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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.
The specialised fourth year of the MGeog programme provides a research-led experience through innovative, small-group teaching. There is an emphasis on employability, active citizenship, project management and opportunities for work-based learning. Follow us on Twitter.
You can design your Geography degree around human or physical geography or focus on both elements, depending on your interests. Each year you will explore a diversity of critical issues challenging 21st century societies, environments and cultures, from local to 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 the opportunity for extended work placements, opportunities to work on real projects and Project Management.
Year One: MGeog Geography degree
- Landform Systems: The module aims to introduce you to the principles of pedology and geomorphology, including surface processes and the resultant landforms and features.
- Introductory Field and Research Skills: The module will introduce you to a wide variety of field techniques, description and interpretation methods which will allow you to investigate, gather, process, display and present geographical/earth science data and materials.
- Landscapes in Transition: The module traces the development of the contemporary city from its origins in the industrial revolution of the mid-eighteenth century through to the emerging post-industrial urban society including an examination of urban design and planning, representations of national space, utopian visions and imagined landscapes.
- A Sustainable Wales: You will be introduced to the debates over the meaning of the 'nation' before examining competing ideas of the Welsh nation, the process of devolution and the manner in which the Welsh nation is currently being articulated. You will then explore the relationships between sustainability and the Welsh nation and examines the implications for Wales as a region at the periphery of the European Union.
- 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: MGeog 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 participatory geography through working in collaboration with community groups on development projects.
- Fluvial and Glacial Environments: The module will develop a critical understanding of the geomorphological processes and landscapes that result from the movement of water across the landscape.
- Landscapes of Consumption: This module begins with an overview of consumption and the central role it has acquired within the Social Sciences, as both theory and method, in the past decades. The ideas of the consumption society, the consumption paradox and the symbolic economy of consumption will also be examined.
- Understanding Sustainable Development: The module will consider how processes of change operate and are conceptualised in the broader framework within which local sustainability is set. The role and participation of local government, and the individual citizen in community development is also considered.
- 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: MGeog Geography degree
- 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.
- Regional Geography Field Course (optional): The module will develop and safely practice a range of advanced practical and analytical field techniques and provide you with an opportunity to draw on a range of skills and geographical knowledge developed over previous years of study.
- Urban Geography: You will explore different aspects of the social and cultural geography of the contemporary city, with particular focus on the way in which the city sponsors and supports social and spatial difference.
- Rural Geography: We will critically evaluate the changing role of the British countryside in the twenty first century by exploring the different ways in which rural society has been defined and socially represented. Focus will centre on perceptions associated with the rural idyll and notions of community and the way in which the countryside is becoming increasingly commodified.
- Reading the Contemporary Landscape (optional): The relationship between society, land and landscape is deeply complex. The module begins by examining how we see, envision, imagine and represent the world. It continues by exploring the many ways in which it has shaped the cultures and landscapes we inhabit, as well as our future hopes and fears. Central to this will be an emphasis on everyday as well as special landscapes, urban greenspace and green infrastructure, in addition to rural landscapes.
- 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.
Year Four: MGeog Geography degree
Work-based Learning and Project Management: You will be required to undertake a period of 60 hours of work based learning under the direction of an employer and an academic supervisor. The module will also introduce you to a best practice project management framework using PRINCE2 methodology.
Tools for Sustainable Development: The module will provide an overview of the principles, techniques and methodologies of sustainable development. This is intended to develop your ability to critically evaluate strategies, plans and programmes for sustainable development.
Active Citizenship: Active learning for active citizenship is central to the development of engaged and critical citizens at a local, national and international level. The module therefore seeks to build personal effectiveness, social enterprise and lifelong learning through volunteering.
Masters Research Project: The aim of this research study is that each student will prepare for a detailed research project, prepare a paper as if for submission for publication in a refereed academic journal and present their research to their peers.
Remote Sensing for Environmental Management: The module will provide a review and practical introduction to the use of Remote Sensing and G.I.S. techniques and applications in environmental resource management. The module will also provide appropriate practical and analytical skills in data collection and manipulation of key environmental data.
The MGeog Geography course is taught through a mixture of lectures, workshops, seminars, tutorials, practical coursework sessions, computer studies and practical laboratory work. The number of hours of formal teaching will vary depending on your module choice and year of study. Fieldwork, both day and residential also provides the ideal opportunity for building your transferable skills. Hands-on training in bespoke GIS and remote sensing labs further develop your practical skills. This variety of learning and teaching methods will provide you with a wide range of learning opportunities and a superb set of experiences.
We run a lecture series during the year that is endorsed by the Royal Geographical Society. Speakers range from academics presenting cutting-edge research, to industry professionals exploring applied research topics.
You will be assessed using a range of approaches depending on your module choice and year of study which could include laboratory and field reports of your own work, essays, oral presentations, course work, field notebooks and examinations.
The MGeog Geography degree has been accredited by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), the UK’s learned society and professional body for geography and geographers.
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.
USW students enjoy a modern learning environment, with purpose-built labs and industry-standard research and specialist software that currently includes ArcGIS, ERDAS and RockWorks.
Entry criteria detail typical offers but USW considers all applications on an individual basis which means that we could make offers based on qualifications, personal profile and experience. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed may also be acceptable.
Typical A-Level Offer
Typical Welsh BACC Offer
Grade C and BB at A Level to include a Science such as Geography or Mathematics but to exclude General Studies
Typical BTEC Offer
Typical IB Offer
30 points to include 16 points at Higher Level to include Higher Level Geography grade 6 or Mathematics grade 6.
Typical Access to HE Offer
Access to Higher Education course in Science with 60 credits overall to include 45 level 3 credits equating to 18 Distinctions, 24 Merits and 3 Passes
GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics and English at Grade C 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.
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.
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 2019 - July 2020 Fees
- Full-time UK and EU: £9000
- Full-time International: £12600
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.
|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|
|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.
The MGeog Geography degree will give you the edge over other geography graduates, enhancing your knowledge, skills and experience. As an experiential course it offers a truly transformative programme of study, particularly as geographers are ideally equipped to understand the world about them, their interaction with it and consider its future sustainability. This insight ensures that as a geography graduate you are highly employable in a wide range of professions.
Many graduates of this Geography course have developed careers in local authorities, environmental consultancies, the Environment Agency/Natural Resources Wales, the construction industry, the service sector, or the Civil Service. Other career opportunities for our graduates include contaminated land reclamation, waste disposal and recycling. You can find career opportunities in environment agencies and consultancies, town and country planning, public administration, retail management, utility companies, teaching or further study. The choice is yours.
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.