Image representing Human Geography

Human Geography - BSc (Hons)

2019

Human Geography at Kent draws on the traditional foundations of Geography and energises it to address contemporary issues. Our aim is to train the next generation of geographers to creatively address the challenges facing the modern world. We provide opportunities for you to expand your theoretical knowledge across a broad range, while developing practical field skills, research skills and work-related skills.

2019

Overview

Our programme is a fusion of major geographic themes such as social and cultural geography, economics and development studies, and environmental and landscape planning, with expertise from across the University of Kent including Law, Sociology, Anthropology and Biodiversity Conservation. This exciting approach ensures your learning is grounded firmly in traditional studies of human geography but with opportunities to expand your knowledge beyond a conventional geography course.

At its heart, this programme gives you a deep understanding of why the world is changing so quickly, and how these changes affect the environment, culture and economies at local, national and global scales. We also seek to produce graduates with a rich set of skills required for a dynamic and successful career in the business world, government agencies, NGOs, education and development. 

You study at our Canterbury campus, which is not only beautiful, scenic and rich in history, but perfectly positioned for those with an interest in human geography. Kent is culturally and economically diverse, and our excellent location and proximity to Europe enable us to maximise our strong research and business links. 

Scholarship

To celebrate the launch of this new programme, we are offering up to ten £2,000 scholarships for applicants commencing the BSc Human Geography in September 2019.  The scholarship recognises academic excellence and the contribution students can make to our geography research community. Full terms and conditions are available via the Scholarships Finder.

Our degree programme

Each year, you engage with core modules that establish your foundational understanding, brought to life through innovative and practical opportunities for learning; these include regular field work and hands-on approaches to analytical tools such as geographic information systems and remote sensing imagery.  

The programme has been designed to give you a strong core of Geography modules such as Environmental Sustainability, People and Place, Geographies of Environmental Change, History and Philosophy of Geography, and Geographical Patterns and Processes. 

A large suite of optional modules allows you to tailor your degree to the areas that most interest you, or you can expand into new territory, for example anthropology, biodiversity conservation or project management. Additionally, you could choose to take some ‘wild modules’, which allows you to study topics offered by a range of schools across the University, including economics, politics, sociology, law and languages.  This structure provides you with flexibility, choice, creativity and the opportunity to indulge a wide range of passions.

More detailed information about the modules offered across the programme can be found within the ‘Course structure’ information.

Developing knowledge and skills for your future employment forms a core principle of this programme. Each module contains opportunities for you to develop and strengthen your competence as a geographer as well as the skills sought by employers, for example analytical writing, oral presentations, team working, leadership, initiative and time management. More details on careers and employability are available in the ‘Careers’ section.

Year in Professional Practice

You can take this programme as a four-year degree, including a work placement. The year in professional practice gives you the opportunity to spend up to a year undertaking work placements with organisations relevant to your degree programme. Placements can be at home or abroad, offering a unique experience to set you apart. See full details on the Human Geography with a Year in Professional Practice page.

Field trips

Practical learning is an essential foundation of this programme.  Our field courses allow you to apply what has been taught to real-world situations, develop field skills and practise your research skills, as well as being excellent ways to build friendships with staff and students. The first year provides numerous opportunities for trips within Kent, including a three-day residential. Other optional field trips are available in the second and third years. Our optional third-year residential to a beautiful Greek island is a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in a field research situation during which you can draw on your three years of study. The trip focuses on learning through research and from the experience of the people who shape and adapt to the environment they live in.

Most opportunities relate to specific modules; these may change from year to year and may incur additional costs. See the 'funding tab' for more information.

Study resources

Our School has excellent teaching resources including dedicated computing facilities. Other resources include:

  • an ecology laboratory
  • a field trials area and field laboratory
  • conservation genetics laboratories
  • a state-of-the-art visual anthropology room
  • an ethnobiology lab for studying human-related plant material
  • a refurbished computer suite with 32 PCs with HD screens
  • an integrated audio-visual system to help provide stimulating lectures
  • recently built student social spaces.

Research community

We believe that inspired students are motivated by teaching which is shaped by active and relevant research. At Kent you’ll join a community who are engaged in projects in the UK and around the world that are significant to creatively addressing current and future ecological challenges. This community includes members of the Kent Interdisciplinary Centre for Spatial Studies (KISS), which draws together expertise from across the University. KISS also invites you to participate in their seminar and lecture series throughout the year – in December 2018 we are particularly excited to be welcoming a Geography ‘legend’, Professor Derek Gregory, to deliver the Annual KISS Lecture.

Independent rankings

In The Guardian University Guide 2019, over 86% of final-year Anthropology students were satisfied with the overall quality of their course.

Over 89% of final-year Anthropology students were satisfied with the quality of teaching on their course in The Guardian University Guide 2019.

In the most recent Research Excellence Framework, Kent was ranked in the top 20 for research intensity in the Times Higher Education, outperforming 11 of the 24 Russell Group universities.

Teaching Excellence Framework

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

TEF Gold logo

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.    

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘wild’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Within each stage you are required to take 120 credits.

Stage 1

Compulsory modules:

  • DI304 - Environmental Sustainability - 15 credits
  • Academic Skills - 15 credits
  • Geographies of Environmental Change - 15 credits
  • Geographies of People and Place - 15 credits
  • Geographical Patterns and Processes - 30 credits

Optional modules may include:

You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage.

Stage 2

Compulsory modules

Stage 3

Compulsory modules

  • Research project - 30 credits
  • Critical Geopolitics - 15 credits
  • Geographies of Tourism and Development - 15 credits

Optional modules for stages 2 and 3 may include:

You have the opportunity to select wild modules in stage2 and 3.

Stage 1

Modules may include Credits

Economic growth and consumerism are threatening our planet and the future of human kind. This module provides a comprehensive introduction to environmental sustainability, using a strongly interdisciplinary approach based on environmental science and economics. In Part 1, we define environmental sustainability and explain how environmental sustainability can be assessed in relation to renewable resources, non-renewable resources and pollution. We consider the main threats to environmental sustainability such as climate change, pollution and resource exploitation and how they arise from the economic-environmental system. In Part 2, we explore environmental threats and issues in more detail focusing on issues such as species extinction, deforestation, climate change, and fossil fuel burning. Throughout Part 2 we actively consider potential solutions to current global economic and environmental crises for example, through the development of green technology, renewable energy, resource efficiency, recycling of materials, and green infrastructure.

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15

This module introduces students to the range of basic research skills required across the range of the School's BA and BSc programmes, whilst also introducing the key areas of school disciplinary expertise. Students work in groups to collaboratively produce a 3 minute video addressing a question that requires knowledge of the diverse expertise of the school. The question will change in relation to the contemporary concerns and research interests of the school. An initial lecture introduces the course and collaborative video research that serves as the central methodology to communicate the results of qualitative and quantitative research on the question addressed. Lectures in the first part of the course introduce the key disciplinary and interdisciplinary resources to answer the question.

Following lectures are divided between qualitative and quantitative methods. The course concludes with an open screening of all video projects.

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15

Stage 2

Modules may include Credits

The overall aim of this module is to provide students with an outline of the principals of Spatial Analysis and to introduce a range of methods for collection and analysis of spatial data. Particular attention is paid to the development of students' analysis skills through the use of remote sensing techniques and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). GIS are increasingly being used in wildlife conservation and environmental sciences in general to help solve a wide range of "real world" environmental and associated social problems. As the current trend in ecological studies moves towards the acquisition manipulation and analysis of large datasets with explicit geographic reference, employers often report shortages of relevant GIS skills to handle spatial data. Thus, this module will introduce the use of GIS as a means of solving spatial problems and the potential of GIS and remote sensing techniques for wildlife conservation providing the student with marketable skills relevant to research and commercial needs. Topics will be taught using a combination of lectures and practicals. The practical classes will provide hands-on experience using ArcGIS which is the most widely used GIS system. Students will be able to use knowledge and skills acquired in this module in practical project work.

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15

The module is considered as an important element of Wildlife Conservation undergraduate training. The opportunity to engage in personal research is seen as an essential element of academic training in all disciplines. The particular skills necessary to undertake research, whether practical fieldwork or laboratory work or a desk-based study, can only be taught through the medium of practically orientated investigative tasks. The principle objective in the research project is to assist students in gaining insight into the organisation, analysis and communication of research. The approved investigation may be novel i.e. one that has not previously been carried out, or it may repeat previously executed work for comparative or control purposes.

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30

Teaching and assessment

Kent was awarded gold, the highest rating, in the UK Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework. Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Modules use a variety of approaches enabling students to gain theoretical and practical understanding, through formal lectures, seminars, workshops, computer practicals and tutorials, role playing, laboratory exercises and fieldwork (in the UK and abroad).

Most modules are assessed through a mixture of coursework – including not only essays and written reports but also more practical tasks such as presentations and mini-projects – as well as exams. Some modules are assessed only by coursework.

You also have an opportunity to conduct a field-based research thesis in your final year. This gives you practical experience of developing a research proposal and research questions, finding appropriate methods, conducting research, analysing and interpreting results, writing up a full research project and giving an oral presentation. 

It also allows you to use a range of research methods in a variety of contexts to explore key environmental, geographical and anthropological issues, and participate in the advancement of knowledge. You can conduct your research project either in the UK or abroad.

