Department of Geography
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You are viewing this course for 2023-24 entry. 2024-25 entry is also available.
- A Levels AAB
Other entry requirements
- UCAS code L700
- 3 years / Full-time
- September start
- Find out the course fee
- Optional placement year
- Study abroad
Our human geography course offers a critical and creative exploration of our relationship to space, society, politics, culture and identity. We'll show you how to apply geographical concepts and skills to global challenges such as climate change, poverty and inequality, geopolitical uncertainty, social change, urbanisation and food insecurity.
This BA will give you the specialist, practical and transferable skills you need for your future career. Typically our human geography graduates progress to careers in central and local government, NGOs, education, sustainability, business, journalism and policy.
Integral to your degree is field-based learning, independent research and training in qualitative, quantitative and geospatial research methods. We use the space around us as our living laboratory: you'll spend time in the field exploring the human geographies of post-industrial Sheffield and uncovering the impact of human activities on the stunning natural landscape of the Peak District National Park.
This programme 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.
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:
UCAS code: L700
Years: 2022, 2023
- 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, habitat 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 linking to social justice and environmental change. 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 who are informing real world 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 and contribute to our changing world. The module will also begin to highlight for students how knowledge is always produced and reflective of those who produce it in ways that reinforce the positionality of some and silence others.20 credits
The following particular skills will be achieved in this module: exchanging knowledge; networking; emotional intelligence; inclusivity; positive mindset; innovation; commercial awareness.
- 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
- Exploring Human Geographies
The module provides an introduction to key principles, relations and processes that contribute to a diverse array of 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 we experience these at the local scale and 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
- 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 analysis10 credits
- 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
- 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
Students can also take approved modules from other departments, such as:
- History and Culture in China
This module explores what it means to study China at university level, and considers how 'area studies' research on China fits within disciplines such as history and cultural studies. We will consider how histories and cultural understandings of China are built with the following in mind: how researchers use primary evidence such as texts, documents and/or images to understand social change; and how to navigate key debates in a field and evaluate competing arguments. You will finish this module with a deeper understanding of our core topic and the disciplinary approaches that frame it, and a foundation in critical research and writing skills that you can apply and develop in further study.20 credits
We will work on a combination of new and established research to explore one core topic: In 2022-2023 we will explore the history of twentieth-century Shanghai as seen from the grassroots.
- Self and Society
This course introduces students to central questions in political philosophy: Do we need a state, and if so, must we obey its laws? When, why and how may states punish citizen for failing to obey the law? What is freedom, and when are we free? Is equality a moral value, and if so, what are its implications for how governments ought to act? What is justice, and how does it relate to freedom, equality, and punishment? Should states be organised democratically, and what does it mean to live in a democracy? The course encourages students to think carefully and clearly about the relationship they have, as citizens, to each other and the state, and to develop their analytical and critical skills in the process. Readings will include influential, historical and contemporary discussions of the state, equality, freedom, justice, and democracy.20 credits
- LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans* and Queer) Studies
This module introduces students to study of genders and sexualities, and LGBTQ scholarship, both historical and contemporary. It examines genders and sexualities in society, culture, media, and their academic study, as well as contemporary issues of inequality affecting sexual minorities in different global contexts. The module is team taught by experts in different departments at the University of Sheffield, who will introduce students to a wide range of theoretical and methodological perspectives, such as philosophy, history, social sciences, psychology, evolutionary biology, education, cultural studies, and critical study of religion. The module is assessed by a coursework portfolio, where students answer a number of short questions on different topics in the syllabus.10 credits
- The Sociology of Everyday Life
This module aims to introduce students to basic sociological concepts, such as 'the sociological imagination', 'social interaction', 'social identity', 'deviance' and 'globalisation' and illustrate how these can be applied to everyday life. Drawing on the work of key thinkers in sociology, a range of everyday life situations, such as mobile phone use, shopping and travel will be used as exemplary cases10 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
- Popular Music Studies
This module provides an introduction to the academic study of popular music. You will explore the various definitions of 'popular music' in relation to their socio-cultural context, and investigate some of the major issues and debates of popular music studies.10 credits
Lecture materials and in-class tasks will engage with approaches to the analysis of popular music and media, issues of representation, and the relationship between popular musicians and their audiences. Assessments involve critical engagement with the themes of the module in relation to a popular music artist or piece of your choosing.
