Geography and History

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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:

A challenging and dynamic approach to the study of history and its impact on the contemporary world.

  • A rich variety of historical topics and approaches
  • Committed, expert and friendly staff
  • Combine the study of the past with an understanding of its application in the present

"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."
– Nicola Tallis, History graduate

Why study History?

History is an exciting and challenging discipline, whether studied as a single honours degree or as a component of a combined award. It provides an essential foundation for exploring fundamental questions about beliefs, values and identity; it is impossible to comprehend the contemporary world without it.

We offer you the opportunity to study a wide range of sources, periods and themes. Our teaching offers local, national and international perspectives, broad surveys, and in-depth study.

You can study history as a single honour degree, or in combination with subjects such as English Literature, Philosophy and Ethics, Geography or Heritage.

Course structure

We combine the academic study of history with an investigation into its public role and purpose – heritage and memory; people and places. You’ll gain broad historical skills and expertise, including:

  • how to read historical texts;
  • how to use historical sources – visual, written, material; and
  • how to discuss and debate historical subjects.

Our modules range from the study of broad historical periods to focused explorations of specific topics. These reflect the research interests of our staff, and their most recent investigations and discoveries.

You’ll graduate with a wide range of personal, intellectual and transferable skills, relevant both to academic study and your ambitions beyond university.

Modules

  • Year 1
    We provide the foundations for you to develop historical skills and expertise. At the heart of this is a core module, which can be accompanied by a range of optional modules. You may cover, for example, the social history of 16th and 17th century England, or politics and people in the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • Year 2
    We offer you the chance to specialise a little more. You’ll build on and extend your knowledge and develop your confidence to deal with new subjects and approaches. Underpinning this, you’ll explore the history and philosophy of our subject: how ideas about the past and its study have changed over time, and how the study of history has influenced and been influenced by wider changes in society.
  • Year 3
    The focus of the third year will be on your dissertation. You’ll identify and develop your own historical question, conduct research and prepare an extended piece of writing. New topics are offered through optional modules, such as political, social and cultural history; public history; and the impact of the past on the modern world.

Course assessment

Work is assessed in a variety of ways including essays, research papers, group presentations, projects, portfolio and reports. There are timed assessments and end of year examinations in some modules. Different assessment methods allow you to develop and demonstrate different skills, many of which are also useful in other settings, such as planning ahead, working to deadlines, and managing priorities.

Study abroad

Our students make good use of the opportunities to study abroad through Erasmus and other programmes, usually in the second year, with one of our many partner universities. You’ll be able to find out more about this during your first year, including meeting up with students who have already benefited from the experience.

Students opting to join one of the study abroad programmes might find themselves in Denmark, Spain, Australia or North America. We have developing partnerships with universities in China and the Far East.

Field trips

Our field trips take us a few miles away to Bristol and its historic dockside, to major national museums and galleries, and further afield to Rome or Florence. Linked to our teaching, trips change from year to year, but there are always opportunities to learn outside the seminar room.

Work placements, industry links and internships

Placement modules prepare you for the world of work. We have an extensive network of partners across local, regional and national organisations, and can help you make the most of the opportunity to work with them.

You’ll have the opportunity to work on projects with our partners in the city and region. This might involve research in a historic house, oral history projects, or devising public events and exhibitions. Through these projects you’ll work collaboratively, manage your time, develop project management skills, and prepare for a future career

Teaching methods

We run lectures, seminars and workshops. You’ll also attend individual tutorials, where you might rehearse ideas for a project or piece of research, or to talk through how you did in an assignment – and what you might do differently next time.

As well as the history team, you can take advantage of the learning support provided across the University, whether to develop your writing skills or to learn how to use new techniques and technologies.

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

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 with Grade C in History or related subject preferred
  • 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

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:

List of current alumni careers

Our history graduates have entered careers in:

  • education (at all levels);
  • the police force;
  • social services;
  • the charitable sector;
  • events management;
  • the National Health Service; and
  • museums and heritage.

You may also choose to continue your studies at postgraduate level.

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.”