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Undergraduate study
 

Course overview

Studying geography is to study the complex relationships between physical and human systems that shape our world.

In a rapidly changing world geography has an important role to play. Uniting different areas of knowledge and research, geographers can play a major role in tackling the global challenges that face the world. This course reflects the core themes of modern geography, considering both the natural processes that shape our changing environment, and the social and cultural structures that influence how our society functions.

The three core themes are:

1 Geographical processes and change
2 Human geography and sustainable futures
3 Biogeography and conservation

We prioritise delivering a relevant and applied programme, with many opportunities to explore learning opportunities outside of the classroom and engage with current issues in the world.

An integrated approach to geography This course adopts an integrated approach, and you will take modules covering all three core themes which means you will investigate the interactions between natural systems and processes, and social and cultural practices. You will also engage with the grand challenges facing the world, such as climate change, urban development and biodiversity conservation, applying diverse geographical insight into the most pressing issues of our time.

Fieldwork teaching We prioritise opportunities for learning outside the classroom, allowing you to apply your knowledge and skills to real world challenges and environments. The University’s location offers excellent opportunities to explore natural and human systems, and their interactions, from the North York Moors, Yorkshire Dales, and North East coast, areas shaped by environmental change and management, to the dynamic city of Middlesbrough, affected by rapid urban and social change. Our overseas, residential fieldtrip in your final year allows you to translate your theoretical knowledge and practical skills gained through the course into a new environment.

Research-led teaching Studying geography at Teesside University means you will learn within a vibrant research-active environment, with staff engaged in research across human and physical geography, and connected disciplines. In your second and final years you will have the opportunity to plan and undertake a major piece of independent research through the Science Research Project.

'The Sustainability Project and field work in the final year will provide graduates with skills and experience to draw upon and translate to the demands of the third sector environment.'
Project Manager, Macmillan Cancer Support

'This programme provides the fundamental concepts and techniques for evaluating evidence and understanding impacts in developing evidence-based strategies.'
Senior Manager, OFGEM, UK Government

Discover what it would be like to study one of these degree subjects and get advice on careers in the industry with one of our interactive STEMulate12 sessions.

 

Course details

Course structure

Year 1 core modules

Biodiversity and Evolution

You study the concept of evolution and how it led to the development of biodiversity and the world we now inhabit. You discuss evolution by natural selection and our development from the common ancestor, along with the principles of taxonomy, speciation and the evolutionary tree to demonstrate relationships between species. We highlight the impact of modern molecular methods of taxonomy in the form of phylogenetics, particularly the discovery of the domain of archaea. We discuss the complex biodiversity of the microbial, plant and animal worlds and their importance in ecological balance for the earth, human kind and society in the form of conservation. Lectures and tutorial sessions provide an insight into the theoretical aspects of evolution and biodiversity, and you discuss and analyse problem-based exercises to affirm your theoretical knowledge.

Earth Systems

Learn about the fundamental global systems that sustain and shape our world. You explore the main systems and processes which shape how our world works: tectonics and earth’s structure; our atmosphere and oceans circulations; climatic changes in the past and in the future; as well as the processes which continue to shape the earth’s land surface.

Global Environmental Issues

Humankind faces environmental challenges which are severe and varied. Threats as diverse as climate change, the supply of fresh water, soil fertility and plastic waste pose problems which differ in immediacy and scale. You will be introduced to the careful appraisal of information relating to these challenges, how the scale of the problem and its consequences may be measured and where the solutions might lie.

Human Geography and Globalisation

You are introduced to the spatial relationships between human geography and globalisation. You approahc the concept of globalisation through three key aspects of human geography – cultural, political and social – equipping you with key theoretical, conceptual and empirical understanding of pertinent issues.

A creative mapping assessment allows you to explore the presence of and connections between cultural, political and social geographies of the Tees Valley whilst providing you with the opportunity to identify how these connect to globalised aspects of the world.

