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Geography

BSc (Hons)

Key facts


UCAS code

F840

Start dates

September 2019 / September 2020

Location

Headington

Course length

Full time: 3 years

Part time: up to 6 years

Department

Department of Social Sciences

UCAS Tariff Points

104

Overview


Geography at Oxford Brookes is taught around three areas in which staff have active research experience:

  • Human Origins and Landscapes through Time
  • Social and Cultural Change
  • Environment and Conservation Management.

You will learn how these issues affect everyday lives, be encouraged to discuss them critically, and think about alternative ways of solving problems associated with them.

You will understand and engage with contemporary world issues and the connections between culture, nature and landscape. Emphasis is placed on the relationship between society and its environment, and you can specialise in either physical or human-Geography, or a combination of the two. Core compulsory modules are complemented by choices at each stage of your degree. You’ll be able to select from optional modules in your first year, with a greater range on offer in your second and third years.

How to apply


Typical offers

UCAS Tariff Points: 104

A Level: BCC

IB Points: 29

BTEC: DMM

Wherever possible we make our conditional offers using the UCAS Tariff. This combination of A-level grades would be just one way of achieving the UCAS Tariff points for this course.

If you accept a Conditional offer to this course as your Firm choice through UCAS, and the offer does not include a requirement to pass an English language test or improve your English language, we may be able to make the offer Unconditional. Please check your offer carefully where this will be confirmed for each applicant.

For combined honours, normally the offer will lie between the offers quoted for each subject.

Applications are also welcomed for consideration from applicants with European qualifications, international qualifications or recognised foundation courses. For advice on eligibility please contact Admissions: admissions@brookes.ac.uk

Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

A Level: Grade C in Geography A Level

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

Please see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences

Go

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

Pathways courses for international and EU students

If you do not meet the entry requirements for this degree, or if you would like more preparation before you start, you can take an international foundation course. Once you enrol, you will have a guaranteed pathway to this degree if you pass your foundation course with the required grades.

If you only need to meet the language requirements, you can take our pre-sessional English course. You will develop key language and study skills for academic success and you will not need to take an external language test to progress to your degree.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Credit transfer

Many of our courses consider applications for entry with credit for prior learning. Each application is individually assessed by our credit entry tutors. 

If you would like more information about whether or not you may be eligible for the award of credit, for example from an HND, partly-completed degree or foundation degree, please contact our Admissions team.

We operate the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). All undergraduate single modules are equivalent to 7.5 ECTS credits and double modules to 15 ECTS credits. More about ECTS credits.

Application process

Full time Home / EU applicants

Apply through UCAS

Part time Home / EU applicants

Apply direct to the University

International applicants

Apply direct to the University

Full time applicants can also apply through UCAS

Tuition fees


Please see the fees note
Home/EU full time
£9,250

Home/EU part time
£750 per single module

International full time
£13,410

Home/EU full time
£9,250 (subject to agreement by Office for Students)

Home/EU part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time
£13,900

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees


2019/20
Home/EU full time
£9,250

Home/EU part time
£750 per single module

International full time
£13,410

2020/21
Home/EU full time
£9,250 (subject to agreement by Office for Students)

Home/EU part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time
£13,900

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Please note tuition fees for Home/EU students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students.

Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning home and EU students at the maximum permitted level.

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed below.

Financial support and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

Placements

As you organise your own placement, you will be responsible for your own travel and associated costs. Therefore we advise that you organise placements with this in mind. Oxfordshire based placements are accessible via public transport - often via the University’s subsidised BROOKESbus service, which is free to bus pass holders. Placements in London will incur higher travel costs; for example, a day return ticket on the Oxford Tube costs £14 (subject to change, for the latest fares see the Oxford Tube website). If you opt for a placement which is not local, we encourage you to explore opportunities for your placement provider to cover travel costs.

Field trips

Travel and accommodation for the single honours first year compulsory field trip, and the compulsory field trip for all geography students in the second year is included within your fees, but you will be responsible for living costs whilst you are away. This cost is dependent on location and exchange rate. You may also be required to contribute towards the cost of any additional trips for optional modules; this can involve responsibility for travel, accommodation, and living costs.