- Analysing Geographical Data
Data is everywhere, it is generated constantly and in such vast amounts. As geographers it is therefore important for us to understand how such data is generated and whether we can harness any to tell us more about the world. Vital aspects of this include our knowledge of data processing, handling, and statistical or mathematical analysis. This module will guide you through a sample of the vast array of data types that we as geographers have available to us. In particular, how we handle its collection and processing, from sources such as census data all the way to volcanic activity and everything in between. You will enhance your knowledge of programs such as Excel alongside gaining essential experience with industry standard programs SPSS and Matlab.10 credits
- Research Design and Fieldclass for BA Geography
The ability to design, conduct, analyse and present meaningful findings from and experience of conducting fieldwork is an essential part of degree-level Human Geography, 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 fieldwork to facilitate immersive learning and engagement with ethical research. 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 a dissertation proposal.20 credits
- Analysing Voice, Image and Text
This module builds on and develops skills and understanding of a range of qualitative research approaches used in contemporary human geography. The module will focus on a number of methodological approaches (e.g., qualitative interview, visual, digital, participatory, ethnography, focus groups, life histories, case study) and consider the relative strengths of these resulting data and the analytical approaches used to make sense of these forms of data. These approaches are considered in the context of research design more broadly, alongside key concerns such as positionality and research ethics.10 credits
- Geographical Information Systems and Earth Observation
This module introduces Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Earth Observation (EO) – both crucial tools to understand the earth system. GIS are computer systems for the storage, display and manipulation of geographical data. Earth Observation is the collection of information about Earth’s geo-biophysical properties through the detection and interpretation of electromagnetic radiation (often satellite imagery). The module will provide you with a theoretical framework and hands-on experience of using EO and GIS software and data, thus improving your digital fluency and capability. You will also improve your problem solving skills and develop resilience by tackling a range of practical applications of EO and GIS in research and industry.10 credits
- 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
In order to understand global climate change, one first has to understand how the climate system works. This module will give students a strong understanding of the global climate system, 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 research-led module introduces students to the cutting edge of Social and Cultural Geography and dovetails with the Sheffield Geography Department’s Culture, Space and Difference research group. The module 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. 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 team work with students to develop their own ‘photo essays’ - which bring the ideas of the module to students’ experiences from everyday life.20 credits
- Understanding Dynamic Landscapes
This module looks at the relationship between geomorphological processes and Earth surface landforms and landscapes at a variety of scales in space and time. It examines the influence of endogenic (mainly tectonic) processes originating within the earth; and exogenic processes (notably wind and water) at the Earth's surface. The module starts by introducing geomorphological concepts; and frameworks, and later introduces field and analytical approaches (such as landscape dating and numerical modelling) that are used to elucidate process rates and their drivers. A field visit and two practical exercises provide hands-on appreciation of approaches to understanding hillslope, fluival and aeolian processes.20 credits
- Territory, Power and Policy
The module introduces you to contemporary debates within political geography. You will develop a detailed understanding of political processes at a variety of spatial scales, from the international, national to the local, from collective politics to individual political behaviour. You will explore questions of power, efficacy and conflict with an 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. The 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 are outlined and illustrated. The module also looks at how environments have responded to past climate changes thereby putting a context for present day climate changes and predicting future changes.20 credits
This module will help improve your academic writing, study, numeracy and data handling skills. It will also help you to be able to critically evaluate issues and problems as well as think about sustainability.
