Geography and Natural Hazards BSc (Hons)

 

Course Code

UCAS Code: FH82
International Code: EECU064

Location

Coventry University (Coventry)

 

Study mode

Full-time
Sandwich

Duration

3 years full-time
4 years sandwich

Start date

September 2022


Course overview

Study level: Undergraduate

The Geography and Natural Hazards BSc (Hons) course applies geographical knowledge to the study of natural hazards, such as volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, wildfires, tropical cyclones and flooding. We aim to give you an in-depth understanding of the processes responsible for these hazards, which affect millions of people each year.

  • The course takes an integrated and practical ‘geographical’ approach to the study of natural hazards at a local and global scale.
  • You will have the opportunity to learn how to apply the latest techniques for hazard assessment and mitigation with opportunities for hands-on experience, both in the field and within our modern GIS laboratory, which feature industry-standard software like ArcGIS and ENVI.
  • All of our geography courses have a strong focus on your future employability. They are designed to equip you with core knowledge, skills and expertise within the broad field of geography, together with a range of analytical abilities and transferrable professional skills to find employment on successful graduation.
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Global Ready

An international outlook, with global opportunities

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Teaching excellence

Taught by lecturers who are experts in their field

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Employability

Career ready graduates, with the skills to succeed

Why you should study this course

  • Current academics have research expertise in volcanic remote sensing, climate change and flooding.
  • A diverse range of optional modules allow you to tailor your degree to suit your interests with topics such as climate change, GIS and Remote Sensing and savage earth.
  • You will have opportunities to gain experience through professional training and international field experience*.
  • To augment field trip experiences, you will have the chance to be taught in the Simulation Centre, which is one of the most advanced interactive people training and development centres in the UK.
95%

of our Geography and Natural Hazards BSc (Hons) students were satisfied overall with their course

DiscoverUni, 2021


What you'll study

All of our geography degrees are designed to develop your specialist knowledge of the physical and human environment. Throughout this course, you will be supported to develop your analytical and problem-solving skills, with appropriate training in how to conduct robust independent research in the laboratory and/or field within the broad area of geographical and geoscientific enquiry.

In your first year, you will touch upon topics covered in our other two geography degrees (BA and BSc), while also studying bespoke geography and natural hazards modules. The second and third years will then become more specialised, allowing you to study the processes associated with natural hazards as well as optional modules that will allow you to develop specialist knowledge in topics such as contemporary environmental change, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing.

All of our geography degrees encompass significant amounts of field trips* both here in the UK and overseas, with recent trips visiting locations such as Sicily, Mallorca, Morocco and Tenerife We also have an excellent track record of supporting professional training, which is a popular option between your second and third year. Recent students have spent their optional sandwich year* with local authorities, national/international agencies, environmental consultancies and research institutes.

During the first year, you will have the opportunity to study the fundamentals of the natural and human environment including modules that encompass the nature of landscapes, environmental systems and their relationship with society. The geography and natural hazards degree will be framed within the context of natural hazards and the disaster management cycle. For example, we explore why particular communities are more vulnerable to the impacts of natural hazards and their capacity to mitigate these effects. You will also have the opportunity to learn skills in geographical research including statistical analysis, laboratory analysis and Geographical Information Systems (GIS).

Modules

  • This module provides an innovative and interdisciplinary study of Earth System Science by offering an introduction to the geological, geomorphological and climatic processes affecting the Earth over different time and spatial scales; both in the geological past and at the present time.

    Compulsory

  • This module will explore the social implications of natural hazards to demonstrate that an understanding of human geography is essential in how we understand the processes and consequences of natural hazards. While natural phenomena are at the root cause of natural hazard events, the strength, intensity and frequency of hazard events is often attributable to acts of human commission or omission.

    Compulsory

  • This module introduces the varied environments on Earth’s surface. The physical environment is considered, with an examination of different types of landscape and landform and the interrelated processes that have led to their formation.

    Compulsory

  • This module provides foundations in geological knowledge essential for geography and natural hazards students. The history and building blocks of Earth materials are introduced, the internal structure of the Earth and details of Earth’s history.

    Compulsory

  • The aim of this module is to introduce you to and develop your research skills. It recognises the value of developing key research and practical skills that underpin geographical enquiry, including numerical and qualitative skills that are vital when it comes to conducting academic research, a knowledge of spatial principles and interpretation.

