Department of Geography
You are viewing this course for 2021-22 entry. 2022-23 entry is also available.
On this four-year physical geography course with an integrated masters, you'll examine patterns and processes in the natural environment and learn how to tackle contemporary global issues such as environmental pollution and rising sea levels. You'll develop your understanding of these changes in the context of long-term variability.
We use the space around us as our living laboratory: you'll spend time learning in Sheffield and exploring the Peak District during field classes.
Integral to your degree is field-based learning, independent research and technical training. We'll show you how to use geospatial techniques such as computer programming and satellite observations, and how to use Geographical Information Systems to observe and monitor the Earth.
This course will give you the specialist, practical and transferable skills you need for your future career.
The first three years follow the same structure as the BSc Geography. In your fourth year, you'll carry out your own advanced research project as part of an active research group. You'll benefit from the expertise of a network of academics and you'll have the chance to develop your professional and research skills.
This course has been accredited by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). Accredited degree programmes contain a solid academic foundation in geographical knowledge and skills, and prepare graduates to address the needs of the world beyond higher education. The accreditation criteria require evidence that graduates from accredited programmes meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including subject knowledge, technical ability and transferable skills.
The modules listed below are examples from the last academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course. For the very latest module information, check with the department directly.
Choose a year to see modules for a level of study:
UCAS code: F804
- Geographical Skills, Methods and Techniques
Geographers are well-known for having a versatile set of practical and transferable skills. This module teaches students key research methods from across the discipline. Small tutorials, run by academic staff, are used to develop skills in finding, presenting, analysing, and critically evaluating complex information. Lectures introduce students to Geographical Information Systems (GIS), remote sensing, questionnaire design, statistics, and in-depth interviewing. Workshops provide the chance to practice skills and get to grips with industry-standard software. Finally, fieldwork experience provides hand-on training in key methods used in the field.40 credits
- Earth, Wind, Ice and Fire
This course is intended to provide an introduction to the general principles of physical geography for students with diverse backgrounds.20 credits
Part I will aim to give students an understanding of the origin and history of the Earth. It will include explanations of tectonic, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic activity, the history of crustal processes as well as reviewing the development over geological time of the evolution of the geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere.
Part II will use a systems-based approach to physical geography to examine several other key environmental systems, including the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, and the cryosphere. It will include explanation of key interactions between physical systems and discussion of the impacts and consequences of system perturbation, such as climate change, over time and space.
Part III of the course will introduce concepts of geomorphology as a means to investigate the landforms of the earth; mountains, valleys, slopes, river beds and dunes. It will include explanation of fundamental principles of landscape and landform development considering issues such as temporal and spatial scale, equilibrium and interaction between different landscape processes and components.
- Living with Environmental Change
This module will introduce students to a wide range of critical environmental issues facing the world today from physical science and social science perspectives. Using a range of environmental problems evident in the Global North and Global South (such as climate change, habit loss, water resources, land-use change, agriculture), the physical and social processes implicated will be examined. Drawing on a range of examples, students will critically explore the causes, consequences, management and solutions to environmental issues and learn how to question assumptions about environmental processes.20 credits
- Why Geography Matters
Geographers actively contribute to intellectual debates across the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, addressing some of the most pressing issues facing the modern world, from climate change to food security, informing policy and practice. The module provides a challenging but accessible insight into the origins of the discipline and how these translate into the cutting edge of contemporary geographical research, and how this helps us understand our changing world. Serving as a bridge between the general introductory modules, and the more specialist modules taught at levels 2 and 3, this module provides an opportunity for students to engage with topical issues in contemporary human and physical geography led by academics actively engaged in cutting edge research on those subjects.20 credits
- Exploring Human Geographies