- Glacial Processes and Hazards
On this module students are introduced to how glaciers and ice sheets work and the connection of many glacial processes to hazards experienced by communities in polar and high altitude environments. 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 glacier systems function, covering topics that include the processes of ice flow, the drainage of glacial melt, and the behaviour of ice streams and ice shelves. We then examine how glaciers modify landscape through processes of erosion and sediment transport and deposition. Hazards are explored in relation to each key area of glacier system function, from localised flood events associated with glacier-lake drainages to global sea level changes arising from past and potential future ice sheet instability.20 credits
- Urban Culture and Conflict: The Making of Modern Cities
Cities are sites of social conflict and cultural production. The links between these two facets of modern urban experience have long fascinated scholars seeking to understand the cultural history of the urban imagination. In this module you will explore different ways artists, intellectuals, political activists, ordinary people and other thinkers have sought to understand and explain various experiences of and conflicts over urban life. You will learn to situate the 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 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 cities over the past two centuries.20 credits
Students can also take approved modules from other departments, such as:
- Contemporary Japanese Society
This module discusses key factors shaping contemporary Japanese society. Our particular focus will be on the last twenty years as post-Bubble Japan has entered a period of economic decline, prompting a series of debates about the effects of this change on society. Weekly lectures provide analysis and explanation of each week’s theme, with a focus on cutting-edge scholarship from the fields of history, anthropology, media studies, gender studies, and cultural studies.20 credits
- Men, Feminism and Gender relations
This unit provides a critical examination of the growing body of sociological and other literature concerned with men and masculinities. It will locate this growth of interest within the context of the feminist movement and subsequent writings/critiques of men and patriarchy. Significantly, the unit will connect to wider scholarship on gender relations, with topics and case studies including: men in sport, men and media, men and health/ well-being, men and feminism, as well as men and sexualities. Methodological and epistemological issues involved in the study of men and masculinities will also form part of this module.20 credits
- Urban Theory
This module aims to develop student's imaginative engagement with the nature of urban life and human settlement. Urban theory refers to writing and thinking devoted to 'seeing' and understanding urban life - ideas are critical to how we engage with the key features and problems of the urban world. Theory is also important to our understanding of how cities work in practice - how we understand and view urban life is critical to the development of cities and to efforts seeking to make them more socially just, sustainable and better places to live. Urban Theory introduces a range of ideas and key concepts in urban studies with a view to understanding how cities have developed and how they 'work' in broad terms. The module considers a range of thinkers, ideas and problems.20 credits
- Topics in Political Philosophy
This module will investigate a broad range of topics and issues in political philosophy and through doing so provide students with a broad understanding of those. It will include both historical and foundational matters and recent state of the art research.20 credits
- Understanding 'Race' and Migration
The module explores the meaning of race in various social and political contexts. It examines how ideas about race help to shape and determine social and political relations and includes considering the part played by ideas about race in forming notions of self and other at the micro and macro levels. It also explores the role of race as a major source of social divisions and aims to show the significance of racism to the reproduction of structural inequalities. Themes explored include theories of racism, multiculturalism, Muslims, racialised identities, immigration, education and criminal justice.20 credits
- Dissertation for Geography and 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, 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
In taking this module you will further develop your problem solving skills and develop further resilience through tackling a specific practical application of geospatial analysis that is relevant to research and industry.
- 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
- 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 aims to provide experience in process interpretation, focusing on the physical processes that have shaped the Lake District. 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, geology, climatology, landscape dynamics and environmental science. You will be given the opportunity to develop field and research abilities, including in research design, problem solving, field data collection and interpretation and science communication. The fieldwork will also help you to develop autonomy, resilience, and to work effectively with others. Evening lectures during the fieldtrip will provide relevant background. Small group follow-up sessions will be used to support the presentation of research findings in a science communication piece.20 credits
To attend this field class you will need to select this module as an option during Online Module Choice for Continuing Students (held in May). After this we will make bookings based on these numbers and so you cannot Add this module during the Add/Drop window in Level 3. Likewise, although the trip is free, if you pull out after this date you might be subject to any cancellation fee we incur.
