Pre-arrival information for Geography, Physical Geography and Human Geography

The tabs below hold our Welcome and pre-arrival information for new students, and it is important that you read this before your arrival at Keele University

Welcome to Geography, Human Geography and Physical Geography

We are delighted that you will be joining one of our Geography courses at Keele this year, and we are looking forward to meeting you in September. If you have any questions, or if you want to have a chat about Keele, Geography, or your preparations for University, please get in touch. You can contact us directly, or you can talk to Cerys Jones, the course administrator, in the Geography Office (01782 733615).

Although you will also be part of the broader Keele University community and may be taking another subject along with your Geography, we think of Geography at Keele as a friendly family where everybody feels at home and knows that help is always on hand. We really hope you enjoy your time here.

You will have meetings for your Geography, Human Geography or Physical Geography course starting right at the beginning of the first week of the year, with an important introductory lecture on the Monday of your first week and further meetings throughout that week. We will make all the arrangements for your classes in Geography at those first meetings. We will put up exact times and more information on this page before that time (see the "Starting arrangements" tab above). We are based in the William Smith Building, which is easy to find in the heart of campus just up the hill from the shops and the University Library.

During the introductory sessions you will be able to meet other new students and Geography staff, ask any questions you have about the course, and arrange all your Geography classes for the first semester. We will also give you a quick tour to help you find your way around our building, and we will also get started actually "doing" some Geography. We may go outside during the Tuesday and Friday meetings, so come prepared with waterproofs, etc.

You will receive more information from the University about Keele-wide arrival, enrolment and induction activities, but to help you to prepare for your Geography course, We are including on the "before you arrive" tab on this page a list of items that you will find useful to bring with you.

We hope that you will find Geography at Keele enjoyable and rewarding. The staff will always be on hand to help, so if you have any questions or want any help at any time, please just ask!

Peter Knight 300px Alex Nobajas Richard Waller
Dr Peter Knight,
Head of Geography Undergraduate Programmes
and Course Director for Physical Geography.
Dr Alex Nobajas,
Course Director for Human Geography.
Dr Richard Waller,
Course Director for Geography.

Getting ready: what to bring, what to read?

It can be a bit daunting, starting a University degree; perhaps moving away from home, living in a new place, wondering what University will be like. Don't worry, everybody in Geography at Keele is very friendly, and we hope that you will settle in quickly and find Geography enjoyable and worthwhile.

You should get prepared well in advance by gathering together some of the things you'll need when you start the course, and even doing a bit of reading to get warmed up! This page lists a few items that you should have before you arrive (you'll certainly need them during the course) and identifies the core textbooks that are worth buying in the first year. The Blackwell's bookshop (currently closed due to Covid-19) on campus runs special deals and offers a price-match guarantee against online prices for core textbooks for our course, so check them out when you arrive.

Core textbooks

These books will be very useful throughout your course and are worth having copies of. Although there are copies in the library many students like to have their own.

For Geography students

Cloke, P. et al (Eds) (2013) “Introducing Human Geographies” (3rd edition) Routledge.

Holden, J. (ed) (2017) "An introduction to Physical Geography and the Environment" (4th edition) (Pearson).

Matthews, J.A. and Herbert, D.T. (2008) “Geography – a Very Short Introduction” (OUP).

Knight, P.G. and Parsons, T. (2003) "How to do your essays, exams and coursework in geography and related disciplines" (Routledge).

For Human Geography students

Cloke, P. et al (Eds) (2013) “Introducing Human Geographies” (3rd edition) (Routledge).

Matthews, J.A. and Herbert, D.T. (2008) “Geography – a Very Short Introduction” (OUP).

Knight, P.G. and Parsons, T. (2003) "How to do your essays, exams and coursework in geography and related disciplines" (Routledge).

For Physical Geography students

Matthews, J.A. and Herbert, D.T. (2008) “Geography – a Very Short Introduction” (OUP).

Holden, J. (ed) (2017) "An introduction to Physical Geography and the Environment" (4th edition) (Pearson).