Interpreting Environments

You are introduced to key approaches to geographical enquiry, covering key concepts in spatial thinking, and quantitative and qualitative methods of enquiry. Through lectures and hands-on practical activities, the module outlines how we understand and visualise the world around us, from simple hand-drawn maps to an introduction to Geographical Information Systems.

You then explore different ways in which geographers interpret the world, through both quantitative approaches, such as questionnaires, and qualitative approaches, such as interviews and participatory research. You also gain hands on experience in these techniques, learning to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses and what each technique can tell us.

Physical Geography and Geology Field Work

Learn how we map, measure and monitor different natural processes and systems in the field. Delivered through a series of individual field days across the region, this module introduces you to different approaches and techniques for field work in both geography and geology. You will learn discipline specific skills, as well as working together with your colleagues to understand how landscapes form through the interactions between geological and surface processes.

 

Year 2 core modules

Cities and Sustainable Futures

You investigate the relationships between urban space and sustainable futures. You will explore cities around the world through three key aspects of sustainability – environmental, social and economic – and address how these impact on the concept of a sustainable future. This provides you with critical theoretical and empirical understanding of pertinent urban issues.

Earth Observation and GIS

Technology has fundamentally altered our ability to see and understand the world around us. In this module you will learn the fundamentals of remote sensing for environmental management, including satellite, airborne, and terrestrial sources. You will also learn to use advanced geographical information systems (GIS) to map, model, and understand spatially distributed environmental data.

Ecology and Biodiversity

You will explore ecology and how complex interactions shape the distribution and abundance patterns of species in the natural environment. You examine the ecology of populations and communities, and how the integration of powerful new molecular biology technologies can inform the study of ecology and ecological interactions. You also explore the underlying theories used to explain the observed spatial and temporal patterns of diversity observed and the measurements which can be used to quantify diversity.

These topics are aligned to current issues, enabling you to appreciate the environmental, ethical and socio-economic concerns raised by ecological studies. As part of this module, by sampling natural environments you will have the opportunity to develop your ecological fieldwork, laboratory and data interpretation skills.

Practical Conservation

You are introduced to the complexity of biological conservation science using practical examples and case studies at local, national and international scales. You will learn about the co-existence of a variety of approaches, aims and justification under the same overarching term of conservation. You will have a thorough introduction of conservation biology and how this field informs practical conservation measure undertaken on the ground to preserve endangered species, biodiversity at large, ecosystems services and the natural environment. In addition to lectures, the learning is enhanced by seminars and field trips where different aspect of practical conservation will be studied and discussed.

Rivers and Coasts

Learn how earth surface processes shape our dynamic river and coastal systems, and how different organisations work to manage these environments. In this module you’ll explore river and coastal processes from source to sea, examining how water passes through the landscape, how rivers erode, transport, and deposit sediment, and how coastlines evolve over time. You will also explore the challenges of managing diverse and dynamic environments, and how working with natural processes can help us co-exist with unruly natural systems.

The Anthropocene

You develop critical understanding of the effect of human activities on the planet, and explore the multiple scales at which this impacts the potential for a sustainable environment. You will address the environmental, social, economic and political issues that intertwine with this relationship.  

 

Year 3 optional placement year

Final-year core modules

Advanced Geoinformatics

You are introduced to the concept of GIScience, expanding simple understanding of the use of Geographical Information Systems to ask questions about how and why we do geospatial analysis, and how this impacts on the results of our analyses.

Using computer-based practicals, you learn advanced skills in geospatial analysis, including the use of spatial statistics, handling complex datasets using databases, and the automation of complex analysis using different tools, for example the Python programming language. You also learn skills in geovisualisation, including cartographic design, web mapping, and the use of 3D visualisation.

Biogeography and Conservation

This module is ideal for you if you’re interested in the biogeographical distribution of species and how this information can inform conservation practices.

Biogeography, with its focus on the distribution of species at a range of scales, provides an important theoretical framework within which ecosystem services, and the increasing impact of human activity on global biodiversity and ecosystem functions, can be evaluated.

