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Geography BA/BSc(Hons) / Geography (GIS) BSc(Hons)

Qualification Attendance UCAS code/apply Year of entry
BA(Hons) 3 years full time L700 2014 and 2015
BA(Hons) 4 years full time including sandwich year F803 2014 and 2015
BSc(Hons) 3 years full time F800 2014 and 2015
BSc(Hons) 4 years full time including sandwich year F801 2014 and 2015
BSc(Hons) 4 years full time including foundation year F808 2014 and 2015
BSc(Hons) 6 years part time Apply direct to the University 2014 and 2015
Joint honours: see course combinations for UCAS codes

See the Unistats data for this course

Why choose this course?

The course is designed to allow students to explore and ultimately seek solutions to the key geographical concerns around the world. It offers an integrated study of the complex reciprocal relationships between human societies and the physical components of the Earth. Thanks to a range of pathways and option modules you can tailor your degree to your particular interests.

You will acquire subject knowledge, practical competences and a broad set of skills that are universally recognised as important; including skills in data handling and analysis, communication, time and task management and IT literacy. You will be taught by an enthusiastic, professional and caring team who are actively engaged in research and who strive to provide a friendly and intellectually stimulating working environment, enlivened by real-world experiences.

The course has three distinct pathways:

  • Geography BA(Hons);
  • Geography BSc(Hons); and
  • Geography (GIS) BSc(Hons).

The first year of the course is the same for all pathways.

In the second year, you can choose whether to follow either the Geography BSc(Hons) or Geography BA(Hons) degree routes or select a pathway which extends and deepens your knowledge of Geographical Information Systems (GIS). The Geography (GIS) pathway examines the functionality and application of Geographical Information Systems and explores their role in seeking solutions to global and local geographical problems.

In addition, you can also study the Geography BA(Hons) or the Geography BSc(Hons) in combination with Business. See the course combinations section for more information.

Geography course director Dr Annie Hughes talks about the geography programmes on offer at Kingston University:

Watch a video to find out why you should study at Kingston University:

What will you study?

Geography courses provide a journey of exploration and discovery, affording a challenging and thought-provoking window on the modern world. You will study our dynamic, globalised world through the interaction between human and physical processes and you will assess contemporary problems and solutions through an exciting array of learning environments. You will learn through 'doing' geography as well as learning 'about' geography, engaging in practical fieldwork in a number of geographical locations, both at home and overseas. Fieldwork is an integral element of all our degree pathways as it brings your studies to life and teaches you the important of geographical research and field techniques. It's also always inspiring, sometimes life changing, but essentially great fun!

Our courses offer exciting and inspiring insights into our world and our captivating research-led option modules will enable you to explore your particular interests.

If you choose the Geography (GIS) pathway you will explore the role of geographical information systems in greater depth and engage with contemporary GIS software in order to manipulate and model spatial data.

Module listing

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.

Year 1

  • This module aims to provide students with an understanding of the basic principles and processes that operate and cause change in environmental systems and show how this knowledge can be applied to sustainably manage environmental problems. The importance of a holistic, 'top-down' approach to problem solving will be introduced along with material on key underpinning scientific disciplines including environmental chemistry and genetics. Practical and fieldwork sessions are designed to develop observation and recording skills.

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  • This module is designed to introduce you to key geographical theories and concepts and deals with the relationship of human societies to a range of economic, cultural, social and political processes.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Engage with a range of theoretical and conceptual issues in human geography.
    • Show an understanding of current global patterns, trends and processes in relation to key geographical ideas and approaches.
    • Demonstrate a range of oral and written communication skills (oral presentations, essay, report, peer review).
    • Provide evidence of reading with a critical and analytic sensibility.
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  • This core module introduces techniques of fieldwork and the principles that form the basis of successful investigations within this, including statistics and subject specific to geographical, geological and environment degrees.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • prepare for and perform basic fieldwork techniques;
    • produce a field report in the appropriate format; underpinned by field observations and records;
    • undertake elementary data analysis;
    • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the fundamental scientific (and other) principles and techniques that are pertinent to the course; and
    • apply undergraduate-level academic skills.
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  • Spatial analysis introduces and develops the fundamental geographical skills of data collection, analysis and presentation and the solving of spatial problems using GIS. It concerns data types, representations of reality and key spatial analysis techniques.