Knight, P.G. and Parsons, T. (2003) "How to do your essays, exams and coursework in geography and related disciplines" (Routledge).

Those books are normally available at the start of session as  reduced-price bundles through the campus bookshop to match or beat online prices.

Other books and publications

An Atlas. There are plenty of good (and inexpensive) Atlases available at the campus bookshop (in the Geography section) and in other local booksellers. You really need to have access to a good atlas if you are studying Geography!

An Ordnance Survey map of the local area. There are plenty of these in shops in Newcastle.

Other essential equipment

Basic drawing equipment including a protractor and a small stapler. You will be expected to have things like a stapler, coloured pencils, a protractor, etc, with you in practical classes and tutorials.

A diary for making a note of appointments, essay deadlines, etc. You should carry your diary with you to all lectures, classes and meetings with tutors. You might choose to use an electronic diary, but it must be available to you at all classes and meetings.

Some waterproof clothing, including waterproof coat, overtrousers and boots, for when we do field-based activities.

An electronic calculator (with basic scientific functions such as tan, sin, cos). The university only allows specific types of calculators in exams, so you are expected to use a calculator of one of the following "approved" types: Aurora SC582 series; Casio FX-82 series; Casio FX-83 series; Casio FX-85 series; Casio FX-350 series; Sharp EL-531 series; Sharp EL-509 series; Texas Instruments TI30 series.

If you have any questions... just get in touch and we'll be happy to help!

Your first week at Keele is a 'Welcome Week' that provides you with the opportunity to enrol, find your way around the university and settle into your academic programme prior to the start of your modules. This page lists the welcome week activities run by the Geography, Human Geography and Physical Geography programmes.  Please note that you will have additional events and activities associated with your other principal subject if you are studying a Combined Honours programme.

It is essential that you attend the following three Geography course meetings during welcome week:

First meeting: Monday 30 September 2019 10am-12pm, William Smith Building.

Second meeting: Tuesday 1 October 2019 2-4pm, William Smith Building.

Third meeting: Friday 4 October 2019 10am-1pm, William Smith Building.

These meetings will provide you with all the information that you will need to get started on your programme. Parts of the sessions will be combined meetings for all students, while other parts will be divided up so that Geography, Human Geography and Physical Geography groups meet separately to cover specific details particular to each course. These meetings will include work that will lead directly into your taught modules, and will include administrative arrangements that you need to  take part in. Attendance at these meetings is really important, and we are looking forward to seeing you there.

In addition to these meetings, you will also meet your Personal Tutor during Welcome Week. You will be contacted about that individually. Also, some students (depending on your course) may have been told that they should register for additional “elective” modules. If this applies to you, you will receive information on the elective options and the registration process prior to your arrival at Keele. However, if you want to find out more information about whether you need to take an elective module and to find out what modules are available, you can visit or ask your Course Director for advice.

Students in the field

If ever you need help or advice contact the Course Administrator, your Course Director, the 1st-year Tutor or any of your individual module tutors. We will all be pleased to help.

Course Administrator Miss Cerys Jones

Course Director (Geography) Dr Richard Waller

Course Director (Human Geography) Dr Alex Nobajas

Course Director (Physical Geography) Dr Peter G Knight

1st-year tutor Dr Daniel Allen

For more information about the Geography, Human Geography and Physical Geography courses  please refer to the Geography Handbook.

Further information you might find useful can be accessed via the following links:

University Welcome page -  contains lots of essential information to help with pre-arrival planning.

Welcome app -  provides the latest information on the events taking place during Welcome Week.

Course Handbook –  provides a variety of information on the key characteristics and organisation of the degree programmes.

Keele University colour campus map and guide –  will help you find your way around when you arrive (the William Smith Building is building 15).

Module Selection Guide -  For those students whose courses involve options or electives, this page provides information on the modules available for you to study.

Keeping in touch

It is important that you keep up to date and in touch. You need to check your Keele e-mail account EVERY DAY and respond promptly to messages from staff.

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*Accreditation is dependent on the degree route and modules taken