Geography and History

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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. 

Geography is the 'best of both worlds', as it combines the earth and social sciences through exploration of themes including sustainability, development, climate change and geomatics (GIS) methods.

 

 

Why study Geography?

Studying Geography expands your understanding of the interactions people have with the environment, both physical and human. 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. At Bath Spa you learn geographical concepts, theories and knowledge and also gain skills that can improve your career prospects. Geography graduates are valued by employers for this unique combination.

At Bath Spa, we take an integrated approach to Geography, so you will 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 in the human side as your interests, abilities and career plans evolve.

Course structure

The course allows you to do both physical and human Geography or to specialise in one or the other after Year 1.

Fieldwork is an integral part of your learning and underpins our commitment to a relevant, interesting and useful degree. There are various field days during modules, as well as residential fieldwork options in the UK and overseas in Years 2 and 3. You will 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 courses currently go to Spain, the Lake District and Northern India. 

 

 

A special feature of our course is the opportunity to gain valuable experience, and academic credit, through volunteering in the local community. You can also study abroad for one term, either in a European university or further afield in Australia or the USA. 

 

Modules

Year 1

Your first year (level 4) is centred on a core double module (40 credits) Environment, People and Place. This deals with what makes Geography an exciting, varied and applied subject. The module offers an integrated approach to the study of the geo-social and earth sciences and what makes this module special lies in our attention to developing skills as well as knowledge: you will learn how to use the technologies, methods, techniques and equipment that geographers need to use, with increasing confidence. You will also start to build your employability profile under our guidance. The practical application of subject knowledge is the underlying philosophy of this module.

In addition to the core module we usually offer these options (all 20 credits) from which you can choose one or two:

  • Investigating Earth Environments;
  • Global Development;
  • Visualising Society;

The remainder of level 4 is made up with at least 40 credits from a complementary module of your choice, such as Biology, Sociology, Criminology, or an interdisciplinary module focusing on Sustainability in Life and Work.

Year 2

Your second year (level 5) also centres on a core double module (40 credits) titled The Enterprising Geographer. The aim here is for you to acquire specialist skills in geographical research methods, human and physical, and to extend your abilities as a team player and as a professional. The Enterprising Geographer puts the subject and the sectors it serves in historical context and highlights the relevance of geographical knowledge to many different professional sectors. Your research skills are developed through two extended research projects where you will apply your growing mastery of your subject to real-world problems and issues. This module also gives 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. The rest of your studies are optional, and the usual module choices are (you can choose four):

  • River and Coastal Systems;
  • Climate Change and Sustainability;
  • Environmental Hazards;
  • Geographical Fieldwork (includes a residential fieldtrip to Northern India);
  • Global Cities;
  • Criminology and Criminal Justice;
  • Work Placement;

All optional modules are 20 credits each.

Year 3

In your final year (level 6), you take the skills and knowledge perfected throughout the degree to design, conduct and write up your very own geography Dissertation (40 credits). There is a huge variety in choice in what you do for a dissertation and throughout the study you will benefit from one-to-one tuition and expert guidance. The rest of the third year is made up from 20 credit optional modules such as these (you can choose four):

  • Climatology;
  • Coastal and River Management;
  • Advanced Geographical Fieldwork (includes a residential fieldtrip);
  • Development and Disasters;
  • Globalisation and Work;
  • Global Mobility, Risks and Environmental Justice;
  • Identities and Inequalities;
  • Community Engagement (includes a local volunteering placement).

Course assessment

You will experience a variety of different assessment methods throughout your degree. These include essays, industrial project reports, scientific project reports, presentations, posters, field-craft 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.

Each module will have a different set of assessment items, and not all will include an examination. These assessment items enable you to demonstrate that you have achieved the learning outcomes.

Good teaching is important to us, and our graduates and consistently rate the quality of teaching on the course highly. In our friendly department you will 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 will learn a range of scientific techniques including field sampling and the use of laboratory instruments for sediment and water analysis. Through your degree you will also develop 'people' skills such as communication, team work and critical thinking - skills that are highly valued by employers.

Teaching methods

Geography encourages your learning through a variety of formats: lectures, seminars, team work, laboratories, IT workshops, and in the field - for 'hands on', real life experience.

Our location, nestled in a parkland valley setting just outside Bath, is a beautiful and unique 'natural laboratory' in which to pursue environmental education and we make the most of the setting. We have all the latest technologies and learning resources and Geographers have access to IT laboratories with geographical software such as ArcGIS and Idrisi. In addition there is a comprehensive stock of field and laboratory equipment. Practicals take place in well-equipped science laboratories or out in the grounds of the Newton Park campus. You will find free wireless internet access is available in the Department and across our campus. We subscribe to an extensive range of online journals so you can access the latest geographic research in seconds. 

