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Geography

BSc (Hons) - single BA (Hons) / BSc (Hons) - combined

Department of Social Sciences

This course explores contemporary issues that affect our everyday lives such as globalisation, sustainability, environmental management, conservation, geoarchaeology, nature and society, the problems of contemporary cities, and culture and landscape; as well as alternative ways of solving the problems associated with them.  

Our field-study-based programme is supported by laboratory facilities that enable you to perform scientific tests ranging from detailed soil analysis of core samples gathered on field trips, to experimental modelling and rainfall simulation.

This is a popular course that scores highly in the National Student Survey. In 2016, 95% of our students reported that they were satisfied with this course (source: Unistats 2016).

We've reviewed our combinations for this course for 2018 entry - please check the current list of combined honours options in 'Combining this course with another subject'

Typical offers

UCAS Tariff points: 112 - preferably including Geography

Available start dates

September 2018 / September 2019

Teaching location

Headington Campus

Course length

  • Full time: 3 years
  • Part time: up to 6 years

UCAS code

F840

For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

  • We pride ourselves on our internationally recognised, long-term track record of innovative, research-led teaching and learning. This means that you are taught and supported by staff with research interests that link directly to your studies. 
  • Within six months of graduating with a Geography degree, 90% of all students were employed or engaged in further study, so you can feel confident in your investment at Oxford Brookes (Source: Unistats 2016).
  • Content is organised around three areas in which staff have active research experience: Human Origins and Landscapes through Time, Social and Cultural Change, and 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.
  • This course helps you to understand and engage with important contemporary world issues and the intimate connections between culture, nature and landscape. Emphasis is placed on the relationship between society and its environment, both physical and human-constructed. 
  • Oxfordshire's beautiful countryside offers plenty of local field-trip opportunities and the cosmopolitan and vibrant city centre boasts internationally renowned museums along with a wide range of social and cultural diversity.
  • 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. You can focus on either Human Geography or Physical Geography as well as the inter-relations between them.

Core modules introduce the geographical perspectives on cultural and environmental problems, and different approaches to their causes and solutions.

In Year 1 you will take introductory modules which prepare you for more specialised study. The four modules are: Introduction to Human Geography, Geography of the Oxford Region, Introduction to Environmental Geography, and Concepts in Geography. You will also be recommended to take a selection of specialist modules, including Introduction to Prehistoric Archaeology and Environmental Sustainability. These courses all involve both individual and group work, and The Geography of the Oxford Region involves fieldwork. 

In Year 2 the compulsory Geographical Enquiry and Field Research double module emphasise the importance of fieldwork as part of your research methods training. You will undertake fieldwork as part of a residential course that gives you the opportunity to design and carry out your own research.

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.

Study modules

Study is undertaken at three levels which broadly correspond to the first, second and third year of full-time academic study.

Full-time students are required to pass a minimum of 24 modules over the three year period in order to qualify for an honours degree. Each module has a credit rating of 15 points. Each level comprises 120 credits and students must receive 360 credits in total to graduate with a BA/BSc (Hons) degree.

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.

Year 1

The Geography course offers three/four compulsory single modules:

  • Introduction to Human Geography (Semester 1, single and combined honours)
  • Geography of the Oxford Region (Semester 1, single and combined honours)
  • Introduction to Environmental Geography (Semester 2, single and combined honours)
  • Concepts in Geography (Semester 2, compulsory for single honours, recommended for combined honours).

Recommended modules include:

  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Deep History

Other optional modules can be selected from a range offered by the Department of Social Sciences.

Years 2 and 3

Year 2 has one compulsory core double module which runs across both semesters:

  • Geographical Enquiry and Field Research

You will also have a range of advanced optional modules from which to choose. They emphasise the practice of enquiry and research in context with specialist areas of staff expertise in the discipline. These modules are:

  • Cities: Geographies of the Urban Experience
  • Conservation and Heritage Management
  • Culture and Global Change
  • Development and Social Change
  • Environmental Decision Making
  • Environmental Hazard Management
  • Earth Systems
  • Geographical Information Systems
  • Human Evolutionary Biology and Geography
  • Independent Study: Work and Community Related Learning.