    Compulsory

  • You will also be able to take an Add+vantage module which can allow you to develop your CV by taking credits in an area of study that doesn’t have to be related to your degree. The assessment type will depend on the type of Add+vantage module you wish to take.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: coursework, exam

In the second year, you will have the chance to study bespoke modules to gain an in-depth understanding of the physical processes that govern natural hazards and the behaviour of the physical and human environment in relation to hazard events. We also aim to develop your skills in quantitative and qualitative research including data collection, data handling, critical analysis and methods of reporting. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to select one specialised optional module to develop your knowledge and skills in either GIS and Remote Sensing, climate change or how to deal with emergencies.

Modules

  • This module aims to examine the processes that are responsible for geological hazards and the impacts that geological hazards have on society. The detailed nature of the geological and physical processes associated with such hazards, the origin, triggering mechanism and distribution will be explored, along with an examination of their interrelatedness and statistical frequency and probability.

    Compulsory

  • This module aims to examine the processes that are responsible for hydrometeorological hazards and their impacts on society. The detailed nature of the atmospheric, hydrological and physical processes associated with such hazards, the origin, triggering mechanism and distribution will be explored, along with an examination of their inter-relatedness, statistical frequency and probability.

    Compulsory

  • This module intends to provide you with an introduction to issues associated with constructing buildings in areas exposed to natural hazards. You will be introduced to the principles of soil mechanics, site investigation and associated issues for construction and development in areas affected by settlement, landslides, liquefaction and flooding.

    Compulsory

  • This aim of this module is to further develop research methods and skills in geography, specifically focusing on developing the skills and understanding necessary to undertake a final year research project. The module is designed to challenge you to think critically, independently and as part of a team.

    Compulsory

  • You will also be able to take an Add+vantage module which can allow you to develop your CV by taking credits in an area of study that doesn’t have to be related to your degree. The assessment type will depend on the type of Add+vantage module you wish to take.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: coursework, exam

  • Most datasets have a spatial component and these data are routinely used to analyse and support decision making in natural, built and human environments. This module is concerned with geo-referenced datasets of various types; their integration, analysis and presentation. The aim of this module is to convey understanding in the principles of geo-referenced data: the theory, acquisition, processing methods and presentation.

    Optional

  • This module aims to examine in detail the science of climate change so that you can begin to formulate your own critical opinion of the subject.

    Optional

  • The aim of the module is to enable you to analyse the statutory duties, and statutory and non-statutory guidance relevant to emergencies and planning approaches in comparable systems. You will apply knowledge acquired in order to review and improve approaches to integrated arrangements for dealing with emergencies.

    Optional

Following your second year, you will have the option to apply for a one-year professional work placement or study abroad in a partner institution. This has been a popular option with previous students, who have, in the past, chosen to spend their year with local authorities, national/international agencies, environmental consultancies and universities and research institutes.

If you wish to undertake the optional study abroad/placement year, you will take either the Placement Year module or the Study Abroad Year module which both typically run for a full academic year between years 2 and 3 of your course. You are normally able to progress onto the relevant module if you have successfully completed the first two years of the course (i.e. having accumulated 240 credits) and have a confirmed opportunity two weeks prior to the start of the academic year. However, we encourage international students to confirm their placements earlier to ensure they are able to meet any applicable visa requirements. 

Students opting for either the work placement or study abroad module will be registered on a non-credit bearing module. Whilst the modules do not bear credits, they do require completion of marked activities reflecting on your placement/study abroad or work placement experience. Following successful completion of the activities, the module selected will appear on your final academic transcript. Students will thus graduate with 360 credits in total, assuming successful completion of their final year.

Modules

  • Optional

  • Optional

In the final year, you will be encouraged to reflect critically on the nature of best practice and apply your learning from previous years to the analysis of natural hazards and risk. An international field trip* provides the opportunity to further develop your field skills, widen your international experience and conduct a primary research project. More specialised optional modules aim to develop your understanding of community resilience, GIS and Remote Sensing, and historic and contemporary environmental change.

In addition, you will have the chance to conduct an independent research project on a topic of your choice. Past students have decided to base this on the experience they obtained while on their professional placement. For example, a placement in New Zealand examining the tsunami hazard in Wellington led to an exceptional dissertation project. Other students chose a subject they felt passionate about, such as the flood risk in their home town.

Modules

  • The aim of this module is to enable you to develop your research skills by conducting primary or secondary research focused on a specific problem of relevance to their discipline. You will use different methods and research skills to effectively communicate research novelties and ideas to the academic and non-academic communities.

