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BSc (Hons) Geography with Foundation Year
Why choose this course?
If you want a strong platform for success on our BSc (Hons) Geography, why not consider taking a foundation year first? It could be the start of a journey which opens up a whole world of career opportunities.
- Choose a route which is ideal if you are embarking on a fresh career direction, exploring a new subject area or don’t quite meet the entry requirements to join our honours degree straight away
- Start your studies at foundation year stage for a thorough grounding in the subject and achieve your full honours degree in four years
- Boost your professional credibility on one of the few geography degrees in the country with accreditation from The Institution of Environmental Sciences
- Specialise in the physical, environmental or human area of geography – or a mixture of them all – with our extensive range of optional modules
- Explore some of the most urgent sustainable development challenges facing our planet, such as food security and water scarcity
- Develop your practical skills through field-based studies in the UK and overseas: our previous fieldtrips have taken in Crete and Morocco
- Broaden your perspectives: we offer you the opportunity to spend a semester studying in the USA or Canada
- Investigate fascinating locations like the Derwent Valley Mills UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Peak District National Park which are right on our doorstep
- Benefit from the support and encouragement of staff with substantial research expertise
You can also take Geography as a Joint Honours subject.
Take a look at our Geography video here.
UCAS code: F801 Start date: September Course length: Full-time: four years. Campus: Kedleston Road, Derby College: College of Life & Natural Sciences
About this course
Our foundation year route means that even more students can benefit from the excellent teaching, impressive facilities and fascinating fieldtrips on offer through ourBSc (Hons) Geography.
Map out your way to an inspiring career
Studying Geography with a foundation year is a smart move if you don’t have the formal qualifications to enter our honours degree programme directly. It also broadens your horizons if you are contemplating a change of career or want to further your interests and improve your knowledge in this fascinating subject area before moving on to honours degree level studies. We will equip you with the skills, understanding and confidence so that you can complete the full BSc (Hons) in four years.
The foundation year is designed to nurture your ambition and potential. You’ll enjoy all the benefits of being a University of Derby student from the outset, with continuous progression from foundation year to the full degree – without the need to apply again after your first year of study.
Your foundation year learning will feature geoscience, organisms and their environment, chemistry and sociology to give you a broad base of knowledge for your future studies. We also equip you with study skills in science, research methods and data handling to ensure you have the best chance of success.
Fieldwork to engage and inspire you
Our aim is to arouse your curiosity about the Earth and the human societies that inhabit it. And, because reality can differ from the text books, we give you every opportunity to apply theory to practice via fieldwork in the UK and overseas. You’ll gain vital hands-on experience which sheds new light on what you have covered in class.
Derby is superbly located for the aspiring geographer. You can explore a vast range of interesting locations in the vicinity, such as nature reserves, sites of special scientific interest, ancient woodlands, quarries and solar farms. Our students have undertaken practical sessions and field-based learning in settings as diverse as East Midlands Airport, Skegness, Nottingham and the Peak District National Park.
Residential field courses are offered as an integral part of your studies. You could find yourself conducting investigations in places ranging from the Lincolnshire coast to the Mediterranean or Morocco. Any fieldwork associated with compulsory modules is included in your course fee.
A stimulating study environment
Our modern and sophisticated learning facilities are the perfect setting for you to gain practical and technical skills.
In our spatial data laboratory you’ll discover one of the best map collections of any UK university, while our geotechnical, sedimentology and specialist computing laboratories give you the chance to experiment, analyse and explore. You can also make the most of our student research laboratory where you will have a dedicated space to conduct your independent investigations seven days a week.
We provide all the high-tech resources you need to test and analyse specimens like vegetation, soil, water and rock samples. Throughout you’ll get to grips with industry-standard equipment such as GNSS, total stations, soil augers and field spectrometers. We also subscribe to the Digimap Service so you have full access to the digital databases of the British Geological Survey and the Ordnance Survey.
Professional recognition to open doors for you
Ours is one of only a handful of Geography degrees in the country to be accredited by The Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES), lending real professional credibility to your qualification and giving you the edge in the global graduate job market.
IES approval underlines how our course is mapped against the skills that employers are seeking. It also gives you an assurance that you will be studying high-quality modules focusing on the international challenges that face our society in the 21st century. In addition, you will have preferential access to internship and placement opportunities with the Institution.
