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Geography

BSc (Hons)

Key facts


UCAS code

F840

Start dates

September 2021 / September 2022

Location

Headington

Course length

Full time: 3 years

Part time: up to 6 years

UCAS Tariff Points

112

Overview


Study the most pressing issues facing the world today - from the climate crisis and extinction, to 21st century cities.

On this course, you can become an authority on the issues you care about most - and that matter to the world around you. You’ll gain a grounding in both physical and human geography - and you can specialise, if you want. 

You’ll have the flexibility to follow your interests. You could study progressive conversation approaches, like rewilding. You could investigate desertification and resource scarcity. Or you could analyse urban protest movements, like Extinction Rebellion. 

Your learning will centre on three areas:

  • Environmental issues
  • Fieldwork
  • Geographical research skills

You’ll learn directly from expert researchers - and you’ll be closely supported all the way through. 

You’ll also carry out fieldwork - both in the UK and abroad. You’ll build hands-on skills, and you’ll investigate important issues - from coastal erosion to cultural tourism.

 

Joint honours options


You can study this course as part of a  joint honours degree. This course can be joined with:

How to apply


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

For more information about how we are supporting applicants impacted by Covid-19, please see our information for applicants page.

Standard offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 112

A Level: BBC

IB Points: 30

BTEC: DMM

Contextual offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 88

A Level: CCD

IB Points: 27

BTEC: MMM

Further offer details

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

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 (UK) full time
£9,250

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International / EU full time
£14,500

Home (UK) full time
£9,250 (subject to OfS confirmation, Sept 2021)

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module (subject to OfS confirmation, Sept 2021)

International / EU full time
£14,600

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees


2021 / 22
Home (UK) full time
£9,250

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International / EU full time
£14,500

2022 / 23
Home (UK) full time
£9,250 (subject to OfS confirmation, Sept 2021)

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module (subject to OfS confirmation, Sept 2021)

International / EU full time
£14,600

Questions about fees?

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

Please note tuition fees for Home 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 students at the maximum permitted level.

Financial support and scholarships

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

Additional costs

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.

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. 

The published course and module descriptions were accurate when first published and remain the basis of the course, but the University has had to modify some course and module content in response to government restrictions and social distancing requirements. In the event of changes made to the government advice and social distancing rules by national or local government, the University may need to make further alterations to the published course content. Detailed information on the changes will be sent to every student on confirmation in August to ensure you have all the information before you come to Oxford Brookes.

Learning and assessment


In your first year you’ll study a mix of human and physical geography. You’ll acquire skills like river surveying, geomorphological mapping, and social research skills like interviewing. You’ll learn about sustainability and sustainable development. And you’ll go on a fieldwork trip within the UK.

In your second year you’ll examine global challenges like environmental hazards and disasters. You’ll also be able to follow your interests in more specialist areas - like environmental change, geopolitics, the carbon cycle, or heritage management. And you’ll go on an international fieldwork trip.

In your final year you can specialise in physical or human geography - or continue to study a mix of both. You’ll have the flexibility to shape your learning entirely around your interests.

If you focus on physical geography, you might examine:

  • Changing oceans and marine pollution
  • Desertification and deforestation
  • Atmospheric science and climate change policy

Or if you specialise in human geography, you might explore:

  • The future of cities and urban life
  • Our cultural relationship to nature

 

Geography students during a practical lesson

Study modules

Year 1

Compulsory modules

Introduction to Human Geography

What can geography tell us about what it means to be human and how we relate to the natural world? How can we understand the complexity of human identity and culture? In this module, you’ll gain an understanding of human geography, as you investigate key themes of space and place, environment and society. You’ll gain core analytical skills for your degree, as you consider how society and culture shape our landscapes, and how spatial differences and inequalities are generated. You’ll consider how approaches in human geography can shed light on pressing political issues today. 

Introduction to Geographical Skills and Techniques

In this module, you’ll be introduced to the techniques most widely used in human and physical geographical research, including:

  • mapping
  • surveying
  • observational recording
  • focus groups, interviews and questionnaires.

The module introduces practical geographical techniques and broader academic techniques such as literature work, citations and referencing.  Although the module is largely theoretical, in preparation for the year 2 module ‘Advanced Research Skills for Geographers’, you’ll also undertake local field-based exercises, designed to demonstrate the techniques in action. You’ll be involved in tasks such as:

  • making detailed, empirical geographical observations using widely employed geographical equipment
  • locating and exploring geographical databases and archives
  • using basic digital mapping programmes to investigate the physical and human environment.

Investigating Geography

In this module, you’ll gain core skills you need to succeed in your Geography degree. You will undertake the first steps as a researcher in geography, and report on a range of geographical topics. You’ll learn how to address pressing global challenges through key geographical techniques, as well as scientific, economic and political investigation.

