BSc (Hons) Geography

GEOGRAPHY AT USW IS RATED TOP 5 IN THE UK AND TOP IN WALES FOR STUDENT SATISFACTION NATIONAL STUDENT SURVEY 2021

Geography is dynamic. On this Geography course, you'll explore how the environment affects society, its economy and culture, and in turn, how we adapt and transform that environment. 

Accredited by the Royal Geographical Society, this Geography degree 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). 

Field courses and the opportunity for residential fieldwork ensure a rich experiential degree. Previous fieldwork locations have included Sicily, Athens and Santorini, New York, Hong Kong, Uganda and South Africa.

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. Follow us on Twitter.

Top 10 in the UK for Geography and Environmental Studies for the past two years and top in Wales for Geography and Environmental Studies (Guardian League Table 2020-21).

2021/22 update: Blended learning approach for USW courses.

[Update excludes online-only courses].

The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering all of our courses and services as safely as possible. Due to the pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to further change through the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. USW is committed to providing you with a fantastic student experience and a wealth of support, and you can hear how students have benefitted from this approach here: Learn more about blended learning.

UCAS Code Study Mode
2021
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
F801 Full-time 3 Years September Glyntaff A

Each year you will explore a diversity of critical issues challenging people, places and environments at local, national and 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 extended work placements, opportunities to work on community projects and individual research projects.

Year One: Geography degree

  • Introductory Geography Research Skills: This module introduces students to field and research skills that underpin human and physical geography. You will undertake UK residential fieldwork that will develop your practical skills through data collection, analysis and interpretation techniques.
  • Landform Systems: The module aims to introduce you to the principles of pedology and geomorphology, including surface processes and the resultant landforms and features.
  • Spaces of Urban and Rural Transformation: This module examines contemporary processes of transformation that shape the social, cultural, economic and political dynamics of urban and rural space. You will develop a geographical understanding of current issues and how we can better plan for the future of our cities, towns and countryside.
  • Place, Nation and Identity: The module introduces place, as a central site of human life, where everyday geographies and identities are formed. It then goes on to explore ideas of the nation, its constitution and how in turn it can become socially and spatially fragmented through varying identities and power structures. It draws on issues of the state, devolution, nationalism and welfare.
  • 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 the collaborative approach of participatory geography that seeks to affect social change through action-orientated research. You will gain practical skills in designing participatory methods by actively working alongside local community groups on development projects.
  • Dynamic Fluvial and Glacial Systems: The module will develop a critical understanding of the geomorphological processes and landscapes that result from the movement of water across the landscape.
  • Geographies of Global Consumption: This module examines the geographical significance of consumption. It begins by assessing how our relationship with commodities shape shifting global networks of production and consumption. You will focus on issues such as trade, market competition and ethical consumption. The module later explores how cultures of consumption inform the spatialities, socialities and subjectivities of everyday life.
  • The Sustainable Society: The module conceptually introduces sustainable development as set of principles that guide much of contemporary social life. It focuses on global economies, societies and environmental issues through globalisation, and examines how competing political ideologies challenge globally sustainable societies.
  • 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

  • Geography Project: This project is the opportunity for students to specialise in a particular area of geography that interests them. Projects will be supported by specialist academic staff who will work with students to develop a programme of research on their given topic. This module also incorporates opportunities for work placements to significantly elevate student’s profiles in a competitive graduate market.
  • 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.
  • Geographies of Citizenship: Democracy, Rights and Participation: This module examines the geographical relations between people, politics and space through the concept of citizenship and contemporary political events. You will explore how the term has been adopted by governments, protest movements and freedom fighters alike to empower and affect change. It considers how citizenship is performed in everyday spatial contexts and through global networks. 
  • Social Geography: Dwelling and Difference: Social geography is the study of different social groups, including class, gender, ethnicity and sexuality, and their spatial distribution. This module critically investigates these groups through the spaces in which they live at different scales. It examines geographical understandings of housing, home, neighbourhoods and dwelling.
  • Landscape, Heritage and Memory (optional): The module adopts a seminar approach, to investigate the relationship between landscape and culture. It then focuses on landscapes of heritage and memory, both culturally and politically, to understand how these shape understandings of the past. This is reinforced through a number of field courses, that investigate curation, UNESCO designation and power.
  • 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.

Mae modiwlau cyfrwng Cymraeg yn cynnwys | Welsh Module options are:

Modiwlau Blwyddyn Un

  • Cyflwyniad i ddadansoddi data a Systemau Gwybodaeth Daearyddol

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.