As part of the accreditation process, the IES praised us for providing students with a powerful mix of laboratory and field skills, plus excellent career development opportunities.
The endorsement means that you can join the IES with Student Member status for free. Upon graduation, you will then have the opportunity to become an Associate Member, giving extra impetus to your career plans.
Enrich your learning
There are exciting opportunities for overseas study and work placements. Such experiences will help you stand out as a forward-thinking, ambitious and resourceful geographer.
Through our optional vocational module, you could go on a work placement in a graduate level role or undertake a relevant voluntary project. This will help you gain additional skills, from communication to project management, to set you apart in the eyes of employers. You could also apply to spend time studying in the USA or Canada, broadening your knowledge of geography.
Teaching inspired by important research
By studying Geography at Derby, you’ll become part of a lively scientific community. Our teaching team includes active researchers, authors and consultants undertaking cutting-edge projects worldwide.
We will also introduce you to practitioners from a wide range of geography-related fields who deliver guest lectures and share inspirational insights from their own careers. We play a leading role in the Derbyshire Branch of the Geographical Association too.
One of the advantages of our degree is that it is informed by influential research so you can keep abreast of what’s new and next in the world of geography. Our current research projects span subjects such as the impacts of climate change, paleo climatic reconstruction in Greece, argan tree conservation and restoration in Morocco, use of biogas in less economically developed countries, rising sea levels in Ghana, and the implications of food allergies.
What you will cover
You’ll study modules such as:
- Study Skills in Science
- Research Methods in Data Handling
- Foundations in Geoscience
- Organisms and their Environment
- Principles of Chemistry
If you already have level 2 English and Maths, you will not be required to take English and Maths core modules.
- Introduction to Human Geography The aim of this module is to introduce the basic human geography concepts including topics such as (but not limited to) the spatial variations in the structure of economic and social attributes and the changes which have occurred in global and local manufacturing activity. The module examines the experiences of urbanization and offers an insight into the conflicts which lie behind decisions affecting land use and the allocation of resources in urban and rural settings. The module introduces the concept of scale as a feature of geographical studies by examining the inter-relatedness of the topics at the global, regional and local levels. Other topics will include the geopolitics, world population, health geography, society and natural hazards, tourism, etc. The module combines theoretical and case study material in the study of Human Geography and some local field work may be required.
- Physial Geography of the Anthropocene The aim of this module is to provide you with an understanding of the structure, function, and characteristics of the Earth’s physical environment and its links with the human realm (or Biosphere). This is achieved by introducing you to a number of fundamental areas of physical geography vis-à-vis: atmosphere and climate, climate change, hydrology, process geomorphology, soils and ecosystems. The module will demonstrate how these key areas within physical geography may contribute to an understanding of pattern and process at a range of temporal and spatial scales. The impacts of physical processes upon the human realm are addressed and, where appropriate, draw upon relevant case studies to illustrate key concepts and ideas.
- Intellectual and Applied Skills for Geographers This module is a zero credit through year module done alongside your credit bearing modules in Stage 1. Its purpose is to support you in transitioning from an FE teaching environment to a HE learning environment and developing the intellectual, personal and interpersonal skills crucial for your academic studies at University and beyond. The module also introduces the concept of Personal Development Planning (PDP) and the importance of regularly assessing and action planning your own skill development needs in relation to your degree and career aspirations.
- Cartography and Mapping This module considers fundamental ideas about maps and map making which are intended to equip you with the skills required to both interpret and create maps. This is achieved via a consideration of important cartographic issues (such as map projections, map symbols and the purpose of maps); the examination and extraction of information from published maps and by introducing the basic theory and practice of drawing different types of statistical data maps (such as choropleth, proportional symbol & isoline maps) both by hand and using computer software.
- Geographical Methods (1) This module introduces basic methods of field survey, mapping and data collection, analysis and reporting to underpin geographical studies. The module is supported by UK residential fieldwork.
- Global Environmental Issues (1) This module will introduce the current environmental issues that provide the greatest challenges to today’s global society. Environmental Geography deals explicitly with the relationships between people and the Natural Environment. The module will cover several key themes including the impact of population growth on the environment, the conflicts between population growth/land use/ conservation programmes, the competition for food and water, the environmental impact of climate change, the potential loss of biodiversity, and the impact of pollution on the human population. The module will also include field visits that will illustrate some of these issues.