Text books

All compulsory course books are available in the library so we do not expect you to buy them. If you would like to purchase additional books to supplement your reading this is at your own discretion.

Study abroad

Tuition fees are paid as they would be if you remained in the UK, either to Oxford Brookes via your Student Loan or directly to Oxford Brookes according to your preference.

You will be responsible for all other costs such as accommodation, purchasing your airfares, travel and health insurance and visas.

Other costs

Please ensure that you have sensible footwear and a weatherproof jacket for fieldwork.

Learning and assessment


In Year 1 you will take introductory modules which prepare you for more specialised study: Introduction to Human Geography, Geography of the Oxford Region, Introduction to Environmental Geography, and Concepts in Geography.

In both years 2 and 3 you will be able to specialise in the areas of geography that interest you most. See below for the current options.

We actively encourage the development of research skills as part of our degree programme. This begins in year 1 with locally-based fieldwork in Oxford, continues through the main field course in year 2 and is enhanced in year 3. Field work is one of the cornerstones of Geography at Oxford Brookes. We provide a range of opportunities for field investigations in the Oxford region, other parts of Britain and abroad.

Geography students during a practical lesson

Study modules

Year 1

Compulsory modules

Introduction to Human Geography

What is Human Geography or, rather, what are Human Geographies? Can geography help us to understand the complex diversity of human identities and patterns of human activity? How are themes such as space and place, nature and culture involved? Does change in society and culture contribute to shaping the landscape or to creating spatial differences and inequalities? How can Human Geographers' approaches to contemporary problems and issues on the global and local scale offer insight into possible political positioning? These are some of the questions that are examined in this module.

Introduction to geographical skills and techniques

Investigating Geography

This module is designed to introduce students to a variety of topics and skills fundamental to the geography discipline. Focusing on field-based teaching, a signature pedagogy of geography, this module will be facilitated by a U.K. based, multi-day field trip, with students engaging in themes from both the physical and human perspectives. Students taking this module will be introduced to key concepts and techniques, and explore how scientific, social, economic and political geographical investigation can be integrated to address current global challenges. In recognition of the importance of fieldwork to the discipline, the module will combine with other core modules at Level 4 to provide the student cohort with the necessary background knowledge and prepare them for future modules within the geography programme.

Introduction to Physical Geography

This module introduces students to selected themes and topics in physical geography, using climate change as a context. The module incorporates a disciplinary grounding in climate change science, and then examines other areas that are inherently linked with climate change in physical geography (including environmental processes, systems and management). Throughout the module, recent and future developments of the discipline are explored.

Geographical Perspectives

Sustainability and Development

This module covers the concept of sustainability in its broader concept and in relation to urban development. Sustainable development usually includes consideration of three overlapping areas: environmental, social and economic. We will examine how arrangements for infrastructure and resource-use affect the sustainability of England's built and natural environment.

The emphasis is on the land-use planning system in England as the main mechanism to help deliver a more 'sustainable environment' but a wider perspective is also offered as a conceptual framework. Land-use planning involves mediating the use of space and creating communities where people can `live, work and relax', this module has a broad focus. It extends beyond the bio-physical components (land, buildings etc.) to include interaction with social issues (such as quality of life and equity) and economic issues (such as how to understand the value the environment brings to a sustainable economy).

Year 2

Compulsory modules

Advanced Research skills for Geographers

Development and Social Change

Why are some countries rich and others poor? Does development help or hinder growth? This module examines geographical approaches to international development. Typical issues covered include: history of development; political geography, colonialism and theories of development; development and international financial institutions; poverty, famine, and hunger; social development and participatory and community-based approaches; development as capacity building.