You explore the contribution of habitat destruction and fragmentation and invasive species to biodiversity losses. You examine underlying principles in biogeography, including the historical development of the discipline, and investigates how these principles can inform effective conservation practices targeted at preventing biodiversity losses. You explore how endangered species are characterised, the selection and design of conservation areas, and the legal and policy frameworks in place to support conservation efforts.

Cultural Geography

You develop a distinctly geographical understanding of the contemporary wold through a focus on the interconnections between landscape, place, environment, mobility and identity. This is done by drawing from a diverse range of sources including maps, films, music and art.

Science Research Project

You complete an in-depth, independent investigation into a specialist aspect of your field of study. In your project you will bring together a range of practical and academic skills developed in previous years of study. Regardless of the nature of the project, this process acts as a capstone experience requiring analysis and critical evaluation of data as well as critical reflection on the potential risks, moral and ethical issues. This piece of work will involve a significant individual contribution on your part. You will be supported by the appointment of an academic staff member as your research supervisor. They will act as a mentor and guide you through the development and completion of your research project.

Finally, you will communicate your independent research by producing a research poster and journal article to allow you to develop essential skills which mirror professional practice when research is presented at scientific conferences and for publication.

 

and one optional module

International Fieldtrip

You apply your skills and knowledge to unfamiliar landscapes overseas. Working as part of a team you will develop and then undertake field-based research on a week-long residential field course. You will also develop professional and employability skills aligned with contemporary geographical, geological, environmental and ecological issues, as well as key skills in interpersonal interactions, project planning, time management, and research presentation.

Sustainability Project

The generic spectrum of sustainability encompasses a range of disciplines, from those based in empirical sciences through environmental economics to social science. As such, environmental scientists must be able to work in expertise teams and communicate with teams in complementary but disparate disciplines. The goal of this module is to develop professionalism and employability skills relevant to pertinent environmental challenges.

The use of team work for problem-based and self-directed learning will be central to this module. Appropriate context will be fundamental to this. Expertise in problem-solving will be gained together with key skills such as interpersonal interactions, time management, budget management and research presentation. Due cognisance will also be taken of the principles of health, safety and ethics.

 

Modules offered may vary.

 

How you learn

Your taught sessions will focus on introducing key module content through staff teaching, and interactive activities involving both individual and group exercises. These activities will teach you key skills in being an independent and proactive student learning, helping you explore the academic literature, engage critically with module topics, and prepare effectively for your assessments.
Fieldwork sessions, computer practicals, laboratories, and seminars across different modules offer opportunities to learn and experiment with different skills, applying your theoretical knowledge to tackling real world problems.

Each programme and each module is supported by a specific virtual learning environment (VLE) site. These sites host key information you will need for your studies, such as lecture material, library resources, and assessment details, as well as allowing modules teams to keep you updated about different issues.

How you are assessed

You will be assessed on your skills and knowledge in a range of ways, including formal exams, both seen and unseen, practical exams and oral presentations, and the production of coursework, including essays, reports, and posters.

Assessments are designed to not just test you, but also to expose you to the types of tasks that you will be required to do when you graduate and enter employment.


Our Disability Services team provide an inclusive and empowering learning environment and have specialist staff to support disabled students access any additional tailored resources needed. If you have a specific learning difficulty, mental health condition, autism, sensory impairment, chronic health condition or any other disability please contact a Disability Services as early as possible.
Find out more about our disability services

Find out more about financial support
Find out more about our course related costs

 
 

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

We are committed to widening participation and encourage all students with the potential to succeed, regardless of their background, to apply to study with us. We operate a flexible admissions policy taking into consideration individual circumstances, including personal achievements, relevant experience, personal qualities, as well as qualifications and grades.

