Geography and Heritage

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Expand your understanding of the relationship between people and places.

  • Friendly, supportive team of lecturers, who are excellent teachers and active researchers
  • Specialisms include river and coastal processes, poverty and development, environmental hazards, sustainability and climate change, culture and identities, geotechnologies and more
  • Field trips currently include residential trips to Barcelona, the Lake District and Northern India

Our students consistently rate the course very highly, with over 90% overall satisfaction in the National Student Survey every year for the past three years.

 

Why study Geography?

Geography is about places and people. It is about understanding why 'here' differs from 'there', how people's lives vary in these different places, and how our own lives are dependent on people and places, near and far.

An ability to link environmental processes and social and spatial behaviours is a defining feature of geographical practice. As a result, Geography is clearly important in understanding today’s pressing global and local issues from climate change to sustainable development.

Studying Geography at Bath Spa University, you’ll learn geographical concepts, theories and knowledge, while gaining skills that can improve your career prospects. Geography graduates are valued by employers for this unique combination.

Course structure

We take an integrated approach to Geography; you’ll gain an understanding of both the human and physical aspects of the subject. However, a key feature of our course is that you can specialise more in the physical or human side as your interests, abilities and career plans evolve.

You’ll graduate with a range of skills that are highly valued by employers. These include scientific techniques and computer skills, as well as people skills like communication, team-work and critical thinking.

Modules

  • Year 1
    The first year of this course introduces you to the exciting world of Geography at university. You’ll acquire foundational geographical knowledge, understanding and skills. You’ll get a taste of a variety of geographies, and there are plenty of opportunities to do fieldwork, visiting local places such as the Mendip, Somerset Levels and Bristol.

    Topics you’ll study include:
    • examining contemporary geographical issues
    • learning about unfamiliar physical environments and different societies and cultures
    • exploring key issues such as development and sustainability
    • how to use the technologies, methods, techniques and equipment that geographers need to use.
  • Year 2
    This year you start to specialise in your geographical interests. Greater emphasis is placed on research methods; you’ll learn a wide range of useful geographical methods and techniques, both in the classroom and in fieldwork settings where you’ll apply your growing mastery of your subject to real-world problems and issues. We also give you the chance to engage with the Royal Geographical Society and other professional bodies as we begin to help you map out potential career paths.

    Optional topics include:
    • climate change
    • geomorphology
    • river management
    • environmental hazards
    • exciting new geotechnologies
    • urban geographies of global cities
    • work placement or volunteering overseas
    • field trip to India
  • Year 3
    This year you’ll further specialise your geographical interests. You’ll develop your skills as an independent scholar by undertaking primary research that will enable you to demonstrate the theoretical and practical aspects of your geographical interests. Alternatively, you can undertake an extended work placement with a relevant research report. There’s a huge variety in choice in what you do for a dissertation and throughout the study you’ll benefit from one-to-one tuition and expert guidance.

    The rest of the third year is made up of more specialised topics, including:
    • climatology
    • coastal management
    • development and disasters
    • identities and inequalities in society
    • globalisation
    • environmental justice
    • field trip to Lake District or Barcelona
    • community placement

Course assessment

You’ll experience a variety of different assessment methods throughout your degree. These include essays, project reports, presentations, posters, video clips, fieldcraft assessments, reflective items, time-constrained tests and examinations. These will give you a rich and diverse skills learning experience, be of real benefit in the search for a good career, and be useful in your professional activities.

Study abroad

You’ll have the opportunity to study in a wide range of locations around the world. Our students have completed Erasmus+ and Exchange programmes in a variety of countries including Australia, Finland and the USA.

Field trips

'Field trip opportunities have been brilliant and a really valuable experience' – Geography graduate, 2015

We’re committed to giving you a relevant, interesting and useful degree; fieldwork is integral to this. There are various field days during modules, as well as residential fieldwork options in the UK and overseas in Years 2 and 3.

You’ll visit places and landscapes such as Avebury, Mendip, the Somerset Levels, the Welsh National History Museum, the Royal Geographical Society in London, and the Jurassic Coast of Dorset. Residential trips currently go to Spain, the Lake District and Northern India. Please note that you’ll have to make a financial contribution towards some of these residential study visits.

Work placements, industry links and internships

There are opportunities to undertake work placements in your second and third year – this is an excellent way to gain experience in the workplace.

Guest speakers from industry contribute to the learning experience throughout the course. This engagement with potential employers will help you make those all-important career decisions when you graduate.

Competitions/awards

There are prizes awarded each year in recognition of excellence in the core modules. This culminates with the Geography Project of the Year Award, for the best dissertation.

