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BSc (Hons) Geography
Why choose this course?
Stimulate your curiosity about the Earth and the human societies that inhabit it. With first-class teaching, exciting fieldtrips and excellent facilities, our BSc (Hons) Geography will help you map out an inspiring career.
- Look forward to great career prospects: 100% of our geography graduates were in work or further study within six months of completing this course (HESA, 2016)
- Benefit from high academic standards on one of the few geography degrees in the country with accreditation from The Institution of Environmental Sciences
- Gain vital practical experience through field-based studies in the UK and overseas: past trips include Crete and Morocco
- We offer you the opportunity to spend a semester studying in the USA or Canada to gain new perspectives on geography
- Make the most of our location next to the Derwent Valley Mills UNESCO World Heritage Site and the outstanding landscapes of the Peak District National Park
- Learn from our expert, enthusiastic and supportive teaching team which includes active researchers
You can also take Geography as a Joint Honours subject.
UCAS code: F800 Start date: September Course length: Full-time: three years. Part-time: up to six years. Campus: Kedleston Road, Derby College: College of Life & Natural Sciences
This course is available to international students
About this course
Our BSc (Hons) Geography course gives you the chance to specialise in either the physical, environmental or human areas of geography – or a mixture of them all – thanks to our extensive range of optional modules. We are constantly updating our curriculum to reflect the sustainable development challenges we face such as food security and water scarcity.
Real-world learning in action
With its strong emphasis on applying theory to practice, BSc (Hons) Geography gives you every opportunity to gain hands-on experience through practical sessions and field based learning in the UK and overseas.
Fieldwork is central to this course, helping you see and understand what you have covered in class, and how reality can differ from text books. We take full advantage of the many interesting locations on our doorstep, such as nature reserves, East Midlands Airport, solar farms, sites of special scientific interest, ancient woodlands, quarries, Skegness, Nottingham the Peak District National Park.
We also offer residential field courses as an integral part of your studies. These could take you to locations as varied as the Lincolnshire coast, the Mediterranean and Morocco. Any fieldwork associated with compulsory modules is included in your course fee.
Broaden your experiences
To enhance your career prospects further still, we offer an optional vocational module where you could go on a work placement in a graduate level role or undertake a relevant voluntary project.
You could also apply to spend time studying in the USA or Canada to bring a new dimension to your knowledge of geography. Such experiences will showcase your resourcefulness, confidence and specialist skill set to potential employers.
We have invested in up-to-date learning facilities to help you build the practical skills which are highly valued in the profession.
They include a spatial data laboratory – which houses one of the best map collections of any UK university, a geotechnical, sedimentology and specialist computing laboratories. Our student research laboratory also gives you a dedicated space to conduct your independent investigations seven days a week.
You’ll harness industry-standard specialist equipment – such as GNSS, total stations, soil augers and field spectrometers – and all the resources you need to test and analyse specimens like vegetation, soil, water and rock samples. We subscribe to the Digimap Service so you will have full access to the British Geological Survey’s & Ordnance Survey’s digital databases.
Learn from the experts
Cutting-edge research underpins every aspect of our course. Our geography lecturers include active researchers, authors and consultants undertaking important projects worldwide. It means you’ll be kept in touch with the very latest theories and what’s new and next in the world of geography.
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.
Our course is accredited by The Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES), one of only a handful of Geography degrees in the country to achieve this accolade. The IES congratulated us on providing students with a great mix of laboratory and field skills, together with excellent career development opportunities.
The accreditation means that you can join the IES with Student Member status for free, which brings professional benefits to help you advance your career in future. The accreditation also means that:
- Study high quality modules focusing on the global challenges facing society in the 21st century
- Your course is mapped against the skills that employers are looking for, giving you the edge in the global, graduate job market
- The opportunity to become an Associate Member of the Institution upon graduation
- Preferential internship and placement opportunities with the Institution
A vibrant scientific community
You’ll meet practitioners from a wide range of geography-related fields who deliver guest lectures across many of our modules. They will offer insights into current developments within the profession and share their career experiences with you. We also play a lead role in the Derbyshire Branch of the Geographical Association.
What you will cover
You’ll study modules such as:
- 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.
- Physical 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 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.
- 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.
- 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 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 104 (up to 16 from AS-levels) Specific requirements at A-level
At least a C in Science or Social Science at A-level (or equivalent qualification)
Specific requirements at GCSE Five GCSEs at or above Grade C (or Grade 4), including Maths and English Interview / Audition N/A Portfolio N/A September 2018 typical entry requirements UCAS points 96-112 (up to 16 from AS-levels) Specific requirements at A-level
At least a C in Science or Social Science at A-level (or equivalent qualification)
Specific requirements at GCSE Five GCSEs at or above Grade C (or Grade 4), including Maths and English 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.
- Part-time students should apply directly to the University
- 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
£1,155 per module
£11,750 per year
Full tuition fee scholarships available for 2018 entry, find out more.
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 the third year.
"I believe having work experience alongside a degree will definitely put you in good stead for getting an interview, and even assist in getting the role!" Read Lydia's full story here
Lydia Parsons, student
"Placement can open new opportunities and you can get a foot hold in the door for the future." Read Josh's full story here
Josh Hudson-Jaques, student
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
Thanks to our extensive range of optional modules, you can tailor your studies on BSc (Hons) Geography to the careers in which you’re most interested.
Our graduates are now enjoying success in diverse roles such as agronomy, environmental consulting, data analysis, rail planning, water quality analysis, teaching, GIS and conservation.
The knowledge and skills you gain at Derby University are also sought after by employers in commerce, public services, research and industry. Some of our graduates have progressed to employment as surveyors, land managers, business analysts, transport officers and civil servants. If you want to pursue a career in teaching, you could go on to study one of our teacher training PGCE courses.
What our students say
"The University is highly regarded within the public sector, especially for geography. I believe that an influencing part of me getting both of my jobs as an analyst included the status of the university, my degree and the course I took... I chose Derby for a number of reasons. The first that the uni was close to home, and that the city was smaller than the one I currently live in; enabling me to find my way around and feel safe. The second reason was the facilities at the University and the Geography department. Everyone was very friendly and always had time for you. Another reason was that the course provided a broad choice of geographical modules to undertake." Read Emma's full story here
Emma Richardson, graduate
"I would recommend this course to anyone wanting to study Geography at degree level at a university that puts the students as its highest priority." Read Emma's full story here
Emma Liversage, graduate
"I would definitely recommend studying Geography at Derby. The lecturers are incredibly knowledgeable and have lots of real world experience. They are friendly and approachable and are engaged in their own research outside of the University, meaning they are up to date with new advancements in Geography, which are then passed onto students."
Amy Page, graduate
"In studying Geography at Derby, I experienced teaching by knowledgeable staff who were approachable and hugely supportive. The course offers a wide range of modules in both human and physical geography, all of which are interesting, engaging, and provide some great fieldtrips along the way."
Ian Johnstone, graduate
"I had an amazing three years at Derby. The skills and knowledge that I gained provided me with a solid foundation to build a great career. The facilities are excellent and the tutors are great people who make you feel very welcome." Read Sara's full story here
Sara Parkin, graduate