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Geography and Planning BA

Department of Urban Studies and Planning

Department of Geography

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    You are viewing this course for 2022-23 entry. 2023-24 entry is also available.

    Key details

    Course description

    Student writes notes at new housing development in Sheffield

    This dual honours degree programme examines how people and places interact. Combining the best elements from courses in Geography and Urban Studies and Planning, this course draws on the teaching and research expertise of staff working across both departments.

    This degree is highly flexible. The modules are a combination of geographic and urban planning topics, which offer complementary insights into the processes, policies and practices operating within urban and rural areas. You can select modules in order to specialise in particular areas.

    The first year will establish the foundations of your knowledge of human geography and planning. In your second year, the course will build on your understanding of economic, social and political geographies along with the planning policies and market processes that shape change in our towns and countryside. Your third year allows you to specialise in the modules that interest you, and allows you to complete your own research project.

    Dual and combined honours degrees

    Modules

    A selection of modules are available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    Choose a year to see modules for a level of study:

    Title: Geography and Planning BA course structure
    UCAS code: LK74
    Years: 2022, 2023
    First year

    Core modules:

    Information and Communication Skills

    The skills needed to be able to find, evaluate, summarise and critically evaluate information are all vital to success in an undergraduate degree programme, and are also key transferable skills. This module provides basic knowledge of a range of methods for information-gathering and forms of communication. The teaching is delivered through a mix of lectures, tutorials and seminars, with students expected to take more responsibility for their own learning as the module progresses. Lectures provide basic knowledge on method for information gathering and forms of communication, whilst seminars, tutorials and a range of exercises are used to develop these skills

    10 credits
    Contemporary urban challenges

    This module will address the range of challenges contained within the Sustainable Development Goals for cities attempting to transition towards sustainable urban development. You will be introduced to sustainability challenges and the planning and urban professional response to these in a range of specific cities. You will then conduct your own research on one of these case study cities to evaluate its response, and the wider lessons to be learned from it about transitions towards sustainable development.

    10 credits
    Cities, Places and People

    The aim of this module is to provide students with an introduction to Sheffield with a particular focus on place, people, the local economy and urban change. You will be introduced to some of the theories, techniques and data  that planners use in their efforts to understand and create better places and the module will develop your skills of analysis for assessing the social, economic and environmental qualities of urban places. Through a series of site visits, students will gain an understanding of several different areas in Sheffield so that they develop a broader appreciation of the city's strengths and some of the contemporary challenges that it faces.

    10 credits
    Development, Planning and the State

    The module provides an introduction to spatial planning in theory and practice, exploring arguments for and against spatial planning and the rationale for state intervention into land and property development. The first part of the module covers key debates on the purposes of planning, the historical development of planning as a state activity and the current structure of national, regional and local government. The central part of the module introduces key aspects of the English planning system and key debates about its role and purpose. The final third of the module explores how spatial planning responds to major societal challenges.

    20 credits
    Exploring Human Geographies

    The module provides an introduction to key principles, relations and processes that contribute to social, cultural, economic and environmental aspects of human geography.  It looks at spatial patterns of power, inequality and interdependence produced by economic and cultural globalisation, how those are experienced at the local scale, and how they have changed over time.  It outlines key concepts and current debates shaping how human geographers approach these issues by drawing on examples from around the world and at a variety of geographical scales.  It highlights the value of a geographical perspective on the world we live in.

    20 credits
    Professional Skills Development (L1)

    * A foundation to articulate the skills-based nature of study in USP.
    * An opportunity to recognise the importance of, and your responsibility for, the development of key professional and employability-related skills.
    * A series of support sessions to help you get the most out of your learning experience and prepare you for professional employment at the end of your studies.

    This module seeks to deliver a range of professional and employability-related skills over the academic year, tailored to each student cohort, to introduce skills development and to tailor support towards the final stages of study.

    Optional modules:

    Housing and Home

    Issues relating to housing, homes, streets 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. The module introduced students to various concepts and debates relating to housing, as well as indicating the linkages to housing and urban policy.