- 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
- Employing Geography Skills in Sustainability and Social Justice
This module enables students to consolidate and apply the skills gained through their Geography or Environmental Science degree to real-world challenges. These challenges, based around themes of sustainability and social justice, will be identified by stakeholders within the University. Students will work as a team to: scope the issues; identify solutions, and; communicate them to the stakeholders. As well as consolidating their subject skills, they will further their collaboration, project planning, problem solving and communication skills. Through reflection and employability-related exercises embedded throughout the module they will be able to improve their self-awareness, identify their skills and attributes, and be able to confidently articulate these to employers and further study providers.20 credits
- Democracy and Citizenship: Dilemmas and Tensions
This module explores how a geographical approach helps us to analyse issues 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 shaped and responded to by citizens, communities, civil society, and political parties. The module emphasises the critical appraisal and interpretation of a variety of perspectives - including our own. 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
- Confronting the Anthropocene
As we face the profound challenges represented by the Anthropocene, this module explores critical and controversial debates about environmental and ecological issues. Using a range of examples of research from a variety of different countries this module develops a critical geographical approach to understanding environmental controversies, and to the claim that we are living in the Anthropocene. Examples will be drawn from a range of issues like biodiversity, waste and disease, and we will work with concepts like resilience, systems and practices.20 credits
- Consumption and Sustainability
In this module we critically engage both ‘consumption’ and ‘sustainability’ and work with key debates and approaches that help us to understand what produces and maintains patterns of consumption. We will examine some key debates about material culture and mass consumption. The module studies the social relationships which come together around consumption at a variety of scales, from the body and the home to the national and the trans-national. What can different current approaches tell us about how we can move towards sustainable and socially just patterns of consumption while enjoying a good life?20 credits
- Geoscientific Data Analysis using MATLAB
Matlab® is a computing environment and programming language with over one million users worldwide. It is used to process, analyse and visualise geoscientific data, but 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 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 problem solving examples, with the code used for the examples made available to students. Assessment will comprise computer practicals and a data analysis project; the focus of which will be chosen by each student from a range of topics, 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 thus improving their digital fluency and capability.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 ideas and methods. This module will include a residential fieldclass in a UK city, during which time students will conduct individual fieldwork projects, whilst also engaging with fieldwork collectively.20 credits
To attend this field class you will need to select this module by the end of the first Add/Drop period in Semester 1 (i.e., by the end of Week 2). After this point we will close the module to new students, and if you Drop this module at a later date, you might be subject to any cancellation fee we incur.
- 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
- Our Frozen Planet
In this research-led module, students will explore current and former frozen parts of our planet, gaining a detailed understanding of the following typical themes: The processes that govern how glaciers and ice sheets work; How numerical models are used to forecast glacier and ice sheet change; The extent and operation of former glaciers and ice sheets; Periglacial environments (cold region processes often close to glacierised regions) Specialist guest research contributions (lectures/seminars on topical cryospheric research).20 credits
- 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 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 creativity, while the works that result are themselves inherently spatial. This module will explore work from several historical and contemporary creative movements and associated cultural producers in context. Why did their work arise where it did? What difference did that place (or places) make to their aesthetic thought and expression? How was space itself integral to their creative work? This module will guide students through the intricate relationship between art across various media, geography, and the political. Emphasis will be put on specific types of space and place as sites and mediums of aesthetic thought and creative practice. Core themes will include identity, place and displacement, historical imaginations and the built environment, and creativity and socio-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
- Coastal Systems: Processes and Management
This module will explore the processes occurring within coastal environments both off-shore and on-shore including aspects of societal interaction with these environments and responses to climate change. The topics typically covered include tides, estuaries, coastal dune systems,cliff erosion and off-shore energy production. It also includes practical elements of data and field based analysis designed to understand coastal processes and monitor changes. Field work comprises an integral element of this module. The aim of the module is to give you an appreciation of the variety and multidisciplinarity of the physical geography associated with coastal environments. It will give you the chance to translate new knowledge and new research field and digital skills to problem solve, critically think and suggest sustainable solutions to real world problems.20 credits
As this module has a residential field class element, you will need to select it by the end of the first Add/Drop period in Semester 1 (i.e., by the end of Week 2). After this point we will close the module to new students, and if you Drop this module at a later date, you might be subject to any cancellation fee we incur.