Introduction to Physical Geography

In this module you’ll examine key themes and topics in physical geography, using climate change as an overarching context. You’ll gain a geographical grounding in climate change science and examine core areas that relate to climate change in physical geography, including environmental processes, systems and management linked to climate change. You’ll explore recent and future developments in physical geography.

Geographical Perspectives

What makes a geographer? What does a practising professional geographer do? This module will help you answer these questions, as you discover more about geography as a discipline, a set of spatial practices and a profession. You’ll explore concepts associated with geographical keywords (such as space, place and landscape), and cover topics from geographical histories to contemporary issues. You’ll look at how human and physical geography features in the news and current debates. You’ll learn more about research and writing about geography for a range of audiences.
 

Sustainability and Development

How can we build sustainable environments in which we can live, work and relax? In this module, you’ll learn about sustainability and the three overlapping issues of sustainable development - environmental, social and economic. You’ll examine how infrastructure and resource-use affect the sustainability of England’s built and natural environment.

You’ll gain knowledge of the land-use planning system in England, and how it can help to deliver a more sustainable environment. You'll explore sustainable development through a broad focus, to consider bio-physical components (land, water, biodiversity, buildings), 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

Field work is at the heart of our geography course and this module helps you develop the practical and research skills you’ll need. During this module you will develop essential knowledge and skills in research methods and data analysis. With guidance, you’ll undertake a substantive piece of research, which you’ll conduct during the residential field trip. The research capabilities you build will be invaluable, both for your dissertation and your career after Oxford Brookes.

Development and Global Change

Why are some countries rich and others poor? What does development mean exactly - economic growth, social justice, or environmental sustainability? Does development help countries, or stop them growing? How do grassroots movements emerge, and how do they resist global inequality? In this module, you’ll look at geographical approaches to international development (the idea that different countries have differing levels of ‘development’ internationally). You’ll understand issues, including:

  • histories of international development and globalisation
  • political geography and colonialism
  • theories of development
  • international development institutions, such as the United Nations
  • poverty and inequality
  • social development and social justice
  • participatory and community-based approaches
  • sustainable development
  • climate change adaptation
  • vulnerability to natural disasters.

Environmental Hazard Management

In this module you will develop an understanding of the way that environmental processes can become potential hazards. You will study how hazards sometimes become disasters and the measures used to manage disasters and mitigate risk. You will explore contemporary approaches to environmental hazard / disaster management including: the efficacy of Aid; the role of the military in disaster relief; whether forecasting really saves lives; and the role of the mass media and new technology in disaster management. You will get to investigate real case studies and present your work individually and as part of a team.

Optional modules

Biogeography

How can a knowledge of the world’s species help solve climate change and conservation issues? In this module, you’ll get to know biogeography (the study of species and ecosystems through time and space). You’ll explore the scientific background of ecosystem research, focusing on freshwater and terrestrial (land) environments. You’ll investigate the distribution of species and ecosystems in response to past, current and future environmental changes. Your learning will be informed by the latest global research, and your assignments based upon the most recent scientific publications. 

Cities: Geographies of the Urban Experience

In Cities: Geographies of the Urban Experience, you will be introduced to urban geography. Throughout the module, you will explore a range of ways in which cities shape, and are shaped by people. From the modern architectural movement, to protest and public space, you will learn about the central role that cities play in politics and everyday life. Central to the module is understanding the ways in which inequality is built into urban life, and what we can do to challenge it.

Conservation and Heritage Management

In this module, you’ll explore heritage landscapes, and their identity as places of cultural or community value. You’ll study some of the world’s most magnificent heritage as you consider how heritage landscapes have evolved over time. You’ll look at their conservation and management, and the physical and human impact upon them. You’ll get to grips with the core concepts and themes of environmental conservation, heritage management and sustainable development. You’ll understand the rules and regulations, as well as the roles of advisors, in how we protect sites. You’ll also build up knowledge of different ecosystems, their origins and how human interactions impact their development. 

Elvis to Punk: Historical Geographies (1957-1977)

This module introduces you to historical geography: the study of the geographies of the past and how the past is represented in geographies of the present. This module encourages you to think critically about questions of representation, visual media and suitable forms of analysis. It also encourages you to pose questions about politics and ethics, and to then apply those skills and knowledge to case studies. You’ll explore cultural and social change in Britain and North America between 1957 and 1977, tracing the geographies of social movements, and the role that key cities played as forums for creativity, protest and resistance during an important era of cultural and social change.

Earth Systems

In this module, you’ll gain an understanding of The Earth as a global system. You’ll consider it in terms of spheres: the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere, each interacting in different scales of time and space. You’ll gain core information you need to succeed in physical geography, as you understand how these spheres underpin the character and behaviour of the global system that we observe. You’ll explore each of these spheres in detail, gaining a whole picture of the global system. To do this you will engage with a range of disciplines, including:

  • geology
  • hydrology
  • micro- and macro-ecology
  • atmospheric chemistry
  • physics
  • computer modelling.