Teaching methods

Good teaching is important to us; our graduates highly rate the quality of teaching on the course. In our friendly department you’ll benefit from small classes, specialist expertise, and up-to-date technologies, including ArcGIS, GPS survey instruments, campus river gauging and digital ‘met’ stations.

Our rural site is a superb natural laboratory where you’ll learn a range of scientific techniques including field sampling and the use of laboratory instruments for sediment and water analysis. You’ll experience lectures and workshop or seminar-based teaching, with small groups to enable discussion about specific topics.

Teaching quality excellence

We are proud of the quality of our teaching in Geography at Bath Spa. During your degree you will taught by experienced, specialist staff, who undertake research in their specific areas of expertise, as well as into the learning and teaching of different aspects of geography.

Subject tutors regularly attend Professional Development Workshops that inform curriculum development and we regularly attend academic and commercial conferences. We subscribe to industry societies and their journals, such as the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers (RGS-IBG), the Association for Geographic Information (AGI), the Development Studies Association (DSA), Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society (RSPSoc), American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS), the British Cartographic Society (BCS), GIS Professional, GIM International.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

Course enquiries

Want to know more about studying Geography at Bath Spa? We have Open Days and Visit Days throughout the year. If you can't make any of those, we are also happy to arrange individual visits for you to have a look around at the facilities and ask any questions you may have. You can get in touch using the contact details adjacent. We hope to see you here soon!

Please contact Dr David Simm, Subject Leader for Geography: d.simm@bathspa.ac.uk

Have a look at our related courses:

BSc Global Development and Sustainability

BA Geography (Human)

BSc Geography (Physical)

Entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. The main ones are listed below:

  • A Level - Grades BCC - CCC preferred with Grade C in Geography, Sociology Economics or Science
  • BTEC - Extended Diploma grades Merit, Merit, Merit (MMM) preferred in a related subject.
  • International Baccalaureate - A minimum score of 26 points required.
  • Typical offers for applicants with Access to HE will be the Access to HE Diploma or Access to HE Certificate (60 credits, 45 of which must be Level 3, including 30 at merit or higher).

English Language Requirements for International and EU Applicants

IELTS 6.0 - for visa nationals, with a minimum score of IELTS 5.5 in each element.

Career opportunities

Our graduates possess a diverse range of skills, knowledge and expertise, suitable for many careers and occupations. This is due to the great appeal of your geographical skill-set to employers. Environmental bodies, utilities, planning, police and armed forces, retail and financial services, heritage management, local government and school teaching are typical destinations. Many geography graduates are hooked on the subject and undertake further study, including doctoral research here in the department.

The opportunity to undertake a work placement as part of your degree is an excellent way of gaining some experience in the workplace, while guest speakers from industry contribute to your learning experience throughout the course. This engagement with potential employers will stand you in good stead for making those all-important career decisions when you move into the world of work.

Since 2010, employers such as Geomatics Group, At-Bristol, Discover Battle, Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre and The Ministry of Defence have recruited graduates from this course. Students have also gone into roles including  Assistant Geomatics Surveyor, Renewables Developer, Business Analyst, Oceaneer and Press Officer.

What students say...

 We take the views of our students very seriously, and evaluations of each module are undertaken each year, incorporating feedback from all students. You will also have the opportunity to represent your peers at committee and board meetings that meet regularly to discuss the shape and evolution of your course.

Tim Johns, Geography, graduated July 2012:

“I thoroughly enjoyed my course at Bath Spa University and would recommend it to anyone interested in pursuing a career in the environmental industry. Academically, the course was fantastic and offered the opportunity to learn a diverse range of skills that would equip anyone with the necessary attributes to enter the world of work, or pursue postgraduate studies. At Bath Spa my learning was not just restricted to the classroom; I had the opportunity to undertake a live Dissertation project working in conjunction with the Environment Agency. This was an invaluable experience giving me the opportunity to work with industry professionals. My advice to those starting their studies would be to take full advantage of the facilities Bath Spa has to offer, including the excellent support from staff and tutors. Just remember from the offset… you have to work hard to play hard and all things are achievable no matter what!”

Please look at the video clips to see what our students have said about studying Geography at Bath Spa University.

Read about the activities and achievements of our students and staff in our annual Geography Newsletter:

From the local to the global, this intellectually challenging course grounded in practical experience.

  • Placement opportunities in the heritage sector with our industry links.
  • Immerse yourself in heritage – Bath is the only World Heritage city in the UK.
  • Taught by experienced professionals.

HeritageBSU Logo

Heritage at Bath Spa University – where the past shapes the future.

Why study Heritage?

We offer you the unique opportunity to study heritage in collaboration with museums and heritage sites across Bath and the local region. You’ll be taught by professionals and academics who research and write about heritage and public history.