Students can also take approved modules from other departments, such as:
- Catastrophes and Climate Change: Prehistory to Modernity
A series of lectures and seminars examines the responses of past cultures to natural catastrophes and periods of dramatic climate change which took place from earlier prehistoric times to the post medieval period across the globe. The module draws on the archaeological and historical evidence but also includes a review of the physical landscape record. It will explore the development of the landscape change brought about by these natural hazards and its contribution to changes in human society and the nature of the archaeological record. Student-led as well as staff-led seminars will feature to ensure that examples drawn from all time periods of interest to the student body are addressed.20 credits
- Whiteness, Power and Privilege
This unit explores the importance of studying whiteness in order to understand racism as a system of power relationships. It explains why the construction of whiteness has become a key focus in debates about race and ethnicity and examines critically some of the key themes to emerge in this field of study. This includes exploring the historical origins of 'white studies' and assessing representations of whiteness in literary and visual culture. It also includes exploring the racialised, classed and gendered boundaries of whiteness by examining, for example, the socially and politically constructed categories of 'white trash' and the 'chav'.20 credits
- Utopia, Reform and Democracy
Humanity faces a recurrent political challenge: the task of steering itself towards a sustainable and just future. A crucial part of this challenge involves developing a vision of change, of an achievable good society: a vision of the harbour we are aiming for as we sail through these troubled waters. But how are those visions to be enacted in the world? What theories of change lay at the heart of various philosophical visions? This module will introduce students to some of the major schools of thought - historical and contemporary - regarding the relationship between social theory and political practice.20 credits
- Perspectives on inequalities
This module is co-taught with local agency, community and family members. It asks students to think about the everyday experiences of inequality. It explores some of the core theoretical frameworks for interrogating inequality, and then explores everyday reality to apply the theories and concepts. The involvement of practitioners, community members and families means that the module is interactive and requires full attendance, in order to ensure a respectful experience for external contributors.20 credits
- Transport and Infrastructure Planning
This module will provide students with an introduction to planning and policymaking in relation to the provision of transport and other types of infrastructure. The module develops students' ability to think critically about the framing of transport and infrastructure policy using an appreciation of historic developments, current practices and debates, transport and infrastructure planning examples from the UK and abroad. It will focus on how planners working at a range of spatial scales can give shape to effective transport and infrastructure strategies, which balance a range of environmental, social and economic objectives.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
Our courses combine theory and concepts with hands-on, practical experience. Fieldwork is at the heart of our courses. Typically, there are multiple fieldwork opportunities, which allow you to design, conduct and present your own research projects.
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:
A Levels + additional qualifications ABB + B in the EPQ
International Baccalaureate 34
BTEC Extended Diploma DDD in a relevant subject
BTEC Diploma DD in a relevant subject + A at A Level
Scottish Highers AAAAB
Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels B + AA
Access to HE Diploma Award of Access to HE Diploma in a social science or arts and humanities subject, with 45 credits at Level 3, including 36 at Distinction and 9 at Merit
GCSE Maths grade 4/C
The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
A Levels + additional qualifications ABB + B in the EPQ
International Baccalaureate 33
BTEC Extended Diploma DDD in a relevant subject
BTEC Diploma DD in a relevant subject + B at A Level
Scottish Highers AAABB
Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels B + AB
Access to HE Diploma Award of Access to HE Diploma in a social science or arts and humanities subject, with 45 credits at Level 3, including 30 at Distinction and 15 at Merit
GCSE Maths grade 4/C
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
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 within the top 50 universities in the world for geography according to the QS Rankings 2022, top 10 in the world for geography by the ShanghaiRanking Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2022 and top 10 in the UK for geography by the Guardian University Guide 2023.
