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Harry Watts – Bath Spa University

   Alumni profile   

Course studied: BSc (Hons) Geography
Graduating year: 2023

Why did you choose Bath Spa?

As well as the subject matter of the course, I chose Bath Spa because of the unique and beautiful location of the Newton Park Campus. For a Geography student, being surrounded by lakes and rolling hills was perfect – the estate at Newton Park was like an outdoor lab and we made the most of it!

Another factor in choosing BSU was the size of the geography facility, which wasn’t too large and enabled students to foster close working relationships with staff and fellow students with plenty of face-to-face contact time.

“For me, Bath Spa University struck the perfect balance between space, support and thought provoking teaching"

Why did you choose to study Geography at Bath Spa?

The course was very current and tackled global issues such Disaster Risk Reduction, Climate & Society and Coastal & River Management.

The wide breadth of modules spiked my interest in both physical and human topics, and I linked them together in my final dissertation.

The geography staff were engaging and passionate about their subjects and the assessment methods they used were varied.

What was the best thing about your course?

The opportunity to apply for, and subsequently be awarded, a research internship to Canada through Mitacs GlobaLink who align high achieving undergraduates with top ranked Canadian universities.

Additional support came in the form of the Bath Spa Global Citizenship scheme and Placement Funds available for students. After an extensive written and face-to-face interview process, I was awarded a three-month, fully-funded research internship at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada which I undertook in the summer 2022.

My research focused on a northern city in Saskatchewan called Melfort, which suffered major disruption to their drinking water when 225,000 litres of crude oil leaked into the Saskatchewan River from a fractured Husky Energy pipeline on 21 July 2016. My findings were used for a policy brief for the research group and my dissertation in my third year. More can be found here.

What did you like most about the University?

The friendly and approachable faculty staff and the compact size of the university made it easy to make friendships and integrate into university life.

There was also a wide choice of clubs and societies – I was coach of the Tennis Club in 2021-22 and President in 2022/23, and successfully increased membership numbers over the period and provided coaching programmes for all levels. The club also hosted multiple socials and awards evening and I was very proud that the club was nominated for Club of the Year at the annual Sports Awards Evening.

What have you done since finishing the course?

My favourite module from the course was the ‘Disaster Risk Reduction’ module in my third year and this prompted me to apply to University College London for an MSc in Disaster Risk & Resilience, which I am really enjoying.

I would highly recommend anyone interested in this area applying for BSc Geography to get a core understanding of hazards and the environments in which they operate. Students can engage with the Hazard, Risk and Disaster lecture series at Bath Spa which includes a diverse line-up of speakers from various sectors, discussing advancements and opportunities in the field of natural hazard management.

I am proposing to conduct my MSc research back in Somerset, looking at whether natural flood risk management approaches can reduce intensity and duration of flood events to enhance flood resilience. Following the completion of my Masters in September 2024, I will be looking for roles in flood risk management. 

“The research skills I gained in conducting international research during my BSc was the perfect prelude to undertaking an MSc. The use of ArcGIS and other software tools were a great discussion point in my application and increased my confidence and ability to use similar software on my current course”

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