Geographical Information Systems

This module gives you a grounding in the concepts, components and functions of Geographical Information Systems (GIS). You’ll develop knowledge and understanding of spatial data, including methods for data capture and spatial analysis within a GIS environment. You’ll acquire extensive practical experience using the industry standard GIS software, developing skills in creating and editing digital maps and incorporating third party sources of spatial data. You’ll be able to use this data for spatial analysis, modelling and decision support, and gain valuable skills for your future career.

Independent Study: Work and Community Related Learning

In this module, you’ll have the chance to do some work experience closely linked to your Geography course. You might be an intern with a company, or working as a volunteer in the local community, or you might have a role in the university, for example as a student ambassador. Your tutors will advise you, but you’ll be in charge of the direction you take and the learning opportunity involved. 

With careful thinking about what you want to achieve and how the work you do will support your learning, you’ll gain a better understanding of the world of work. You may also develop a stronger sense of the career you’d like after Brookes. Whatever the focus of your independent study, you’ll notice the benefits, whether it’s the satisfaction gained from volunteering, the new knowledge you’ve gained or the skills you’ve improved.

Political Geography: Place and Power

What are the connections between place and power? This module introduces you to political geography and geopolitics. You’ll look at both historical and ongoing debates to enable you to understand the spatial and material relations of political power, including territory, borders, mobility, security, nations, nationalism, sovereignty and environmental politics. You’ll interrogate and challenge common assumptions about geopolitics and explore geographical ideas in the light of current events, emphasising the relevance and real-world application of political geographical thought.

Quaternary Environmental Change

Sea levels are rising; glaciers are melting; Arctic sea ice is thinning and weather events are becoming more extreme. We are in the grip of global warming. But how do these changes compare with the environmental changes that have occurred in the past? What does the past teach us about how natural and human factors may interact to change our climate and environment in the future? 

In this module you’ll examine changes to the physical environment throughout the Quaternary: the last 2.6 million years of geological history and time during which humans have evolved and spread across the earth. You’ll examine the causes of climatic and environmental change over different timescales and the complex interactions between human impacts and natural processes, gaining perspective on current environmental and climatic concerns.

Year 3

Compulsory modules

Geography Dissertation

This module gives you the chance to do an independent investigation on a topic that fascinates you. Whether you’re creating a field-based, computer-based, laboratory-based or library-based topic, you’ll gain core skills for your future career and shape your project around your passions. 

Optional modules

Geographical Futures: Imagination and Practice

In this module, you’ll reflect critically on the nature and continuing purpose of human and physical geographical enquiry in the 21st century. You’ll review the main schools of geographical thought and how their world views have shaped modern geography and engage with the concept of the geographical imagination. You’ll identify the core values, challenges, visions and emerging practices likely to shape geographical knowledge in the future. And you’ll work on a proposal for a research conference paper, with guidance on how to craft a conference paper and write and present it at a professional standard.

Arid Zone Environments

What is the nature and extent of arid environments and how do they interact with the global climate system? In this module you’ll gain knowledge of:

  • long-term and short-term variations in climate
  • the nature and extent of drylands
  • the rates and types of processes operating in these environments.

You’ll also look at human impacts on drylands, including desertification, salinization (increasing salt content in soils) and deforestation, and consider the impact that future climate change may have on arid systems.

Atmosphere and Climate

In this module, you’ll learn about atmospheric science. You’ll gain a broad understanding of how observational geographical research adds to the global ‘big picture’ of environmental change. You’ll look at how investigating the physical and chemical nature of the atmosphere informs the climate change policy-making process.

Cultural Geographies of Nature

What is nature? Where is nature? From gardens and museums to animals and genes, in this module, you’ll examine the social and cultural significance of nature in Britain and North America. You’ll use social and cultural theories to investigate a range of historical and contemporary case studies, exploring diverse topics, issues and locations. You’ll gain important analytical skills for your degree and future career as you interpret a range of media, sources and local field study to gain a critical understanding of the connections between nature, society and space.

Dawn of Civilization

How did the modern world come to be? The answer to this question lies in an understanding of the relationships between climate, landscape and society in Southwest Asia between 20,000 and 5,000 years ago. At the beginning of this period, during the height of the ice age, human communities existed as nomadic hunter gatherers. But by the end of this time, during the warmer Holocene period, many inhabitants of the region were living in the world’s first cities, engaging in agriculture, long distance trade and warfare. 

In this module, you’ll examine the archaeological and palaeoclimatic evidence for these complex transformations. You’ll look at how, when and where they took place, focusing on the role of climate change and landscape on social, technological and economic processes. You’ll develop key skills in evaluating evidence, theories, methods and analytical techniques.

