Geography and Physics 

(2018 Entry)

BSc (Hons)

At Keele, studying a combined honours degree will include some modules from both of the single honours degrees. In this case, your programme will be made up of a combination of modules from both Geography and Physics.

Combined Honours

Combined Honours degrees allow you to study two different subjects in one degree. Find out more about Combined Honours degrees.


Study abroad
Learn a language
International year
3 years/ 4 years with international year

UCAS code: LF73

View entry requirements

Course Overview

For the Geography element of the course, you will develop a core foundation in the first year from which you will have the flexibility to pursue a diverse range of specialisms and interests in the second and third years, allowing you to explore your interests within the subject. You'll learn to access and engage with the latest research in which the majority of our staff are engaged; undertake effective fieldwork; utilise a range of methods to collect and analyse qualitative data; plan and undertake research; and use specialist software such as GIS to address geographical problems. We offer a range of local field excursions, which for many students are the highlight of their learning experience.

Our campus provides an ideal venue for some of our work, whilst field courses run locally and overseas provide an opportunity to broaden your horizons. We provide field course routes that incur no additional costs with only some optional trips involving additional charges. You will also have access to excellent computing and laboratory facilities. As a geographer, you'll develop a wide range of transferable and subject specific skills that are highly valued by employers. Your interdisciplinary perspectives, problem-solving skills and the ability to research, evaluate and synthesise information from diverse sources are relevant to a broad range of careers including those in transport and planning and the environmental and retail sectors. They also provide an ideal training for postgraduate study and research.

For the Physics element of the course, You’ll use mathematics to describe the physical world, and learn to plan and conduct investigations before reporting your results. Your course will be informed by the research interests of your teaching staff: primarily astrophysics and condensed matter physics. Regular laboratory sessions will enable you to investigate unfamiliar phenomena and acquire specialist techniques, but you’ll also develop invaluable transferable skills such as communication, IT and interpersonal skills. We operate an open-door policy which enables you to have excellent and flexible access to staff to seek advice or feedback on your work.

What will this mean for my future?

Keele enjoys high rates of graduate employment, where in 2016, were recognised nationally as 1st for employability in the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey. A Physics degree from Keele will prepare you for many different careers, which need not be directly related to physics. You could take up all sorts of roles in industry, management, and public services. You might work as a research scientist, medical physicist, software engineer, geophysicist or radiation practitioner, or you might branch out and become a science writer, chartered accountant, patent lawyer, IT consultant or air traffic controller. Many graduates go on to study at master’s or doctorate level.

Indicative modules

First Year

  • Geographical Skills
  • Fundamentals of Physical Geography
  • Human Geographies
  • People and the Environment

Second Year

  • Dynamic Geographies
  • Geographical Research Training
  • Practical Physical Geography*
  • Practical Human Geography*
  • Regional Landsystems*
  • Space and Society*

*Two modules to be selected

Third Year

  • Dissertation
  • Glaciers and Glacial Geomorphology*
  • Global Environmental Change*
  • Water Resources*
  • Coastal Environments*
  • Applied GIS*
  • Inspirational Landscapes*
  • Postcolonialism in South Asia*
  • Economic Development and Environment Transformation*
  • Geographies of Children and Youth*
  • Rural Geographies*

*Select Modules From List

Course structure

Our degree courses are organised into modules. Each module is usually a self-contained unit of study and each is usually assessed separately with the award of credits on the basis of 1 credit = 10 hours of student effort.  An outline of the structure of the programme is provided in the tables below.

There are three types of module delivered as part of this programme. They are:

  • Compulsory modules – a module that you are required to study on this course;
  • Optional modules – these allow you some limited choice of what to study from a list of modules;
  • Elective modules – a free choice of modules that count towards the overall credit requirement but not the number of subject-related credits.