Environmental Hazard Management

This module examines the management of contemporary environmental processes, especially with reference to rapidly developing areas and hazardous events. It will also deal with the performance of different kinds of environmental management interventions under extreme conditions. The module's context is the ongoing ideological struggle between those environmental professionals who promote technological and those who promote ecological strategies in environmental management. Hence, it will analyse some key current debates in environmental management such as the relative efficacy of soft versus hard engineering, top-down versus bottom-up environmental regulation, technological control versus 'working with nature', sustainable versus self-sustainable development and specialist versus integrated management.

Optional modules

Biogeography

This module is designed to introduce the scientific background to biogeography and ecosystem research across a range of spatial and temporal scales. With a primary focus on terrestrial and freshwater environments, the module will explore species' distribution and ecosystem processes in response to past, current and future environmental changes. This module is heavily influenced by current global research developments. Where possible, topics for lectures and coursework will be based upon recent scientific publications, and the researcher-led case study lectures will be driven by on-going staff projects. Students electing to take this module will be introduced to key concepts and techniques in this varied and rapidly evolving field. Biogeography and ecology is a specialist area of physical geography, the study of which has crucial insights to offer regarding many current global challenges such as conservation, climate change and human impacts.

Cities: Geographies of the urban experience

This module examines the geographies of the world’s great cities from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day, with a particular emphasis on cities in North America and Western Europe. Throughout, its focus is as much on urban society as on city form, regarding people and place as inseparable.

Conservation and Heritage Management

This module examines the evolution of heritage landscapes and their conservation and management through a study of the physical and human processes that have impacted upon them. The term ‘heritage’ is broadly interpreted. The module aims to help you understand the fundamental concepts, principles and theories of environmental conservation and heritage management in line with sustainable development. It also aims to help you recognise the roles of regulatory and advisory bodies and the policies, legislation and designations involved in the protection of sites. You will demonstrate an understanding of different ecosystems, their origins and the impact of human interactions in their development.

Elvis to Punk: Historical Geographies, 1957-1977

This module provides an introduction to the field of historical geography using a case study of cultural and social change in Britain and North America in the years between 1957 and 1977. After building an understanding of the key concepts and concerns of historical geography, its central concerns lie in tracing the geographies of social movements and in examining the role played by urban hearths of creativity in the formation and diffusion of cultural production. It also highlights the role that key cities played as forums for protest and resistance in an important era of change.

Earth Systems

The Earth can be thought of as a global system, with a number of 'spheres' interacting within it at a variety of temporal and spatial scales. These 'spheres' underpin the behaviour and character of the global system that we observe. This module explores each of these spheres in turn, developing an understanding of the details of each, which are then unified at the end of the module into a single picture of the global system. This module draws upon a range of disciplines, including geology, hydrology, micro- and macro-ecology, atmospheric chemistry and physics, and computer modelling.

Geographical Information Systems

This module is concerned with concepts, components, and functions of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Students will develop a critical understanding of spatial data, including methods for data capture and spatial analysis within a GIS environment. The module involves extensive practical experience, including the creation and editing of digital maps and the incorporation of third party sources of spatial data. You will then have the opportunity to use these data for spatial analysis, modelling and decision support.

Political Geography: Place and Power

This module offers an introduction to political geography and geopolitics, critically exploring the connections between place and power. The module will address both historical and ongoing debates on how to understand spatialities and materialities of political power. The module's aim is to facilitate critical interrogation of common assumptions about (geo)politics - highlighting not only the power of geography but also geographies of power. Throughout the module, ideas are explored in light of current events, stressing empirical relevance and real-world application of political geographical thought.

Quaternary Environmental Change

We are in the grip of global warming: sea levels are rising; glaciers are melting, Arctic sea ice is thinning, meteorological events are becoming more extreme. But how do these changes compare with the environmental changes that have occurred in the past? How can they be put into perspective? What can we learn from the past to help us better understand how natural and human factors may interact to change our climate and environment in the future? Quaternary Environmental Change examines environmental changes that have taken place during the Quaternary: the last 2.6 million years of geological history and time during which humans have evolved and spread across the Earth.

The module aims to convey the relevance of palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic studies to current environmental and climatic concerns. 

