heritage management in Athens or volcanic activity and hazard management in Santorini. If that’s not enough, you could explore conservation in action on safari in South Africa, journey through Durban’s foodscape, or consider coastal processes and pressures along Kwa Zulu-Natal’s coastline. Learning in and through these diverse locations will provide unforgettable experiences and essential skills.
Field courses and the opportunity for residential fieldwork ensure a rich experiential degree. Previous fieldwork locations have included Sicily, Malta, Italy, New York, Hong Kong and Uganda.
As well as making use of the great outdoors, students on our Geography degrees work in modern laboratories and classrooms. USW students enjoy a modern learning environment, with purpose-built labs and industry-standard research and specialist software that currently includes ArcGIS, ERDAS and RockWorks.
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.
GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 3 GCSEs including Mathematics and English at Grade C/Grade 4 or above, or their equivalent but consideration is given to individual circumstances
Access to H.E. Diploma with 60 credits overall to include 45 level 3 credits all Passes
EE excluding General Studies
BTEC Extended Diploma Pass Pass Pass or BTEC Diploma Pass Pass in a relevant subject
Pass IB Diploma or two IB Certficates at Higher level.
We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.
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.
Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.
Find out how to pay your tuition fees in full or by payment plan.
This course is eligible under the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme for Ex-Armed Forces personnel.
International Scholarships are available for self-funding international students.
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 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.
|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.
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)
Apply via UCAS if you are a UK/EU residing applicant, applying for year one 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.
Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK/EU.
Graduates of this Geography degree have varied careers in the UK and overseas. They are adept in collecting and analysing information using technical and laboratory methods. They can also recognise and articulate the moral and ethical issues involved in debates and enquiries. Graduates typically enter employment with local and central government agencies and planning departments. They also build careers in environmental management or consultancies, conservation agencies, geo-science, specialist mapping, specialist GIS and computing technology, and utility companies. A number of students from our Geography course progress to taught or research postgraduate degrees in environmental and conservation areas, or undertake further training in teaching or management.
As a USW Geography 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.