    10 credits
    The Making of Urban Places

    This module will introduce you to cities and urbanisation, from the very first settlements to contemporary metropolises, using examples from across the world. The module focuses on thinking about the role of cities within societies and civilisations throughout history. The first half, on the history of urbanisation and urban settlement, looks at how various forces have shaped cities, and the outcomes of urbanisation for cities and their populations. The second half, on contemporary global urbanisation challenges, examines some of the major global challenges facing cities today. Throughout, we will explore influential ideas which have changed our thinking about cities, and look at how urban governments and planners have sought to respond to the challenges of urbanisation.

    20 credits
    Climate Action

    Humans are altering the climate, with significant impacts on livelihoods, wellbeing, equality, and the environment across the globe.  While international organisations and governments are crucial in mitigating and adapting to these threats, individual and small group collective action are also essential in creatively exploring how the necessary changes can be realistically and equitably implemented.

     

    This module uses the community linked to the University as a Living Lab.  Focusing on one aspect of daily life in which there is potential for more mitigation or better adaptation, you will identify and plan an investigation or intervention (a 'project') to take a step towards more or better climate action.  You will need to justify your choices by elaborating what you would consider success, how you would deliver it, as well as assessing the impact of its wider implementation.

    10 credits
    Urban Economics

    This module provides an introduction to economic concepts and theories and to the way in which they are applied to the analysis of selected markets and policy challenges. The module seeks to offer an economic perspective on planning issues by focusing on land market and urban development. The overall aim of the module is to develop students' understanding of the economic environment within which planners and other urban professions operate and to enhance understanding of economic theory and the property market in general.

    10 credits
    Cities and Inequality

    The main aim of Cities and Inequality  is to introduce you to our urban condition in a global context, with particular attention to the multiple forms of inequality that pervade urban life. Drawing on a wide range of expertise within the Department, we will introduce 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 differentiation and injustice in a range of global urban contexts. The course also aims to develop students' capacity for comparative urban analysis

    10 credits
    Cities, space and urban design

    The module will explore the fundamentals in the mediation and analysis of space. This module introduces the core principles of reading, representing, and interpreting the physical organisation of space in cities, and examines the core components of the spatial environment and how they can be analysed. The module will equip students with basic orthographic projection drawing (a means of representing a three-dimensional object in two dimensions) and analytical skills  to explore and make sense of spatial data.  Students will also learn the fundamentals of visual communication via posters. Teaching will draw on practical examples, using workshops, lectures, context-based study and student-led site visits to develop skills in analysis of spaces and their design.

    10 credits
    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

    Geography helps us plan for the future by investigating social and physical processes as they interconnect from the past through to the present. Geographers actively contribute to contemporary debates across the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.  We address 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. Because you will be exposed to a wide range of topical areas and multiple approaches to these you will have the opportunity to enhance your understanding of the contexts and perspectives that inform  decision making and how those decisions can result in greater or lesser social justice.  You will also be able to develop your ability to apply knowledge to real world examples.

    20 credits

    Students can also take approved modules from other departments, such as:

    Education, Power and Society: Introduction to the Sociology of Education

    This module explores the relationship between educational institutions/cultures/systems and social inequalities. We focus on class, gender, ethnicity and disability and look at the ways in which education systems serve to tackle or reproduce patterns of inequality and relations of power. The module also evaluates different policy frameworks and goals. For example, whether the focus of education policy should be placed on nurturing active citizenship (and what this would look like) or whether the main priority should be to serve the needs of the economy (and how this might be achieved).

    20 credits
    Introduction to Media and Communication in Society

    This module examines the relationship between media and society. It examines the nature of influence and persuasion, representation, ownership, and identity in contemporary media environments.

    10 credits
    Introducing Criminology

    Crime is a major social problem in virtually all societies. In this module, sociological understandings of crime are discussed, often with reference to their implications for policy. The module will introduce you to major research about crime in contemporary Britain and help you to understand the contribution of sociology to its analysis. This module will be of value to anyone thinking about a career in the criminal justice services, journalism, public service, the voluntary sector and anyone interested in understanding the significance of crime in contemporary British society

    10 credits
    Gender, Sexuality and Society

    This unit intends to address the following questions regarding gender and sexuality and their interaction with society: What do we mean by gender and sexuality? How do we do gender and sexuality? How do we see gender and sexuality? How do we control gender and sexuality?