Year 3

Compulsory modules

Geography Dissertation

An individual investigation of an appropriate field-based, computer-based, laboratory-based or library-based topic which includes issues of concern to geographers.

Optional modules

Geographical Futures

Arid Zone Environments

This module develops an understanding of the nature and extent of arid environments and their interaction with the global climate system. Long-term and short-term variations in climate, the nature and extent of drylands, and the rates and types of processes operating in these environments will be explored. Human impacts on drylands (desertification, salinization, deforestation) and the impact that future climate change may have on arid systems will also be examined.

Atmosphere and Climate

This module will enable you to develop a broad understanding of atmospheric science, and how observational geographical research contributes to the global "big picture" of environmental change. The module will look at how investigation of the chemical and physical nature of the atmosphere ultimately leads to informing the climate change policy-making process.

Cultural Geographies of Nature

What is nature? How is nature produced socially in the west? This module in cultural and historical geography focuses on the social and cultural significance of 'nature' in an Anglo-American context. We examine socio-cultural theories and in-depth case studies across a range of topics (from gardens and allotments to animal and genes), using a wide range of media and sources and local field study to acquire an informed and critical understanding of the inter-connections between nature and society in Britain and North America.

Dawn of Civilization

For 3 million years, early humans were nomadic hunter-gatherers whose prosperity was wholly dependent upon the ebb and flow of the climate. Then, around 10,000 years ago, there was a behavioural revolution that set into motion a series of exponential changes in human technology, subsistence, and organisation. This avalanche of development began in the region known as the Fertile Crescent, which includes the eastern Mediterranean, northern Arabia, and Mesopotamia. This module spans human history from 10,000 until 1,000 BC. We will review archaeological data, geography, the environmental record, and mythology from the world's first civilizations to understand how, where, why, and when they arose. To what extent did climate change and geography affect cultural developments in the Near East?

Future Cities

The aim of this module is to examine the ideas and principles that have underpinned thinking about the prospective reconstruction and management of metropolitan cities from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day, followed by an analysis of the trends likely to shape urban geographies in the period up to the mid-21st century.

Geographical Research and Practice

This module offers the opportunity to use the data collected in its linked prerequisite module, Geographical Enquiry and Field Research (U21126) to prepare a report in the form, for example, of an article suitable for a journal of undergraduate geographical research. You’ll be encouraged to examine in depth the links between their own data and the wider and more conceptual literature in the field. This module invites you to take a major stride forward, becoming a creator of knowledge as an individual rather than primarily a consumer.

Independent Study in Geography

This module provides an opportunity to undertake a geographical study of your own choosing. You will select a piece of individual work on an appropriate topic or set of topics to be conducted under suitable supervision and strictly subject to the approval of the module leader. No further limitations are placed on the subject matter, or method of assessment.

Oceans and the Marine Environment

This module explores the physical nature of oceans, from their chemistry, through circulatory patterns, to the influence of oceans on the global climate. By understanding the way in which oceans behave, it opens the door to understanding how all of the components of the Earth's systems fit together. This module will contain components of chemistry, physics and biology, policy and governance of our marine environment.

The Geographical Imagination (double)

A synoptic module, available at the conclusion of the geographical programme at Brookes, that invites critical reflection on how well geographers understand the world, how they should behave toward it, and the values that could shape geographical knowledge in the future. It draws equally on human and environmental geographical interests and emphasises the pervasiveness and importance of values and ethics at all levels of geographical inquiry.

The Making of the American West

This module explores of the shaping of the American West, myth and reality, since the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Adopting a cultural-historical perspective, it analyses the geographical narratives, ideologies and imaginaries that underpinned the histories of contact, the appropriation of Native American lands, processes of economic change, ecological transformation and environmental protection, and the forging of Western identities.

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

We base our teaching and learning on a philosophy of you actively participating in your own learning. Your tutor’s prime task is to initiate and supply an agenda for you to follow independently. A student support coordinator provides you with additional study support, especially during the first year.