The module provides an introduction to human geography including key principles and processes in economic, social and cultural geography. It describes the main elements and issues involved in the global economic system including the process of uneven development and how local economic activities are moulded by global forces. It also provides an introduction to social and cultural geography focusing on a range of concepts, current debates and contemporary issues. Drawing examples from around the world and at a variety of geographical scales, the module highlights the value of a geographical perspective on current economic, social and cultural issues.20 credits
The main aim of Cities is to introduce you to our urban condition in a global context. Within this broad aim we will connect you to a range of key issues in contemporary urban studies and help you to understand more about the roots of urban problems and questions of social inequality and social justice within that context. This a general course that aims to develop an understanding of urban social life, economies, political systems, urban order/disorder and a range of other themes in an international context.10 credits
- Housing, Home and Neighbourhood
Housing and the homes and neighbourhoods that we live in are in the news every day. Whether this is over concerns about housing shortages, affordability, housing bubbles, `generation rent', social housing, housing evictions, Covid lockdown, city-centre housing, DIY and `grand designs', or debates about the domestic sphere, `home as a haven', `benefit streets', flooding and shack settlements, housing is often at the centre of social science research. This module aims to introduce students to this broad and diverse subject by drawing on the expertise of staff who research across these multiple themes. The module focuses on contemporary concerns, while maintaining an appreciation of the impact of historical trends (e.g. the Global Financial Crisis of 2007/8). The module will make use of cases from the UK and abroad to illustrate trends, arguments and challenges.10 credits
- Putting Physical and Environmental Geographies into Practice
The ability to design, conduct, analyse and present meaningful findings from fieldwork is an essential part of degree-level Physical Geography and Environmental Science, and enhances employability. This module addresses the philosophical background to, and the process of designing and conducting fieldwork. The module introduces the principles of research design and provides practical experience of international fieldwork to facilitate immersive learning and engagement with earth surface processes. The module is delivered through lectures, small-group teaching, and a residential fieldclass. Assessments provide ongoing feedback linked to the experience of designing, conducting and reflecting upon the research journey, culminating in dissertation proposal.20 credits
- GIS and Earth Observation
This unit introduces both Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) – both important tools to aid in our understanding of the earth system. GIS are computer systems for the storage, display and manipulation of geographical data. Remote Sensing (RS) refers to the science of identification of earth surface features and estimation of their geo-biophysical properties through the detection of electromagnetic radiation. The module will cover the main concepts related to handling RS/GIS data on a computer and introduce a range of practical applications of RS/GIS in research, industry and commerce.10 credits
- Analysing Geographical Data
Understanding data collection, analysis and presentation is an integral part of being a well-rounded geographer. Indeed, many problems in physical and human geography, demand the interpretation and interrogation of large datasets, which often necessitates the use of statistical techniques.10 credits
The module is designed to provide students with a solid grounding in handling large datasets and the proper application of statistical methods in geographical analysis, and an appreciation of their role in the study of contemporary social and environmental processes. This is achieved through a combination of lectures, practicals and seminars which cover the underlying ideas, provide hands-on experience and give examples of the methods' application in the literature. The module covers hypothesis testing, bivariate inferential methods, and multivariate inferential methods.
- Sustainable Development and Global Justice
Development in the Global South is a major issue of international concern in the 21st century. This module explores contemporary development issues and examines the contribution that geographers, and geographical thought, can make towards understanding inequality, poverty and socio-economic change. Definitions of `development’, `poverty’ and `the poor’ shift and are invested with political meaning which reflect specific geographies and ways of seeing the world: students develop critical understandings of such terminology and the power dynamics implicit within them. This module addresses diverse theories, paradigms and contemporary critiques of development, and explores some of the central issues affecting processes of development. Case examples are drawn from Latin America, Africa and South-East Asia.20 credits
- Understanding the Climate System
This module will give students an understanding of the global climate, focusing on the atmospheres, the oceans, and their interaction. The first part of the module will consider the main characteristics of, and processes behind, climate from the global to the local scale. The second part of the module will examine the physical characteristics of the oceans and their geographical variation, and the role of the oceans in the climate system.20 credits
- Culture, Space and Difference
