Geography (Human) (BSc)

Human Geographers engage with and influence the key debates in contemporary society. The Human Geography course at Cardiff provides students with a comprehensive overview of the subject as well as opportunities to specialise in specific areas such as cultural, development, economic, environmental or political geography.

A key aspect of the Human Geography BSc course lies in its emphasis on the relevance of the subject. You will learn how to use the knowledge you accumulate to shape the views and actions of elected decision-makers, the voluntary sector and industry in order to improve society.

The course explores geographical ideas and practice at various spatial scales, making connections between the local, regional, national and global levels. It covers the key social, cultural, political, economic, development and environmental components of geography and allows you to take specialist modules which build on your own interests and passions.

You also have a valuable opportunity to translate your geographical knowledge into practice through a work placement module in the second year. This module enables you to ease your transition between education and the ‘real world’ by providing crucial work experience beyond the University.

The course includes a wide range of learning opportunities, from workshops and seminars through to practical projects and field visits.  Field study visits are a key aspect of the course.  Previous destinations include Amsterdam, Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles and Tanzania.

Note that some field study visits involve additional costs to students.

Distinctive features

The distinctive features of the course include:

  • the opportunity to study in a School consistently highly rated for its research excellence
  • the involvement of internationally reputed research staff who are active in both scholarly and practitioner/policy networks
  • close links with policy  institutions in the UK, Europe and globally
  • access to a computing laboratory with high-quality printing facilities, GIS (Geographic Information System) and Edina digimap mapping facilities
  • excellent library and access to online journals and databases
  • local, European, and global destination field study visits to explore issues in real world case studies and deploy skills acquired through the degree into practice
  • the facility to undertake assessments in the Welsh language if preferred.

The degree encompasses a wide range of module choices, allowing you to navigate through the degree, selecting options that interest you most. The field trips are not only insightful and interesting but lots of fun, as you get to know a new city first hand with your course mates.

Emma Spence, Geography (Human) Student

Key facts

UCAS CodeL700
Next intakeSeptember 2017
Duration3 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe School admits c180 students each year to its undergraduate degree programmes.
Typical applications receivedC950 applicants to the undergraduate degree programmes.
Typical A level offerAAA-AAB including Geography A-level. General Studies is not accepted.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerGrade A in the Core and grades AA-AB at A-level, including Geography.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer38-36 points.
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Specific admissions and selection criteria for this degree programme can be found online. Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course
Admissions tutor(s)

This is a three-year full-time degree. All three years contain compulsory and optional modules. You will need to earn 120 credits a year. Modules are usually worth 20 credits, although some are worth 10 and the final-year dissertation is worth 30 credits.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2017/18 academic year. The final modules will be published by July 2017.

Year one

Year one gives an introduction to the key dimensions of Human Geography, a showcase of the innovative approaches geography brings to contemporary issues and strong overview of urban, environmental and rural development issues. Through a study skills module, you will also develop the essentials for studying at degree level.

Although you need to earn 120 credits, year one is an introductory year and the modules do not count towards the grade of your final degree.

Module titleModule codeCredits
CitiesCP014120 credits
The CountrysideCP014620 credits
Environment and Society: Living With Environmental ChangeCP014720 credits

Year two

Year two builds on the foundations provided in the first year, looking in more depth at the history of geographical thought and the cultural, development, environmental, economic, political and social sub-fields of human geography. The Citizen Geographies module includes the possibility of a work placement. The second year includes an optional field study visit to a European city (currently Amsterdam for 2016).

Year three

Year three explores the broader relevance of geography to policy and society in the Public Geographies module. This and the dissertation are compulsory. You are then enabled to further specialise in particular areas of Human Geography, with a broad choice of modules and field study visits.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

Our approach is based upon a commitment to provide the highest quality teaching. As far as possible, we aim to teach in small groups because we believe this encourages a more positive learning environment between staff and students and among students themselves. Typically you will study six modules per year and will receive 12 hours of guided study per week.

