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.
The School has recently announced a climate and environmental change emergency. To reflect our commitment to this we are delighted to offer the award of five Human Geography Sustainability scholarships for 2020 entry.
These scholarships are worth £2000 as a cash bursary for new students' first year of study, and will be awarded on a competitive basis. Applicants will need to write a 500 word essay on the following topic:
'Given the climate and environmental crisis - what can Human Geographers do to help drive sustainable development?'
The application deadline is 17.00 on Sunday 31 May 2020.
Details of how to apply will be available in January 2020.
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.
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, including one to Brussels where you'll examine contested urban spaces through reflection and experience. 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.
Our School has excellent teaching resources including dedicated computing facilities. Other resources include:
an ecology laboratorya field trials area and field laboratoryconservation genetics laboratoriesa state-of-the-art visual anthropology rooman ethnobiology lab for studying human-related plant materiala refurbished computer suite with 32 PCs with HD screensan integrated audio-visual system to help provide stimulating lecturesrecently built student social spaces.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
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.