Other resources available include Leica Smart Rovers, handheld Global Positioning System devices, survey seismograph, Russian and standard sediment corers, teaching microscopes, stream flow meters, particle size analysis kits, digital Schmidt hammers, digital weather station, campus stream gauging station, digital dictaphones, digital video cameras and laptops. Do please note that not all field courses are run every year and that all off-campus events and their funding are subject to annual review. Also, module availability may vary over time - if a particular module is of interest and you want to know more, just get in touch with us and we'll be happy to help!

 

Departmental Research

The Department hosts two active research groups covering physical and human geography, ensuring that your teaching is informed by up-to-date, specialised staff expertise. The research groups often inform dissertation ideas for students and you will benefit from our annual Research Seminar Series which includes external guest speakers and is open to all.

All our academic staff are professional geographers who undertake research and scholarship at the cutting edge of their discipline, publishing papers in international journals, textbooks for undergraduate use, and speaking at international conferences, as well as making media appearances. All research undertaken is of direct benefit to students. Indeed, some of our work is about enhancing the learning of geography at university. Students have co-authored papers with members of staff, and some have remained with us to carry out postgraduate research leading to doctorate level.

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 Rebecca Schaaf, Subject Leader for Geography: r.schaaf@bathspa.ac.uk 

Have a look at our related courses:

BSc Global Development and Sustainability

BA Geography (Human)

BSc Geography (Physical)

Entry requirements

260–320 UCAS Tariff points with minimum 80 points from geography or a related subject such as science, sociology, economics.

We welcome applications from mature students with an Access to HE qualification. If you have non-standard qualifications we will consider any prior learning and professional experience in your application.

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...

 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!”

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.

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

Alice - second year Geography student

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

Geography 2013

Geography 2014


newsletter 2015.pdf

 

Why Study History?

"History is indeed the witness of the times, the light of truth"
- Cicero

In today’s world, history remains the most challenging and exciting of disciplines.

You'll acquire an ability to deal with profound questions about the past and to understand people’s lives, beliefs and problems in the present.

You’ll be able to explore a diverse range of sources, periods and themes, ranging from the medieval to the modern world. And, you’ll develop a wide variety of employment skills that will be useful in your future working life.

Lastly, the student of history is taking part in a voyage of discovery, exploring how people acted in the past, and how they dealt with the issues and challenges that still trouble, thrill or engage us today.

Key Features

  • Well-qualified and dedicated staff who are involved in a wide range of projects locally, nationally and internationally
  • Placements and project-based modules through which you can develop your skills and experience
  • The option of exchange visits with American and European universities

We have a flexible approach to learning- and employers welcome historians with their analytical and problem- solving skills.

Why study History?

In today’s world, history remains the most challenging  and exciting of disciplines. 

You'll acquire an ability to deal with profound questions and to provide many answers that can help in the understanding of people’s lives, beliefs and problems in the present day.

You’ll be able to explore a diverse range of sources, periods and themes, ranging from the medieval to the modern world. And, you’ll develop a wide variety of employment skills that will be useful in your future working life.

Lastly, the student of history is embarked on a voyage of discovery of how people acted in the past, but also how they dealt with issues and problems that still trouble, thrill or engage us today.

Course structure

This is a course designed to enable you to explore the aspects of history that most interest you. It will also give you knowledge and understanding of the subject as a scholarly discipline.

Year on year, we offer you a range of individual history modules designed to follow historical periods, places and persons. They enable you  to study different kinds of history, which you’ll view from some unique historical perspectives.

Naturally there are placements available during your course, as we are keen to allow you to link your undergraduate life with the world of work. Some of our recent student placements,  for example, enabled our students to engage in real-time projects with the local schools, Bath Central Library Local Studies; Bath Record Office; Museum of Bath at Work; Jollys Department Store;The Building of Bath Collection ; The American Museum in Britain; Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre; Radstock Museum; SS Great Britain and Downside Abbey.   Some of our students recently developed a free history resource to help primary schools teach young children about the Olympic and Paralympic Games; with a unique focus on Bath and the south west of England. The project was supported by RELAYS and Team West of England, but was fully led by the students themselves.

You will also be able to access a range of overseas study trips and our exchange programmes.