- Geography and Geographers The module aims to provide an appreciation of a range of theories and approaches in the discipline of Geography. This will involve discussing the nature and context of contrasting theoretical approaches to the discipline as well as discussing and evaluating their strengths and limitations. The module aims to familiarise students with the literature and debates in Geography and to empower students in their critical and evaluative reading of texts and sources.
- Career Preparation for Geographers In a competitive graduate job market, understanding how the professional work place functions, along with having well-developed employability skills, are key to securing graduate employment. The purpose of this module is to help you enhance your graduate employability through reflecting on and assessing your own skills (subject & transferable) in relation to those sought by graduate employers; reviewing your career aspirations and undertaking personal development planning (PDP) alongside work on CV development, digital identity and job application; undertaking a period of appropriate work place experience; and engaging in the geoscience graduate employability conference. In essence, the module intends to help you prepare for a professional career as a geography graduate.
- Mediterranean Environments (2) This module examines how contemporary geographical processes are expressed within specific spaces, places and landscapes of a specific Mediterranean location. A residential field course examines the physical geography of dryland landscapes, and how the economic, social and cultural aspects of tourism impacts upon the rural geographies of an environment that remains relatively untouched by mass tourism. The module involves residential Mediterranean fieldwork.
- Research Methods in Geography This module evaluates data types and sources in human and physical geography. The module focuses on both quantitative and qualitative data analysis and builds on the descriptive statistical approaches introduced at Level 4. Students are introduced to inferential tests and the interpretation of statistics. The module also introduces students to the analysis of verbal and non-verbal data. Students will then be able to develop and apply these skills in other modules (e.g. Mediterranean Environments, Cultural and Social Landscape, and Independent Study).
- Water: Resource and Hazard (1) This module aims to develop a holistic, interdisciplinary understanding of water through a rigorous examination of both geographical as well as a geological analysis. The module focuses on two fundamental aspects of water: 1) resource and 2) hazard.. Students are made aware of differing disciplinary perspectives and how these can be brought together in developing interdisciplinary case studies.
- Preparing for the Independent Study in Geoscience This module aims to prepare students for their Independent study. Independent study often includes fieldwork which normally starts at the end of the second year. Therefore, the module aims to get students to identify a research topic, which they discuss with a member of staff, design and write a research proposal, apply to the Ethics Committee and complete a risk assessment for their chosen topic. Students are tutored in aspects of research design: defining research questions, research aims and objectives and appropriate methodologies. Students will also learn practical aspects of research design such as logistical considerations of time and budget limitations as well as data archiving (including digital and mobile technology) and location-based analysis.
- Sustainable Energy Resources (1) This module will review the current sources of conventional and renewable fuels used for energy production in the UK and globally. The direct and indirect environmental impacts of these fuels will be considered. The current Energy Policy for the UK will be reviewed and how the issue of fuel poverty is being addressed. The module will then explore the role of renewable energies, and energy efficiency schemes, in providing and meeting the energy requirements of the UK, and in developing countries. Consideration will be given to both large and small scale renewable energy projects and a range of case studies will be considered. The module will review the concept of carbon footprints and carbon neutrality, and what is meant by environmental sustainability. The module will include a field site visit to view and assess how renewable energy can be successfully used to meet our energy needs.
- Social and Cultural Landscapes The module aims to introduce students to, and develop their understanding of, the core concerns of contemporary social and cultural geography: its substantive concerns, theoretical perspectives, and methodological innovations. The module evaluates the role of space and place in the construction of social relations and cultural identities and how these are differentiated according to the social constructions of class, gender, race and ethnicity, age, sexuality and disability. It aims to develop skills of critical social and cultural interpretation through your engagement with how geography is central to the construction of social and cultural difference. The module also aims to evaluate the role of space in the construction of social relations and cultural identities at a variety of scales and to analyse forms of symbolism and power which lead to social and spatial inequality.