    10 credits
    Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

    Whether you're a journalist writing stories for the public, or a social research analyst working in government, you need to be able to understand, use and present data. This 10 credit module aims to demystify data and encourage critical thinking on statistics; often wrongly used, and sometimes in very misleading ways. The module will equip you with the knowledge and skills you'll need to become a discerning data user, through engaging teaching, active learning and examples from the news media. The module is comprised of a mix of lectures and computer workshops and is assessed through a multiple choice exam.

    10 credits
    Social Psychology I

    This module will provide an overview of the fundamentals of social psychology. The module will introduce and explain key theories and research, and their application, for understanding social psychological phenomena. Content is organised around two themes: How people think (Semester 1), and how people feel and behave (Semester 2). The module will include lectures that will provide opportunities to learn how to critically evaluate social psychological research and theories, as well as to describe how social psychology theory can be applied to address real world issues.

    20 credits
    Earth, Wind, Ice and Fire

    This module introduces the general principles of physical geography for students with diverse backgrounds.  We will use a systems-based approach to physical geography to examine several key environmental systems, including the geosphere, atmosphere, and the cryosphere. It will include explanation of key interactions between physical systems and discussion of the impacts and consequences of system alterations, such as climate change, over time and space.  The course will introduce concepts of geomorphology to investigate the landforms of the earth; mountains, valleys, slopes, riverbeds, and dunes, leading to the consideration of landscape and landform development over varying temporal and spatial scales.

    20 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

    Learning

    We offer field classes in the UK and Europe, typically including a core field trip in your second year. You will also have the option to spend a part of your degree studying at one of our overseas partner universities.

    We invest to create the right environment for you. That means outstanding facilities, study spaces and support, including 24/7 online access to our online library service.

    Study spaces and computers are available to offer you choice and flexibility for your study. Our five library sites give you access to over 1.3 million books and periodicals. You can access your library account and our rich digital collections from anywhere on or off campus. Other library services include study skills training to improve your grades, and tailored advice from experts in your subject.

    Learning support facilities and library opening hours

    You'll be able to access course-related software such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software as well as cutting edge facilities including our virtual reality (VR) studio. 

    All our teaching is research-led. Our teaching staff are world-leading researchers and experts in their field: in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), the Department of Urban Studies and Planning was ranked as the #1 RTPI-accredited planning school in the UK.

    Our expertise ranges from UK and international planning to real estate, geographical information systems (GIS) and global urban development.

    Assessment

    Our courses are assessed through exams, group work, live projects, policy reports, essays and independent studies.

    Programme specification

    This tells you the aims and learning outcomes of this course and how these will be achieved and assessed.

    Find programme specification for this course

    Entry requirements

    With Access Sheffield, you could qualify for additional consideration or an alternative offer - find out if you're eligible

    Standard offer

    The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
    ABB

    A Levels + additional qualifications BBB + B in a social science related EPQ; BBB + B in Core Maths

    International Baccalaureate 33

    BTEC Extended Diploma DDD in a relevant subject

    Scottish Highers AAABB

    Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels B + AB

    Access to HE Diploma 60 credits overall in a relevant subject, with 45 credits at Level 3, including 30 credits at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit

    Other requirements
    • GCSE Maths grade 4/C

    Access Sheffield offer

    The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
    BBB

    A Levels + additional qualifications BBB + B in a social science related EPQ; BBB + B in Core Maths

    International Baccalaureate 32

    BTEC Extended Diploma DDM in a relevant subject

    Scottish Highers AABBB

    Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels B + BB

    Access to HE Diploma 60 credits overall in a relevant subject, with 45 credits at Level 3, including 24 credits at Distinction and 21 credits at Merit

    Other requirements
    • GCSE Maths grade 4/C

    English language requirements

    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

    Equivalent English language qualifications

    Visa and immigration requirements

    Other qualifications | UK and EU/international

    Pathway programme for international students

    If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for an International Foundation Year in Business, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

    If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

    Department of Urban Studies and Planning

    Students write notes at new housing development during fieldwork

    We're an internationally-renowned centre of excellence for the study of planning, urban studies and real estate, which includes environmental policy and international development. We help make better, healthier and more sustainable places.

    We're the top-rated Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)-accredited planning school in the UK, according to the Guardian University Guide 2022.

    Our courses will equip you with the knowledge and skills to build a successful career in planning and other urban studies and environmental professions.

    Our students are at the heart of a vibrant academic community, contributing to the department through our student-staff committee, evaluation processes and involvement in organised events.