 

 

Like other subjects in the undergraduate modular scheme, the student learning experience in History is based in a 3-year (levels 4-6) degree programme with its modules available to undergraduate students in 40 (core) and 20 credit (optional) formats. Core modules are those modules that we believe are essential to the understanding of the subject; optional modules are those modules which we believe can give our students a choice of developing a more detailed understanding of a particular period, country, or persons, or historical theme. The progressive mix of the two types of modules not only gives our students a broad general historical experience, knowledge and understanding of the subject over the three years, but allows them to acquire qualities of mind in a variety of forms. It also leads to the development of generic and specific skills highly relevant to a wide variety of careers in the postgraduate world.

 

Modules

 

Each History module lasts approx. 26 weeks and has a varied contact time of between 2-4 hours per week (excluding student-staff tutorials).

 

Year One
  • Changing Histories (Core module);
  • Medieval and Renaissance Worlds (Option module);
  • Age of the People: Europe c.1870-1990 (Option module);
  • Age of Discovery to the Gilded Age: America c.1492-1914 (Option module);
  • Unruly Lot: women and social change in Europe and North America c.1550-1914 (Option module);
  • Age of Empires (c.1492-1857) (Option module);
  • Heritage and Applied History*;
  • The Business of Heritage*.
Year Two
  • Making History (Core module);
  • Humanities at Work I (Option module – project-based/work-based learning module);
  • Nineteenth Century Britain and Ireland: Politics and Society (Option module);
  • The Political World of Eighteenth Century Britain (Option module);
  • Hecate’s Daughters: early modern witchcraft (Option module);
  • Revolutionary and Napoleonic Europe 1789-1820 (Option module);
  • Ships, Slaves and Sugar: Britain and France in the Atlantic Trade, 16th-19thCentury (Option Module);

  • Peace, Prosperity, Depression and War: Britain and the USA between the wars (Option module);

  • The British Empire: from the Opium Wars to decolonisation c.1840-1970 (Option module);
  • The Great War: conflict and society (Option module);
  • Immigration and Race in Twentieth-Century Europe (Option Module);
  • Heritage in Context*.
Year Three
  • History Dissertation (Core module);
  • Humanities at Work II/III (Option module – project-based/work-based learning modules);
  • Memory, Slavery and Social Cohesion in Britain and France ( Option module;
  • From Affluent Society to Permissive Society: the era of the 60s (Option module);
  • More than a Game: sport and the modern world c.1801-1992 (Option module);
  • Leisure, Pleasure and Consumption: rise of a consume society c.1750-1950 (Option module);
  • Secret Service: British intelligence and espionage (Option module);
  • Rex Pacificus c.1603-1625 (Option module);
  • Muslim Migration and Islam in Europe in Historical Perspective ( Option module);
  • Heritage and the Wider World*.

*Modules available as second subject or options from part the Heritage BA/BSc Combined Award

Course assessment

The assessment we use varies on our modules but it is especially geared to helping you learn. It includes assignments that are all designed to test a variety of skills useful in your life beyond University, as well as in the field of history. 

We link our assessment to your course learning outcomes. It is dynamic and it's diverse, but it is very much student orientated, You'll be undertaking some formal examinations, essays, research projects, timed critical analyses, and a number of differing special assignments. Your assessment will be an evolving process, it will allow you not only the opportunity to show what you know, but what you understand and what you can do. You'll be able to access tutorials and one-to one meetings to help you in your work and when you have finished particular assignments you'll have further tutorials to help you understand the next task.

In History we are particularly proud of our cohesive and comprehensive support network that helps you  to achieve the best results possible.

 

You’ll be taught by well-qualified and dedicated history staff. They not only have many innovative approaches in learning and teaching, using new technology for example, but also use their own cutting-edge historical research in the class and lecture theatre.

You’ll naturally gain knowledge and understanding of history as a scholarly discipline, but you’ll also develop a multitude of skills that will be useful in your future working life.

Teaching methods

Your history modules will be taught by a mixture of lectures (which set out the broad themes and issues of a subject), seminars (where we look at document and historical evidence  and where we also include student presentations, group-work, computer assisted sessions and documentary or audio-visual work) and one-to-one tutorials where you'll get individual help with your work. There are also educational visits, such as trips to London and Dublin, as well as to nearby locations. Exchanges with American and European universities are available.

Amongst the innovative ways we deliver the course to you is by encouraging the use of video on your own smartphones, iPads, and flip/digital cameras. ‘Podcasting’ is also used as a supplement to the traditional lectures and as part of our blended learning techniques. Twitter is also used to deliver opportunities for ‘crowd sourcing’ research activities across some of the modules for our students, by getting students to help with gathering information, making observations, undertaking data analysis, transcribing and editing documents.