The teaching methods used include:

  • resource-based learning seminars
  • formal debates
  • research conferences
  • role-playing and simulations
  • interactive field trails
  • laboratory analysis
  • field investigations
  • group work
  • visiting speakers
  • Lectures and seminars
  • Placement
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.)

Year 1

  • Lectures and seminars - 20%
  • Placement - 0%
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.) - 80%

Year 2

  • Lectures and seminars - 22%
  • Placement - 0%
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.) - 78%

Year 3

  • Lectures and seminars - 14%
  • Placement - 0%
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.) - 86%

Learning and teaching percentages are indicative. There may be slight year-on-year variations.

Field trips

Field work is one of the cornerstones of Geography at Oxford Brookes. We provide a range of opportunities for field investigations in the Oxford region, other parts of Britain and abroad.

During the first two years of your degree, you are introduced to geographical research techniques through practical and field courses. These courses provide training in research design, use of IT, and quantitative and qualitative methods that form the basis of geographical investigations.

As a Geography student, You will participate in a number of local field trips in your first year on the module Geography of the Oxford Region, providing an introduction to aspects of human and environmental geography. Single honours students will participate in a UK-based field course (3-4 days). In your second year, a one-week residential field course for all geography students gives you the opportunity to apply your research skills. In your final year, many students undertake independent fieldwork as part of their dissertation. The Expedition or Independent Study modules (optional) may also offer opportunities to undertake overseas fieldwork.

Destinations for the second year compulsory field trip vary from year to year, but in recent years we have visited Malta, Gibraltar and Almeria, Spain.

Assessment

Assessment methods used on this course

Assessment of specialist modules is usually by coursework, although a few modules do have an examined component.

For individual and small-group coursework assignments you will take part in project investigations; prepare brief papers, project reports and critical essays; and compose learning journals.
You will have the opportunity to use both conventional presentation and dedicated software for data analysis such as Geographical Information Systems (GIS).

  • Written exams
  • Coursework
  • Practical exams

Year 1

  • Written exams - 13%
  • Coursework - 87%
  • Practical exams - 0%

Year 2

  • Written exams - 8%
  • Coursework - 92%
  • Practical exams - 0%

Year 3

  • Written exams - 14%
  • Coursework - 86%
  • Practical exams - 0%

Assessment method percentages are indicative. There may be slight year-on-year variations.

Study Abroad


We encourage our Geography students to go on academic exchange as part of their degree course, both to broaden horizons and to increase understanding of the discipline. You can study for one or two semesters at any approved institution in Europe, the USA, Canada or Australia. We also have a special relationship with the University of Malta. The credits you earn while studying abroad will be transferred to your Oxford Brookes degree course.

After you graduate


Career prospects

A degree in Geography from Oxford Brookes will equip you with a very wide range of skills with which to enter further study or future employment.

Many of our graduates have followed vocational interests and have established careers in cartography, environmental management, conservation, leisure and tourism, and geography teaching both at secondary level and above. However, most of our geography graduates find that their broad skills base makes them attractive candidates for posts in various professions such as advertising, banking, the Civil Service, the arts and media, and services management.

Graduates have gone into roles such as Environmental Study Graduate, Development and Flood Risk Officer, Catastrophe Modelling Assistant and also roles within teaching, insurance, recruitment and sales.

Further study

Many geographers continue on to postgraduate study at Oxford Brookes or other universities including the University of Oxford and University College London, on courses such as Archaeology, Environmental Hazard Management, Modernity, Space and Place, and River and Coastal Engineering.

Our geography academics support a small group of research students studying for master’s and doctoral qualifications, and encourage new applicants.

Student profiles


Our Staff


Dr Joseph Williams

He is an expert in a range of field and laboratory based sediment core analyses, including; ecological surveys, core retrieval, processing and description, chronological establishment, fossil pollen/spore, charcoal and macroinvertebrate identification, geochemical determination, and the associated ecological interpretations of palaeolimnological records.

Read more about Joseph

Free language courses


Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Information from Discover Uni


Programme Changes: On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website.

For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.