In your final year, if you are following the single honours degree programme, you will undertake a dissertation, which is a double module. If you are following the combined honours degree programme the geography dissertation is optional; you may choose to undertake an interdisciplinary project with your combined honours subject, or take a taught double module as an alternative.  

You will choose from a selection of advanced honours modules which deal with the material of geography at a higher level of abstraction, require greater independent research, provide opportunities for reflective practice and prepare you for the world of work:

  • Arid Zone Environments
  • Atmosphere and Climate
  • Cultural Geographies of Nature
  • Dawn of Civilisation 
  • Expedition
  • Future Cities
  • Geographical Research and Practise
  • Geography Dissertation (double, compulsory for single honours, optional for combined honours)
  • Independent Study
  • The Geographical Imagination (double)

These modules enable you to specialise and also draw upon your knowledge of the three central themes of social and cultural change, environmental management and human origins.

 

Modules in detail » Module diagrams »

 

Work placements

Geographers have undertaken work placements at a variety of NGOs, sometimes as part of their own research projects. These include management support roles with Oxfordshire's Wychwood Volunteers and participation in the International Citizenship Service programme with Operation Raleigh on a community project in India. 

The module Independent Study: Work and Community Related Learning provides opportunities for students to develop an academic programme of study alongside work experience, community work or volunteering.

Students organise placements themselves, and are responsible for their own travel and associated costs, therefore it is advised that they organise placements bearing 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). It is encouraged that students explore opportunities for their placement provider to cover travel costs if they opt for a placement which is not local. 

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.

You will participate in a number of local field trips in your first year, providing an introduction to aspects of human and environmental geography. In your second year, a one-week residential field course 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 module (optional) may also offer opportunities to undertake overseas fieldwork.  

Where will I go?

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.

How much will it cost?

Travel and accommodation for your compulsory field trip 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.

 

Additional costs

We do not expect students to purchase any compulsory course books, as they are all available in the library. If students wish to purchase additional books to supplement their reading this is at their own discretion.

It is advised that students ensure that they have sensible footwear and a weatherproof jacket for fieldwork.

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.

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.

For more information about exchanges, European work placements and other study abroad programmes, visit our pages on studying abroad and exchanges

Free language courses for students - the Open Module

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.

Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:

  • studying at a Brookes partner college
  • studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.

Attendance pattern

Most formal classes are held between 09:00 and 17:00 during the working week. The main exceptions are formal fieldwork classes, which may also be organised across the weekends.

Undergraduate research

Research is not just for postgraduates. From your second year onwards we encourage you to become actively involved in research design through both your field work and project work.

In your final year, the dissertation is an extended piece of original research that offers the opportunity to specialise  on a geographical topic of your choice; combined honours students may  choose to combine both subjects in an interdisciplinary project. There is also an excellent opportunity to write and publish original research in Geoverse, our in-house journal of undergraduate research.

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.

Teaching and learning

The department has a long-standing reputation for innovative development of course content and teaching methods involving student activity and participation. We positively encourage students to give us feedback on the course and to play an active part in decision making. 

We base our teaching and learning on a philosophy of you actively participating in your own learning, rather than being the passive recipient of communicated information. 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 pioneered in the department
  • laboratory analysis
  • field investigations.

Group work is used in many modules, helping you to develop team-working skills that are much valued by both employers and graduates. Group work is also an essential safeguard for students working in the field.

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 when you are encouraged to write up the results of your field research for submission for possible publication in Geoverse, the online student geographical research journal edited at Oxford Brookes University.