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.
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).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 as world-leading or internationally excellent
Research Excellence Framework 2021
Top 50 in the most international universities rankings
Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022
No 1 Students' Union in the UK
Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2022, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017
A top 10 university targeted by employers
The Graduate Market in 2022, High Fliers report
Department of Geography
The Guardian University Guide 2023
ShanghaiRanking Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2022
QS World University Rankings by subject 2022
My degree has helped me stand out at work
Beth Crossley Policy Adviser, Ministry of Justice, Geography BA
Beth reflects on what made Sheffield a special place to study and how it has helped her in her role at the Ministry of Justice.
Our BA Geography course is a starting point for a broad range of careers. Our students develop the ability to understand and address complex social, political and cultural challenges. Many of our graduates use this ability to go on to careers in policy development and social research. Others use their enhanced data-handling and analysis skills to go into data science and data visualisation.
Our graduates also commonly choose to apply their knowledge of people and place to the built environment, working as planners, surveyors, and conservation experts. Other graduate routes include sustainability, consultancy, development and further study. Recent graduates have gone to work with a diverse range of employers, including the Civil Service and local government, Transport for London, Fareshare, Accenture, Shelter, L’Oreal, Nestle, Guide Dogs, Royal Mail, NHS, Gleeson Homes, the British Red Cross, Channel 4, John Lewis, Deloitte, Which?, Tesco, and the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
As geographers, our courses will develop your ability to analyse global problems from a range of perspectives and at different scales. As well as specialist geographical skills, including carrying out fieldwork and analysing spatial data, our innovative teaching will help you develop the Sheffield Graduate Attributes. These will help you strengthen skills to support your career development, including collaboration, leadership, influencing, commercial awareness and community engagement. We have specialist staff who will support you to undertake an additional placement year to enhance learning, share knowledge, and develop confidence and skills for graduate level employment.
Placements, field trips and study abroad
Through field trips, you'll continue to advance and deepen your understanding of the relation between theories, real world 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.
Your first year typically includes a three-day field class to the Peak District in the first semester, which also helps you to get to know staff and your fellow students.
Your second year typically includes a seven-day residential field class in a European destination. In recent years, students have explored urban transformations, political ecology and sites of memory in Berlin.
During your third year, you are encouraged to choose from a range of optional field class modules exploring UK destinations. Fieldwork remains group-based, but you will tackle projects that are now more substantial, and that are often grounded in debates and issues specific to the environment, processes and systems of the destination. In recent years we have run trips to investigate urban geographies in Liverpool, glacial, geological and environmental processes that have shaped the beautiful Lake District, and coastal processes and management on the Holderness Coast.
Additionally, many students conduct fieldwork as part of their dissertation projects and departmental scholarships are available to support ambitious independent fieldwork. Recent scholarships have supported research into glaciology in the Swiss Alps, the reintroduction of beavers in the Scottish Highlands, and the links between migration and music in Morocco.
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
We host five open days each year, usually in June, July, September, October and November. You can talk to staff and students, tour the campus and see inside the accommodation.
If you’re considering your post-16 options, our interactive subject tasters are for you. There are a wide range of subjects to choose from and you can attend sessions online or on campus.
Offer holder days
If you've received an offer to study with us, we'll invite you to one of our offer holder days, which take place between February and April. These open days have a strong department focus and give you the chance to really explore student life here, even if you've visited us before.
Our weekly guided tours show you what Sheffield has to offer - both on campus and beyond. You can extend your visit with tours of our city, accommodation or sport facilities.
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:
Not ready to apply yet? You can also register your interest in this course.
Telephone: +44 114 222 7900
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.
Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.