The degree incorporates training in industry-standard software in GIS, remote sensing, and quantitative and qualitative data capture and analysis to further develop your technical 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.

 

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.

Featured Lecturer:
Dr Anthony Harris

Dr Anthony Harris

Dr Tony Harris has a range of research interests linked with climate change, environmental change, and resilience, and he has worked with local and national Government partners, and NGOs. These include a range of projects related to disaster risk management and resilience.

Recently he has been working on projects including disaster management solutions, flood risk, resilience, and natural environmental management solutions for climate change mitigation and flood risk reduction in the region, working with Rhondda Cynon Taff and Cardiff Councils. He also works with the Community Emergency Planning Group, Llanelli Community Partnership and has worked with the Wales Learning and Development Group for the Wales Resilience Forum, Welsh Government.

Work in Uganda with PONT/Mbale Coalition Against Poverty has included projects for reducing vulnerability to climate change with development of agroforestry; the development of community projects to improve water supply and quality; community education projects for resilience to climate change and landslide hazards; and on developing sustainable development solutions for Namatala slum, Mbale. You can read about his current research here.

Lecturers

  •  Dr Tony Harris, course leader, specialises in climate change, environmental change, and resilience. He has worked with local and national Government partners, and NGOs.
  • Dr Jonathan Duckett specializes in human geography and has undertaken research that assesses the impact of cultural and political events. His work has examined how young people participated as citizens through the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and Scottish independence referendum.
  • Dr Thomas Lambourne is a lecturer in human geography and specialises in social geography. His research areas include citizen participation, neighbourhood geographies, housing and home.
  • Dr Angela Morris specialises in marine micropalynology for environmental reconstruction; the potential of dinoflagellate cysts as indicators of environmental change; and the Eutrophication of British coastal waters
  • Niamh Breslin is a lecturer in spatial analysis. Her research interests include the use of GIS and remote sensing for large mammal reintroductions and invasive species management, and in the growing application of drone technology for environmental monitoring.
  • Dr Gareth Powell, engineering geology
  • Dr Sorcha Diskin, geochemistry
  • Dr Malcolm Thomas, remote sensing, Academic Subject Manager

See our latest Geography research.

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 excluding 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 excluding General Studies (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical Science Requirements

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

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Pass (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical IB Offer

Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum score of 29 overall including 5 or above in English at standard level

 

Typical Access to HE Offer

Pass the Access to HE Diploma and obtain a minimum of 80 UCAS tariff points

Additional Requirements

GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics/Numeracy and English at Grade C or Grade 4 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.

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.

August 2021 - July 2022 Fees


  • Full-time UK:  £9000

  • Full-time International:  £13800 

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/Equipment *
Students undertaking courses that contain elements of outdoor fieldwork must wear appropriate outdoor clothing, which includes suitable wet weather gear, rugged boots/shoes and hat/gloves. The location and weather will determine the nature of clothing/footwear worn, and therefore the cost, and students will be informed of these requirements at the start of their studies. Please note that inappropriate clothing/footwear may prevent students from participating in an activity. The School of Applied Sciences subsidises the cost of compulsory fieldwork in the UK and overseas. Although kept to a minimum, some overseas compulsory fieldwork may have additional costs applied. Optional fieldwork modules are typically at the cost to the student. Generally, students will be expected to pay for their food unless specifically included within the field course. Students will need to supply suitable field notebooks in order to take observations/notes during field courses. Please note that some fieldwork may require visas and vaccinations, which are at the cost to the student and will vary depending on individual circumstances.
Field Trip * £250
This module includes fieldwork presently conducted in Greece. The School subsidises the cost of the trip by £400 per student. Additional costs to the student are approximately £150 to £250, but depend on accommodation used and exchange rates at the time.
Field Trip £1200 - £1600
Fieldwork presently conducted in Thailand. This 14 day trip includes a multi-centre stay which work with a number of partners to ensure a ‘hands-on’ geography experience. These individual projects can vary year to year.
Field Trip £1200 - £1600
Option of undertaking volunteer hours in the field. This will be dependent on the fieldwork offered.
Placement *
Students who successfully secure a placement in industry to complete their project would be expected to pay their own travel 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 accommodation close to their place of work for the duration of their placement.

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. Many of our graduates progress on to postgraduate research such as a Masters by Research or PhD.

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.

Full-time