Year 1 entry 
96-112 UCAS tariff points.
You must have GCSE English and Mathematics at grade 4 (grade C) or equivalent and have studied at least one relevant subject at Level 3. Eligible subjects include:

Geography
Geology
Environmental science
Applied science
Chemistry
Biology
Physics

Typical Level 3 qualifications include:

A levels (within a minimum of grade C from one relevant subject)
BTEC Extended Diploma
Access to HE Diploma

Alternative equivalent UK and international qualifications and subjects are also considered. If you are not eligible for Year 1 entry, we also offer this course with an integrated foundation year.

Direct entry to later years
If you have previously studied a relevant subject at a higher level (e.g. HNC, HND or one or more years of a degree at another institution) we can consider you for direct entry to Year 2 or Final Year of this course. Please provide us with a complete detailed transcript of your previous studies with your application to help us determine your eligibility for advanced entry.

Applicant Days
If you receive an offer to study with us you will be invited to attend one of our Applicant Days. This is a great opportunity to learn more about studying at Teesside by exploring our campus, seeing our excellent facilities, meeting staff and students, and finding out more about your course.

The Applicant Day provides you with information, guidance and advice to help you make the right choice. Even if you have attended an Open Day we encourage you to attend the Applicant Day - we are confident you will find your visit a useful experience.

Alternative progression routes
If you are not eligible to join this course directly then we may be able to help you prepare for admission by studying appropriate pre-degree Summer University modules.
Please contact us to discuss the alternative progression routes available to you.

Non-EU international students
Non-EU international students who need a student visa to study in the UK should check our web pages on UKVI-compliant English language requirements. The University also provides pre-sessional English language courses if you do not meet the minimum English language requirement.

For additional information please see our entry requirements

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country


You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL

 

Employability

Career opportunities

Our geography course equips you with the understanding, skills and experiences needed to succeed in whatever career you wish to follow.

Studying geography will give you a broad subject knowledge , as well as a range of transferable skills in communication, research, critical thinking, and data analysis.
We are committed to your future career, which is reflected in the content of our geography programme and through the advice, support and initiatives designed to provide you with employment opportunities.

Popular careers for geography:

• Environmental manager
• Geospatial analyst
• Town planner
• Conservation officer
• Teacher

Work placement

A work placement officer and the University's careers service are available to help you with applying for a placement. Advice is also available on job hunting and networking.

By taking a work placement year you gain experience favoured by graduate recruiters and develop your technical skillset. You also gain the transferable skills required in any professional environment, including communication, negotiation, teamwork, leadership, organisation, confidence, self-reliance, problem-solving, being able to work under pressure and commercial awareness.

An increasing number of employers view a placement as a year-long interview and, as a result, placements are increasingly becoming an essential part of an organisation's pre-selection strategy in their graduate recruitment process.

Potential benefits from completing a work placement year include:

  • improved job prospects
  • enhanced employment skills and improved career progression opportunities
  • a higher starting salary than your full-time counterparts
  • a better degree classification
  • a richer CV
  • a year's salary before completing your degree
  • experience of workplace culture
  • the opportunity to design and base your final-year project within a working environment.

 

Information for international applicants

Qualifications

International applicants - find out what qualifications you need by selecting your country below.

Select your country:

  
 

Useful information

Visit our international pages for useful information for non-UK students and applicants.

Talk to us

Talk to an international student enrolment adviser

 
 

Full-time

Entry to 2020/21 academic year

Fee for UK/EU applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£13,000 a year

More details about our fees for international applicants


What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 3 years (or 4 with a work placement)
  • UCAS code: F800 BSc/Geog
  • Semester dates
  • Typical offer: 96-112 tariff points

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS

 

Part-time

2020 entry

Fee for UK/EU applicants
£4,500 (120 credits)

More details about our fees

  • Length: 6 years if entering Year 1; 4 years if entering Year 2
  • Enrolment date: September
  • Semester dates

Apply online (part-time)

 
 
 
 

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Find your ideal degree course here at Teesside University and feel welcomed, supported and prepared for the career you want.

 

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Benefit from work placements, live projects, accredited courses

 

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