Geography and Sociology

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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 course for individuals interested in social issues, who want to help make the world a better place.

  • In our fast-changing world, Sociology is exciting, relevant and provides important skills
  • Sociology helps you become more informed and to think smarter
  • You’ll learn how to think creatively, to problems solve and make better decisions

“Sociology helps me piece things together and see the world how it really is. The campus at Bath Spa is beautiful! It’s a really peaceful place to think and the lecturers are passionate about what they teach.”
– Kirsty Taylor, Sociology student

Why study Sociology?

Do you want to know more about the world we live in? Do you care about the world and want to make a difference? If so, you’re well-suited to this Sociology course.

Sociology is the study of societies, cultures, and groups. We live in complex societies with laws and informal rules that govern how we interact. Sociology helps you to understand more about yourself, others and the way society is organised.

Course structure

You’re taught about society, social groups and social organisation. You’ll learn about social problems and social policies. You’ll be able to make sense of social change and conflict. You’ll have a good understanding of social differences, inequalities and social divisions. You’ll be able to apply your knowledge and skills to specific problems and issues to help you to be good decision-maker

Modules

  • Year 1
    You’ll be introduced to Sociology as well as to the techniques and philosophies of the social sciences. You will focus on identities – starting out thinking about your own identity then building your knowledge and understanding so that you are more familiar with social divisions, social structures and the influence of culture. You’ll also learn how to visualize the most important components of society.
  • Year 2
    The second year builds on the first and enables you to begin to learn about the history and important ideas in Sociology. You can also specialise in more specific areas of Sociology such as education, crime, work, age and gender. You also get practical training in research skills – formulating and implementing a research strategy, analysing findings, using evidence to reach an informed conclusion – these are the essential problem solving skills that enable you to complete your final year project and also for the kind of employment that you’ll typically undertake as a sociology graduate.
  • Year 3
    You’ll concentrate on an aspect of sociology that most interests you in a dissertation with the support of a member of staff as a supervisor. You can also focus on more detailed subjects such as globalisation, the state, health, families, the environment or ethnicity and racism.

Course assessment

Assessments vary and include essays, reports, book and article reviews, seen and unseen examinations, web wikis, portfolios, projects, learning journals, individual and group work, videos and screencasts, research projects.

Sociology at Bath Spa provides plenty of choice within a flexible structure with opportunities to gain a good general grounding in a broad range of social science subjects. This can be an advantage if you’re not quite sure exactly what you want to study.

Teaching methods

Study abroad

We have opportunities for you to study abroad through our Erasmus+ Sociology links. We also offer you other overseas learning opportunities including an optional international field trip to India in your second year.

Field trips

We run optional visits to places such as criminal justice institutions and religious places of worship. You can take a dedicated field-trip module.

Work placements, industry links and internships

We have a wide range of placement opportunities, links with professionals and we invite our sociology graduates back to meet with you. Optional modules have links with professionals and visiting speakers built into the teaching and learning. This means you’ll learn about the real-world application of what you're learning and make more informed decisions about your future career.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

Course enquiries

To contact the department directly, please call Rosemary McKechnie on 0122 587 5599 or e-mail: r.mckechnie@bathspa.ac.uk

Entry requirements

260–300 UCAS Tariff points.

Career opportunities

A Sociology degree is useful for any career that involves working with people, either in the private, public or 'third' sectors, typically:

  • Management or administration in the public or private sector
  • Human resource management or marketing
  • Media or journalism
  • Social work
  • Health education or nursing
  • Law
  • The police
  • Penal institutions
  • Probation and working with offenders
  • Work in the voluntary sector
  • Social research

Since 2011, employers such as the National Osteoporosis Society, the Ministry of Defence, Wiltshire Council and Truro College have recruited graduates from this course. Students have also gone into roles including Assistant Education Officer, Student Services Assistant and Relocation Advisor.

What students say...

Graduate profile: Anna Brent, graduated 2004

“I studied Sociology alongside Study of Religions. After a year in recruitment I decided to move into HR to focus on more of the ‘people’ aspect, and got a job as a HR Administrator at KPMG. I am now a HR Business Advisor and continue to work and enjoy my time there.

I look back at my three years at Bath Spa with a smile. There were some turbulent times, financially, meeting deadlines and dealing with the mix of different personalities, but overall the experience made me stronger and prepared me well for the world of work in building relationships, managing my income and helping to organise and prioritise my work. After 10 years I am very proud to say that all the girls I living with in hall of residence we are all still friends and have attended each other’s weddings and see each other at 2–3 times a year. You all hold a special bond with the people you go to university with.”