Programme aims

Our aims are to:

  • produce a broad, sophisticated and interdisciplinary approach to the study of human-environment relationships in the context of how human society is reproduced spatially
  • equip students with effective and state-of-the-art technical skills for quantitative, qualitative and spatial data collection and analysis of society and space through fieldwork experience and practical exercises
  • provide students with a sound foundation in the scientific and humanistic approaches to the study of human-environment relationships, allowing them to consider the interaction between biophysical, historical and socio-cultural processes and dynamics
  • sensitise students to the importance of pattern, process, scale, time and space in the study of complex systems and how these affect our understanding of biological, social and cultural diversity, as well as of human adaptation to the environment and to environmental change
  • facilitate the educational experience of students through innovative opportunities for learning during fieldwork and hands-on approaches to analytical tools
  • provide students with the opportunity to gain practical experience relating to research and to the applied dimensions and social impact of their Human Geography degree, with options for work, study and field trips abroad
  • ensure that the learning experience provides transferable skills necessary for professional development, analytical problem solving, interpersonal development, autonomous practice and team-working, in a manner which is efficient, reliable and enjoyable to students
  • equip graduates to thrive in research-led teaching environments with the ability to think critically and creatively and with the necessary practical and research skills to prepare them for high-level postgraduate studies or for the increasingly competitive job market
  • prepare graduates for leading employment roles in the interdisciplinary fields of nature conservation, town and country planning, environmental protection and sustainable development, in the commercial, private or public sectors.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • how environments and landscapes are the result of human activity and their spatial variations over time
  • the ways in which spatial relations are an inherent and important feature of economic, social, cultural and political activity, and how they reflect, reproduce and remake social relations including government policy
  • the significance of temporal and spatial scale in human processes at local, regional and global levels and how that produces and reproduces specific human geographies
  • the main dimensions and scales of economic, social, political and environmental inequality and difference, the range of interpretation of these processes, and how scale itself can be contested and politicised
  • the concepts underlying development and sustainability and how they can be critically evaluated
  • the historical development of the subject area of geography, and how changes in the subject itself have influenced its development as a dynamic, plural and contested intellectual subject resulting in diverse approaches.

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual abilities in the following areas:

  • spatial awareness and observation
  • abstraction and synthesis of information
  • developing a reasoned argument founded upon assessing the merits of contrasting theories and explanations
  • primary or secondary data generation, collection and recording, or the use of secondary data sets (both qualitative and quantitative).

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in:

  • preparing maps, diagrams and other visualisations
  • critically evaluating, interpreting and combining different types of geographical evidence (for example texts, imagery, archival data, maps, or digitalised date)
  • conducting fieldwork and field data collection
  • employing a variety of interpretative methods (for example participant observation, ethnographic interviews, and auto-ethnography)
  • employing a variety of social survey methods (for example questionnaire surveys and structured interviews)
  • utilising methods for the collection and analysis of spatial and environmental information (for example GIS, remote sensing, statistical and mathematical modelling).

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in the following:

  • developing learning and studying skills and autonomous learning
  • synthesising, contextualising and critically evaluating information of different styles and different sources
  • oral, written and graphic communication
  • information and data handling and retrieval.

Careers

A Human Geography degree provides a strong basis for students looking to pursue a career in a range of professions and sectors relating to the sustainability agenda, including: environmental and international development NGOs, government departments and local authorities, and businesses with an environmental remit, including the land-based sectors.

Graduate destinations

Using our network of NGOs and consultancy companies, we identified the key skills that successful employees should have. This programme has been designed to equip students with the theoretical and practical skills that are highly demanded by employers in a wide range of fields relating to:

  • nature conservation
  • town and country planning
  • environmental protection
  • sustainable development
  • environmental consultancy
  • tourism
  • international aid/development.

This programme also equips graduates with the ability to think critically and creatively, enabling them to thrive in research-led teaching environments, and with the necessary practical and research skills to prepare them for high-level postgraduate studies or the increasingly competitive job market.

Help finding a job

The School offers an employability programme aimed at helping you develop the skills you’ll need to look for a job.  This includes workshops, mentoring and an online blog featuring tips, advice from employers, job adverts, internship information and volunteering opportunities.

The University’s friendly Careers and Employability Service offers advice on how to:

  • apply for jobs
  • write a good CV
  • perform well in interviews.

Career-enhancing skills

As a Human Geography student, you develop expertise in understanding, interpreting and responding to human behaviour. Alongside such specialist skills, you also develop the transferable skills graduate employers look for, including the ability to:

  • think critically 
  • communicate your ideas and opinions 
  • work independently and as part of a team.

You can also gain extra skills by signing up for one of our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.

Independent rankings

Of the Anthropology and Conservation students who graduated from Kent in 2016 and responded to a national survey, over 97% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).

For graduate prospects, Anthropology at Kent was ranked 4th in The Guardian University Guide 2018, 5th in The Times Good University Guide 2018 and 7th in The Complete University Guide 2018.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level

BBB including one in Biology, Geography, Environmental Science, Chemistry or Geology.

GCSE

Mathematics grade C/4 or above

Access to HE Diploma

The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.

International Baccalaureate

IB Diploma 34 points overall or 16 points at Higher, including 5 at HL or 6 at SL in Biology, Geography, Environmental Science, Psychology, Geology or Chemistry

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.

Fees

The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £19000
Part-time £4625 £9500

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Additional costs

Field trips

One day trips that are compulsory to a module are financially funded by the School. Optional or longer trips may require support funding from attendees.

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

Funding

Full-time

Part-time

The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. 

Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact information@kent.ac.uk.