This module builds on the Level 1 module Introduction to Human Geography. It illustrates the diversity and vitality of contemporary social and cultural geography including some of the philosophical concepts and theoretical debates that have shaped the subject. As well as demonstrating the value of a geographical perspective on a range of social and cultural issues, the module will enhance the understanding, critical awareness and interdisciplinary capacities of students. The module aims to deepen and enrich the ways in which students are able to think about geographical issues, through a critical understanding of concepts and approaches that underpin the substance and methods of contemporary human geography. The module is delivered through lectures and engagement with a variety of media.20 credits
- Understanding Dynamic Landscapes
This module on the earth surface processes looks at the relationship between processes and landforms at a variety of scales in space and time. It examines endogenic processes originating within the earth, exogenic processes occurring at the earth/atmosphere/ocean interface and the way they interact to create landforms. The module discusses geomorphological concepts, frameworks and monitoring techniques and will elucidate a range of quantitative modelling approaches, where numerical expressions are introduced. Case studies drawn from staff research (e.g. aeolian/fluvial/volcanic) alongside practical classes and an appreciation of the importance of new measurement techniques to process understanding, will directly support learning.20 credits
- Territory, Power and Policy
The module introduces students to contemporary debates within political geography, addressing political processes at a variety of spatial scales, from international, national, local and community politics through to individual political behaviour. Questions of power, efficacy and conflict are examined at all these scales with particular emphasis on the spatial and place-specific aspects of politics in relation to issues including: geopolitics and international relations; the state and territoriality; the politics of nationalism and citizenship; civic activism; and individual political participation.20 credits
- Who Gets What? Social Justice and the Environment
Environmental issues continue to be a key area of contemporary public concern and current political debate. They raise fundamental questions about the relationship between society and environment, and the politics and equity of that relationship. This module provides a geographical introduction to these issues and debates with examples from a range of scales from the global to the local. It also considers the role of stakeholders and how they benefit or are disadvantaged by policy that seeks to address issues to do with the environment-society relationship. he module then develops these core ideas through inter-related sections covering debates focused on different empirical themes.20 credits
- Unlocking Past Environmental Changes
The landscape we live in is a dynamic place and has been in the past as well. Huge changes at a global, regional and local scale have occurred in the last 2.6 million years of the earth's history (Quaternary period). These changes are ongoing with implications for both present and future environments. Methods and techniques to investigate past environmental changes from proxy data are outlined and illustrated. The module also looks at how palaeoenvironments have responded to past climate changes thereby putting a context for present day climate changes and predicting future changes.20 credits
- Glacial Processes and Hazards
This module examines glaciers and ice sheets of the World focussing on how they are believed to function and with some consideration of their historic and future changes.20 credits
We examine how glaciers and ice sheets come into existence through an understanding of climate and the concept of glacier mass balance. We then consider how glaciers work including on topics such as ice flow, hydrological drainage, ice streams, ice shelves, glacial lakes, and icebergs. Hazards to humankind are also explored. How glaciers modify the underlying landscape is dealt with via a section on glacial geomorphological processes and landforms, and we consider how landscapes evolve under the influence of ice.
- Urban Culture and Conflict: The Making of Modern Cities
The links between social conflict and cultural production in the history of modern cities have long fascinated scholars exploring the cultural history of the capitalist urban imagination. They have sought to understand the way artists, intellectuals, political activists, ordinary people and other thinkers sought to understand and explain the varied experiences of, and relationships between, sensory perceptions, aesthetic judgments and power relations in their own place and time. This module will draw from historical, cultural, social, and political geographies as well as other disciplines to engage with the shifting nature and spatiality of these relationships through case studies of selected cities, the particular changes in capitalist urban culture they occasioned, contemporary responses to those changes, and the theoretical debates they inspired. Key topics will include urban form and architecture, cultural difference and social inequality, representational practices and bodily experiences, and the overall consciousness of change in modern capitalist cities.20 credits
- Environmental Pollution and Quality
