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Geography (Human) (BSc)

Entry year


This programme provides you 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.

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Course overview

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 opportunity to study in a School ranked 9th in the UK for Geography and Environmental Studies (Guardian University Guide 2019).
  • Programme accreditation from the Royal Geographical Society (RGS).
  • Taught by internationally respected and research-active staff.
  • Excellent relationships 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.
  • A field study visit option (currently a choice of destination between Hong Kong, Los Angeles, New York and Tanzania) to explore issues in real world case studies and to practically apply taught skills.
  • A focus on the global economic, environmental, social and development challenges.

Accreditations

UCAS codeL700
Next intakeSeptember 2020
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.

Ranked 9th in the UK for Geography and Environmental Studies (Guardian University Guide 2019)

Entry requirements

The entry requirements shown are for students starting in 2019. Entry requirements for 2020 will be available in August 2019.

AAA - ABB.

Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

DDD - DDM. All BTEC Extended Diplomas acceptable.

666-665 from 3 Higher Level subjects.

Alternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Geography & Planning admissions criteria pages.

If you are an overseas applicant and your first language is not English, please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our accepted qualifications.

GCSE English Language Grade C or 4, IGCSE English First Language grade C, IGCSE English as a Second Language grade C.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2020/21)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Students from outside the EU (2020/21)

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.

Accommodation

We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

Course structure

We are currently working with our students to update and improve the content of this course. The information shown below reflects the current curriculum and is likely to change. The review of the course is expected to be completed by August 2020 and this page will be updated by end of October 2020 to reflect the changes.

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 2020/21 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2020.

Year one

You will be introduced to the key dimensions of Human Geography, a showcase of the innovative approaches geography brings to contemporary issues and a strong overview of urban, environmental and rural development issues. You will also develop the essential skills to support your degree studies.

You will study four compulsory modules and two option modules, totalling 120 credits.

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.

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 to develop your professional skills. You can also choose to participate in an optional and subsidised field study visit to a European city (Amsterdam in 2019).

Year three

Year three explores the broader relevance of geography to policy and society through the Public Geographies module. This and the dissertation are compulsory.

A broad selection of option modules allows you to further specialise in your chosen area of Human Geography and participate in an international field study visit (2019 destinations included Honk Kong, Los Angeles, New York or Tanzania).

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.

Learning and assessment

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.

Year 1

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

26%

Guided independent study

74%

Placements

0%

Year 2

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

21%

Guided independent study

79%

Placements

0%

Year 3

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

20%

Guided independent study

81%

Placements

0%

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.

Assessment methods (2017/18 data)

Year 1

Written exams

17%

Practical exams

3%

Coursework

80%

Year 2

Written exams

24%

Practical exams

0%

Coursework

76%

Year 3

Written exams

0%

Practical exams

13%

Coursework

88%

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.

Careers and placements

Career prospects

We are committed to helping you achieve your professional ambitions, providing you with the skills, curiosity and confidence to make your mark in your chosen field.

Latest statistics show that 93% of our graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduating (Destination of Leavers from Higher Education 2016/17).

They occupy a number 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.

Placements

A work placement module is offered in year two.

Fieldwork

We place a great emphasis on practical learning. Each academic year offers a subsidised field study visit which allows you to research and investigate a live issue/case study on location.

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.

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