Geography and Psychology

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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

 

98% Overall Student Satisfaction*

2nd out of 115 for student satisfaction in UK psychology degree courses*

Psychology at Bath Spa examines the science behind what makes people tick. This involves developing a critical understanding of the various theories that have been applied to our species (and where appropriate to other species). In order to do this students will learn how we observe people, how we conduct surveys and experiments and how we apply statistical procedures to the evidence that we have gathered.

BSc Single Hons Psychology is a British Psychology Society (BPS) accredited course

For students joining the course from September 2014, the BSc Major Hons Psychology is also a British Psychology Society (BPS) accredited course (subject to specific module choice requirements)

 

*Source: National Student Survey 2014

Why study Psychology?

Not only is the course content fascinating, but a Psychology qualification prepares you for a wide range of work after graduation.

Course structure

Psychology at Bath Spa examines the science behind what makes people tick. This science involves developing a critical understanding of the various theories that have been applied to our species (and where appropriate to other species). In order to do this students will learn how we observe people, how we conduct surveys and experiments and how we apply statistical procedures to the evidence that we have gathered.

BSc Single Hons Psychology and BSc Major Hons Psychology at Bath Spa are British Psychology Society (BPS) accredited courses.

In the first year you will take a module that introduces you to the main psychological approaches – social, cognitive, developmental, individual differences and biological psychology (PS4001-40 Introduction to Psychology). You will also take modules in research methods including survey work and experimentation (PS4002-20 Research methods and Statistics), and Individual Differences (PS4003). When you progress to Years 2 and 3 these main areas are studied in greater depth since individual modules are devoted to them and students on the single honours course have the option to choose a placement module in Year 2. For those taking Major or Single Hons Psychology there will also be further, more advanced courses in research methods. In Years 2 and 3 you are also able to study the scholarly specialities of individual members of staff, such as health psychology, criminological psychology, and neuropsychology. This means that for each of the modules your tutor will have specific expertise and will be engaged in scholarly activity in that area. For those taking Psychology as a Major or Single Hons course, there will also be a dissertation involving working one-to-one with a member of staff on an original research project in psychology.

Modules

Year 1

  • Introduction to Psychology;
  • Research Methods in Psychology (1)
  • Individual Differences

Year 2

  • Research Methods in Psychology (2)
  • Social Psychology
  • Biological and Cognitive Psychology
  • Criminological and Investigative Psychology
  • Psychology of Health
  • Abnormal Psychology

Year 3

  • Psychology Dissertation Project
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Advanced Cognitive and Biological Psychology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Social Psychology of Peace and Conflict
  • Counselling Psychology

Note that module choice may differ depending on routeway. Single honours students may opt to take a placement module in year two.

Course assessment

Assessment varies and includes essays, research reports, group presentations, class debates and examinations.

Most modules involve a mixture of lectures and follow-up seminars. In the case of research methods, however, much of the teaching is conducted via practical classes.

You will participate actively in seminars, and these are characterised by small-group work. Bookable tutorials enable you to have one-to-one discussions with staff.

 

Teaching methods

Teaching resources include EBSCO (online access to over 400 psychology-related journals) and SPSS (statistical computer software for analysing quantitative data). We also have a biopsychology lab where we make use of ‘biopac’ equipment (computerised biological measures such as EEG) for practicals and project work.

Staff Profile: Dr. Alison Lee Neuropsychologist

Dr Alison Lee who conducts research into the neuropsychological bases of Parkinson’s disease has collaborative research links with the University of Boston and is regularly asked to present her work at conferences. Dr. Lee is also course director for the Applied MSc in Neuropsychology that we run at Bath Spa.

Teaching quality excellence

Overall student satisfaction with teaching for courses in this subject area (2013): 95%

Application method

No. of applicants (2012): 605

No. of places (2012): 61 (additional places are available as part of a Combined Award)

All full time applications are through UCAS

Having applied through UCAS, a typical offer will be within the range of 280-320 tariff points. Appropriate Key Skills points will strengthen an application, but will not be a condition of entry. GCSE Mathematics at Grade B or above will be an advantage. In addition to grades it is important to have a positive reference from a senior person in education on your UCAS form. Should your referee suggest that you are likely to gain the above grades and that you have a clear interest in psychology and are highly motivated, then an offer is likely to be made.

Course enquiries

admissions@bathspa.ac.uk

Entry requirements

280–320 UCAS Tariff points.

Career opportunities

We have been collecting information about where our graduates work for a number of years. Many of our ex-students are currently collecting the relevant experience needed for placement on the BPS professional psychology masters and doctorates. Many of our graduates wish to work in mental health and to achieve this successfully it is recommended by the British Psychological Society (BPS) that graduates obtain as much relevant experience as possible. As a consequence of this we have had students volunteering (during their degree as well as after it) for organisations as varied as ‘Childline’, ‘The Samaritans’ and ‘Talk to Frank’ – the drugs helpline before applying for Clinical Psychology Doctorate programmes.  We have several working in hospitals in jobs from orderly to assistant psychologist in preparation for their application. For other professional degrees, this is the same situation.  We have prison ‘befrienders’, and prison tutors who have graduated in psychology, who ultimately wish to study towards coming Chartered Forensic Psychologists.

The majority of graduates in psychology across the country will not become professional psychologists. Some of our graduates have gone on to train in counselling (including some that have trained at Goldsmith’s College, University of London, as well as more local providers).  Many students choose to undertake PGCEs and a number of these are gaining experience for Educational Psychology courses. Other students go into management, sales and advertising, probation work and human resources.  Psychology is an attractive option since students learn both numerative/scientific skills and ‘people-skills’.

Students graduating with Single Hons or major Hons in Psychology (accredited by the British Psychological Society) can apply directly for postgraduate training in order to work towards becoming a professional psychologist.

Those taking a combined/minor award will need to take a further year’s ‘top-up’ conversion course should they wish to apply for postgraduate training in psychology.

Employers such as Wiltshire Youth Offending Team, Care Worldwide, MBA Associates Ltd., HM Prisons and the NHS have recruited graduates from this course. Students have also gone into roles including Mentor for Youth Offenders, Social Worker, Healthcare Worker and Midwifery Research Assistant.

What students say...

Christelle Van Antwerpen, graduated 2014 from the BSc Psychology

"The course structure is very good at Bath Spa University, especially the option for neuropsychology in year three which is not offered everywhere.  I particularly enjoyed the smaller groups at Bath Spa."

"The lecturers are exceptional and go above and beyond."

Christelle is now completing an MSc in Neuropsychology while working in conjunction with Dr Jade Thai at CRIC on projects involving MS/CFS patients and examining working memory pathways.

 

External Examiners:

"I was impressed by the variety of assessments that the psychology team have in place. There are some very innovative assignments that provide an opportunity for students with different skills to do well."

"Employability issues are firmly embedded into the curriculum"