This module aims to introduce the students to the origins, pathways and consequences of pollutants in the environment, their control and remediation. Pollutants are released into the environment through anthropogenic activities that include domestic, leisure and industrial practices. These pollutants are potentially harmful to the ecosystem and human health. Therefore, an understanding of the physical, chemical and biological processes involved during the contamination of water and soil is essential to protect the environment. This module provides an introduction on how to assess and quantify pollutants by using laboratory techniques for the determination of contamination in water and soil.20 credits
- Dissertation for Geography & Environmental Science
This module requires the student to prepare, organise, research and report a piece of original work on a geographical topic under guidance by a staff mentor. The student will decide on the topic and will either be expected to collect original material in order to investigate it, or to perform secondary analysis on information drawn from existing sources. The finished product is presented in the style, and at the length, associated with academic journal articles.40 credits
- Advanced Geospatial Analysis
This module will give students the opportunity to extend their knowledge of geospatial systems and software through detailed instruction and targeted case studies. The course will be taught in three parts, and will involve a mixture of lab-work and lectures. The three key themes are: (a) Digital Terrain Models (DTM) from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and Structure from Motion (SfM) Photogrammetry, (b) Mapping of glacial bedforms from DTM data. Lab sessions will enhance software, coding and quantitative skills. Where possible, lab-work sessions will include student-led components and formative peer-peer assessment elements which will provide the opportunity to develop a range of generic analytical skills.20 credits
- Decolonising Geographies
This module examines Indigenous geographies through Indigenous storytelling and film as a way to understand the need to decolonise geography. It examines how race, racism, Indigenous rights, settler colonialism, settler responsibility, white supremacy, land rights, dispossession and genocide shape geographies of place, space and landscape. Topics covered include geographies of identity, emotions, memory, racism, colonialism, gender, landscape, and visual representation. The aim of this module is to centre Indigenous narratives, voices and knowledge to understand geography differently while simultaneously critiquing the current whiteness of academic geographical discourse. Trigger warning – this module engages with potentially distressing and challenging themes of rape, murder, abuse, loss and violence.20 credits
- Applied Volcanology
Volcanoes are an enigmatic force of nature. Understanding the way they behave and how they are monitored is a key aspect in hazard assessment. The module will cover a range of topics related to volcano monitoring, underpinned by an overview of the current state-of-the-art in volcanic science. In particular, the module will combine a theoretical basis of understanding for ground-based and satellite-based volcano monitoring capabilities with practical applications. Via lectures, lab practicals, and field-based activities, students will benefit from hands-on operation of monitoring equipment through to processing and interpretation.20 credits
- Landscape Evolution
The complex distribution and form of Earth’s topography is the product of both surface and tectonic processes, including interactions with climate at local, regional and global scales. Geomorphological processes and rates are influenced by interactions between these factors, as are the geological and geomorphological hazards in different regions. Informed by on-going research by department staff, this module will deepen understanding of (i) the nature and geomorphological implications of global physical processes that has been developed at levels 1 to 2, (ii) the chronological processes used to constrain contemporary and past landscape evolution, and (iii) the landscape development over a range of timescales and hazard implications of these processes. The module will involve consideration of a range of landscapes and the key controls on their evolution and development.20 credits
- Confronting the Anthropocene
This module explores the critical, contested and controversial debates about environmental and ecological issues. Using a range of examples of research undertaken by staff in the department from the Global North and Global South this module develops a critical geographical approach to understanding environmental controversies. Examples will be drawn from a range of issues including agriculture, water, energy, food, climate change and housing.20 credits
- Consumption and Sustainability
The ways in which we buy and use stuff and services are inextricable from the shaping of both our everyday lives and of contemporary societies. From constructions of identity and models of human well-being to issues of social equality and environmental sustainability, debates around consumption illuminate critical perspectives on contemporary societies and cultures. This module explores key contemporary geographical perspectives on consumption, linking critical insights and theoretical perspectives to our own practices and experiences.20 credits
- Geoscientific Data Analysis using MATLAB
Matlab® is a computing environment and programming language with over one million users worldwide. Matlab® also has many less scientific uses; it can be used to edit digital photos and listen to online music. This module will introduce students to Matlab® by way of specific real-world examples taken from Geoscience topics using freely-available data. Initially the module will gently introduce students to the basics of using Matlab® before focussing on five broad topics relevant to Geoscience. At each stage, theory will be accompanied by easy to understand practical examples, with the code used for the examples made available to students. Assessment will comprise computer practicals and a research project; the focus of which will be chosen by each student, but which must use Matlab® to analyse and present data. This module will equip students with a valuable transferable skill – the ability to use a programming language to obtain/generate, analyse and present geoscientific data.20 credits