- Sustainable Cities This module will introduce current discussions of sustainable cities highlighting the challenges and opportunities of the rapidly urbanisation taking place all across the world. The module will provide understandings of the complex systems of people, resources and environment within urban areas. It will look at several themes pertaining to water, housing, energy, infrastructure, food, and economic, municipal and social planning systems. Learning and critically evaluating contemporary debates about sustainable urban spaces, with a specific focus on the human and physical processes shaping urban ecologies and environments. To help understand the concepts of smart cities, going beyond technology to learn about governance, resource and waste management, transport and communities working together with local governments.
- Glacial Environments (1) This module examines the nature of surface processes operating in cold environments and their role in landform development. Specific attention is given to the role of glaciers in relation to their role as geomorphological agents.
- Introduction to Remote Sensing and GIS This module provides a basic understanding of the theories and principles underpinning both satellite remote sensing and GIS and their application. In terms of remote sensing, it seeks to equip you with an understanding of the physical principles underpinning remote sensing, basic satellite image interpretation and processing techniques and the application off these techniques to helping us better understand the Earth’s terrestrial environment. In terms of GIS, it explores the history and origins of GIS, what constitutes a GIS, the value of geographic data, the issues associated with representing the real world in a computer using the raster and vector data models, selected applications of GIS and how to use GIS in practice to solve simple spatial problems. This module is quite technical in nature and content and makes extensive use of specialist computer software.
- Independent Studies for Geoscience This module represents an opportunity for students to exercise initiative, creative thinking, time management and organisational skills in the pursuit of an independent (but tutor supported) piece of research work of their own choosing (subject to approval on academic, safety and ethical grounds). It is a continuation of the process of Personal Development Planning (PDP) initiated in level 4 and 5, to develop an advanced skill-set which will enhance the ‘graduateness’ and employability of students. Central to the research study will be a degree of problem solving, the formulation and testing of hypotheses and the critical evaluation of relevant theory. The research can, if required, be undertaken in a work based / placement context.
- Environment, Landscape and Place (2) This module explores the interaction between society and environment in the context of issues of environmental management. It reviews contested notions of landscape and place, and the nature, evolution and perception of physical, economic, political, cultural, rural and urban landscapes. The module involves residential overseas fieldwork.
- Applied GIS (1) This module provides an appropriate portfolio of subject knowledge and applied skills typically required for an introductory position in the field of GIS or for going on to specialist postgraduate study in GIS. It also aims to produce students capable of independently solving problems using GIS. Important themes in GIS are explored from both a theoretical and practical perspective, including data capture / input, data accuracy / error, databases, surface modelling, derived mapping, the use of new technologies and different approaches to problem solving.
- Climate Change: Adaptation and Mitigation Perspectives This module aims to develop a sound understanding of the nature and causes of climate change. By way of introduction, attention is focussed upon the nature and causes of climate change over the past 11,000 years with consideration given to the mid-Holocene climatic optimum, the Little Ice Age, Medieval warm period, and post-Industrial revolution period. Attention then focuses upon the climate of the late twentieth/early twenty-first century. The role of various internal and external forcing mechanisms is then considered. A critical analysis is provided of the range of adaptation strategies that society might adopt. To develop an understanding of relationships between climate change, impacts and selection of appropriate adaptation strategies extensive use will be made of recent case-studies from developed counties, Economies in Transition (EIT) countries and developing countries. Four key climate mitigation questions that are relevant to policymaking are also examined: What can be done to reduce the threats of climate change? What are the costs of such actions (or inaction)? How can reductions in greenhouse gases be achieved? Are climate change mitigation policies sustainable overtime?
- Global Food Security and Food Futures The overall aim of this module is to explore theoretical arguments and analysis of food security within the context of (a) historical inequalities and power relations between richer and poorer nations; (b) global agri-food systems that shape world food production, consumption and distribution; (c) entitlement to food at an individual and at a household level; and (d) global food futures and sustainability within emerging knowledge of water shortages, environmental degradation, climate change. Whilst students will gain insights into global behaviour regarding food relations, the module will specifically draw on case studies from global south countries to illustrate any of the above.
- Environmental Management: Critical Perspectives (1) This module will consider the role that environmental management plays in the reduction of waste and in the effective management of natural resources. The methods of waste recycling both in the UK and globally will be reviewed. This will include a site visit to a recycling facility. The role of policy setting as a tool to prevent and control environmental impacts will be reviewed. In addition, the environmental impact assessment methodology will be considered through the use of case studies. The application of environmental management systems to businesses and organisations is reviewed through the use of case studies. Finally, the module will critically review the implementation of environmental management schemes in developing countries and how these methods are impacting on their population.
