MA Practising Human Geography

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Aberystwyth University’s Masters in Practising Human Geography is specifically designed to provide you with the knowledge, skills and competencies required of an advanced, professionally trained researcher specialising in Human Geography.  Based at Aberystwyth University’s internationally-renowned Department of Geography and Earth Sciences (DGES), this course will equip you with both subject-specific expertise and a broad base of professional skills which are transferrable into a wide range of employment contexts.

To help you become a thorough and professional researcher, you will receive a comprehensive grounding in the practical research methodologies of the discipline.  You will also be trained in the philosophical, epistemological and theoretical approaches to Human Geography.  Together, the uniquely practical and theoretical approaches to the subject will make you a balanced, adaptable and highly-competitive candidate for employment and further doctoral-level research.

Throughout the course you will demonstrate initiative and self-motivated learning, supported by the crucial self-awareness to be both flexible in working practice but always academically rigorous.  Your skills in communication, teamwork and project-management will be strengthened, and you will become fully confident in framing coherent and insightful questions and expressing them in oral and written form in a range of group and individual settings. 

These qualities, supported by comprehensive subject knowledge, will enable you to gain employment with government agencies, public bodies, research institutes and private consultancies.

The DGES invites applications from postgraduate students in a range of related disciplines including geologists, geographers and environmental earth scientists. 

Key Facts

Duration:

One year full-time. The academic year is divided into three semesters, but this course is administered in two parts: Part One runs from October to May; Part Two runs from June to September. 

Contact Time:

Approximately 10-14 hours a week in the first two semesters.  During semester three you will arrange your level of contact time with your assigned supervisor.

Assessment: Part 1 of the course is delivered and assessed through lectures, tutorials and essay projects. In Part 2, the successful acceptance of your dissertation (up to 20,000 words) leads to the award of an MA. 

Entry Requirements:

Good Undergraduate degree 2.2 (UK) (or above) equating to a mark of 56.5 or above in a related subject. European and International applicants can find their grade equivalence on our comparability page. Those who are not graduates must satisfy the University that they are of the required academic standard to pursue postgraduate study.

English Language Requirements:

If you have a Bachelor’s degree from a UK University, you do not need to take an English proficiency test.

Non-native English speakers who do not meet this requirement must take a University-recognised test of academic English language proficiency. For further information please see our English Language requirements page.

Course Fees:

Please see the tuition fee pages for current tuition fees. Please note that all fees are subject to an annual increase.

Funding:

Funding opportunities may be available, please check our funding calculator for details.

Overview

The Master’s in Practising Human Geography will challenge you to personally engage with the theoretical and practical approaches to Human Geography.  You will critically assess the way in which Human Geography has dealt with key themes including space, place, time, scale, mobility and power, and also the ethical, moral and legal perspectives on the subject.  You will relate geographical concerns to ethical issues and relevant public policy debates, and argue your case with academic rigour.  You will then prove this learning in your own practical research project. 

Our excellent teaching staff will support and encourage you throughout your studies.  The world-renowned Department of Geography and Earth Sciences (DGES) will expose you to the widest possible range of expertise, through its regular guest seminar series and a residential ‘theory school’, involving Cardiff and Swansea universities.  These stimulating interactions provide excellent opportunities for the career-minded to network and socialise in a professional context.

The course is a year-long, full-time programme divided into two parts over three semesters.  In part one, you will establish a breadth of necessary skills in a number of core modules whilst directing your own study by choosing specialist modules. In part two, you will apply your learning in the individual dissertation worth an additional 60 credits.  Contact time is approximately 10 -14 HOURS per week and our small, friendly classes provide a productive environment where you can engage with your subject matter fully supported by staff and your peers.

By graduating from this course, you will have strengthened your employability in both specialist and more general areas of work.  As a specialist, you will be a highly competent contributor to any work relating to territory, landscape, policy and governance, sustainability, research design and data handling.  In more generic employment situations, your strengths will be broad and deep because you will be able to demonstrate mastery of any planning, project-management, analysis and reporting skills that your employer will require.

Whether you progress into doctoral research or employment, your practical training in research, monitoring and analysis will make you highly desirable to employers, academic institutions and other consulting agencies.

Our lecturers are active researchers working at the cutting edge of their disciplines, and you will benefit from being taught the latest geographical theories and techniques. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework assessment (REF 2014) DGES retained its crown of the best Geography department in Wales, with 78% of the research being undertaken classified as either "world leading" or "internationally excellent”. DGES is also in the top ten of UK Geography departments with regard to research power, which provides a measure of the quality of research, as well as of the number of staff undertaking research within the department.