- Urban Transformations
From the industrial-era modern cities of the Global North such as Manchester and Chicago to the fragmented, sprawling mega-cities of the contemporary Global South such as Lagos and Delhi, urban theorists have sought to understand the interplay of power, everyday practice, and social, political, economic, and cultural processes that both transform and are transformed by urban space. Pulling together critical social science and humanities-informed perspectives, the module draws from interdisciplinary theory and research to engage with urban transformations in both the Global North and the Global South. Topics may include transformations in urban theory, urban uprisings, urban infrastructure, and the role of film and literature in documenting and anticipating urban change.20 credits
- Urban Exploration
This module offers students a chance to explore urban geographies from new angles, which emphasise creative, experimental and subversive ways of seeing and doing geography. Through readings and seminars, students will be exposed to experimental fieldwork such as: Bradley Garrett’s Explore Everything (Verson, 2012); George Perec’s Attempt to Exhaust a Place in Paris (1975, English Translation 2012); place and psycho-geographical writing by authors such as Iain Sinclair, Karl Whitney and Joanna Walsh; playful fieldwork associated with the Geography Collective and Keri Smith (e.g. Mission:Explore, 2010) and curiosity-led fieldwork (by Richard Phillips and others). This module will include a series of fieldwork activities in Sheffield followed by 4 days’ fieldwork in Liverpool, during which time students will conduct individual fieldwork projects, whilst also engaging with fieldwork collectively.20 credits
- Lake District Fieldclass
The ability to apply knowledge of physical processes and research approaches to understand a particular environment is a key geographical skill. This module will provide experience in process interpretation, focusing on the physical processes that have shaped the environment. The module will comprise a 5-day UK residential field class to the Lake District National Park and will cover a range of topics that complement and extend knowledge acquired on the BSc Physical Geography programme, including glaciology, climatology, landscape dynamics and environmental science. Evening lectures during the field-trip will provide relevant background. Small group follow-up sessions will be used to support the presentation of research findings in a science piece.20 credits
- Challenging Development
The aim of this module is to critically examine the development process within a global context, drawing on examples from developed and developing nations. Attention is given to the different ways in which we in the West understand 'development', and how we can reflect more critically on our position, and the power relations within this process. Drawing on debates within development geography, and other disciplines, the course is structured around three themes: the development industry, the poverty agenda and the local-global nexus. Topics covered may include: neoliberalism and state governance, humanitarian intervention, gender and empowerment, protests and social movements, corporate social responsibility, participation and empowerment, local forms of resistance, environmental action and change.20 credits
- The Planets
This module introduces the student to the fascinating discipline of planetary geoscience and exploration. By using the principles of Physical Geography to study unfamiliar environments, we will explore problems that touch upon themes from climate, tectonics, geomorphology, hydrology, and life. The module begins with the Solar System but soon focuses on planetary-scale matters, using the terrestrial planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars) as main examples because of an explosion of knowledge gathered from their observation. We will consider the new perspectives that such knowledge offers on the Earth's dynamic systems.20 credits
- Democracy and Citizenship: Dilemmas and Tensions
This module explores how a geographical approach helps us to analyse events such as controversial election results, divisive immigration policies, and contentious social activism. The two key concepts of democracy and citizenship are used to engage with contemporary debates and theories to draw out the links between geography, policy and society, and the ways in which these are responded to by citizens, communities, civil society, and political parties. Particular attention is paid to the ways in which these interactions are played out across and through multiple scales, from the global to our everyday lives.20 credits
- Our Frozen Planet
This research-led module will examine glacial environments in their broadest sense including both their contemporary and former states. Typical themes include:20 credits
1) Glaciology (processes and phenomena of current glaciers)
2) Ice sheet and glacial modelling (understanding of how numerical models are used in glaciology)
3) Palaeoglaciology (reconstructions of former glaciers)
4) Periglacial environments (cold region processes often close to glacierised regions)
5) Specialist guest research contributions (lectures/seminars on topical cryospheric research).
