Geography BSc (Hons)
COURSE INFORMATION (2013 ENTRY)
3 years full-timeEngineering and Environment
Ellison Building, Newcastle City Campus
This degree offers a fresh contemporary approach to the study of the physical environment. Heightened awareness of climate change, natural disasters and the sustainable future of our planet make Geography one of the most relevant subjects for today’s graduates. BSc Geography is a fast moving, dynamic degree. The three year full-time course offers a diverse range of subjects. In the first year compulsory modules will provide you with the building blocks for future study. In second and third years optional modules will give you the opportunity to develop specific areas of interest.
Current areas of focus include:
- Soils and the environment
- Fluvial systems
- Glacier environments
- Climate change
We place a particular emphasis on fieldwork, bringing together the academic and social aspects of the subject. Residential and day fieldtrips are run to:
- The local environments of Newcastle and the North-East
- The highlands of Scotland
- Southern Spain
There will be an option to undertake placements in industry, which will provide you with an opportunity to gain valuable experience working in a course-related industry. There is also the extremely popular Geography in Education module which you will give you the chance to work in local schools in preparation for a PGCE year.
Within the first two weeks you will be on a field trip in Northumberland. The trip provides a springboard for your first year; you get to know the staff and your peers whilst being introduced to fundamental principles of Physical Geography. Your first year of study will be very similar to your new found friends (although gentle rivalry will grow) taking BA Geography as you are provided with a firm grounding in the main areas of both human and physical geography, highlighting the connection between physical and human environments and processes, allowing a flexibility of transfer between our programmes. The year ends as it began, in the field for a week using techniques and skills developed throughout the year.
During year two you will take core modules grounded in Physical Geography combined with optional modules, offering a wide range of choice to suit your interests and career pathways.
This is the time for you to really decide where your interests lie and you get to choose from a wide choice of modules. The choice represents the teaching and research interests of the staff in the Geography and Environmental Management Divisions reflecting innovative research, consultancy and teaching excellence.
LEARNING AND TEACHING METHODS
You will learn in lectures, in small tutorial groups, in seminars, in groups with friends, in labs and in virtual space. You will tour the Northumberland coast and hills, discover new aspects of southern Spain, and explore the Lake District or the Scottish Highlands. You can go on a work placement, and even spend a year overseas studying at a university in the USA.
Residential fieldwork is a key element of our programme. All students do three main residential field trips: Northumberland, the Scottish Highlands or Lake District in year 1 and Spain during year 2. Individual modules also include day trips into the local area collecting data needed for the assessment. Field trips are used to teach and practise specialist knowledge but also to promote independent and group work skills, and to develop your communication skills.
As you progress you will find there is generally less reliance on formal scheduled teaching and more on guided independent study.
You will be supported throughout by a guidance tutor who will provide you with one-to-one academic and pastoral support and provide any other help and guidance you may need.
You will take a wide variety of modules which are assessed by a range of methods. You will collect data in the field and use different lab techniques to test and analyse a combination of soil, water, plants, pollen and sediment deposits to be written up in report format as part of a group or individual submission. You will write quantitative and reflective fieldwork notebooks interpreting the interaction of process and form in the landscape; apply models to predict impacts of climate change in glaciated landscapes; complete reports on the changing dynamics of rivers in response to flood events; give presentations on the impact of soil properties and contaminants; reconstruct vegetation assemblages from pollen samples investigating controlling factors (climate and/or anthropogenic); design methods using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to support decision making in policy and planning; develop your own question that critically reviews research in polar environments; conduct your own piece of original geographical research with access to a wide range of equipment in the lab and in the field and also sit seen and unseen written examinations.
As you progress the role of written examinations declines with other forms of coursework assessment becoming more significant.
Formative assessment and timely and constructive feedback are embedded within all our modules helping you to engage with assessment criteria, reflect critically on your own work, and deepen your understanding of the relationship between assessment and learning. You are encouraged to discuss your work with staff and we practice an open door policy to help facilitate this process. In the final year, you will receive close supervision and one-to-one support as part of your dissertation.
We place a strong emphasis on enhancing the employability of our graduates through the development of transferable skills. Graduates develop a broad range of analytical, inter-personal, communication, technical, IT and presentation skills, which will equip you to enter graduate jobs across of a variety of challenging and exciting areas, such as local government and regional development agencies; planning, regeneration, housing and GIS in the public and private sector; teaching, educational interpretation and communication in schools, trusts and the media; financial and social / public services - from banks to social welfare; retail, distribution and logistics in analysis, management and organisational roles; cartography and surveying; and community development and social research.
You will be able to take advantage of our high standard facilities with modern lecture theatres, laboratories and IT suites, well stocked with specialised equipment and software, and a map room. We keep close contact with our subject librarians and information specialists, who are available to students in terms of specialist teaching sessions and support.
You will be taught by professional staff who are well known for the quality of their teaching and learning methods.
All our staff are engaged in academic and educational research in our respective specialist fields. They also often act as public consultants, activists or engaged citizens. We introduce new methods and modes of teaching, often through projects with students as peers with University or external funding.
The course is a stepping stone towards higher qualifications such as postgraduate study or research (MSc & PhD) and teacher training (PGCE). You could also continue your study at Northumbria University with an MSc in Disaster Management and Sustainable Development or a PGCE Primary with Geography.
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Northumbria University has taken reasonable care to ensure that the information published is accurate at the time of publication. However, the University gives no warranty or representation as to the quality, accuracy or completeness of the information.