Undergraduate course

Geography BSc (Hons)

Want to explore the world and better understand its changing nature?

geography students in class

From climate change to social inequalities, Geographers tackle some of the most critical global issues facing the world today. This programme has been accredited by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) and balances human, physical and environmental geography to give you a broad understanding of this crucial field of study.

100% of 2017 Geography graduates are now either in further study or employed in professional or managerial roles - DLHE 2017

Accredited by:

  • RGS Accredited programme
  • UCAS Code – FF84
  • Location – York campus
  • Duration – 3 years full-time | 6 years part-time
  • Start date – September 2020
  • School – Humanities, Religion & Philosophy

Minimum Entry Requirements

    96 UCAS points

    3 GCSEs Graded C/4 or above (or equivalent) including English Language and Maths

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2019-20 £9,250 per year

    International 2019-20 £12,750 per year

The York St John Experience

Course overview

We prioritise real world experience in your learning, which means not being afraid to go out and get our hands dirty! Fieldwork is central to what we do and you will go on residential trips throughout every stage of your degree. Immerse yourself in our rugged Yorkshire landscape at places such as Brimham Rocks, Whitby and the North York Moors, as well as exploring the city of York from a geographical perspective. In your second and third years you will go further afield to investigate other environments and cultures. Our current overseas field trips include visits to Slovenia and Malta. These trips are integral to your learning, so they are covered within the cost of your degree, rather than being optional extras.

We take you both out into the world and bring the world to you, with a series of guest lectures from professionals across various relevant sectors. These opportunities give you up-to-date, relevant insights into the changing world we are working in. Your practical and technical fieldwork skills will grow along with your theoretical knowledge. We will support you to become independent researchers and professionals, designing and carrying out your own research, generating your own knowledge and forming your own conclusions.

Geographers are very employable and this varied course, covering everything from ecosystems and river science to urban landscapes and citizenship, allows you to keep your career options open. Environmental management, conservation, tourism management and social policy are just some of the areas which will be open to you on graduation.

Course structure

Level 1

The programme is designed to ensure that you develop increasingly specialist knowledge and skills throughout the programme, yet retaining the breadth of a good Geography degree. In lectures, seminars, workshops and practical fieldwork you will be learning alongside staff who are active researchers in their specialist areas.

Modules

Modules include:

  • Critical Thinking & Academic Skills in Geography focuses on a contentious issue to critically analyse arguments and evidence, developing your own position. This module incorporates a compulsory residential field trip within the UK.
  • Ecosystems and Biogeography examines relationships between plants and animals and their living and physical environment
  • Earth Systems & Geomorphology investigates the processes that shape the physical landscape
  • Mapping the Geographies of Yorkshire develops cartographic skills, designing maps using both professional graphic software and geographical information systems (GIS) software
  • Social & Cultural Geography examines social and spatial inequalities with reference to issues such as gender, age, class, ethnicity, race and disability
  • Geography Fieldwork Studies introduces you to Geography’s history of field exploration, as well as developing your own field research skills

Level 2

Modules

Modules include:

  • Environmental Hazards examines causes and consequences of hazards, and how to manage them
  • Society & Space focuses on the ways that social identities (e.g. age, class, ethnicity) are expressed in, and produce, particular spaces
  • Geographical Thought (studied by students on all geography programmes) reviews the range of approaches that geographers have taken towards geographical research
  • Culture and Landscape considers the changing concept of ‘landscape’ through history, and how to ‘read’ landscapes from different perspectives
  • Sustainability: Global Environmental Challenges examines key environmental challenges of the 21st Century, from local to global scales
  • Research Project in this module students work in small groups to develop research plans, then undertaking the research on residential field work (current destination: Malta)
  • Geographers’ Professional Practice (work placement)
  • Cultural & Heritage Tourism focuses on the role of culture and heritage, the cultural industries and various forms of cultural production within the context of the visitor economy

Level 3

Modules

Modules include:

  • Cities in Transition focuses on contemporary issues in cities, particularly relating to democracy and decision-making
  • Applied GIS uses geographical information systems to address real-world environmental problems
  • Nature/Culture examines the cultural idea of ‘nature’, critiquing our sense of separation from nature and highlighting the ways that ideas of nature or naturalness are embedded in everyday life
  • Habitat Management applies knowledge of ecosystems and biogeography to undertake a consultancy-style project
  • International/Environmental Fieldwork develops your skills in environmental interpretation through residential fieldwork (current destination: Slovenia)
  • International/Cross-Cultural Fieldwork applies your knowledge through residential fieldwork, interpreting some aspect of the geography of the destination for a public audience (current destination: Slovenia)
  • Geography Dissertation is a year-long module in which students undertake their own research project on a Geography topic of their interest, guided by a tutor

Teaching & Assessment

For all of our Geography Degrees, our aim is to get you practising geography for yourself from the outset: collecting and analyzing data, applying theories for yourself, and developing your skills and abilities – generating your own knowledge.

Teaching methods

We use a range of teaching styles and settings to support you in this. This includes lectures and seminars (small groups of students with a tutor), tutorials (one-to-one meetings with a tutor), fieldwork, ICT workshops, independent study outside of formal teaching sessions, collaborative learning (working with your fellow students) and using online resources through the university’s Virtual Learning Environment. Teaching sessions include discussions, problem-solving exercises, group work, debates and data analysis exercises. Throughout your degree you are encouraged to take an active part in teaching sessions, rather than just being a passive receiver of information. Sometimes students are even asked to take the lead in sessions.

Placements

You may have the opportunity to work on placements with a range of organisations, including charities such as International Service and Dig Deep, tourism organisations including Visit York and the National Glass Centre, as well as with schools and commercial companies.

Assessment & Feedback

Assessment of this degree is entirely through coursework, with no exams. This is to ensure that the kinds of work you are doing through the degree reflect the kinds of work geographers undertake after graduation, in professional employment. You will encounter a wide range of assessment, including essays, reports (including fieldwork reports), verbal presentations and portfolios (potentially with some multimedia elements in them). Many modules are assessed through one piece of coursework, with development of this work supported throughout the course of the module. Feedback on assignments is designed to support you in your future learning, at the same time as assessing what you have already learned.

Final year dissertation

By your final year, you will be ready to take control of your learning for yourself. The dissertation involves you undertaking an independent research project (guided by a tutor) on a geography topic of your choice, demonstrating self-reliance and developing skills of project management. The fieldwork module in your final semester brings together all that you will have learned through your degree, giving you plenty of scope to demonstrate your knowledge, abilities and creativity.

Entry requirements

The minimum entry requirements for this course are:

96 UCAS Tariff points

3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent) including English Language and Maths

Calculate your tariff points.

Personal statement

Essential criteria

As well as a strong standard of written English, the ability to demonstrate knowledge and interest in the subject is essential. This can be done in a variety of ways, for example, visits to design exhibitions, museums or collections. Applicants will also show an ability to 'think outside the box' and have relevant experience of group work.

Valued criteria

We also value the ability to demonstrate a real enthusiasm for the subject that goes beyond achieving good grades in exams. Examples of this include involvement in projects or entering competitions, and being aware of any current issues relating to design, such as sustainability. Candidates will also be able to discuss influences including favourite designers, design product or style of design.

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. These can be accessed through our Admissions webpages.

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