New Students 2018-19: Welcome to Physical Geography at Keele!

For Single Honours and Dual Honours Physical Geography students: this page is here to help before you come to Keele and when you first arrive. If you have any questions please just get in touch with me. I'll always be pleased to help.

Dr Peter Knight  (Physical Geography Course Director). 



Welcome to Physical Geography, from the Course Director

Course Director Peter Knight I am delighted that you will be joining Physical Geography at Keele this year, and I am looking forward to meeting you in September. If you have any questions, or if you want to have a chat about Keele, Physical Geography, or your preparations for University, please get in touch. You can contact me 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 Physical Geography, we think of Physical Geography at Keele as a friendly family where everybody feels at home and knows that help is always on hand. I really hope you enjoy your time here.

You will have meetings for Physical Geography 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 Physical Geography at those first meetings. I will put up exact times and more information on this page before that time (see the "first few days" 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 Physical Geography staff, ask any questions you have about the course, and arrange all your Physical Geography classes for the first semester. I'll also give you a quick tour to help you find your way around our building, and we will also get started actually "doing" some Physical 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 Physical Geography course, I am including on the "before you arrive" tab on this page a list of items that you will find useful to bring with you. 

I hope that you will find Physical 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!

Dr Peter Knight, Course Director

Before you arrive

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 Physical Geography at Keele is very friendly, and we hope that you will settle in quickly and find Physical 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 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:

  • 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 three books are available at the start of session as a reduced-price bundle through the campus bookshop to match or beat online prices.

In addition, if you want a reference book to look up unfamiliar terms or features, one good example would be: 

  • Thomas, D.S.G. (2016) “The Dictionary of Physical Geography" (4th Edition)” (Wiley-Blackwell)

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 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 pleased to help

Your first few days

The University will provide you with Enrolment Information about arriving and registering at Keele. Make sure you check those details before looking at the details below, which relate just to your sessions with Physical Geography. NB Please re-check times and venues closer to the time of each meeting.

Week 1: Physical Geography starts

  • Meeting 1: Monday 24th September 2018 -  10am-12noon [Chancellor's Building room CBA1.103] See details below
  • Meeting 2: Tuesday 25th September 2018 - 2pm-4pm [room WSB 0.11] See details below
  • Meeting 3: Friday 28th September 2018  -  10am-1pm [room WSB 0.11] See details below
  • It is essential that you attend all these meetings. Details are provided below.
  • In addition, you will have at least one meeting with your Personal Tutor, arranged separately.

Week 2: Physical Geography course modules begin

  • Dual Honours students: esc-10039 lectures; esc-10035 practicals and tutorials.
  • Single Honours students: esc-10039 lectures; esc-10035 practicals and tutorials, geg-10011 classes, elective module.


For a few students, especially those who have changed course during the last few days, the electronic timetable might not be completely updated yet, so this is a reminder of the PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY classes that you should be attending over the first few days of week-2. Hopefully your timetables should be kicking in and be up to date by the middle of the week, but this reminder should help for the first couple of days.




You have a tutorial as listed on the handout from Friday’s induction session.

You have one practical (esc-10035) on EITHER Monday OR Thursday

You have lectures in esc-10039 (two lectures per week)

You will also have classes for your other Dual Honours subject.




You have a tutorial as listed on the handout from Friday’s induction session.

You have one practical (esc-10035) on EITHER Monday OR Thursday

You have lectures in esc-10039 (two lectures per week)

You have a lecture in geg-10011 

You may also have lectures in your elective modules, depending which electives you have chosen.

Welcome to Physical Geography: Week 1!

It can be a bit scary, 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 Physical Geography at Keele is very friendly, and we hope that you will settle in quickly and find Physical Geography enjoyable and worthwhile. If ever you have any worries, just come and chat to one of us and we'll sort things out for you! If in doubt, just e-mail me at:

The purpose of your first year of study is to start building up the knowledge, understanding and skills that will ultimately earn you a degree. In the short term you will be working towards your first-year exams and your progression into 2nd year, but with a view to the longer term you need to establish the framework and foundation on which your later years of study, and hence your degree, will depend. By mastering the first-year material, you will set yourself up to do your very best with the more advanced challenges of the later years. Your whole degree starts here!

We have three Physical Geography meetings in the first week, at which you will get to meet staff and students, get to know how everything works, start to find your way around and generally get yourself happily established on the course with your new Physical Geography "family". The dates, times and locations of those are given above.