    Compulsory

  • This module aims to critically examine issues of topical concern in the study of Geography and Natural Hazards, at an overseas field location, while simultaneously extending your fieldwork skills and grasp of relevant contemporary methodologies and techniques.

    Compulsory

  • This module further develops concepts and ideas introduced in earlier modules and provides a comprehensive examination of all phases of natural hazard risk management, including: Hazard Mapping, Risk Assessment, Design of Protective Measures, Mitigation, Implementation Management and Monitoring Systems.

    Compulsory

  • You will also be able to take an Add+vantage module which can allow you to develop your CV by taking credits in an area of study that doesn’t have to be related to your degree. The assessment type will depend on the type of Add+vantage module you wish to take.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: coursework, exam

  • The underlying theme of this module will be to develop a keen awareness of how to scrutinise current predictions of future climate change, and how responses to predicted change are informed by an understanding of the past. It explores the various forms of evidence that can be used to establish the history and scale of environmental change during the Quaternary, both remotely and in the field.

    Optional

  • This module will enable you to develop a more detailed understanding of the principles and applications of GIS and Remote Sensing specific to your degree focus, and to use the knowledge and skills you acquire in a variety of human, physical and natural hazard applications.

    Optional

  • The aim of this module is to explore the diversity of earth sciences and its relationship with contemporary environmental change. Specifically, the module will understand how environmental processes, products and hazards are creating new challenges due to factors such as environmental change, climate change, resource management, and pollution.

    Optional

  • This module aims to evaluate the chronological development of our understanding and use of the terms “community" and "resilience” and relate it to concepts and practice in community preparedness, recovery and reconstruction. You will evaluate relevant models and theories associated with “community” and participatory practice.

    Optional

We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.


How you'll learn

Teaching methods include:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Field trips
  • Simulations
  • Practical workshops
  • Laboratory exercises

The number of contact hours may vary from semester to semester, however, on average, it is likely to be around 13-14 contact hours per week. In addition, you will be expected to undertake significant self-directed study each week depending on the demands of individual modules.


Assessment

This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which will vary depending upon the module. Assessment methods include reports, essays, practicals, presentations, posters, formal examinations, tests, timed exercises, posters, and project work.

The Coventry University Assessment Strategy endeavours to ensure that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.


Job ready

On successful completion, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the nature, practical value and application of geography and the earth sciences.
  • Recognise key concepts, methods and techniques in relation to spatial and temporal geographical problems, variations in the human and physical environments and the effect of contemporary environmental issues.
  • Demonstrate a detailed understanding of natural hazards and application of knowledge to mitigate and manage their effects.
  • Plan, design and execute a piece of independent research or enquiry using appropriate methods and strategies for acquiring, interpreting and analysing information.
  • Conduct field and laboratory work together with data collection and associated investigative and analytical skills.
  • Recognise the moral and ethical issues involved in debates and inquiries.
  • Think critically and analytically about the world around you.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of how skills and training can be applied to work of a geographical nature.
  • Observe, contextualise and analyse information through field and laboratory studies (including computational).
  • Demonstrate a range of transferable professional skills including: intellectual and problem-solving skills; effective team work; initiative and responsibility for your own learning and development; self-reflection; time management and personal organisation, and excellent communication skills.

International experience opportunities

Geography is a global subject and international themes are core to our teaching. While the UK experiences natural hazards such as flooding, it rarely experiences some of the more destructive events, such as earthquakes, tsunamis and severe storms. As such, much of our teaching relies on using case studies from overseas, such as the tsunamis that regularly impact the Pacific region and hurricanes which often hit the Caribbean.

All students are offered the opportunity to complete an overseas field trip as part of their studies*. For example, past students have visited Sicily and Tenerife, where they examined the natural hazards posed by an active volcano, and to understand the measures that can be taken to address these. In all cases, the field trips are designed to enable you to see first-hand how particular natural hazards pose a significant threat in different environments, enabling you to apply your specialist research skills in an international context.

You can also take the opportunity to work or study abroad*. Past students have spent time working at the volcano observatories in Alaska, Hawaii and Mexico; others have undertaken placements with GNS in New Zealand and with the United States Geological Survey in California. Others have gone to study at one of our associate universities teaching in English throughout Europe, America and the Far East. The Geology and Natural Hazards programme at the University of Reykjavik in Iceland has proved popular.


Entry requirements

Typical offer for 2022 entry.

Requirement What we're looking for
A level BBC
GCSE Minimum 5 GCSE's graded 9-4 / A* - C including English and Mathematics
BTEC DMM
IB Diploma 29 points

We recognise a breadth of qualifications, speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.