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Year 2 core modules

  • Students design, manage and execute a geographical research project in a 'real-life' setting. Students are tutored in aspects of research design: defining research questions, research philosophy and appropriate methodologies. Students learn practical aspects of research design such as logistical considerations of time and budget limitations as well as data archiving (including digital and mobile technology) and location-based analysis. They will design and manage a field-based research project in a UK and/or overseas setting. A tutorial system will run in parallel to the taught elements of the module whereby students will integrate and develop their learning from this module to the wider academic and professional/ workplace context. The tutorial system will provide the development platform for the production of an independent research proposal. In addition, students will develop skills in the analysis and modelling of spatial data exploring the application of spatial statistical techniques using GIS.

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  • This module focuses on various approaches and philosophies underpinning geographical studies and how these inform different methods of geographical research and enquiry. It also teaches students a range of appropriate research techniques adopted in geographical investigation. It offers students practical instruction in collecting good quality data with these techniques and also introduces students to the analysis and interpretation of field data. In addition, it reflects on ethical components of research.

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  • This module develops skills in spatial data analysis and modelling and to explore the application of spatial statistical techniques using GIS. Methods for the analysis of point patterns, spatially continuous data, area based data, spatial interaction data and networks are explored. Maps are important tools for visualising geospatial data to communicate spatial patterns and processes and the results of geographical analysis and the module also explores the principles of design and production of maps in a GIS environment.

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  • This module gives an introduction to ground, aerial and space based surveying, exploring the underlying physical principles and geographical/technological concepts. It covers remotely sensed data capture, including laser scanning, aerial photography and satellite imaging, with a particular focus on environmental monitoring. Image processing and data modelling complete the cycle of workflow from planning, through to acquisition and utilisation.

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Year 2 option modules

  • This module explores the ecological concepts using a hierarchical approach; population, community and ecosystem levels of ecology, highlighting the interactions between man and nature. A research-led approach is used to emphasise the models by which ecologists attempt to explain complex biological systems.

    On successful completion of the module you should be able to:

    • Describe the models used to explain fundamental ecological processes that govern populations, communities and ecosystems.
    • Discuss and evaluate the processes that modulate distribution and abundance of organisms in ecological systems.
    • Critically discuss the mechanisms that lead to change in ecological systems.
    • Analyse ecological data and interpret results in the context of appropriate ecological theory and discuss its implications for the management of environments.
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  • This module develops an understanding of the fundamental principles of soil science whereby the various soil properties and processes, including storage and transport of water in soil, are explained. This provides a good underpinning to developing an understanding of hydrology. Core principles of hydrology are explored both as theoretical physical science of hydrology and practical hydrological skills, which students gain through hands-on experience and investigations. This knowledge of soil and water sciences forms the essential base for introducing and explaining environmental pollution, including the impact of pollutants on environmental systems (soil, water, plants and air) and human health. It also discusses pollution mitigation and control strategies.

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  • The introduction to the module will provide the 'big picture' overview starting with the concept of landscape development and geomorphology/sedimentology as sub-disciplines in geography followed by a series of systematic core lectures concerning major geomorphological processes and landforms. An accompanying practical programme will aid students in evaluating concepts and learning key analytical techniques. Fieldwork will be provided as an arena for applying new skills and knowledge gained through practicals and lectures. The theme then moves on to interpreting sedimentary environments. Sediments and sedimentary rocks reflect the character of the atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere so an understanding of this subject area is fundamental in understanding how the present is the key to the past (and hence future).

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  • The module aims to introduce you to, and develop your understanding of, the core concerns of contemporary social and cultural geography: its substantive concerns, theoretical perspectives, and methodological innovations. The module evaluates the role of space and place in the construction of social relations and cultural identities and how these are differentiated according to the social constructions of class, gender, race and ethnicity, age, sexuality and disability. It aims to develop skills of critical social and cultural interpretation through your engagement with how geography is central to the construction of social and cultural difference.

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  • The module is designed to introduce you to the basic principles of investigating a range of contemporary global issues in terms of their political economy. This includes a wide range of spatial issues from the local to the global and the inter-linkages and process that bind them together. The key focus is to understand how contemporary capitalism plays out across different spatial levels and to highlight the processes that underpin it and the implications for different communities. This includes exploring relations between, state, business and citizens.

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  • The introduction to the module will provide the overview starting with the concept of regional geography as a sub-discipline in geography, followed by a set of core lectures analysing the major regions of the world. An accompanying seminar programme will aid you in evaluating regional concepts and alternative definitions of regions. Workshop sessions will be provided as an arena for preparing assignments and formative assessment.

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Optional sandwich year

Year 3/4 core modules

  • This module provides experience in the design, execution and preparation of an independent but approved programme of research. Students will be required to identify and analyse a significant research problem and demonstrate an understanding of relevant arguments by presenting a coherent critique of the available research literature and materials, rigorous research methodology, data manipulation, analysis and interpretation.

    On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

    • identify and formulate research questions within an appropriate academic subject;
    • demonstrate the ability to develop a detailed, coherent and logical argument;
    • develop and implement an appropriate research methodology, including evaluation of safety and ethical considerations relevant to the proposed project;
    • demonstrate skills in the collection, analysis and interpretation of geographical data;
    • show an ability to organise a work programme effectively and independently, with support from a supervisor;
    • through the Personal Tutorial System, reflect on the variety of employability skills applied and further developed through their research project as a foundation for the consideration of further study and their professional/work place development.
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  • This module tackles the key issues relating to climate change in the three main subject areas of science, policy and society. It aims to provide you with an understanding of the key concepts and processes of climate change and the various ways in which societies can respond. Fieldwork sessions are designed to complement the lecture series and give further practical demonstration of policy and practice complexities.

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  • This module introduces you to critical issues of development including cross-cutting themes of poverty, exclusion, inequality, famine, HIV/AIDS, natural hazards, gender and conflict. In addition, the module explores relations between developed states and the developing world contexts to explore some of the challenges of inequality and globalisation. The module will include a substantial fieldwork element.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Critically assess contemporary approaches to development.
    • Explain the geographies of developing countries, including a critical assessment of the importance of the representation of places and the ways different  societies relate to them.
    • Explain contemporary problems in, and future prospects of, developing countries; including current geographical and region-specific issues affecting development.
    • Undertake field research on critical issues relevant to the study of development.
    • Demonstrate skills in sourcing and evaluating information and data on development issues from a variety of media sources.
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  • This module explores the application of GIS in a range of socio-demographic and environmental areas and provides practical experience of using demographic, environmental and socio-economic geospatial data sources. Application areas include, but are not limited to, area classification and geomarketing, crime hotspot mapping and geographical profiling, and disease mapping and health care resourcing, and environmental modelling. The main features of the module are a focus on student-centred project work, hands-on experience with GIS to help address 'real-world' problems and a mixture of different styles of assessment.

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  • This module is concerned with the visual communication of geographical information. Students will be introduced to the physical and psychological basis of perception and how it can inform information graphic design. Students experience and evaluate the various visual media by which information can be disseminated including, graphs, digital cartography, surface and 3D modelling, film and animation, immersive virtual reality, display boards and physical models. The technologies that support the visualisation of geographical data over the internet are explained.

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Year 3/4 option modules

  • The module examines the relationship between land and water management, global challenges associated with the management of land and water, and sustainable options to seek their resolution. The module will develop an understanding and critical evaluation of these challenges from several perspectives, ie through the systematic investigation of land-use practices; the applications of soil science and linking practices to processes and patterns of land degradation; the interface between land management and water management; global concerns for water security; land use impacts on the wider environment, including climate, physical and socio-political drivers; plus an examination of the regional land-water management issues.

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  • This module examines the importance of historical and contemporary land use practices in shaping current biotic communities. Current issues in biodiversity and conservation are explored through a lecture and seminar programme. Fieldwork supports the lectures and assignments which are designed to introduce students to important aspects of practical conservation work, such as funding bids, species conservation strategies, and communicating to non-specialists/decision makers.

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  • The module reviews current perspectives on notions and understandings of what constitutes urban spaces and approaches to studying urban environments, exploring critical perspectives and intervention strategies that construct these environments. It also explores the relationship between urban form and identity and questions the links between cultural practices and concepts of community, with a particular focus on social processes, urban spaces and design within the built environment. Additionally, after completing this module, students should have further developed their ability to make and record accurate observations in the field; present conclusions in a logical, intelligible manner; and increased their ability to work as a part of a team.

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  • This module aims to provide students with an understanding of contemporary debates relating to rural areas in both the developed and developing world. It examines the processes and patterns of contemporary change in rural regions and analyses the factors conditioning the restructuring of rural land use and rural economic, social and cultural systems across the world.

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You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University on a not-for-credit basis as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Most of our undergraduate courses support studying or working abroad through the University's study abroad programme or Erasmus programme.

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Mel Ewell Mel Ewell (Geography BSc(Hons), 1981) features in our Made in Kingston exhibition (Kingston's alumni wall of fame).

Find out what Mel went onto achieve after studying at Kingston.

Ed ParsonsKingston graduate and honorary doctor Ed Parsons – the technology expert who helped develop Google's Street View photo maps. Find out more.

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