What happens in the first few days of Physical Geography at Keele?:

1. Make sure you have done all the signing-up and form-filling that the University requires. You should have received clear instructions from Keele about what you have to do. Get a diary straight away so you can put appointments in it... starting with these appointments below!

2. On Monday at 10am (2 hours) you will have your first Physical Geography course meeting. This will be a big meeting for all the students doing all the different Geography-related degrees. You will have to fill in some paperwork, you will be allocated tutorial and practical classes, and you will be given important information about your course. There will be chance to meet some of the other students and to ask us any questions that you might have. We will explain how the rest of your induction sessions will work. 

3. On Tuesday afternoon (2pm-4pm) you will attend the second Physical Geography session. This is a smaller group meeting just for Physical Geographers, and we will start doing some actual physical geography. This session is where we set your first piece of work. You should take notes of what we say in this lecture, so bring paper or a note book and a pen, and your diary.  If you miss this lecture you will be out of the loop before you've even started! We may also be spending some time out of doors, so bring waterproofs in case the weather is bad! After the lecture, if you need any specific one-to-one help or advice just come and talk to me.

4. On Friday at 10am (3 hours) you will have your third Physical Geography session.  Amongst other things, at that meeting I will be giving you some important help with the coursework assignment that we set in the previous session. We will also be going outside, so make sure you bring waterproofs if the weather looks bad. In fact - bring waterproofs anyway: always be prepared! At the end of this session we will meet up with the other Geography course groups for a buffet lunch and a few announcements. 

5. During these first few days you should have been given an appointment to see your Personal Tutor. Some of you will have one of the Physical Geography lecturers as your personal tutor, but some of you will have a tutor from your other subject. You will have been told who your tutor is previously, and if it was a Physical Geographer I will have given you a time and place to meet your tutor when I signed you in to Physical Geography at our first meeting. If you are unsure, just talk to me or the School Office and we'll sort you out!

6. You will by this stage have been given quite a lot of information: verbally, on paper, and on web-pages. The reason we give you the information is because you need it. Now is the time to read all your information, think about what we've said, and ASK if anything isn't clear. MOST IMPORTANTLY: read and understand the Geography first-year handbook and course regulations, and the Geography House Style document. The handbook is on this page: Geography Courses Handbook and the House Style Rules are here: House Style Rules.

7. If you have not already done so, you should start assembling the materials you will need to do your course. Useful items are listed on our "getting ready" tab.

8. Well, this is University, so you have classes to go to and after Tuesday's introductory lecture you will have your first piece of coursework to get started on! Your Physical Geography course modules start in week 2. Make sure you go to all your classes, without fail. You will receive additional advice and instructions in class, and it is important that you keep up to speed. If you have any trouble attending, or if you have any problems following what goes on, come and see us so that we can help. It is your responsibility to familiarise yourself with the rules and regulations that are in the course handbooks.

CHECKLIST: By the end of week one, make sure that you...

  • Have registered for Physical Geography
  • Have received (and read) a paper copy of the Physical Geography Course Handbook
  • Have collected (and read) a paper copy of the Physical Geography 1st-year Handbook
  • Have located (and read) the on-line Geography Courses Handbook
  • Have located (and read) the Physical Geography House Style document
  • Have been allocated a Physical Geography tutor and a tutorial group
  • Have been allocated a practical group
  • Know your Physical Geography tutor and know how to contact him/her if you need help
  • Know your timetable of lectures and other classes
  • Have written forthcoming classes for the semester into your diary
  • Have got the basic materials for note-taking and class work
  • Have got the essential books and other items listed above
  • Have attended all the introductory sessions and your first classes
  • Know who to go to if you need help

Who to go to if you need help.

The Geography Courses Administrator is Cerys Jones in the School Office in the foyer.

The Physical Geography Principal Course tutor is Dr Peter G. Knight.

The Geography Courses 1st-year Tutor is Dr Daniel Allen.

Peter, or the other core Physical Geography staff, Dr Richard Waller, Dr Zoe Robinson, Dr Katie Szkornik, Dr Alix Cage, Dr Antonia Law, and Dr Helen Glanville will be pleased to help you whenever and however they can. Just ask! (PS: There is more information about sources of help and advice in the Geography Handbook)

More Information

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

Administrator Miss Cerys Jones

Course Director Dr Peter G Knight

1st-year tutor Dr Daniel Allen


For more information about Physical Geography at Keele please refer to the Geography Handbook web page and to the web pages for the Physical Geography Course


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. You should also follow @KeeleGeogs on Twitter to get occasional news and announcements from the course, and follow a selection of geography-related twitter feeds to get lots of Geography news coming your way.