- Contemporary Geographical Research (L3)
This module requires the student to prepare, research and write up a piece of work based on a geographical topic of their choice. After meeting with a staff member a proposal will be produced (500 words, 10%) that will be marked to give the student feedback before they embark on the essay. An extended essay will then be conducted independently with limited staff support, synthesising and developing a critique on the existing literature available in the Sheffield libraries.20 credits
- Creative Geographies: Media, Imaginaries and Politics
Place, in all its forms, has long inspired radically new thought and perception. This module will explore the work of several historical and contemporary philosophers and artists in situ—why did their work arise where it did? What difference does that place (or places) make to their thought and expression? This module will guide students through the intricate relationship between philosophy, art (across various media) and geography with emphasis on specific types of place as sites of intellectual thought and creative practice. These may range from the large scale such as nation and heimat, to the urban scale, to the intimate such as the village and even the body. Core themes will include identity, place and displacement, historical imaginary and the built environment, and creativity and social/spatial transformation.20 credits
- Professional Skills for Environmental Science
Environmental science graduates require an appreciation of the needs of professional statutory and regulatory bodies (PSRBs). Employers appreciate the study and research skills developed at university but want graduates that understand the tools in use by environmental science practitioners. This course describes those tools and guides students through the production of their own environmental consultancy report. The module uses lectures, seminars, problem solving sessions, and independent learning to provide professional skills/knowledge. These skills are applied to field visits and laboratory analyses with particular emphasis is given to risk assessment, environmental impact assessment, environmental management and field skills.20 credits
- Research Project
Students will undertake an original piece of research on a topic of their choice. The aims of the module are to:60 credits
(i) provide students with an insight into current scientific issues within their subject area through the medium of research presentations and discussion.
(ii) foster and develop research skills including the acquisition, processing and presentation of information.
(iii) expose students to a range of presentational techniques of current research material.
(iv) develop students’ ability to synthesise oral information.
(v) to develop skills in written and oral communication.
- Research Design in Physical Geography and Environmental Science
This module aims to provide an introduction to conducting research in physical geography and environmental science. The objectives are: (a) to provide an understanding of the sources of research problems and how specific student research topics fit into broader agendas; (b) to provide an understanding of scientific method and its different components, including the roles of fieldwork, laboratory experiments and modelling; (c) to provide an introduction to planning a research project, including literature search, fieldwork, laboratory work, data analysis, error analysis and written and graphical presentation; (d) to prepare students for writing a research proposal. These aims will be realised through a mix of lectures, student investigation and presentation of academic staff research, and preparation of a draft proposal.15 credits
- Current Issues in Geography and Environmental Science
This module provides students with knowledge, insight and awareness into specific current issues in either Geography or Environmental Science. This is achieved through the medium of attendance at research presentations by experts in appropriate fields and discussion of cutting-edge research topics and papers.15 credits
- Quantitative Analysis
This module introduces students to powerful and commonly used statistical methods in the social sciences. It assumes no prior statistical knowledge and focuses on the practical research priorities of selecting, conducting and interpreting the most appropriate test with an eye to, rather than an obsession with, the underpinning statistical foundations. The module uses weekly seminar sessions and SPSS practicals to build practical software skills alongside conceptual understanding.15 credits
- Critical Digital Geography in Practice
Digital geographies of GIS, spatial analysis methods and cartography are now widely used in a large variety of academic and professional settings, from urban planning and architecture to health care and social research. This module is focused on helping students understand the critical and conceptual considerations of GIS, cartography, and critical data studies in exploring the relationship between digital and social, political and economic geographies. The module is taught through a combination of case-study-based lectures and seminars.15 credits
- Theory and Debates in Food Security and Food Justice
Food Security and Food Justice are areas of increasing importance at local, national, transnational and global scales. While various political and non-political agents at various scales have recognised that Global Hunger and Food Security (of which Food Justice is a primary component) is a key challenge requiring urgent interdisciplinary investigation and problem solving, there remains limited agreement as to how best to approach these issues and at what scale. This unit provides students with a background to the problems encompassed within the food security/food justice nexus by drawing on academic and policy debates that focus on both the macro as well as the micro grassroots impacts. By drawing on country case studies, the unit also critically evaluates different strategies for mitigating the impacts of food insecurity and injustice.15 credits
