Geography and environment - How to choose the right course

Geography and environment - How to choose the right course

Geography and environment - How to choose the right course

Geography and environment courses - what's the difference, and which one is right for you?

Climate change is becoming hard to ignore. With the emergence of national reports from such bodies as the United Nations and the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), as a society we are becoming more and more aware that ever-pressing work needs to be done to address and solve relevant environmental and climate related problems, including energy consumption, disaster resistance, and the creation of renewable resources.

At Bath Spa, we believe that a new generation of thinkers can address and even solve some of these problems, which is why we offer a number of Environmental courses to suit a growing need for new thought and energy in this rapidly expanding sector. We recognise that feeling of helplessness when reading the news - and we can help you turn your anger and energy into training and practical solutions.

Our thriving Geography and Environmental studies departments are doing innovative, on the ground work to address a number of climate related problems, including managing flood risk in vulnerable sites in India, or making interdisciplinary art that calls awareness to the problem. We do this while also being based on a rural campus - a veritable landscape laboratory - that is certified green and eco-friendly, right down to our food sources, and even our chewing gum recycling (yes, you read that right!)

Read on to find out about what our different departments do, and how they can help you turn your passion into action.


Geography is about places and people. It’s about understanding why "here" differs from "there", how people's lives vary, and how our own lives are dependent on people and places, near and far. It’s a science with far-reaching implications, exploring the intersections between culture, landscape, and climate.

Depending on where your passion lies, at Bath Spa you can choose from a number of pathways - such as Human Geography or Physical Geography. Human Geography is the study of people, communities and culture and their interaction with space and place, while Physical Geography will focus you on the natural environment and its ecosystems and atmospheres. 

Whatever course you choose, we believe that study of the world should be rooted in just that - the outside world. All of our Geography courses will expose you to new environments and landscapes, including local sites in England such as Avebury, the Mendips, the Somerset Levels, and the Royal Geographical Society in London. But because the world is more than just on your doorstep, we also will expand your horizons further afield with trips to such places as Spain, Northern India and Zambia.

If travel and culture is something that ignites you, you also have the option to take part in our Erasmus + and exchange opportunities, or you can look into our Global Citizenship certificate, which you can study alongside your course.

Environmental Science

Climate change, pollution, loss of biodiversity, environmental mismanagement, energy use, waste management, sustainability, and protection of natural systems are among the planet’s most pressing problems. We’ll help you understand these issues and develop the skills to do something about them with our Environmental Science degree.

Fieldwork and practical work is an important part of the course; you’ll go beyond the lecture theatre to study a range of environments and habitats. Our own Newton Park campus has a rich variety of terrestrial and aquatic environments, but we also offer opportunities to venture further afield, in day-long and residential field trips in the UK and abroad.

Conservation Biology

Conservation Biology is a pathway, along with Human Biology, where you can specialise as part of studying BSc (Hons) Biology with us. Each are considered courses in their own right, but you can switch to a specialisation if you decide to do so later in your studies. 

In addition to core Biology topics - such as cell biology and genetics, microbes and anatomy - Conservation Biology will allow you to focus on practical real world biological applications, such as examining issues in ethics and biosecurity, ecology, and public education and resilience.

You can choose to continue your studies as part of our MA Environmental Management degree, or if you lean more towards a Humanities based analysis of your subject, you can continue to specialise with our MA Environmental Humanities programme. 

Global Development and Sustainability

Do you want to respond to contemporary climate issues and changes, exploring the mix of geographical, political and sociological factors that play into sustainable (or unsustainable) living? Our BSc (Hons) Global Development and Sustainability course will provide you with a broader curriculum through which develop practical solutions to pressing modern problems.

You’ll explore topics including development theories, sustainability in a variety of contexts, globalisation, food supply, inequality, environmental issues, natural hazards, education, and renewable energy options. Field work is an integral part of this course, and you'll be able to take part in a number of field days and residential fieldwork opportunities overseas, including visits to places like Northern India, Zambia and Spain.

Still can't decide? Here are a few tips.

  • Where does your passion lie? For example, do you like to know the details or the source of things, or do you like seeing a broader, more complex picture? Are you more drawn to land, humans or animals? Make a list of articles, topics, or authors that you like on the subject and see where they focus, and if there are any trends in what you find interesting.
  • Talk to us. If you aren't sure if a course is for you, contact the course leader (contact info is at the bottom of each course page) and ask questions, or visit us at an Open Day. 
  • You're allowed to change your mind. If you start on one course, and find yourself heading in another direction, you can follow a specialised pathway, or change courses altogether. We are here to help you find you, and we'll give you the support and tools you need to get you where you want to be.
Disclaimer: The Bath Spa blog is a platform for individual voices and views from the University's community. Any views or opinions represented in individual posts are personal, belonging solely to the author of that post, and do not represent the views of other Bath Spa staff, or Bath Spa University as an institution.



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