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School of Environment, Education and Development

Student in The Atrium at The University of Manchester
BA Geography

Study a course tailored to you at the university ranked fourth in the UK for Geography (Guardian University Guide).

BA Geography / Course details

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
Skills for Geographers

Unit code GEOG20621
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Geography
Available as a free choice unit? No


Skills for Geographers is here to help you develop your research and professional skills. It will enable you to consider and enhance skills that you are learning through your modules and broader university life, and teach you new research skills to undertake critical real world enquiry. The first four weeks of this course unit will be dedicated to identifying and enhancing the professional skills of Geographers that will be useful in the world of work. The latter six weeks of the course will be focusing on a range of research skills. All students will undertake 'Quantitative Methods', and then choose any two other workshops, teaching a range of physical and human geography research methods.


·         To enable you to recognise and enhance the skills that you have as a Geographer;

·         To introduce a range of research skills in human and / or physical geography;

·         To provide training in practical skills and methodologies that are needed to develop a critical and organised approach to the execution and writing up of research project or dissertation;

·         To develop skills in quantitative and qualitative data gathering and interpretation;

·         To improve skills in communication, creative thinking, negotiation, teamwork and leadership;

·         To consider how to market your skills to an external audience.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course unit, you should:

  • Be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of three specialist research methods;
  • Be able to execute and write up short independent pieces of research;
  • Understand the key requirements of a successful research project;
  • Have thought about what you might like to do after graduation;
  • Have developed skills required in the job application procedure from the completion of CVs to interviews and interviewing;
  • Have practised and developed question posing, negotiation, problem solving and decision making skills in the context of lifelong learning and active citizenship.


The first four weeks of this course unit will be dedicated to identifying and enhancing the professional skills of Geographers that will be useful in the world of work. The latter six weeks of the course will be focus on range of research skills. All students will undertake ‘Quantitative Methods for Geographers’, and then choose two of the following:

1. Environmental Reconstruction;

2. Environmental Monitoring;

3. Interviews;

4.Working with Policy;  

5. Ethnography and Observation;

6. Archival Research;

7. Visual Methods; 

8. GIS.

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching Methods and E-learning

This is a practical and varied course unit. There will be a mix of lectures, seminars, interactive discussions, employer presentations, fieldwork, laboratory work, and workshops on data analysis and presentation. Part of the course unit will have a focus on professional development. Extensive material will be available on Blackboard including lecture slides from staff and guest speakers, selected reading material, reading lists, and information relating to the assessments. All work will be submitted via Blackboard. This course is supported by staff and post-graduate teaching assistants.  

Transferable skills and personal qualities

During this course unit, you will be encouraged to develop the following abilities and skills:

·         The ability to work independently;

·         The ability to work in a team;

·         The ability to gather, synthesise, discuss, interpret and analyse data;

·         Practical employability experience through CV writing and interview, negotiation and assessment centre experience;

·         An explicit awareness of the transferrable skills of geography and their application to real world issues;

Assessment methods

The course will be assessed by four elements, each worth 25%. The first assessment, due in the first half of the semester, is a 1,000-word Thematic Skills Essay that asks you to critically reflect on your own skillset. Each of the thematic research skills workshops will also have their own independent assignment, due by the end of the semester. The exact tasks will vary between workshops given the breadth of the themes covered. The coursework assignments relating to each block may vary in length depending on the nature of the task, but each assignment will represent work in-line with 25% of a 20 credit module. There is no examination for this course.

Feedback methods

Feedback will be provided in the following ways during this course unit:

·         Verbal feedback through Q&A, discussion and interactive activities within the lectures, seminars, workshops and fieldwork

·         Written feedback on research reports

·         Weekly office hours to assist with any queries;

·          A running FAQ thread on Blackboard;

·         A skills assessment (My Future – Next Steps) to be completed during the course.

Recommended reading

Bolles, R.N. (2015) What Color is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers. Berkeley, California: Ten Speed Press. (All editions are useful)

Bonnett, A. (2008) What is Geography? London: Sage.


Cottrell, S. (2010) Study skills for success: The Personal Development Planning Handbook. New York: Palgrave.


De Blij (2012) Why Geography Matters Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Kirton, B. (2011) Workplace skills for students and graduates. London Palgrave.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 8
Seminars 18
Independent study hours
Independent study 174

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Ross Jones Unit coordinator

Additional notes


This course is not open to Free Choice Students


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