Search
Search type

School of Environment, Education and Development

Geography students in a lab
BSc Geography
Benefit from the excellent facilities at one of the world's top ten schools for Geography.

BSc Geography / Course details

Year of entry: 2018

Course description

Manchester is a great place to study Geography. It was the world's first industrial city and is now a vibrant twenty-first century metropolis. Set between three National Parks the city and its environment are an important resource for field teaching in all three years. In addition, all students benefit from a heavily subsidised overseas fieldcourse in their second year.

The Geography programme at Manchester gives you maximum choice, with the opportunity to take options from across Physical and Human Geography. This allows you to tailor the course choosing from more than fifteen options in your third year. Unlike other Geography programmes, every course at Manchester has small group teaching so that you will enjoy high quality contact time with all our staff, including our world leading Professors.

By choosing your course units based on your interests and your preferred assessment methods, you are able to assemble the course structure that best suits you and allows you to showcase your skills and abilities.

Special features

  • Introductory residential field course in the Lake District before registration
  • Overseas fieldwork in the second year, including Crete, Cuba, Donegal, New York, Iceland, Amsterdam and Morocco

Additional course information

The School of Environment and Development runs a number of innovative single and joint honours undergraduate programmes in Geography, Planning and Architecture. These programmes examine contemporary debates about the built, natural and social environments within which we live. Drawing on research carried out within the School, the undergraduate teaching programme provides students with an opportunity to engage with academics working at the cutting edge of such debates and to explore issues at first hand through a range of local and international fieldwork programmes.

Geography has been taught at Manchester for more than one hundred years. It is now part of the School of Environment and Development, and is located in a brand new state of the art building (from July 2007) on the main campus.  With over 25 members of academic staff, Geography is a strong discipline group with a wide range of teaching and research interests. We have a vibrant community of students, postgraduates and academic staff. Indeed, Geography at Manchester has been rated excellent for teaching, has a highly rated international research reputation and is rated highly in a variety of university guides. We are also fortunate in being situated within one of the nation's most interesting regions with regards to its landscape, heritage and cultural vibrancy. Manchester was the focal point of the industrial revolution, surrounded by a landscape that mixes industrial heritage with a huge variety of scenery. The city became associated with technical innovation, such as the first railways and the first computer, and with political innovation through figures such as Emmeline Pankhurst and Friedrich Engels. The modern city has added to this international reputation in the spheres of culture and sports. Such a richness of landscape, history and arts cannot but inspire the geographical imagination of those who come to study here.

Teaching and learning

Our teaching and learning strategy is designed to provide you with a stimulating and challenging set of experiences that will help you to develop a wide range of intellectual, subject specific and transferable skills whilst studying a dynamic and broad-ranging subject. We develop your ability to think critically, analytically and creatively. You learn about contemporary issues and problems, to which much of our research relates, in ways that help you discuss and develop your own views on current societal and environmental debates. In developing an understanding of these issues and problems, you acquire a set of subject-specific skills, associated with, for example, geographical representation (Geographical Information Systems, Remote Sensing, Visualisation) and field and laboratory analyses.

You also acquire a set of more general skills that will serve you well after university, increasing your employability as well as allowing you to be a more active citizen. For example, you develop skills associated with working in teams, and many forms of communication skill and skills that allow you to reflect on and affect your own progress. Our assessment strategy is designed to provide you with feedback on your progress in understanding the subject and in developing these skills and abilities.

Coursework and assessment

The School's assessment strategy is devised to present you with the opportunity to demonstrate the full range of your abilities and skills. There is, therefore, a mix of assessment types in all three years that reflect the variety of abilities and skills that you develop and acquire as you proceed through the degree programmes.  The mix includes a dissertation, essays of varying lengths, individual and team projects, course work assignments, posters, presentations, practicals, field notebooks and unseen written examination papers (essay answers and multiple choice). Second-year work currently contributes 25% of your degree, with your dissertation, lecture course options (exams/coursework) and a general paper/team project contributing from the final year (75% of the degree).

The mix of assessment types is to help you in a number of ways. Some of them are to allow fuller coverage of, and feedback on, knowledge and understanding, which is so important. Some are devised to allow rapid feedback, e.g. objective tests. Others are to promote the development of argument e.g. tutorial and course work essays or the skills of teamwork. Some test the extent to which you can carry out work independently, such as course work essays and the dissertation.  All our assessment methods have been devised to promote in-depth learning and understanding.