A key aim of the learning and teaching strategy here is ‘To maximise students’ abilities to achieve successful career outcomes’. Our students can reflect on their personal development via electronic log-books on their learning and its relationship to their future.

'In the [Hy5001-40] seminar this week we had a lesson on networking with Ian Rowe, this was a very interesting and helpful seminar for me as I am an amateur stand-up comedian and spend a lot of my time meeting new people who could help me get better gigs. Ian highlighted the importance of social networking and being very easily contactable, many comedians I have met, especially the professionals, have also emphasised social networking and I have decided to get a twitter account, as well as a business card. We also had to draw a diagram of our own network, I found this very interesting as even though we are all quite young we still have decent sized networks. Also while discussing comedy with Ian, I realised just how difficult it is to meet people inside the industry and how important it is for me to improve my networking skills if I want to progress'

Starting in 2016? Want to get on with some reading? The core module, which all history students have to take, is HY4001-40: London, 1660 - 1969. So, to get ahead of the game, read up as much as you can on the history of London in this period, especially looking at how people lived, what they did, and where differing classes lived. The course text is Roy Porter, London, a social history [any edition]. You should also get a copy of Richard Evans, In Defence of History [2001]. Both books are available on Amazon for around £10.00.

Happy reading!

 

 

.

 

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

Course enquiries

Enquires should be directed to Dr Alan Marshall, Head of Humanities:

a.marshall@bathspa.ac.uk

01225875595

Entry requirements

260–300 UCAS Tariff points.

Career opportunities

Employers welcome the analytical and problem-solving skills and the flexible approach to learning that history students acquire. You’ll not only gain knowledge and understanding of history as a scholarly discipline, but you’ll also develop a multitude of skills that will be useful in your future working life. As a result our history students find employment in a wide variety of careers:

  • teaching (subject to PGCE)
  • administration and management
  • lecturing
  • commerce and banking
  • media and tourism
  • museums/heritage
  • librarianship
  • police
  • law and public relations
  • There are also opportunities to undertake postgraduate work at Masters and doctorate level.

We also find that the our recent students felt that particular employability skills were developed during the course of the History programme. These include: Time management; IT skills; Written communication skills; Oral communication skills; Working with fellow students; Finding and selecting information from a wide range of sources; Evaluating information from a wide range of sources.

Since 2011, employers such as Unilever, The National Trust, Don Foster (MP),  The Jane Austen Centre, The Bishop's Palace Trust (Wells)  and The Association of Learning Providers have recruited graduates from this course. Students have also gone into roles including Archives and Records Assistant, Historical Researcher, Curriculum Assistant, Part time lecturer and Historical Educator.

What students say...

Recent graduates:

“Studying History at Bath Spa University has proved an excellent foundation for my future academic pursuits. Prior to studying History at Bath Spa I had no real sense of my future career plans. However, the course has provided me with the inspiration, enthusiasm and skills to pursue postgraduate study. The course has also provided me with transferable skills should my projected career plans change.”

“I have found studying History at Bath Spa University immensely enjoyable and rewarding. The History faculty has been supportive, knowledgeable and approachable. I found the course offered real value to my professional and personal development.”

Kindra Jones, History, graduated 2011:

“I run my own business, KITHE, providing historical characters and events to museums, schools and heritage sites in the UK. Covering from early medieval through to the Second World War, I am constantly researching and adding to my wardrobe and artefacts.

All the skills that I need on my current career path were enhanced during my time at Bath Spa. When talking to the public my answers must be concise, well organised and backed by research, skills that the numerous essays and presentations helped me to develop. Professional correspondence and meetings with clients are critical for the bigger events, and I feel that my course prepared me for these very well. When I first started university I suffered from panic attacks when giving presentations, over the course these lessened until they stopped entirely. This was in large part due to my tutors working with me to find ways to make them less stressful and easier for me to cope with. I was so lucky to have great tutors.”

Nicola Tallis, graduated 2011:

“I loved the fact that the course was really challenging, and gave me the opportunity to learn about a wide and varied period of history. The tutors were always friendly, encouraging and approachable. It was a life changing experience, and the best thing I have ever done. The course prepared me for my career amazingly well. I went on to do an internship at Hampton Court Palace, and I could never have done this had I not done my course. I had to give a presentation at the end of my internship, and had I not done this many times at university, I would have had little confidence. As it was, I was complimented on my excellent verbal presentation skills! It improved my writing and referencing skills, and now I’m writing a book. It also made me consider the bigger picture in a way I never have done before, and this is crucial when you are carrying out historical research and writing a book.”