We live surrounded by historic buildings, landscapes, and material objects of our past. But heritage is about more than just physical remains – it’s about people’s memories, how they make sense of their past and how they understand their culture. Heritage is crucial to building our sense of identity – as an individual, as part of a community, as a nation, and as a part of the wider world.

You’ll take Heritage with another subject as part of a Combined Award. Heritage is available in combination with:

Course structure

We’ll challenge you to put the past into a range of perspectives in order to discover how it shapes the future. You’ll graduate from this course with a thorough understanding of heritage as a subject, and with practical knowledge and experience of how heritage works in the real world.

On the course, you’ll work on individual and collaborative projects with heritage partners and organisations, that you’ll plan manage it and deliver.

You’ll develop a range of subject-based practical skills and skills for life and work. You’ll:

  • gain practical experience in a range of heritage contexts;
  • develop a series of professional contacts in the local and regional heritage sector;
  • be intellectually flexible and demonstrate an ability to approach problems from a variety of perspectives;
  • develop leadership skills and demonstrate your own initiative; and
  • be confident in your own abilities.

Modules

  • Year 1
    We’ll introduce you to the relationships between history and heritage and question what we mean by ‘public history’. You’ll explore topics including: the origins of collecting and the creation of the museum; the creation of heritage preservation organisations like the National Trust; and heritage in a global context including UNESCO World Heritage. You’ll also be encouraged to see heritage as a business, connected to a wide range of influences and pressures.
    Alongside this you’ll study modules from the subject you’ve combined with Heritage.
  • Year 2
    In your second year we’ll place more emphasis on projects and work-based learning with heritage partners. Using the knowledge you gained in your first year, we’ll ask you to consider how heritage works in practice.
  • Year 3
    Your final year focuses on deep engagement with the heritage sector through placement opportunities. The course culminates with an exciting live-project, which you’ll deliver in collaboration with a key heritage organisation.

Course assessment

We use a range of different assessments to help you understand heritage as an academic discipline, and to develop a range of practical and professional skills.
Assessment types include: formal examinations; written essays; industry reports; market research assignments; mock project applications to the Heritage Lottery Fund; group projects and presentations; the creation of public heritage material ranging from websites, apps, learning resources, to exhibitions and events.

We believe strongly in making sure your hard work is reward, and that credit is given for the full range of work you’ll do on the course. Work-based learning, work experience, placement opportunities, and real word projects all form part of your formal assessment in Heritage.

Our location and heritage

You’ll be studying heritage while being surrounded by it. We have historic campuses that include a Grade Two Listed building, a Scheduled Ancient Monument, a Capability Brown landscaped garden and [corsham court].

In addition the City of Bath is on your doorstep – one of only two World Heritage cities in the world. Bath has 17 museums, including the Roman Baths; the Holburne Museum; and National Trust properties.

Field trips and site based learning

We teach beyond the classroom. Through all three years of your course some sessions are delivered on site at local and regional heritage sites.

You’ll visit places and landscapes such as: No.1 Royal Crescent Georgian House Museum, Museum of Bath Architecture, SS Great Britain, Lacock Abbey and Village, Stonehenge, and Ashmolean Museum. Please note that you’ll have to make a financial contribution towards some of these study visits.

Work placements, industry links and internships

Volunteer experience is vital, no matter what you want to do after university. You’ll gain hands-on work experience throughout your degree, and making important contacts for your future beyond graduation.

Students taking Heritage at Bath Spa University have volunteered with, held placements with, and been involved in public projects with just some of the following:

  • Roman Baths
  • Holburne Museum
  • No 1 Royal Crescent
  • Bath Abbey
  • American Museum
  • National Railway Museum (York)
  • RAF Museum (Hendon)
  • Bletchley Park (Milton Keynes)
  • Fishbourne Roman Palace (Sussex)
  • Churches Conservation Trust
  • National Trust
  • English Heritage

Study abroad

You’ll have the opportunity to study in a wide range of locations around the world, through the Erasmus+ and Exchange opportunities with our Global Academy of the Liberal Arts (GALA) partners like Claremont Graduate University in Los Angeles and the University of Parma, Italy.

Competitions/awards

Each year we award a prize to a final year student. This is the Bath Spa University prize for creativity in heritage.

Projects

  • Capable Creations: Noticing Newton Park
  • Miniature Mania: small world, BIG DISCOVERIES
  • Saltford Brass Mill Exhibition
  • Curious Corners: Number 1 Royal Crescent App

Teaching methods

You’ll be taught through a wide variety of activities that reflect our experiential learning, student-centred approach. These activities include lectures, seminars, workshops, technical training, field trips and visits, group work and tutorials, work placements and practical project work.

On this course you are taught by academics who are experts in heritage and public history, but you are also taught by – and work closely with – professionals who work in heritage and in a range of creative and cultural industries regionally and nationally.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS.