Course content for year 1

Modules in Human and Physical Geography provide a basic introduction to key subject areas and skills covered in the degree courses. These compulsory modules establish basic principles, concepts and skills upon which your second and third years courses build. In addition to lectures, you will have tutorials, undertake skills-based activities, complete a team project in each semester, and carry out both human and physical geography fieldwork in the Manchester area.

Beside compulsory modules, you may then choose to take a further two units in Geography, or to take `free choice' subjects outside Geography, choosing from a wide range of units available throughout the University. Our current students take free choice subjects that include languages (eg German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Russian), sciences (eg Biochemistry, Chemistry, Biology, Earth Science, Psychology, Maths), social sciences (eg Economics, Accounting, Planning and Landscape, Government, Politics, Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology, Women's Studies) and arts (eg English, Drama, Music, History, History of Art, Archaeology, Middle Eastern Studies, Philosophy, Religions and Theology).

The first year also comprises fieldwork in Manchester and the North-West, including an introductory residential field course in the Lake District before you register, and day-trip fieldwork visits throughout the year covering human and physical geography.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Key Ideas in Geography GEOG10191 10 Mandatory
Introducing Human Geographies 1 GEOG10251 10 Mandatory
Researching Manchester GEOG10292 10 Mandatory
Environmental Processes and Change: The Global System GEOG10401 10 Mandatory
Dynamic Earth GEOG10422 10 Mandatory
Introducing Human Geographies 2 GEOG10432 10 Mandatory
Tutorials and Book Review GEOG12011 10 Mandatory
Tutorials and Profile of a Research Geographer GEOG12012 10 Mandatory
Geographies of Globalisation GEOG10101 10 Optional
Environmental Pollution GEOG10161 10 Optional
Environment, Society and Space GEOG10172 10 Optional
River Catchment Science & Management GEOG10712 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 12 course units for year 1

Course content for year 2

In Year 2 lectures develop the themes established in the first year, but introduce you to wider aspects of the subject. In the second year, lecture modules consist of two sessions every week, divided into a two hour and a one hour session. For each course one of these sessions will take the form of small group learning in order to allow you to discuss and develop your ideas and skills. In semester one, you undertake a course unit to support your future employability, which is jointly run with the Careers Service. The Geography Employability Programme will give you practice in teamwork, report-writing, researching, oral presentations, role playing and negotiation, while helping you to prepare a curriculum vitae and a dissertation proposal. In semester two, through tutorials, practical classes and lecture sessions, you will begin work towards your dissertation, which is handed in during your third year. During the second year, you will take part in an overseas field course that will help you to develop your research skills further.

During the second year, you may also choose four optional modules. You can choose all of your modules within Geography, or you may decide to continue with a free choice element - either continuing your first year area, or choosing a new subject for study. In order to make the most of the unsurpassed range of courses that a University as large as Manchester is able to offer, you are able to choose up to two free choice subjects in your second year including the Manchester Leadership Programme . (This is a unique programme offered in Manchester to develop you leadership skills and enhance employability). Geography options currently include: Maps and Politics, North American Cities, Economic Geography, Nature, Society and Social Power, Development and Inequality, The Political City, Environmental Change and Human Impacts, Green Planet, Glaciers, River Catchments, Spatial Thinking with GIS and Remote Sensing in Action.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Research Design and Overseas Fieldcourses GEOG20072 20 Mandatory
Skills for Geographers GEOG20621 20 Mandatory
Economic Geography: Understanding the economy. creating economic spaces GEOG20101 20 Optional
Economic Geography: Understanding the economy. creating economic spaces GEOG20102 20 Optional
Development and Inequality GEOG20121 20 Optional
Development and Inequality GEOG20122 20 Optional
Green Planet: Plant Ecology and Global Change GEOG20291 20 Optional
Environmental Change and the Human Past GEOG20302 20 Optional
Glaciers GEOG20351 20 Optional
Glaciers GEOG20352 20 Optional
Remote Sensing in Action: Mapping and monitoring land cover changes GEOG20381 20 Optional
Remote Sensing in Action: Mapping and monitoring land cover changes GEOG20382 20 Optional
Rivers GEOG20401 20 Optional
Rivers GEOG20402 20 Optional
Spatial Thinking with GIS: Constructing and exploring virtual worlds GEOG20501 20 Optional
Spatial Thinking with GIS: Constructing and exploring virtual worlds GEOG20502 20 Optional
Transport Geographies GEOG20541 20 Optional
Transport Geographies GEOG20542 20 Optional
North American Cities - Change and Continuity in the Metropolis GEOG20551 20 Optional
North American Cities - Change and Continuity in the Metropolis GEOG20552 20 Optional
Creative Geographies GEOG21311 20 Optional
Moral Geographies GEOG21331 20 Optional
Sustainable Consumption and Production in the Global South GEOG21402 20 Optional
Everyday Geographies: Social and Cultural Concepts and Methods GEOG21421 20 Optional
Everyday Geographies: Social and Cultural Concepts and Methods GEOG21422 20 Optional
Quaternary Climates and Landscapes GEOG21431 20 Optional
Moral Geographies GEOG21432 20 Optional
City Planet: Challenges in theory and practice GEOG21891 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 28 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