Time spent in different learning activities

Year Lectures, seminars or similar Independent study Placement
1 20%80%0%
2 22%78%0%
3 14%86%0%
Year Lectures, seminars or similar Independent study Placement
1 21%79%0%
2 24%76%0%
3 16%84%0%
Year Lectures, seminars or similar Independent study Placement
1 18%82%0%
2 20%80%0%
3 20%80%0%
Year Lectures, seminars or similar Independent study Placement
1 18%82%0%
2 22%78%0%
3 9%91%0%
Year Lectures, seminars or similar Independent study Placement
1 19%81%0%
2 21%79%0%
3 17%83%0%

Approach to assessment

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

You will be encouraged to self-assess your performance in submitted coursework so you can develop self-awareness of the qualities of your work you create to help you achieve continual improvement.

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).

Breakdown of assessment methods used on this course

Year Written exams Practical exams Coursework
1 13%0%88%
2 8%0%93%
3 14%0%86%
Year Written exams Practical exams Coursework
1 13%0%88%
2 8%0%93%
3 8%0%93%
Year Written exams Practical exams Coursework
1 8%0%93%
2 8%0%93%
3 0%0%100%
Year Written exams Practical exams Coursework
1 13%0%88%
2 8%0%93%
3 0%0%100%
Year Written exams Practical exams Coursework
1 13%0%88%
2 14%0%86%
3 0%0%100%

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time fee: 2018/19: £9,250. 2019/20: £9,250.

Home/EU - part time fee: 2018/19: £750 per single module. 2019/20: £750 per single module.

International - full time: 2018/19: £13,150 2019/20: £13,410

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 in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088
finance-fees@brookes.ac.uk

Funding and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see:

Typical offers

UCAS Tariff points: 112 - preferably including Geography

A-Level: BBC or equivalent to include Geography A level (single) or BBC or equivalent (combined)

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.

IB Diploma: 30 points

BTEC: DMM

 

Other typical offers include:

  • BB at A-level and CC at AS-level
  • vocational A-levels at equivalent grades.

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

Other academic qualifications that fulfil the entry requirements include:

  • a recognised foundation or access course
  • European Baccalaureate.

Further EU qualifications are also accepted; for more details please contact admissions@brookes.ac.uk.

Specific entry requirements

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

Please see the University's standard 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.

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.

How to apply

Full-time students should apply for this course through UCAS.

 Part-time students should apply directly to the University.

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

Oxford Brookes operates 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.

Why Oxford is a great place to study this course

Oxford truly is a student city - one in five of the population is a student. Vibrant, cosmopolitan and surrounded by fantastic countryside, it attracts students and staff from an exceptionally wide range of social and cultural backgrounds - so you’ll be learning in a diverse national and international community.

The beautiful countryside around Oxford offers plenty of local field-trip opportunities and the cosmopolitan and vibrant city centre boasts internationally renowned museums along with a wide range of social and cultural diversity.

Oxford is recognised internationally as an educational, scientific and technological centre of excellence. The city has one of the highest concentrations of non-governmental organisations outside London, including People and Planet, Oxfam, and Platform 51 (formerly YWCA). Moreover, there are more science parks in Oxfordshire than any other county in the UK.

Support for students studying Geography

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

As a geography student, you will have access to a range of written, audio and visual materials to enrich your learning. Students needing advice on sourcing information for a particular assignment have the support of a dedicated subject librarian. These librarians offer in-depth knowledge of the wide range of electronic and paper resources available to geographers and are able to give subject-focused help, offer searching tips and will help you learn how to use the information effectively.

In addition, the department operates a system of office surgery hours, which are open to all students.

Specialist facilities

The geography laboratory has the facilities to enable you to perform a number of scientific tests ranging from detailed soil analysis of core samples gathered on field trips, to experimental modelling and rainfall simulation. Work in the lab is supported by a dedicated technician.

There is a dedicated Resources Room which provides an informal and helpful environment for study. Geographers embarking on field trips can also take advantage of our lending service, offering both essential and specialist pieces of equipment from compasses to soil testing kits.

General support services

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Personal support services

We want your time at Brookes to be as enjoyable and successful as possible. That's why we provide all the facilities you need to be relaxed, happy and healthy throughout your studies.

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.