- The Science of Environmental Change
This module gives students a critical understanding of the science behind historical and recent environmental change. The module covers the core debates in environmental change, the science behind these changes, methods for detecting environmental change, and the impacts of these changes.15 credits
- Contemporary Geographical Research (L4)
This module requires the student to prepare research and write up a piece of work based on a geographical topic of their choice. After meeting with a staff member a proposal will be produced (500 words, 10%) that will be marked to give the student feedback before they embark on the essay. An extended essay (3,000-words, 90%) will then be conducted independently with limited staff support, synthesising and developing a critique on the existing literature available in the Sheffield libraries.15 credits
- Environment, Society and Development: Key Issues, Debates and Concepts
This module engages critically with the key theoretical debates that shape the environment, society and international development. By looking at current questions in development theory and their relationship to development practice in the context of environmental change, it encourages students to think critically about the ways in which interdisciplinary approaches define issues and problems, and the theoretical viewpoints that inform their actions. The unit is taught primarily through seminars: these structure students’ learning, and provide an environment in which they can develop their skills in researching, presenting and debating arguments drawn from the academic literature on international development.15 credits
- Managing Climate Change
This module aims to engender a detailed understanding of the development of ideas and theories of climate change, integrating the core social and physical science behind our understandings of climate change with a critical analysis of how this is interpreted and communicated. This understanding is then applied to consider the challenge of living with climate change in the Global South. The module is taught through seminars and lectures. Lectures introduce and impart factual knowledge while seminars allow discussion and an emphasis on applying key concepts to practical situations. Together these structure students' learning, and provide an environment in which they can develop their skills in researching, presenting and debating arguments drawn from the wide ranging literature on climate change.15 credits
The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.
Learning and assessment
Our courses combine theory and concepts with hands-on, practical experience. Fieldwork is at the heart of our courses. Multiple fieldwork opportunities allow you to design, conduct and present your own research projects.
Our lectures and seminars are structured to ensure a varied learning experience that is driven by our research expertise, and we also use tutorial-based teaching to support your university journey.
You will be assessed through a combination of exams, coursework and practical assessment. The proportions of these will vary depending on the modules you choose.
This tells you the aims and learning outcomes of this course and how these will be achieved and assessed.
With Access Sheffield, you could qualify for additional consideration or an alternative offer - find out if you're eligible
The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
including Geography or another science subject
The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
A Levels + additional qualifications | AAB, including Geography or another science subject + B in EPQ; AAB, including Geography or another science subject + B in Core Maths AAB, including Geography or another science subject + B in EPQ; AAB, including Geography or another science subject + B in Core Maths
International Baccalaureate | 36, 6 in Higher Level Geography or another science subject 34
BTEC | D*DD in a relevant subject DDD in a relevant subject
Scottish Highers | AAAAB AAAAB
Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels | A + AA, including Geography or another science subject B+AA
Access to HE Diploma | 60 credits overall in a relevant Social Science or Humanities subject with 45 at level 3 including 39 credits at Distinctions 6 Credits at Merits 60 credits overall in a relevant Social Science or Humanities subject with 45 at level 3 including 36 credits at Distinctions 9 Credits at Merits
Mature students - explore other routes for mature students
You must demonstrate that your English is good enough for you to successfully complete your course. For this course we require: GCSE English Language at grade 4/C; IELTS grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component; or an alternative acceptable English language qualification
Science subjects include Biology/Human Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science/Studies, Further Maths, Geography, Geology, Maths, Physics or Statistics
GCSE Maths grade 4 or grade C
If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.
Department of Geography
The Department of Geography at the University of Sheffield is a world leader in teaching and research. We're ranked as one of the top 50 universities in the world for geography according to the QS Rankings 2020.
We have over 30 full-time academic staff in the department. Our high staff-to-student ratio ensures that you receive excellent quality teaching and a high level of pastoral support throughout your studies.
