BSc Geography

Two BSc Geography students analysing rocks

The Geography BSc (F800) degree scheme covers aspects of human, physical and inter-disciplinary Geography. Themes taught include: climate and environmental change; river catchment and coastal processes; glaciology; geohazards; cultural, historical and political geography, and; environment and society. Investigating these themes through creative and innovative approaches, you will actively engage in the challenges facing society today. This degree scheme will provide you with the skills, abilities, and competences demanded by employers and postgraduate courses, and provide a stable foundation for your continuing professional development.

Department of Geography and Earth Sciences: 95% student satisfaction (NSS 2016)

95% of undergraduates from the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences who graduated in 2015 were in employment or further education six months after graduating (DLHE 2015)

Overview

The Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth University is one of the oldest and most experienced departments of its kind in Britain. As a large and dynamic Geography community, we are able to offer you an extremely broad range of geographical specialisms, including river catchment processes, glaciology, biogeography and Quaternary environmental change, current trends in geohazards, urban sustainability, regional development, and political and cultural geography, to name a few.

Aberystwyth University offers you the opportunity to study geography in one of the most picturesque locations in Europe. Set on the coast of Cardigan Bay and surrounded by a great diversity of beautiful environments, including marine, moorland, mountain and grassland, the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences is uniquely placed to make the most of the stunning landscapes that surround it, providing you with a fabulous variety of fieldwork and recreational opportunities.

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.

Our teaching spaces have recently been transformed and are equipped with the very latest technology to enhance the learning experience. Our laboratories are furnished with an impressive array of analytical instruments such as mass spectrometers and core scanners, and an extensive range of equipment is available to students for fieldwork and independent study. We have dedicated laboratory space for conducting geochemical and sediment analysis, and have superb computing facilities, including a bespoke digital map library with access to the latest and most sophisticated remote sensing and GIS packages. For archival work, our students have access to the National Library of Wales which catalogues an extraordinary range of rare manuscripts, books, journals and newspapers, maps, film and audio documents.

You will undertake fieldwork throughout your course beginning with a residential fieldtrip in Semester 1 of your first year. In your second year you will have the opportunity to travel abroad on an international fieldtrip. In recent years destinations have included New Zealand, Spain, Crete, New York, France and Ireland. We also have 13 travel awards (up to £400 each) available each year to fund your own adventures. In recent years, our students have travelled to Iceland, Uganda, South Africa, Madagascar, Peru, Ecuador, Mount Etna and Indonesia to witness Geography first-hand.

Furthermore, by choosing DGES you will get an opportunity to spend time studying abroad, whether it be in Europe (University Centre Svalbard, Bergen or Oulu), or in North America at one of several partnership institutions including Washington State, Kansas, Montana, Penn State and Pittsburgh, to name a few.

The Department offers a number of modules and degree schemes taught through the medium of Welsh. Further details may be obtained from the department.

Our Staff

Department of Geography and Earth Science: lecturers are all qualified to PhD level or working towards a PhD.

Course Content

Welsh medium modules available

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.

Year 1 Core (70 Credits) The following modules are core.

Semester 1

The Atmosphere And The Water Cycle EA12210

Key Concepts And Skills For Geographers GG13000

Semester 2

Global Ecology And Soil Systems GG10410

Climate Change: Impacts, Perceptions, Adaptations GG10810

Global Environmental Issues GG12710

Key Concepts And Skills For Geographers GG13020

Power, Place And Development GG14210

Year 1 Options Core (40 credits). Welsh medium (DA) and English medium (GG) modules. Welsh speaking students are encouraged to take DA11900/10 instead of GG11900/10, DA10110 instead of GG14410, DA10210 instead of GG10210, and DA10610 instead of GG10610. Note DA11910 and GG11910, DA10610 and GG10610, DA10110 and GG114410 and DA10210 and GG10210 cannot be taken together

Semester 1

Cefn Gwlad A'r Ddinas DA10210

Amgylcheddau Wyneb Y Ddaear DA10610

Tiwtorial Daearyddiaeth Lefel 1 DA11900

The City And Country: Processes Of Conflict And Change GG10210

Earth Surface Environments GG10610

Level 1 Geography Tutorial GG11900

Place, Culture And Society GG14410

Semester 2

Pobl A Lle DA10110

Tiwtorial Daearyddiaeth Lefel 1 DA11910

Level 1 Geography Tutorial GG11910

Year 1 Options (10 credits) Students must choose 10 credits from the list below, or from appropriate modules offered elsewhere in DGES , IGHPP or in the university.

Semester 1

Planet Earth EA11510

Rocks And Minerals EA11600

The Dynamic Earth EA11710

Understanding The Social World SA10120

Semester 2

Newid Hinsawdd DA10810

Methodoleg Maes Amgylcheddol DA10910

Byw Gyda Risg DA12810

Rocks And Minerals EA11610

The Earth In Space And Time EA11810

Year 2 Core (40 Credits) The following modules are core.

Semester 1

Researching People And Place GG20510

Analysis And Presentation Of Geographical Data GG21700

Physical Analysis Of Natural Materials GG22010

Semester 2

Concepts For Geographers GG20410

Analysis And Presentation Of Geographical Data GG21710

Year 2 Options Core (30 credits). Welsh medium (DA) and English medium (GG) modules. Welsh speaking students are encouraged to take DA22100/10 instead of GG22100/10, and DA22420 instead of GG22420.

Semester 1

Tiwtorial Daearyddiaeth Lefel 2 DA22100

Level 2 Geography Tutorial GG22100

Semester 2

Tiwtorial Daearyddiaeth Lefel 2 DA22110

Gwaith Maes Daearyddiaeth DA22420

Level 2 Geography Tutorial GG22110

Geography Fieldwork GG22420

Year 2 Options (20 credits) Students must take 20 credits from the modules below. DA28700/20 and GG28700/20 cannot be taken together.

Semester 1

Lleoli Gwleidyddiaeth DA28700

Placing Culture GG28500

Placing Politics GG28700

Semester 2

Lleoli Gwleidyddiaeth DA28720

Placing Culture GG28520

Placing Politics GG28720

Year 2 Options (20 credits) Students must take 20 credits from the modules below. DA22510 and GG22610 cannot be taken together.

Semester 1

Geomorffoleg Afonol DA22510

Reconstructing Past Environments GG20310

Catchment Systems GG22610

Glacial Processes And Landforms GG23910

Semester 2

Hanes Amgylcheddol DA22710

Environmental Management EA20110

Year 2 Options (20 credits) Students must choose up to 10 credits from the list below, or from appropriate modules offered elsewhere in DGES, including those in the options list above, or in the university.

Semester 1

Cyfathrebu Cymdeithas A Gwyddor DA28610

Earth Materials I: Introduction To Geochemistry EA22310

Sedimentary Environments GG23410

Sustainability And Resilience GG28910

Semester 2

Hydrochemistry EA20410

Geohazards EA22810

The Welsh Environment GG29110

Final Year Options (40 credits) The following modules are core. Welsh speaking students are encouraged to take DA34000/40 instead of GG34000/40.

Semester 1

Traethawd Estynedig Daearyddiaeth DA34000

Geography Dissertation GG34000

Semester 2

Traethawd Estynedig Daearyddiaeth DA34040

Geography Dissertation GG34040

Final Year Options (80 credits) Students must take 80 credits from the list below, up to 20 credits may be taken from appropriate modules offered in IGES or in the university.

Semester 1

Adnoddau Dwr A Hydroleg Bydol DA31620

Oceanography And Marine Geology EA30520

River Systems And Global Environmental Change GG30420

Earth Observation From Satellites And Aircraft GG32020

Geographical Information Systems GG32820

Palaeoenvironmental Change Beyond The Ice Sheets GG33120

Palaeoglaciology GG33920

Landscapes Of British Modernity GG36220

Geographies Of Memory GG37920

Regional Geographies GG39920

Semester 2

Daearyddiaethau Cenedlaetholdeb DA32220

Volcanic Activity: Hazards And Environmental Change EA30420

Engineering Geology EA32620

Welsh Mineral Resources: Origins, Exploitation And Planning EA34120

Process Glaciology GG30320

People, Climate And Environment: A Palaeoenvironmental Perspective GG33720

Geographies Of The Global Countryside GG36820

Urban Risk And Environmental Resilience GG37520

World Regional Islam GG38420

Employability

A degree in Geography or Earth Science provides a solid foundation for a vast array of careers across a range of sectors. In a rapidly shifting global economy, our graduates are adaptable and able to draw on a range of transferable skills, ensuring that they are always in demand among employers. DGES graduates have, for example, found work as surveyors, environmental consultants, planners, civil servants, teachers and researchers, among a range of other occupations.

Support from the Careers Service

Alongside a Departmental Employability Co-ordinator, DGES has a dedicated link Careers Adviser who provides targeted careers talks, workshops and one-to-one advice. Students can also access the Careers Service drop-in service, or book a longer guidance appointment with a careers adviser.

Alumni mentoring and graduate talks

The department facilitates regular in-house careers events, where students are given the opportunity to interact with potential employers and gain insights into specific occupations. Events of this type in recent years have included workshops with senior representatives from Natural Resources Wales and Air Worldwide catastrophe modelling.

Former students are an integral part of these activities, providing first-hand accounts of their graduate work experiences. Recent sessions have considered environmental design and commercial geophysics. In addition DGES students are able to enrol on the university Alumni Mentoring programme, which connects them with a graduate mentor and gain advice to support careers in a range of sectors.

Employability provision in teaching, learning and assessment

Employability is embedded within all courses provided by DGES and the different modes of learning, teaching and assessment employed across our modules ensure that our students gain a strong and varied skillset including:
• research and data analysis skills
• enhanced mathematical and computational skills
• effective problem-solving and creative thinking skills
• a thorough grounding in information technology skills
• the ability to work independently
• time-management and organisational skills, including the ability to meet deadlines
• the ability to express ideas and communicate information in a clear and structured manner, in both written and oral form
• self-motivation and self-reliance
• team-working, with the ability to discuss concepts in groups, accommodating different ideas and reaching agreement

Personal Development Planning

DGES students are assigned to personal tutors who support Personal Development Planning (PDP). Regular one-to-one meetings are used to identify possible career options, plan strategies to increase employability and set personal targets. This includes academic goals and extra-curricular activities, including involvement in clubs and societies, travel, voluntary work and placements.

Year in Employment Scheme (YES) and Student Placements

Gaining work experience during your degree is a sure way to boost employability after graduating. To help with this DGES students are encouraged to participate in the YES scheme between the penultimate and final year of their degree, which involves spending 12 months in paid employment prior to completing their degree.

Bursaries are also available to support shorter student placements during the holiday period. Each year we host a competition which invites students to share their work experiences via a report and oral presentation, with the winners receiving a prize and feedback from members of the business community who sit on a judging panel.

International Opportunities

Alongside employment experience, independent travel is also acknowledged as a key ingredient in student development. To support this we offer bursaries to support undergraduate travel. Recent destinations have included Uganda, Madagascar, Peru, Mount Etna and the United States.

DGES has also established Erasmus Exchange Programmes with the University of Bergen, the University of Oulu, Finland, and the University Centre in Svalbard, giving students the unique experience of studying in one of the world’s most extreme environments. We also have strong links with a number of universities in North America, where students can complete their second year of study. In recent years, our Exchange Co-ordinator has overseen placements at Purdue University (Indiana), the University of Alabama, the University of Georgia, the University of Montana and the University of Ottawa in Canada.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

How will I be taught?

The Geography degree schemes are delivered through a range of teaching activities, including lectures, seminars, laboratory or computer practicals, small group tutorials, field courses, and individual supervision of project work. In some first year lectures, up to 200 students may be present but many second and third year lectures contain 40 or fewer students. In addition to formal teaching activities, you will find yourself becoming involved in a whole range of other activities such as social media discussion groups and self-directed research projects, and you will be encouraged to undertake extensive reading and engage in informal discussions with staff.

Geography students at Aberystwyth are assessed through a range of different methods, reflecting the breadth and diversity of the subject. Some modules are assessed in part through traditional exams, but many also involve some element of coursework. This may involve the submission of essays and practical reports, or involve oral presentations, the design of webpages, the making of short films, or contributions to online discussion forums. Some modules, notably the tutorials and field courses, are assessed entirely through coursework.

What will I learn?

In your first year, you will take a range of modules designed to introduce you to key concepts in geographical study, and to issues and techniques in the collection, analysis and presentation of geographical data. You will become familiar with the key environmental issues affecting the world today, including climate change, landscape processes, economic development, and globalization. Optional modules allow you to follow particular topics of interest.

In your second year, you will develop your field, laboratory and computer research skills in preparation for your independent research project. You will learn how to analyse quantitative datasets and to produce maps and other graphical representations of geographical data. You will also participate in a residential field trip in the UK or overseas. A choice of optional modules will enable you to specialise in particular geographical themes or to maintain a broad interest across geography.

In the third year, you will undertake an independent research project that involves the collection, analysis and interpretation of your own data. You will be allocated an advisor to provide guidance during completion of the research. Optional modules covering topics as diverse as glaciology, hydrology, volcanic hazards, past climate change, urbanization, and rural change will enable you to tailor your study to suit your own interests.

Student Views

I love Geography (F800) at Aberystwyth due to the amazing opportunities it has given me that were not offered at other universities. Last semester I was lucky enough to be chosen to study in Svalbard for 4 months where I studied Arctic Technology and learnt how to use a rifle to protect against polar bear attacks! It was an amazing experience that I will never forget. I have also been on a fieldtrip to New Zealand with the university and learnt so much about both physical and human geography. I would recommend this course to anyone! Emily Louise Strub

Glaciers in New Zealand, mountains of the Himalayas, the world’s tallest building in Dubai, the sustainable city of Curitiba in Brazil, or energy resources in the UK; Geography is the study of the whole Earth’s processes, natural and human, and has the ability to take you anywhere. Through Geography you can learn how nature’s systems interact with today’s changing society, and how we can plan for the future. My degree has allowed me to further expand my knowledge through lectures, tutorials and fieldtrips on elements such as tourism and demographics, as well as river systems, climate, and geo-hazards. Lynne Potter

Geography at Aberystwyth is a match made in heaven. With two rivers running through the town, being a coastal environment and a tourist town as well as breath-taking scenery, the possibilities for research are endless. There are a vast amount of options you can study, all taught by world renowned experts who are happy to give you help whenever you need it. It can be summed up as the perfect place to study! Thomas Cottrell

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Entry Requirements

A Levels BBB with B in Geography, ABB without Geography

GCSE requirements (grade C min):
English or Welsh, Mathematics

BTEC National Diploma:
DMM-DDM with specified subject

International Students

International Baccalaureate:
28-30 points overall with 4-5 points in Geography at Higher Level

European Baccalaureate:
65-75% overall with 70% in specified subject

Key Information Set