In the third year, lecture modules consist of two sessions each week, divided into a two hour and a one hour session. For each course one of these sessions will take the form of small group learning in order to allow you to discuss and develop your ideas and skills. You will continue to explore the ways in which we gain geographical knowledge through the core module Geography in the 21 st Century. In addition, you will choose three modules from approximately 15 options available in any one year. The range of optional modules is common to both the BA and BSc degree courses and allows you to get experience of geography at the research face, as members of staff lead courses dealing with their areas of particular expertise and interest.

Current optional modules include: Borders and Security in a Mobile World, Making Sense of Nature, Understanding Development through Film, Fiction and Media, Energy, Space and Power, Social Constructions of Health and Disease, Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation, Geographies of Food and Farming, Critical Perspectives on Development, Islands, Cities and Consumption, Urban Political Ecology, Spaces of Work, Hydro-Chemical Modelling, Ice Age Earth, Managing the Uplands, Earth Observation and Image Analysis, Coastal Processes, Geography of Life and Mediterranean Geographies.

The large number of options on offer means that students will be taught in small classes making for a truly world class learning environment. All lecture-based modules encourage student participation and often include a practical element. Every course unit is assessed in part by a final examination and in part by a piece of coursework. The normal weighting is 67% examination and 33% coursework; although a limited number of practically oriented modules are 100% coursework. All students also undertake a dissertation, beginning the work during their second year and submitting the finished project in the third year. This is an opportunity to draw together the different strands of the degree course and to study a subject that you select and that really interests you. You will be assigned a supervisor who will guide you through the research process and have the support of a small tutorial group of your peers who are working on similar topics.

By the end of the programme you will be able to carry out a piece of independent research and will have developed the skills required to embark on a professional career or to begin postgraduate research and study.

Course units for year 3

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Dissertation GEOG30000 40 Mandatory
Borders and Security GEOG30031 20 Optional
Borders and Security in a Mobile World GEOG30032 20 Optional
Mediterranean Quaternary Landscapes GEOG30131 20 Optional
Geographies of Food and Farming GEOG30161 20 Optional
Climate Change and carbon Cycling GEOG30181 20 Optional
Climate Change and carbon Cycling GEOG30182 20 Optional
Energy, Society and Space GEOG30201 20 Optional
Peatlands Under Pressure GEOG30231 20 Optional
Peatlands Under Pressure GEOG30232 20 Optional
Geography of Life GEOG30352 20 Optional
Social Constructions of Health and Disease GEOG30451 20 Optional
Islands: Playful Human Geographies? GEOG30502 20 Optional
Dryland Environments: Past, Present and Future GEOG30531 20 Optional
Understanding GIS GEOG30552 20 Optional
European Cities GEOG30652 20 Optional
Governing Urban Transformation GEOG30802 20 Optional
Asian Workers and the Labour of Globalisation GEOG31071 20 Optional
Space, Nature and Social Power GEOG31211 20 Optional
Space, Nature and Social Power GEOG31212 20 Optional
Coastal Processes: Sea Level Change and Marine Hazards GEOG31952 20 Optional
Understanding the Himalayan Landscape GEOG36661 20 Optional
Principles, Perspectives and Practice MGDI31101 20 Optional
Environment and development MGDI31212 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 24 course units for year 3

Scholarships and bursaries

No specific academic scholarships available for this course.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk