UCC Undergraduate courses

Geography

About This Course

Fact File

Course Outline

The Geography BSc provides insights into the links between the physical, human and environmental processes on planet Earth and explores the major issues facing society in the 21st century, such as climate change; water, food and energy security; land degradation; and migration and economic changes.

Geography is about how people relate to, and interact with, the spaces, places, landscapes and environments in which they live, and how those places engage with the larger world. 

Geographers at UCC develop a wide range of technical, computing, laboratory, field and desktop skills which equip them to do a range of different jobs.

Geography at UCC provides you with a broad understanding of the human, environmental and natural issues facing society with a focus on real-world questions.

The BSc in Geography is primarily taught by staff from the School of Geography and Archaeology, with inputs from staff from other schools in the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science, particularly in the discipline of geology.

Year 1

The common first-year foundation course in science taken by all students within the Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences. Subject areas studied in Year 1 include geography, earth science and geology, and also biology, chemistry, environmental science, physics and maths.

Years 2, 3 and 4

Greater specialisation in geography, studying key thematic areas such as:

  • Earth surface processes
  • geomorphology
  • atmospheres and oceans
  • interactions between people and the planet
  • management of the Earth’s resources and environment
  • the use of laboratory, field and computer-based techniques.

Specialisation in Years 3 and 4 leads to an independent research project which students begin to design during Year 3, and is submitted as a 10,000-word thesis in March of the final year. Topics chosen by students may involve summer work with research institutes and consultancy firms, providing work experience, job skills and useful links for potential employment opportunities.

See the College Calendar for additional information on the Programme and the Book of Modules for further information on the modules.

Course Practicalities

Expected lecture hours

Throughout the four years of study, there are daily lectures, laboratory and computer classes and small group teaching.

Expected lab/practical hours

Some modules incorporate practical laboratories for which you may be required to purchase basic safety items such as a laboratory coat or goggles. Other modules may require a kit of components to be purchased. 

Field trips

From Year 1, fieldwork is a key element of Geography, involving day trips in the local area, as well as residential visits in Ireland and abroad. These trips encourage you to put into practice the theory and knowledge learned in university and to develop techniques of field measurement and interpretation. 

Field trips take place during all semesters and on occasion during the holidays. Such field trips are compulsory and you are expected to attend. Fieldwork for the research project takes place during the summer and into Year 4 as necessary, and may be in Ireland or overseas depending on subject area. 

A cost of approximately €800 over the course of the four years for field trips is required.

Assessment

Written exams will take place before Christmas and in May. Not all modules will have formal examinations. Many modules use other types of assessment.

Given the practical nature of the subject, there is a large element of coursework, with some modules assessed entirely though projects and class assignments.

In the later years of the course, exams may require more detailed written essays which draw together learning across a range of different subject areas.

The dissertation is worth 25% of the final year.

You are assessed on valuable transferable skills that include written, mathematical, problem solving, and oral assignments, many of which are completed individually, although some are done in small groups.

Who teaches this course

The core teaching staff for the course is drawn from the discipline of geography, with contributions from staff in geology, biology and other disciplines.

Why Choose This Course

Science and geography were my favourite subjects in school which is why I wanted to carry on studying both at university.

Brian O’Connor

BSc Geography (2006)

View Student

This programme provides an indepth study of the relationships between the physical, human and environmental processes on our planet.

You will undertake a range of field studies each year in different geographical locations, allowing you to gain the practical skills required of scientific geographers in the workplace. There is a large element of practical work which reinforces teaching and reading.

The research project will encourage you to develop and test your ideas and gain independence in thinking and reaching conclusions based on data you collect. 

You will have an element of choice in the modules you take, as well as the topic of your literature review and final research project

Placement or Study Abroad Information

No formal work placement is undertaken in the course, but you will be encouraged to seek opportunities to develop your skills in a commercial environment as part of the independent research project.

Several successful partnerships have been developed in this way, resulting in students having access to data and knowledge not available in-house, and so enabling them to undertake novel and innovative research that directly supports the work of a commercial or government enterprise.  

Students have the option of spending all or part of third year at one of UCC's partner universities in Europe under the ERASMUS scheme, or in North America.

Skills and Careers Information

Geographers who have been trained in scientific methods are involved in a wide variety of environmentally based careers that draw upon laboratory and computing skills and experience. Some jobs use specific geographical knowledge, while others draw on the range of other skills learned through the degree.

Typical careers for BSc Geography graduates include:

  • land surveying and planning
  • mapping
  • Earth resource evaluation and management
  • development and conservation
  • nature and heritage
  • environmental management.

Transferable skills are also fostered through different learning approaches, including critical thinking, problem solving, report writing, oral presentations, statistical analysis, independent research and time management.

Requirements

Refer to CK404.

Non-EU Candidates

Non-EU candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. In addition, where such candidates are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language.

To verify if you meet the minimum academic and language requirements for this programme please visit our qualification comparison pages.

For more detailed entry requirement information please refer to the International website.

Mature Students Requirements

Please refer to the mature student entry requirements for details. 

Fees and Costs

Refer to CK404.

Non-EU Fees

The 2017/2018 Undergraduate Fees Schedule is available here.

How Do I Apply

Refer to CK404.

Non-EU Applications

Applicants who are interested in applying for the programme can apply online.

For full details of the non-EU application procedure visit our how to apply pages for international students.

 

**All Applicants please note: modules listed in the course outline above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course, but these are subject to change from year to year. Please check the college calendar for the full academic content of any given course for the current year. 

In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools and departments. 

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