Examine why the world is changing so quickly and how these changes affect the environment, culture and economies at local, national and global levels. Drawing on expertise from the University’s schools of Law, Sociology, and Anthropology and Conservation, this course equips you with the skills required for a career in business, government agencies, NGOs, education and development. The year in professional practice is a wonderful opportunity to undertake a work placement at home or abroad. Previous placements have included consultancy for Afzelia Limited, Zambia; surveying with the Danau Girang Field Centre, Borneo; project co-ordination for the Uganda Conservation Foundation; and project work for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.
Reasons to study Human Geography at Kent
Choose from a wide selection of optional modules to tailor your degree to your interests.Access state-of-the-art study resources including an ecology laboratory, a field trials area, conservation genetics laboratories, a visual anthropology room and an ethnobiology laboratory.Apply your learning on field trips in the UK and continental Europe. (Optional and residential trips may require support funding from attendees.)Shape your degree outside of the classroom through our EcoGeog Society, with events such as the distinguished lecture by Tim Marshall on his book The Power of Geography.Be part of a community engaged in ecological projects around the world, including members of the Kent Interdisciplinary Centre for Spatial Studies (KISS).Join the supportive and welcoming community on our Canterbury campus, set among green and tranquil open spaces, with access to the world-class resources of our Templeman Library.
What you’ll learn
Developing knowledge and skills for your future employment is a fundamental element of this programme. As well as acquiring generic skills such as analytical writing, oral presentations, team working and leadership, you’ll strengthen your competence as a geographer through regular opportunities for field work and hands-on experience of analytical tools such as geographic information systems and remote sensing imagery. A strong core of Geography modules will give you a sound foundation in the subject, whilst a wide selection of option modules, as well as ‘wild’ modules from other schools, means you can tailor your degree to pursue specialist interests. Your placement gives you the opportunity to apply your academic skills in a practical context, providing valuable experience that will set you apart.
See the modules you'll study
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.
Year in professional practice
Assessment is by means of a manager appraisal (10%), a written report by the student (80%) and a presentation by the student (10%); the manager appraisal is carried out by the manager within the placement host organisation whereas the report and presentation are assessed by SAC academic staff.
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
- the way that an employee can contribute to the organisation in which they work
- specific areas of theory, policy or practice relevant to the host organisation(s) and the agreed placement task(s).
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)
- apply some of the above skills from the perspective of your chosen employment sector
- gain a broader perspective on your individual discipline.
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)
- the ability to apply theoretical and technical knowledge to professional practice.
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
- professional teamwork.
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
- experience of work in a professional environment relevant to your degree programme, whether at home or abroad
- employment-related skills, including an understanding of how to relate to the structures and functions in an organisation
- the qualities needed for employment in situations requiring the exercise of professionalism, independent thought, personal responsibility and decision-making.