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Are you eligible for the Fair Access Scheme?

We believe every student should have the opportunity to dream big, reach their potential and succeed, regardless of their background.

Fair Access Scheme

Typical offer for 2022 entry

Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:

You can view our full list of country specific entry requirements on our Entry requirements page.

Alternatively, visit our International hub for further advice and guidance on finding in-country agents and representatives, joining our in-country events and how to apply.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.0 overall

If you don't meet the English language requirements, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course. 

For more information on our approved English language tests visit our English language requirements page.

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Fees and funding

2022/23 Tuition fees

Student Full time Part time
UK £9,250 per year Not available
International £15,950 per year Not available

For advice and guidance on tuition fees and student loans visit our Undergraduate Finance page and see The University’s Tuition Fee and Refund Terms and Conditions.

We offer a range of International scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our International Scholarships page.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessments, facilities and support services. There may be additional costs not covered by this fee such as accommodation and living costs, recommended reading books, stationery, printing and re-assessments should you need them. Find out what's included in your tuition costs.


Facilities

The faculty’s £50m Engineering and Computing Building and new £25m Beatrice Shilling Building are designed to support hands-on learning. Our Sir John Laing Building also houses a variety of industry-standard labs and equipment.

Two students wearing lab coats using geotechnics lab facilities

Geotechnics Laboratory  

This specialist lab contains triaxial cells, direct shear box apparatus, a dimensional compression oedometer, California Bearing Ratio apparatus, soil classification equipment and Marshall test apparatus for asphalt mixes.

Three people wearing fluorescent jackets in the simulation centre

Simulation Centre

Our Simulation Centre uses an interactive screen and real-life scenarios to create a ‘virtual’ training environment. Role-play exercises are part of the course to help prepare you for situations in the workplace.

A birds eye view of students working on computers at desks in Informal study areas

Informal Study Areas

You will have access to a range of informal study areas. These include hot-desk computers, with access to specialist software you may need for studying, and bookable spaces where you can meet with academics or work in small groups.


Careers and opportunities

Successful geography and natural hazards graduates should possess a number of skills that are highly valued by employers. As such, employment prospects can be good, as they should possess specialist skills and knowledge in natural hazard assessment and prevention.

The transferable analytical and problem-solving skills you’ll have the opportunity to gain as a successful geography graduate may also open up a wider variety of roles, such as a GIS officer, data analyst, flood risk analyst, sustainability officer, asset systems manager, environmental energy consultant, teacher, insurance assessor or government administrator.

Where our graduates work

Recent graduates have gone on to work for the Environment Agency, the Meteorological Office, environmental departments of local authorities, utility companies including Severn Trent and EON, research institutes, charitable organisations and environmental consultancies. Others have continued their studies at postgraduate level, including teacher training and further study at Masters and PhD level.

Further study

You can choose to continue your studies at Coventry University with the Disaster Management and Resilience MSc. You may be entitled to an alumni discount on your fees if you decide to extend your time with us by progressing from undergraduate to postgraduate study.


How to apply

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  • Student Contract

    By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. A copy of the 2021/22 Contract can be found here. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.

    Tuition fees

    The tuition fee for the course that is stated on the course webpage and in the prospectus for the first year of study will apply. We will review our tuition fees each year. For UK and EU students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, we may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation. Following the UK’s exit from the European Union, EU students should be aware that there may be a change to UK laws following the UK’s exit, this may change their student status, their eligibility to study part time, and/or their eligibility for student finance. We will act in accordance with the UK’s laws in force in relation to student tuition fees and finance from time to time.

    For International students the tuition fee that is stated on the course webpage and in the prospectus for the first year of study will apply. We will review our tuition fees each year. For international students, we may increase fees for each subsequent year of study but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation.

    Accreditations

    The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery. 

    Facilities

    Facilities mentioned on this page may not be relevant for every course. Due to the ongoing restrictions relating to COVID-19, some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) and some non-academic offerings (particularly in relation to international experiences), may vary from those advertised and may have reduced availability or restrictions on their use.

    Placements and study abroad opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any placement or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be subject to additional costs (e.g. travel, visas and accommodation etc.), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the requirements in this regard, please contact the International Office for further details if you are an EU or International student.

    Additional costs

    This course may incur additional costs associated with any field trips, placements or work experience, study abroad opportunities or any other opportunity (whether required or optional), which could include (but is not limited to), equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas).