BSc (Hons) Geography

On this dynamic Geography degree, you’ll explore how the environment affects society, the economy and culture, and in turn, how we adapt and transform that environment. 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. By focusing on current issues and recognising the links between human and physical geography, you’ll gain a range of skills needed to interpret and analyse the relationship between human and non-human environments, and how to sustain their delicate balance.

Accredited by the Royal Geographical Society, this Geography course has been designed for students who enjoy the different traditions in geography. It incorporates major elements of physical and human geography, and some geographical information systems (GIS). A variety of experiential learning methods are embedded in the Geography course to ensure you can put theory into practice, including the opportunity to participate in a community-based project. Field courses and the opportunity for residential fieldwork ensure a rich experiential degree. Previous fieldwork locations have included Sicily, Malta, New York, Hong Kong and Uganda (additional costs apply). Follow us on Twitter.

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UCAS Code Study Mode
2018
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
F801 Full-time 3 Years September Glyntaff A
UCAS Code Study Mode
2019
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
F801 Full-time 3 Years September Glyntaff A

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: Geography degree

  • 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.

  • The Dynamic Earth: The module will introduce you a wide breadth of Earth Science at an introductory level. This will provide a broad introduction to the Earth, including its physical structure, surface, form and the large scale systems that shape and affect it.

Year Two: Geography degree

  • 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: Geography degree

  • 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 (optional): 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 (optional): 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.

Teaching

This Geography degree is taught via 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. We also run a GeoScience Seminar Series, which is supported by the Royal Geographical Society.

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.

 

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.

Accreditations

Our Geography degrees are among the first in the UK to gain accreditation from the Royal Geographical Society (with iBG) – the UK’s learned society and professional body for geography and geographers. 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. 

Field Trips

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.

There may be additional costs associated with this course

Facilities

As well as making use of the great outdoors, students on our Geography degree 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

The entry criteria below shows the qualification range within which the University will make offers. Most offers we make are at the top of the range, but we take all aspects of an application into consideration and applicants receive a personalised offer. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable.

Typical A-Level Offer

BCC - CDD to include a Science such as Geography or Mathematics but to exclude General Studies (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

 

Typical Welsh BACC Offer

Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C/D in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BC - CD at A Level to include a Science (which may be Geography or Mathematics) but to exclude General Studies (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Pass in a relevant Science subject (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical IB Offer

Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with higher grades of between 655-445 to include Higher Level Geography grade 5 or Mathematics grade 5. (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points)

Typical Access to HE Offer

Pass the Access to HE Science or Maths Diploma with 60 credits overall – the credits should equate to between 106-80 UCAS tariff points (examples below)

45 Level 3 credits equating to 15 Distinctions, 24 Merits and 6 Passes (106 UCAS Tariff Points)

45 Level 3 credits equating to 12 Distinctions, 6 Merits and 27 Passes (80 UCAS Tariff Points)

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.

Typical Science Requirements

Applicants taking Science A levels in England will need to pass the practical element alongside achieving the requested grades

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.

August 2018 - July 2019 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU:  £9000 
  • Full-time International:  £12300 

August 2019 - July 2020 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 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 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

International students

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

Admissions statement

Careers workshops and work-based learning are all built into the Geography 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.

Graduates of our Geography degree 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 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.