- Terrain Evaluation (1) This module investigates the theory and practice of terrain evaluation with particular reference to engineering construction. In addition, the application of knowledge of geological and geomorphological processes in the management of the environment is examined. The management of coastal erosion and the assessment of flood risk are given examples of areas studied.
- Migration and Displacement This module aims to define the theories and concepts of migration worldwide and explore contemporary geographical approaches to understanding migration and integration processes and their history, interaction, challenges, and prospects. Among other things, the module aims to critically assess the role of historical processes such as colonialism, (post) World War II, (post) Cold-War era, and recent globalisation for contemporary patterns and trends of migration and integration as well as the relation to development studies.
- Vocational Module (Work Placement or Volunteering) This module provides an opportunity for students to obtain and undertake a placement with a company, voluntary body, the University of Derby or a public establishment. By placing the module at level 6, the student will be able to undertake a range of tasks which will apply their knowledge, level of understanding and skills which will be beneficial to the host organisation. Similarly, the student should be able to compile a report incorporating deep reflection on their personal experiences whilst undertaking the placement and an evaluation of their skill set development.
(1) These modules involve UK fieldwork
(2) These modules involve overseas residential fieldwork
Please note that if you study abroad in stage two, your modules will differ from those outlined above.
September 2017 typical entry requirements UCAS points 72 (up to 16 from AS-levels) Specific requirements at A-level N/A Specific requirements at GCSE N/A Interview / Audition N/A Portfolio N/A September 2018 typical entry requirements UCAS points 64-96 (up to 16 from AS-levels) Specific requirements at A-level N/A Specific requirements at GCSE N/A Interview / Audition N/A Portfolio N/A
Our entry requirements for this course should be read together with the University's general entry requirements, which details subjects we accept, alternative qualifications and what we're looking for at Derby.
How to apply
- Full-time students applying in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.
- Full-time students applying in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.
Information for international applicants
Fees and finance
Full-time Part-time UK/EU
£9,250 per year
Fees for 2018/19 entry are still being decided, so please check back later in the year for more information.
How you will learn
Each single module is worth 200 hours of student study. Compulsory class based contact time (lectures, seminars and practicals) is typically three hours per week for each module. On top of this, many modules have compulsory fieldwork elements (e.g. half day, day and/or residential field courses) that all students are expected to engage with. There are optional tutorial classes for modules and any 1-2-1s arranged with lecturers or your personal tutor regarding your studies. The remainder of the time is spent undertaking directed reading, making notes and undertaking assignments.
Field based learning
Fieldwork is an important part of our programme - all fieldwork is associated with particular modules and most of it involves half or full day trips to locations around the region (including Derby, Nottingham and the Peak District).
We also have three residential field courses. In stage one there is a weekend residential field course to the Lincolnshire coast. In stage two there is a week-long field course to the Mediterranean, and in stage three there is a week-long field course to Morocco.
An optional vocational work placement module is available by negotiation in stage 3.
Our course is very practical and gives you the hands-on experience that you need to prepare you for your career. We have invested in our facilities to ensure that you learn in realistic environments. You will also use industry-standard equipment and software so you can be confident that you will gain valuable experience. Take a look at our facilities.
How you're assessed
We use a diverse range of assessment methods, including essays, reports, field and laboratory notebooks, portfolios, posters, infographics oral presentations, vivas, and written exams (seen and unseen). You may be assessed individually or as part of a group. We’ve mapped our assessments against key graduate skillsets that employers require.
Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will be communicated after enrolment on your course.
Careers and employability
Among the major benefits of this degree is the chance to select from an extensive range of optional modules. It means you can tailor your studies to your strengths and chosen career path – whether your interest lies in sustainable energy or population geography, climate change or food security, environmental management or GIS.
Our graduates have progressed to a wide variety of roles in agronomy, environmental consulting, data analysis, rail planning, water quality analysis, teaching, GIS and conservation.
Because the BSc (Hons) Geography equips you with highly transferable skills and knowledge, you could also consider a career in commerce, public services, research and industry. Some of our graduates are now enjoying success as surveyors, land managers, business analysts, transport officers and civil servants.