The Department of Geography is housed in an award-winning, purpose-built building on the edge of the beautiful Weston Park, close to the Students' Union and central libraries and lecture theatres.
We have a well-equipped computer teaching laboratory, postgraduate and undergraduate physical geography laboratories, and image processing facilities which provide an important component for teaching and research in remote sensing and geographical information systems (GIS).
Why choose Sheffield?
The University of Sheffield
A Top 100 university 2021
QS World University Rankings
Top 10% of all UK universities
Research Excellence Framework 2014
No 1 Students' Union in the UK
Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2019, 2018, 2017
Department of Geography
QS World University Rankings By Subject 2021
"The geography department was really supportive and the research truly captivating"
Personal Assistant to CEO, Geography BSc
Students on our BSc Geography and MGeogSci Geography courses develop the scientific skills to monitor the physical and environmental processes that shape our world. These practical skills are highly sought after by employers in fields as diverse as sustainability, meteorology, environmental consultancy, GIS analysis, business, policy and government.
Recent graduate destinations have included the Environment Agency, npower, the Met Office, Jacobs and Natural England. Graduates from our physical geography courses also secure positions on postgraduate and research programmes.
Our courses will develop your ability to analyse global problems from a range of perspectives and at different scales. Our students gain geographical and transferable skills that are highly valued by employers.
93% of our geography and environmental science graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduation (Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey 2017).
As well as specialist skills and knowledge, our degrees provide you with transferable skills that are valued by graduate employers, such as handling data, communicating complex issues, and managing projects from start to finish. Other graduates have used these assets to secure employment in teaching, law, patenting, finance and banking.
Through field classes, you will continue to advance and deepen your understanding of the relation between theories, real problems and practical solutions. Fieldwork is embedded throughout our programmes as part of modules – from day trips exploring our local geography in Sheffield and the Peak District, to site visits and trips further afield in the UK.
All of our core field classes in Year One and Year Two are included in your tuition fees; optional field classes in Year Three are not included in the fees. In the interests of inclusivity, we run these trips at a range of prices, with domestic options available to reduce costs and carbon emissions. We also provide financial support for students via our departmental scholarship scheme.
A fully-funded residential field class
In your second year of study, you will get the opportunity to develop and apply your research skills on a residential field class, which is included in your course fees. Field class destinations vary, but in previous years: BA Geography students have had the opportunity to study cultural and urban geographies in Berlin or development geographies in Morocco. BSc and MGeogSci Geography students have visited Almeria in southern Spain to research dryland, fluvial and coastal processes.
Exploring the Peak District and Sheffield
The Department of Geography is located in an amazing natural laboratory where you will have the opportunity to explore, study and learn about the physical landscape of the Peak District National Park, and environmental processes and issues across the region. Situated in Sheffield – a post-industrial city with emerging cultural industries and a diverse population – the department also has human geography fieldwork opportunities on its doorstep.
In this optional, unassessed module, you can participate in a series of short field trips into Sheffield and the Peak District to engage with local agencies and communities, develop your field research skills and learn about our local region. You can opt into as many or as few of these classes as you wish. There is no assessment because this module is an optional extra, but you will be given a field notebook to develop your notetaking and observational skills.
Fees and funding
The annual fee for your course includes a number of items in addition to your tuition. If an item or activity is classed as a compulsory element for your course, it will normally be included in your tuition fee. There are also other costs which you may need to consider.
Funding your study
Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for a bursary, scholarship or loan to help fund your study and enhance your learning experience.
Use our Student Funding Calculator to work out what you’re eligible for.
University open days
There are four open days every year, usually in June, July, September and October. You can talk to staff and students, tour the campus and see inside the accommodation.
At various times in the year we run online taster sessions to help Year 12 students experience what it is like to study at the University of Sheffield.
If you've received an offer to study with us, we'll invite you to one of our applicant days, which take place between November and April. These applicant days have a strong department focus and give you the chance to really explore student life here, even if you've visited us before.
Campus tours run regularly throughout the year, at 1pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Apply for this course
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The awarding body for this course is the University of Sheffield.
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