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BAHuman Geography

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Overview

While physical geographers look at the features and processes that make up our physical world, human geographers concern themselves with the ways in which humans interact with and are affected by our environment.

Study Human Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London and you’ll explore topics including culture, economics and geopolitics, developing an advanced understanding of our relationship with the planet.

This flexible programme lets you tailor your learning through a variety of optional modules, allowing you to choose your perfect balance between the twin disciplines of human and physical geography. You’ll enjoy a range of fieldwork opportunities in the UK and abroad as part of a close, supportive community with an excellent staff-to-student ratio.

Royal Holloway Department of Geography was ranked 2nd in the UK for research by the Research Excellence Framework 2014, which means you’ll benefit from world-class research-led teaching from our expert academics.

Graduate with a degree in Human Geography and you’ll enjoy strong employability prospects, with the portfolio of knowledge and skills you build during your studies making you an attractive prospect to employers in a variety of sectors. Recent Department of Geography graduates have gone on to careers in environmental conservation, media relations and more, and you will also be well placed to pursue postgraduate study.

Programme structure

Year 1

Physical Geography 1 – Atmosphere, Oceans and the Geosphere
In this module you will develop and understanding of the factors that control the physical, biological and chemical forces which shape the Earth’s surface. You will look at oceanic and atmospheric processes, plate tectonics, hydrology and coastal processes, glaciation, and arid environments.

Physical Geography 2 – Biogeography, Ecology and Scales of Change
In this module you will develop an understanding the complexity of the relationship between people and environment. You will examine how and why ecosystems vary spatially and the impact of human activity, such as deforestation and agriculture, on the physical environment. You will also consider the nature of environmental change, including climatology.

Human Geography 1 – Cultures, Economies, Histories
In this module you will engage with key issues in human geography. You will consider human geography as a distinctive way to approach the world, examining key questions about globalisation, inequality, identity and the nature of place. You will look at approaches to economic, cultural and historical geography, and the development of the discipline, celebrating geographers’ active involvement in the challenges facing humanity.

Human Geography 2 – Politics, Society, Development and Environments
This module will introduce you to human geographical perspectives on political processes, societies, development and the environment. You will develop an appreciation of the importance of scale, networks and spatial patterns, and how geographers have approached the challenges of inequality at local, national and global scales.

Geographical Field and Research Training 1
In this module you will develop your practical research skills on a week-long fieldtrip to Andalusia in Southern Spain. You will spend four days, guided by staff, looking at specific local examples of physical, environmental, social, economic and cultural processes. You will then spend two days, working in small groups, conducting a short piece of original research on a topic of your choice.

Geographical Techniques 1
This module will provide you with an introduction to the methods for collecting, interpreting and presenting physical and human geographical information, in both the field and in the laboratory. You will conduct physical and human geography fieldwork in the local area, with activities including surveying and mapping, vegetation sampling and identification, soil and water analysis, interpreting past history, exploratory and inferential data analysis, questionnaire design, interviewing, and visual and textual interpretation.

Digital Geographies – Introduction to Remote Sensing and GIS
This module will provide you with an introduction to the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in physical and human geographical research, giving you practical experience in the use of ArcMap (an industry-leading GIS software package). You will look at the use of satellite remote sensing for geomorphological mapping, census classifications and boundaries, and volunteered geographic information.

Year 2

Geographical Techniques 2
In this module you will develop your skills in research design, data collection and analysis. You will learn how to handle and process advanced human or physical geography data sets, and further your ability to apply geographical information systems (GIS) techniques. You will also start to plan your dissertation, thinking about proposal design, and risk and research ethics assessments.

Geographical Field Training 2
In this module you will have the opportunity to conduct field research in Cyprus, Malawi, New York, Sicily or London, with each destination focussing on a different area of Geography. You will develop your ability to analyse and problem-solve in the field, collecting, interpreting and combining different types of geographical evidence.

Year 3

Independent Dissertation
The dissertation gives you an opportunity to undertake an individual piece of geographical research, on a topic of your choice, around 10,000 words in length. You will be allocated a member of staff as a dissertation adviser who will provide advice on research design, data collection and analysis.

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Career opportunities

As a graduate from the Department of Geography you’ll become an attractive prospect for employers in a range of sectors – from environmental conservation and NGOs to media relations and the Civil Service – where skilled, qualified geographers remain highly sought-after.

We are ranked among the UK’s top 10 Geography departments for employability, and our excellent industry links give you the chance to pursue rewarding placements within renowned organisations. Study Human Geography at Royal Holloway and you’ll develop the skills and knowledge you need to thrive in your chosen field.

Apply now! Fall semester 2021/22
This intake is not applicable

We are currently NOT ACCEPTING applications from NON-EU countries, except Georgia and Serbia.

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States

Apply now! Fall semester 2021/22
This intake is not applicable

We are currently NOT ACCEPTING applications from NON-EU countries, except Georgia and Serbia.

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States