Basic Cartography and GIS
This module introduces the practical and theoretical aspects of mapping, especially cartographic design and geographical information systems (GIS). It provides a strong conceptual foundation for approaching the key issues of scale and generalisation, and introduces you to the fundamentals of cartographic design with a view to regarding cartographic visualisation as a key output of GIS. The module regards maps as important tools for capturing and communicating environmental information but also as selective representations that can evoke a sense of place. It introduces the origins and development of cartography, and utilises a range of relevant case studies to explain the principles, techniques, and applications of mapping and GIS. The module will equip you with a wide range of practical skills, as a substantial component of the module is the provision of 'hands-on' experience in cartographic design and in building a GIS with industry standard hardware and software.
Contemporary Human Geography *
The module focuses on a number of distinct human geography themes including how the discipline has developed and what constitutes human geography concerns as well as sub-disciplines of human geography including urban, economic, development and population geography. Additionally, the module provides an understanding of why 'where-ness' (space, place, region, location, territory, distance, scale) matters, and demonstrates how human geographical concepts and skills can be used in providing insight and potential solutions to contemporary local and global issues. The module provides both an introduction to contemporary human geography at level 4 and a comprehensive and wide-ranging framework for a more detailed study in human geography at subsequent levels of the degree programmes.
Introduction to Environmental Issues *
This module provides an introduction to approaches to the environment in Geography and aims to encourage a critical approach to environmental issues through an increased awareness of their social, historical, and political context. The module contributes directly to building awareness of environmental stewardship and global citizenship. Beginning with the place of humans in the environment, the module explores the relationship between people and nature and how environmental values have changed over time. This will include an examination of how the ‘environment’ has been conceived in Geography and consider evidence for the rise of humans as a driver of change in the global environment. Key concepts such as nature, place, sustainability and resilience will be introduced.
Introduction to the Physical Environment *
This introductory module examines the broad area of Environmental Geography. It develops awareness of the essential concepts, principles and theories of how environmental processes work and starts to challenge some commonly held pre-conceptions. The module adopts a systematic approach to physical geography and starts by discussing how the nature of the discipline has developed over time. The module develops understanding of a selection of environmental processes, ranging from land-based processes to those controlling the oceans and the atmosphere. The module also considers how the processes are dynamic and cause change and may be applied to sustainable management of the environment. The module shows how understanding environmental processes is essential if the landscape is to be interpreted.
Investigating Landscape: Continuity and Change *
This module provides a balanced and varied introduction to a range of fundamental geographical methods, techniques and resources that are relevant to studying social and physical environments. The module introduces, applies and develops basic geographical field, cartographic and analytical techniques both statistical and non-statistical, together with the relevant key concepts through practical projects and/or exercises. To develop skills and techniques across a variety of fields within geography, the module is organised into two sections, each focusing on one holistic geographical theme exploring the changing landscapes of Kent. Two case studies will explore the interplay between humans and their environment, in response to economic, political, technological and social change over time. Reference to early phases of development (e.g. coastal resorts) will be complemented by an examination of contemporary issues relating to strategic planning and policy in the region.
Living with Uncertainty in the Environment
Fieldwork has a central role within the geography programmes and residential fieldwork re-affirms the active engagement with the wider world which itself is a hallmark of a geographical education. This module applies the skills techniques learned in the Investigating Landscape module, but in an international context in Tenerife. The module examines the different ways that uncertainty is a key element that all societies have to live with, whether environmental hazards or the uncertainties of socio-economic change in a globalised world. In addition, the module ensures you are aware of good fieldwork practice and introduces and practises a range of field survey methods.
* If you wish to take a language you can opt out of ONE of these modules
Geographical Investigation and Research
Geographical Investigation and Research has a central role within the geography programme. It introduces you to the scope and academic identity of geography as a discipline, developing your ability to identify, investigate and solve problems by deploying suitable research strategies combining appropriate methods and techniques for geographical analysis. The module emphasises the relevance of geography to human and physical environments and will evaluate the role of the geographer as an independent researcher with a wide range of employability skills. By emphasising the identity of the discipline, the module will enhance your self-awareness as geographers and provide a focus for reflection on possible future careers. With that in mind there will be an emphasis on using software that is considered to be “industry standard” for data analysis and research thus enhancing both numeracy and the digital literacy of the students.
Field Investigation in Geography
Field Investigation is another residential field module, undertaken in Malta, supporting the active engagement with the wider world which is a hallmark of a geographical education. An important aim of the module, therefore, is to enable you to appreciate that universal processes and relationships are modified at local scales by the particular characteristics of individual places. By doing this, it aims to promote greater empathy and to develop a heightened awareness of regional identity and difference. The module provides an invaluable opportunity for you to undertake structured investigations in an unfamiliar international geographical setting, drawing especially on the methods and techniques introduced within the module Geographical Investigation and Research. The module introduces a range of field survey techniques, some of which will be practised during the residential field week to ensure that those students who undertake a field-based Independent Study at Level 6 are sufficiently prepared.
Likely optional modules
Biogeography and Landscape Ecology
This module examines the distribution of organisms and soils in space and time, and the environmental factors, including anthropogenic, that determine or limit these distributions. The module introduces landscape ecology and its importance in conservation management. It introduces the world's major biomes and a more detailed study of habitats and micro-habitats by drawing on a range of areas within the geographic and life sciences. Key concepts such as disturbance ecology and island biogeography theory are introduced. Biogeographical and landscape ecological processes are also important to other fields of geography; for example, food production systems, sustainable livelihoods, etc., and the module introduces you to human impacts on biogeographic systems and studies the means by which these systems can be managed in a sustainable manner.
Environment and Development
This module explores the challenge of reconciling economic growth with environmental conservation in the context of the rural Global South. The module seeks to strengthen your understanding of the linkages between poverty and the environment and introduce key frameworks of analysis (political ecology; institutional analysis; gender and development; livelihoods analysis). These will be illustrated with reference to a specific region to deepen understanding of the historical and geographical context of contemporary environmental issues. The module contributes directly to your awareness of social and environmental injustice. You will develop knowledge of other places and cultures and contribute to debates around sustainable global futures.
The Human Geography of North America
This module develops your understanding of the contemporary geography of the USA and Canada and reflects upon the dominant processes of spatial change in a dynamic and innovative global region. It critically and objectively makes the links between the physical environment, the built environment, post-industrial landscapes and societal change using primary sources of data and information. The module adopts a thematic approach exploring the distinctive historical development of North America and its people, North American urbanism, North American political economy and North American futures. Throughout, there is frequent reference to regions and places so that you can appreciate the huge variations that exist at a variety of spatial and temporal scales. The United States is often cited as a global incubator for ideas, mainly in the area of the post-industrial economy and its landscapes making this module particularly desirable if you wish to enhance your employability in the field of planning and economic development.
Coastal and Glacial Geomorphology
Understanding of the well-established principles of process geomorphology is a prerequisite for any sustainable environmental management. This module examines the processes that operate within two core geomorphological systems (coastal processes and glacial processes) and shows the relationship between process and landform within a modern conceptual framework. It provides the opportunity to develop a range of intellectual, discipline specific, and graduate attributes that will be used in the field and laboratory to provide data that will be used for critical analysis, problem solving and interpretation of an environment and to produce a reasoned scientific argument structured as a research paper.
Europe: Culture, Identity and Landscape
This module explores geographical issues surrounding European cultures, identities and landscapes through the concepts and methods of cultural geography. It develops an understanding of cultural geography as a dynamic sub-field within geography, allowing you to apply its concepts and methods more broadly, for example to understand similar issues in other world regions. The module encourages a reflective engagement of current issues relating to place and identity in Europe by exploring the interplay between regional, national and trans-national allegiances. The module achieves this through a focus on visual representation, drawing on research expertise in cartography and other media (e.g. landscape art, music, film), and through an exploration of themes in cultural geography, from the local (e.g. a sense of place and valued landscapes) to the global (e.g., the concept of 'orientalism'). The module provides an understanding of the challenges of European integration and territorial cohesion, particularly with regard to issues surrounding ethnicity, nationalism and national identity.
Geographic Information Science and Visualization
This module develops understanding of the practical and theoretical aspects of geographic information science and visualization, particularly with regard to the key technologies of geographical information systems (GIS) and remote sensing. By adopting an integrated approach, the module introduces a range of techniques for spatial analysis in GIS (e.g. proximity, network and 3D methods of analysis) and for image processing and analysis in remote sensing (e.g. normalized difference vegetation index and supervised/unsupervised methods of classification). The module, therefore, introduces a range of theoretical and practical issues surrounding the retrieval and utilisation of primary and secondary data sources, such as metadata, errors and standards, for the application of GIS and remote sensing technologies to real geographical problems. A knowledge of the issues surrounding how geographical data can be captured, explored and visualized are combined with hands-on practical skills for communicating the results of geospatial analysis effectively, e.g. through the application of sound principles of cartographic design.
Placement in Geography
This optional module gives you the opportunity to apply your geographical knowledge in practice in order to enhance your employability status. It will synthesise and consolidate prior learning in geography and to apply that knowledge to address contemporary problems. The module will develop transferrable skills through exposure to the challenges of working in the 'real world'. This will give you the opportunity to research, identify and negotiate a placement, further reinforcing your key skills and employability when entering the graduate job market.
Regions of Risk: Human and Environmental Security
The module examines a critical component of the people-environment relationship, namely the variability of vulnerability to environmental hazards over geographical areas and socio-economic groups, and to the processes of change driving contemporary trends in disaster risk. It examines the ways in which events in geophysical or biological systems interact with human systems in a chain of causes in disasters and the varying strategies employed to reduce disaster risk.
Understanding Past Climate Change
Climatic change is a major concern to the world today, but understanding past climates could provide managers with vital information. This module examines the nature and scale of climatic change by examining the methods used to identify and assess change and the range of concepts and theories proposed to explain the varying changes identified. In addition, the module will critically examine the problems that scientists still have to address in examining climate change. It provides a geological context for understanding present-day environmental change and develops awareness of the interaction between oceanic, atmospheric and cryospheric systems in explaining change and develops understanding of the mechanisms and theories used to explain past climatic change. It examines the types of evidence and methods used by scientists to reconstruct past climates and environments.
Independent Study in Physical Geography
The Independent Study in Physical Geography should be seen as the culmination of your learning experience in Geography. The Study draws upon the wide range of intellectual and key skills developed throughout the programme, and to applies those skills towards the completion of an individual and substantial piece of research work related to an area of interest within physical geography, while recognising that integration with human geography may be necessary. This module requires you to undertake independent work and display individual thought and initiative in the analysis and interpretation of geographical issues. In consultation with your supervisor, you will be expected to give due consideration to the ethical issues involved in research, and to address these issues in your project.
Applied Physical Geography: Climate and Society
This module examines how society uses the climatic environment and investigates how climatic change during the latter part of the Holocene has affected society. The module aims to develop the understanding of the reciprocal relationship between the physical and human environments by examining how human activity uses, alters and is altered by climatic processes. Since scientists believe that increasing use of the atmospheric system is likely to increase future climatic change, and that this may increasingly threaten human societies, the module aims to examine the possible environmental impacts and critically evaluate issues associated with managing the environment sustainably.
Likely optional modules
Arctic and Arid Environments
This module examines the interactions between human and physical processes in two extreme environments: Arctic and arid. It will examine the physical processes responsible for present-day change in these environments and investigate key issues affecting the environments from both a human and physical geography perspective, with a particular emphasis on recent and future climate change and how this may affect the functioning of these environments. Furthermore, the impact of changing Arctic and arid environments on both ecosystems and human activity will be outlined.
City, Society, Space
The module aims to provide an understanding of the key theoretical ideas in the study of urban social geography over the past 20-30 years and to locate these in the development of the sub-discipline. It will introduce a number of substantive topics in the field of urban social geography and explores the different theoretical perspectives that have characterised the emergence of particular areas of interest. The topics explored include social inequality and exclusion, gender and sexuality, crime, security and surveillance, community and locality, disability, race and ethnicity. You will look at recent research in these areas and encounter a range of examples.
This module aims to utilise coastal environments to critically evaluate the complex interactions between nature and society associated with the evolution and management of environmental systems. It explores examples drawn from a wide range of coastal settings (e.g. arctic to tropics) and highlight the importance of placing current management approaches into the context of longer term evolution. It also utilises data drawn from a coastal setting to develop skills in data presentation and analysis. Specifically, the module evaluates the principal controls on short and long term evolution of contrasting coastal environments; examines the nature and possible impacts of coastal hazards; evaluates how society can best manage the coastal environment and its associated hazards; and assesses the causes and consequences of sea level change during the past, present and future.
Exploring the Global Economy
The module examines the key themes in the study of economic geography and associated systems and enables you to situate economic geography within a wider understanding of global change. Given the global nature of the module, international perspectives are paramount and made explicit throughout, as a focus on sustainable and resilient futures should bring benefit to all global citizens. In particular, the module examines spatial outcomes of economic theory, policy and issues at a variety of spatial scales. In a globalising world it is important that you recognise the role the economic decision-making process plays in conceptualising the distinctive nature of particular places while also highlighting difference and inequality between places, thus challenging cultural bias and stereotyping. The module emphasises the dynamic nature of the global economy and provide an understanding of, and framework for, change at more localised levels.
Geopolitics: Space, Place and Power
The aim of the module is to develop understanding of the contemporary world system and the political interaction between states by introducing the scope and methods of political geography as a dynamic sub-field within human geography. It explores the fundamental geographical processes that are used to control territory and, when and where possible, to project power beyond the territory of the state, to subjugate, develop or exploit other spaces. The module introduces key concepts such as world-systems theory, and critically evaluates the extent to which these ideas can provide frameworks to understand both the historic evolution of our contemporary international system of states, and the spatial organisation of power more broadly.
GIS and Remote Sensing for Environmental Management
This module introduces advanced techniques related to the collection, analysis and presentation of spatial data associated with environmental management. Building on the principles of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and of spatial analysis techniques gained at Levels 4 and 5, this module considers the specific role of GIS and remote sensing in environmental management and places a particular emphasis on open-source software and its applications. Environmental management requires the increasing use of spatial data and associated analysis tools, the skills developed on this module will be valuable to any student wishing to pursue a career in the environmental sector.
Environmental Policy and Planning
The module equips you with an understanding of the principles behind environmental policy, the instruments available to policy-makers to influence environmental behaviour and the institutional framework behind key global environmental policy initiatives. The module will also introduce the environmental controls within the UK planning system.
Soil Science and Land Management
An understanding of soil science is fundamental to the management of ecosystems at all levels, whether it is for crop and livestock production, preventing erosion and land degradation, the maintenance of biodiversity or the management of urban open space and sports turf. This module equips you with the knowledge and understanding required to manage, maintain and improve soil quality and productivity in the context of crop and animal production, conservation management or for recreational use.