We offer a supportive learning environment, where you are enabled to acquire a range of skills and a wealth of specialist knowledge. Our courses foster intellectual skills, such as critical thinking, close analysis, evaluating evidence, constructing arguments, using theory and the effective deployment of language in writing and in debate. We also help you gain experience in team working, independent research and time management.

How will I be supported?

As well as having regular feedback from your personal tutor in each course, you will have a reading week each semester for guided study and a chance to catch up on assessed work, reading and revision.

You will have access through the Learning Central website to relevant multimedia material, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises and discussion circles.

The University offers a range of services including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres.

Feedback

We’ll provide you with frequent feedback on your work. This comes in a variety of formats including oral feedback during tutorials, personalised feedback on written work, feedback lectures, generic written feedback and feedback on tutorial performance

You will receive written feedback on your coursework. You will be given general feedback in relation to examinations following the May/June examination period and you will be able to discuss your overall performance with your personal tutor.

How will I be assessed?

A range of assessment methods are used, including essays, examinations, presentations, report-writing and creative assignments such as videos and posters.

We encourage innovation and creativity in the delivery and assessment of teaching and learning, for example the use of digital media and field study visits.

Essays and examinations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing your capacities to gather, organise, evaluate and deploy relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments. Dedicated essay workshops and individual advice enable you to produce your best work, and written feedback on essays feeds forward into future work, enabling you to develop your strengths and address any weaker areas.

The final-year research project provides you with the opportunity to investigate a specific topic of interest to you in depth and to acquire detailed knowledge about a particular field of study, to use your initiative in the collection and presentation of material and present a clear, cogent argument and draw appropriate conclusions.

What skills will I practise and develop?

You will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both those which are discipline specific and more generic ‘employability skills’.

These include:

  • communicating ideas, principles and theories effectively by oral and written means
  • work effectively in a team and as an individual
  • using the internet, databases, spreadsheets, word processing and graphic packages
  • GIS
  • effective time management and organisational skills
  • a commitment to lifelong learning through engaging in the process of personal development planning and ownership of your own learning
  • problem solving, reliability, loyalty, social conduct, tact, attitude to learning and research, leadership, resilience, decision-making and reasoning.

In 2014, 100% of School undergraduates who responded to the Destination of Leavers of Higher Education survey were in employment or further study within six months of graduating. Moreover, 80% of those in employment were in professional or managerial jobs.

Our graduates occupy key positions in national and local governments, business consultancies, multi-national companies, sustainable energy centres, international development agencies, environmental agencies, housing strategy companies, construction, surveying and are active in both the public and private sectors.

Typical examples of roles open to Geographers include logistics, retail management, economic analyst, aid worker, charity officer, human rights officer, refugee and asylum adviser, environmental campaign organiser, conservation worker, environmental health officer, environmental engineer, pollution analyst, forestry manager, environmental consultant, surveyor, Urban regeneration officer, town planner, transport officer, teacher, public policy researcher, heritage site management, TV researcher, GIS specialist, Census data specialist and Cartographer.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2017/18)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Students from outside the EU (2017/18)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Additional costs

Field study visits are included in your fees in year one and year two, but you will be required to subsidise trips in year three.

In year two, one field trip to a European city is included in your fees.  In year three, the global cities field study visits are subsidised by 66%. Students have previously contributed around £400 to the costs.

You should expect to cover the costs of local travel and subsistence on all field study visits.

A work placement module is offered in year two.

In the School of Geography and Planning we place a great emphasis on practical learning. To this end there are field study visits available in each year of the undergraduate course.

In year one, these field study visits are local to the Cardiff city region. In year two, you can opt to enjoy a residential field study visit to a European city. In your final year, you can opt for a field study visit to a global city location. Please see the ‘additional costs’ section for more information.


Key Information Sets (KIS) make it easy for prospective students to compare information about full or part time undergraduate courses, and are available on the Unistats website.