Course Content

Welsh medium modules available

Year 1 Core (40 Credits) Generic Research Training modules

Semester 1

Principles Of Research Design PGM0210

Quantitative Data Collection And Analysis PGM1010

Qualitative Data Collection And Analysis PGM1100

Semester 2

Qualitative Data Collection And Analysis PGM1120

Year 1 Core (40 Credits) Subject Research Training modules

Semester 1

Key Concepts And Debates In Human Geography GGM3120

Semester 2

Research Methods In Human Geography GGM3820

Year 1 Core (60 Credits) Dissertation

Semester 3

Ma Dissertation GGM2860

Year 1 Options Students select 40 credits from the following list. Students can select any other approved module from cognate AU departments, or from modules offered as part of the Geography Pathway at Cardiff University or Swansea University.

Semester 1

Environmental Policy And Sustainability GGM3320

Semester 2

Regional Policy And Governance GGM3420

Employability

Qualification: MA in Practising Human Geography

This degree will suit you:

  • If you wish to obtain the expertise required for advanced research in Human Geography;
  • If you are interested in pursuing a career in Human Geography;
  • If you wish to obtain an excellent postgraduate qualification from an internationally-recognised, research-led institute;
  • If you wish to build upon your a second class degree or higher in a related discipline.

Employability

Every aspect of the MA in Practising Human Geography is designed to enhance your employability.  Alongside the development of your subject-specific knowledge and experience, an especially noteworthy strength of this course is the emphasis on personal development.  As an emerging specialist in Human Geography, your strengthened research and critical faculties will make you a strong candidate for any post where ideas and topics need research, analysis, discussion, expansion and classification.

In addition to gaining such specialised knowledge in the theoretical concepts of Human Geography, the course aims to develop your more general skills such as written and oral communication, data handling and statistics, team work, information technology and problem solving.  These skills are highly prized by employers and can be applied across innumerable graduate and master’s level jobs.  Because you will have secured and proved your competency in these areas, you will be very well equipped for entering the general employment market but also in pursuing positions in subject-related professions.

A host of employers look for accuracy, thoroughness, an eye for detail and the ability to find and prove connections across broad subject matter, and you certainly will have proven yourself, simply by graduating from this prestigious MA course. 

Professional Exposure and Networking

You will have the opportunity to attend two major research groups (the Cultural and Historical Geography Group and the New Political Geographies Group) which are based in the Institute of Geography and Earth Science.  These groups are comprised of experts in their fields who regularly contribute to international debates.  By attending meetings and seminars, you will experience Practising Human Geography at the cutting edge; you will be aware of the most up-to-date debates, theories and methodologies in the context of a lively and robust working department.  This will give you an enviable edge and fluency in your professional and doctoral applications.

You will also be strongly advised to take every opportunity you can to widen your professional exposure.  The department’s regular guest seminars and the residential ‘theory school’ in conjunction with Cardiff and Swansea Universities, are such opportunities.  These provide excellent opportunities for you to network and socialise with your teachers and peers in a professional context.

Project Management in the Dissertation

The dissertation project will require you to work independently and to pursue your own individual topic.  You will be required to cultivate a professional work ethic to deliver the combination of research, analysis, communication and presentation demanded by this project.  This rigorous part of the MA will require you to employ project management skills which are entirely transferrable to almost any work context that Master’s graduates apply for.

Studying for this Master’s degree will allow you to sharpen up all your core scientific disciplines, your professional work ethos and your presentation and communication skills.  Once secured by obtaining your Masters Degree, you will have gained confidence in the level of your academic expertise and practical field skills, which in turn will enhance your employability in both highly specialised related professions and also on broader, unrelated professional paths.

How to Apply

Postgraduate applicants can submit their application either on-line or off-line. Please see our How to Apply page for further information.

Departmental contact details 

Tel: (01970) 622643
Fax: (01970) 622659
Email: postgraduate-iges@aber.ac.uk

Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences
Llandinam Building
Penglais Campus
Aberystwyth University
SY23 3DB

If you'd like to see how we assess your application please click and watch our Application videos.

Further Information

As a Postgraduate Student you will be inducted to the University and join one of the top Graduate Schools in the world (Igraduate2012).

It is important you feel at home in the Department, University and Town. Here are some links for you to explore these areas further: