BA Human Geography

The information on this page relates to September 2016 entry. For 2017 information, including grade requirements, please check our prospectus.

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In choosing to study the Human Geography Degree at Aberystwyth University you will benefit from the expertise and reputation of the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, one of the oldest, largest and most dynamic departments of its kind in Britain. The Human Geography Degree (L700) is an exciting and rewarding subject to study. You will explore the nature and impact of cultural, social, economic and political processes from the local to the global scale. By studying Human Geography you will acquire a wide range of the skills and knowledge that employers are increasingly seeking. Expand the sections below and find out more...

Overview

This BA in Human Geography is a remarkable opportunity for you to investigate the ways in which human societies define, make and shape place. You will study the functions of individuals, institutions and governments in changing geographical environments, from contemporary urban metropolises and rural communities to children's playgrounds and motorway hard shoulders.

Why study Human Geography at Aberystwyth? 

The Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth is one of the oldest and most well-respected departments of its kind in Britain. As one of the largest and most dynamic Geography communities in the UK, we are able to offer you an extremely broad range of geographical specialisms, ranging from concerns over climate change, the environmental impact of volcanic eruptions, and current trends in geohazards to urban sustainability, regional development and the future of the nation state, amongst others.

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.

The 2015 National Student Satisfaction results show high levels of satisfaction in both Human and Social Geography and Physical Geography and Environmental Science courses, with 91% of students satisfied with the quality of the teaching. Overall satisfaction was above UK national averages for the subject.

96% of our Geography and Earth Science graduates were in employment or further study 6 months after graduating, 11 percentage points higher than the previous year and 3 percentage points higher than the UK subject average (DLHE 2014).

The teaching and research laboratories are equipped with an impressive array of analytical equipment such as mass spectrometers and core scanners, and an extensive range of equipment is available for fieldwork, such as surveying, remote sensing, and water and sediment sampling. Other resources include a digital map library, access to census data, and recorders and transcribers for social survey work. Our computer provision is second to none, with superb web-based support available.

You will have opportunities to undertake fieldwork throughout your course, from Mock-Earth Summits to exploring the local area around Aberystwyth. 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.

The North American Exchange Programme gives you the chance to swap Aberystwyth for a similar degree programme in the US during your second year. Exchange students appreciate the experience of learning about the world from the different perspective offered by a North American University, and you can choose from degrees offered by Washington State, Kansas, Montana, Penn State and Pittsburgh.

The Department offers a number of awards each year to enable its students to travel the world. In the last few years recipients of these awards have travelled to Iceland, Uganda, South Africa, Madagascar, Peru, Ecuador, Mount Etna and the United States to undertake a range of fieldwork, such as discovering how communities function in remote areas of the globe, or witnessing stunning landscapes first-hand.

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.

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 (30 Credits) The following modules are core.

Semester 1

Key Concepts And Skills For Geographers GG13000

Semester 2

Key Concepts And Skills For Geographers GG13020

Power, Place And Development GG14210

Year 1 Options Core (30 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, and DA10210 instead of GG10210.

Semester 1

Cefn Gwlad A'r Ddinas DA10210

Tiwtorial Daearyddiaeth Lefel 1 DA11900

The City And Country: Processes Of Conflict And Change GG10210

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 (60 credits) Students should choose 60 credits of optional modules from those offered in DGES, IGHPP or elsewhere in the University. Examples could include the following, although the availability of specific options may change from year to year.

Semester 1

Amgylcheddau Wyneb Y Ddaear DA10610

Planet Earth EA11510

The Atmosphere And The Water Cycle EA12210

Economic Policy EC12500

Introduction To European Film EL10500

Language, Culture, And Identity In Europe EL10800

Earth Surface Environments GG10610

Russia Since 1900 HY12020

Behind The Headlines IP12620

The Making Of The Modern World: International History Since 1789 IP12820

Tourism Principles And Impacts MM19010

Introduction To Psychology: Investigation And Communication PS11300

Introduction To Core Topics In Social And Individual Behaviour PS11420

Conquest, Union And Identity In Wales 1250-1800 WH11120

Semester 2

Amgylchedd Cymru DA10810

Methodoleg Maes Amgylcheddol DA10910

Byw Gyda Risg DA12810

Economic Policy EC12520

Introduction To European Film EL10520

Language, Culture, And Identity In Europe EL10820

Global Ecology And Soil Systems GG10410

Climate Change: Impacts, Perceptions, Adaptations GG10810

Global Environmental Issues GG12710

Three Queens And Their Subjects HY12720

Britain And The First World War HY13220

Modernity And The Making Of Asia HY15220

War, Strategy And Intelligence IP10320

Approaching The Political IP10820

The Tourism System MM19120

Contemporary Case Studies In Tourism MM19210

Introduction To Psychology: Investigation And Communication PS11320

Year 2 Core (30 Credits) The following modules are core.

Semester 1

Researching People And Place GG20510

Analysis And Presentation Of Geographical Data GG21700

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 (40 credits) Students must take 40 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 choose up to 20 credits from appropriate modules offered elsewhere in DGES, IGHPP or in the university.

Semester 1

Cyfathrebu Cymdeithas A Gwyddor DA28610

Earth Materials I: Introduction To Geochemistry EA22310

Earth Resources EA22500

Sedimentary Environments GG23410

Sustainability And Resilience GG28910

Semester 2

Hanes Amgylcheddol DA22710

Hydrochemistry EA20410

Earth Resources EA22520

Geohazards EA22810

The Welsh Environment GG29110

Contemporary Debates In The Social Sciences SA20120

Final Year Options Core (40 credits). 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 DGES or in the university.

Semester 1

Adnoddau Dwr A Hydroleg Bydol DA31620

Geographical Information Systems GG32820

Landscapes Of British Modernity GG36220

Geographies Of Memory GG37920

Regional Geographies GG39920

Semester 2

Daearyddiaethau Cenedlaetholdeb DA32220

Volcanic Activity: Hazards And Environmental Change EA30420

Geographies Of The Global Countryside GG36820

Urban Risk And Environmental Resilience GG37520

World Regional Islam GG38420

Employability

Department of Geography & Earth Science (DGES) graduates are highly employable with 96% in work or further study six months after graduating in 2014. 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 it! I have been exposed to a variety of different subject areas and it has allowed me to choose modules to fit with my own interests. The tutors are great, approachable and friendly. I would recommend the course and Aberystwyth to anyone considering doing human geography. Ashley Wilding.

I love my Human Geography course because it has made me look at the world around me in a different and more interesting way. I can understand why it is like it is, and what it might look like in the future. It has really opened up my eyes to the different processes which shape our modern society. Rebecca Priest.

My course - L700 Human Geography - allows you to look at the world from a different perspective, appreciating the idea of place and the way a sense of place shapes everyday life. I now can sit on a park bench and 'people-watch'; analysing how people act in public spaces, but under the title of ethnography. Human geography takes into account the spatial relations of areas that have not been considered before, or have been taken for granted. It is like looking through a pair of epistemological glasses. Florence Genis.

Key Information Set