You will need to study another subject to study with Heritage.

Course enquiries

For further information please contact Dr. Kristin G Doern (Heritage Subject Leader) at:

k.doern@bathspa.ac.uk.

Telephone: 01225 876248.

Entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. The main ones are listed below:

  • A Level - Grades BCC- CCC accepted
  • BTEC - Extended Diploma grades Merit, Merit, Merit (MMM) preferred in a related subject.
  • International Baccalaureate - A minimum score of 26 points required.
  • Access to HE courses - Typical offers for applicants with Access to HE will be the Access to HE Diploma or Access to HE Certificate (60 credits, 45 of which must be Level 3, including 30 at merit or higher).

English Language Requirements for International and EU Applicants

IELTS 6.0 - for visa nationals, with a minimum score of IELTS 5.5 in each element.

Career opportunities

Heritage at Bath Spa University prepares you for a variety of future careers both within the heritage sector and creative and cultural industries, and beyond.

In addition to acquiring knowledge and understanding of heritage and public history, and gaining practical experience in a range of heritage contexts, on this course you will develop skills that are highly valued in a diverse range of careers.

  • You will have developed strong research skills, as well as skills in analysis and interpretation.
  • You will have had opportunities to work as a team as well as develop leadership skills.
  • You will be intellectually flexible and know how to problem solve.
  • You will have good time management and project management skills.

And you will have had invaluable experience communicating with and working in collaboration with public organisations and professionals in heritage and in a range of creative and cultural industries regionally and nationally.

The emphasis throughout the course on experiential learning, student-led ‘real world’ projects, placements and volunteering enables you to demonstrate to potential employers that you have the necessary skills, experience and perhaps most crucially, determination to persevere in your chosen career no matter what the circumstances. 

% going on to work and/or study for courses in this subject area: 80%

What students say...

"There were so many avenues that I could have gone down after finishing university, but the vocational element of the Heritage course helped me work out what I really wanted to do. As a direct result of studying Heritage and History at Bath Spa University I have decided to go on to an MSc in Architectural Conservation. The course let me explore the different ways my degree could be applied in industry and a great benefit from studying Heritage at BSU has been the invaluable volunteering experience I now have on my CV."

Tristan Faith (Heritage/History Combined BA Graduate 2012)

"Studying Heritage and History at BSU gave me opportunities to work and volunteer in the heritage sector in a range of roles. This has given me the relevant skills to further my education and career in heritage and I am so excited to be going on to postgraduate study in Cultural Heritage Management. The heritage side of my degree helped put the theoretical side of history research into practice. The skills I gained in my placement at the Holborne Museum helped me get the internship I now have at the National Portrait Gallery, an opportunity I wouldn't have dreamed about until I took heritage at BSU."

Abigail Fisher (Heritage/History Combined BA Graduate 2012)

"At six o’clock the launch party for our ‘Legacy of Icons’ exhibition at the American Museum began, and the room was filled with family, friends, dignitaries and invited guests. We were able to really appreciate what we have achieved. Seen as a whole, the exhibition becomes something else, and much more than the sum of its parts. I’m impressed with what we’ve done. After a very successful week-long exhibition that saw over 900 people go through the doors, we present our final post-project evaluation. Everyone spoke with confidence, armed with the knowledge that we had built something special together which had been carried through with success. The whole experience has built my confidence and shown me new possibilities for the future. I used all my previously acquired skills and knowledge gained, and know now that this kind of practical, hands on project is something that I can embrace fully."

Kate James (History BA Graduate 2011 – currently taking the new BSU Masters in Heritage Management)

"Taking the heritage modules at BSU helped me gain a four month education internship at Brooklands Museum right after graduation. This is because the heritage project demonstrated that I could work with a team, work within a deadline and communicate with others. The internship let me build on this experience and enabled me to gain further valuable experience with in the heritage industry. Both contributed enormously towards getting my new job as a Visitor Services Assistant at The Roman Baths."

Karen Lockyear (History BA Graduate 2010 – now employed at the Roman Baths)

"The heritage module I took as part of my History degree proved to be incredibly important and its practicalities far reaching. I am currently pursuing a career in Archives and Records Management, and although awareness of heritage is not essential, my experience at BSU helped me get my current job as Archives and Records Management Assistant at Unilever. The module complimented my paid work as a tour guide and my voluntary placements in archives while I was at university. I have also been able to use my knowledge of outreach programmes as an effective talking point during interviews and my experience of writing for a non-academic audience and building a website have become valuable skills."

Rachael Thompson (History BA Graduate 2010 – employed by Unilever Archives immediately after graduation, then accepted onto the UCL Archives and Record Managements MA)