Future Cities

What will cities look like in fifty years? What did thinkers from the mid-nineteenth century to today propose about how to reconstruct and manage urban life? From global warming to ageing populations, you'll examine the trends that are shaping the cities of the future, and gain key analytical skills as you consider how cities might best adapt to these challenges. As with the Year 2 Cities module, we’ll focus on urban society as much as on city form, regarding people and place as inseparable.

Geographical Research and Practice

In this module you’ll advance your writing skills and take a major stride forward as the creator of geographical knowledge, using the data you collected on the module Advanced Research Skills for Geographers to prepare a report. This will either take the form of a research article that might be publishable in a journal of undergraduate geographical research, or a methodological paper, that might be publishable in a research skills guide for other students. You’ll hone your critical and analytical skills as you examine in depth the links between your own data and wider research and literature in the field.

Independent Study in Geography

This module gives you the chance to carry out independent research on a topic that fascinates you. You’ll have the help of an expert tutor, as you decide on a topic based on a unique and interesting subject. You’ll gain core research and project management skills for your future career, as you create, manage and complete your own project. 

Oceans and the Marine Environment

In this module you’ll explore the physical nature of oceans, from their chemical composition and circulation to the influence of oceans on the global climate system. By understanding the way in which oceans behave, we can comprehend how all of the components of the Earth’s systems fit together. You’ll explore topics ranging from the physics and biology of oceans to records of past ocean change, from marine pollution to ocean policy and governance of our marine environment.

The Making of the American West

In this module, you’ll explore the shaping of the American West through myth and reality since the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 (when the United States acquired Louisiana from the French colonial powers, doubling the size of the country) to the present day. You’ll develop critical analytical skills, using perspectives from cultural and historical geography to examine the geographical narratives and ideologies behind 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

You’ll learn in many different ways as you study. This will make the most of your skills - wherever your strengths lie and whatever your learning style.

You’ll experience teaching methods like:

  • Seminars and lectures
  • Field investigations
  • Lab experiments and analysis
  • Simulations
  • Research conferences
  • Debates
  • Interactive field trails
  • Group work
  • Visiting speakers

Field trips

On this course, you’ll carry out field work both in the UK and overseas. 

In your first year, if you’re a single honours student, you’ll go on a three-day field trip in the UK, where you’ll examine key geographic issues, on-site. You might analyse river quality or river flow. You might explore changing mountain environments - like areas once covered by glaciers. You might examine national identities and sense of place. Or you might learn about urban regeneration and the politics of changing landscapes.

In your second year, you’ll carry out field work overseas. You’ll work with a small project team to research a specific issue. You might examine issues like:

  • Coastal erosion
  • Water management
  • Management of UNESCO World Heritage sites
  • Cultural tourism

You’ll be guided all the way through by one of your tutors - and you’ll emerge with confident research, project-management and team working skills.

You’ll really get to know your coursemates and your tutors well during your fieldwork. You’ll be part of a close-knit course community, and you’ll build supportive relationships with your tutors. You’ll start to feel more comfortable sharing your perspectives, and you’ll become more confident collaborating with your coursemates on projects and coursework.

The costs of travel and accommodation on all compulsory field trips are covered by the University.

 

Assessment

Assessment methods used on this course

Your learning will be assessed by coursework. And you’ll carry out your coursework both individually, and in small groups. You’ll run project investigations, write reports and essays, create digital stories, compile portfolios and compose learning journals.  You’ll also have the chance to use dedicated data analysis software, like Geographical Information Systems (GIS).

Your coursework will be directly relevant to the changing world around you. You might write a report assessing carbon levels in our atmosphere. Or you might make a short film on sustainable development and climate action.

 

Study Abroad


You may be able to go on a European or international study exchange while you are at Oxford Brookes. Although we will help as much as we can with your plans, ultimately you are responsible for organising and funding this study abroad.

After you graduate


Career prospects

You’ll graduate with the skills and knowledge to launch your career. You’ll have confident scientific and lab skills, and you’ll know how to research and interpret data. You’ll have keen environmental and social awareness, practised fieldwork techniques and a knowledge of GIS.

You might progress into fields like environmental management, conservation, leisure and tourism or teaching. And our graduates work in areas like:

  • Environment and sustainability consultancy
  • AI automation logistics
  • Urban planning
  • Specialist GIS roles

You might start a career fighting slavery and trafficking at an NGO. Or you might work in conservation at a world heritage site. Or you might even found your own social media brand. Our graduates work in all of these areas.

You’ll also graduate with a set of sought-after transferable skills - like data analysis, project management, team working and collaboration. This will equip you for careers in areas like advertising, finance, the civil service, and arts and media. 

 

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 Joe 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 Joe

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


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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.