    Our staff are approachable and we have an excellent staff-student ratio, resulting in a genuinely friendly and inclusive academic environment. Our cutting-edge research feeds directly into our teaching, and you’ll be taught by world-leading academics in urban studies and planning.

    We have an intellectual reputation for theoretical strength, especially in the fields of urban inequalities and social justice. Alongside this, many of our staff are involved in practical projects with a commitment to producing positive change in the world.

    We work with national governments, international bodies such as the UN, research councils, private business, the voluntary sector, and local communities in Sheffield, the UK and abroad.

    We're a supportive and friendly department where academics and students interact on a day-to-day basis. For this reason, we operate an open door policy and students do not need to book an appointment to talk to their lecturers.

    Our award-winning building sits in the beautiful surroundings of Weston Park, alongside one of the main University libraries.

    Facilities

    Urban Studies and Planning students at Sheffield enjoy exclusive access to their own flexible study space, including high-spec networked computers with the latest specialist design and mapping software, as well as dedicated virtual reality (VR) and design facilities.

    Department of Urban Studies and Planning

    Department of Geography

    Our department building on the edge of Western Park

    The Department of Geography at the University of Sheffield is a world leader in teaching and research. We're ranked within the top 50 universities in the world for geography according to the QS Rankings 2021 and within the top 10 in the world for geography by the ShanghaiRanking Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2021.

    We are experts in the fields of social justice and environmental change. We explore our dynamic, diverse world to address humanity’s greatest problems, from food waste to melting ice sheets. Our innovative research and practice-based learning will equip you with distinct, relevant professional skills.

    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.

    Facilities

    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).

    Our facilities

    Department of Geography

    Why choose Sheffield?

    The University of Sheffield

      A top 100 university
    QS World University Rankings 2023

      92 per cent of our research is rated in the highest two categories
    Research Excellence Framework 2021

      No 1 Students' Union in the UK
    Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2022, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017

    Department of Urban Studies and Planning

    No 1 accredited planning school in the UK

    The Guardian University Guide 2022

    Top 5 in the UK for planning

    The Times and Sunday Times University League Table 2022

    3rd in the UK for planning

    The Complete University Guide 2020

    No 1 RTPI accredited planning school in the UK

    Research Excellence Framework 2014


    Department of Geography

    Top 10 in the world for geography

    ShanghaiRanking Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2021

    Top 50 in the world for geography

    QS World University Rankings By Subject 2021


    Student profiles

    Graduate careers

    Department of Urban Studies and Planning

    Our Placements, Employability and External Relations team maintains close links with external organisations to ensure that you have access to the world of work. This supports you in gaining an insight into many different professions.

    A dedicated Professional Skills module will help develop your career plans and can support you in finding work experience and completing a placement year, which will help you gain practical experience in the workplace.

    Most of our graduates go on to work in planning or a related career in the built environment professions, including housing, transport planning, real estate, development control, forward planning, regeneration, urban design, heritage and conservation.

    Recent graduates have gone on to work for public and private sector organisations such as AECOM, Arup, CBRE, Deloitte, Harrow London Borough Council, Sheffield City Council and the Lake District National Park Authority. More than half of our graduate planners take up posts with planning consultancies and several are employed by major global built environment firms.

    Our alumni frequently return to the department to give talks on cutting-edge planning topics. Several alumni sit on our Liaison Board, ensuring our courses are in tune with the needs of employers. Many alumni work at organisations which can offer work placements, or deliver guest lectures within our modules and attend other events.

    Department of Geography

    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.

    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 geography graduates have used these assets to secure employment in teaching, law, patenting, finance and banking.

    Careers and employability on the Department of Geography website

    Fees and funding

    Fees

    Additional costs

    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.

    Examples of what’s included and excluded

    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.

    Visit us

    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.

    Open days: book your place

    Taster days

    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.

    Upcoming taster sessions

    Applicant days

    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

    Campus tours run regularly throughout the year, at 1pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

    Book your place on a campus tour

    Apply for this course

    Make sure you've done everything you need to do before you apply.

    How to apply When you're ready to apply, see the UCAS website:
    www.ucas.com

    Not ready to apply yet? You can also register your interest in this course.

    The awarding body for this course is the University of Sheffield.

    Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

    Our student protection plan

    Terms and Conditions upon Acceptance of an Offer

    2022-2023