Modules Summary

Geography -  A summary of the total credit requirements per year is as follows, with a minimum of 90 subject credits (compulsory plus optional) required for each year across both of your Principal Subjects. This document has information about Geography modules only; please also see the document for your other subject. For Geography Combined Honours:  

Year

Compulsory

Optional

Electives

Min

Max

Min

Max

1

60

0

0

0

0

2

30

30

30

0

0

3*

0

45

60

0

15

* in year 3 there is the option to choose to specialise in one of your subjects, taking a minimum of 90 credits in this subject rather than taking modules from both subjects

 

Physics -  A summary of the total credit requirements per year is as follows, with a minimum of 90 subject credits (compulsory plus optional) required for each year across both of your Principal Subjects. This document has information about Physics modules only; please also see the document for your other subject.

Year

Compulsory

Optional

Electives

Min

Max

Min

Max

1

60

0

0

0

0

2

60

0

0

0

0

3*

30

30

30

0

0

* in year 3 there is the option to choose to specialise in one of your subjects, taking a minimum of 90 credits in this subject rather than taking modules from both subjects

The Physics Principal Course is modular in structure, and is taken in combination with another principal subject as part of a Combined Honours course. At the end of year 2 (level 5), you may also be able to specialise in one of your two principal subjects in your final year.

Modules - Year One

Year 1 (Level 4)

Geography Year 1 (Level 4)

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Fundamentals of Physical Geography

15

None

 

Geographical Skills

15

   

Human Geographies

15

   

People and the Environment

15

   

 

Physics Year 1 (Level 4)

At level 4, Physics and Astrophysics students require a common knowledge and skills base. Therefore, many of the modules taught at level 4 are common to Physics and Astrophysics disciplines. You will study FOUR lecture-based modules of core Physics.

The lecture-based modules are supported by problem classes and assessed problem sheets with an end of semester examination in each. These modules also include lectures, problems classes and tutorials in mathematics, and laboratory classes, which are an essential part of physics. The module descriptors provide detailed synopses of each module with suggested study reading and are available on the KLE.

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Mechanics, Gravity and Relativity

15

None

 

Nature of Matter

15

   

Oscillations and Waves

15

   

Electricity and Magnetism

15

   

 

 

Modules - Year Two

Year 2 (Level 5)

 

Geography Year 2 (Level 5)

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Dynamic Geographies

15

Practical Physical Geography OR Practical

Human geography

15

Geographical Research Training

15

Regional Landsystems OR Space & Society

15

 

Physics Year 2 (Level 5)

At level 5 you continue to be taught the fundamentals of Physics. Modules are common to Physics and Astrophysics in the first semester of the second year, but diverge significantly from the second semester of the second year onwards.

In the first semester you take an Optics Laboratory and a short series of classes in developing your mathematical skills. In the second semester you take an instrumentation and measurement laboratory incorporating a mini-project.

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Quantum Mechanics

15

None

 

Optics and Thermodynamics

15

   

Statistical mechanics and Solid State
Physics

15

   

Nuclear and Particle Physics

15

   

 

Modules - Year Three

Year 3 (Level 6)

 

Geography Year 3 (Level 6) (Combined Honours)

Students take either 60 credits from the options below, or 45 credits from this list plus 15 credits from an elective outside this list. Students may take no more than one of the ISPs on this list, and do not need to take a Geography Independent Study Project (ISP) as long as there is an ISP included within their overall combined honours module diet.

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

None

 

Double Dissertation ISP

30

   

Single Dissertation ISP

15

   

Glaciers and Glacial Geomorphology

15

   

Inspirational Landscapes

15

   

Global Environmental Change

15

   

Water Resources

15

   

Applied GIS

15

   

Coastal Environments

15

   

Postcolonialism in South Asia

15

   

Economic Development & Environmental Transformation

15

   

Geographies of Children & Youth

15

   

Environment and Sustainability Case Study

15

   

Natural Hazards

15

 

Physics Year 3 (Level 6)

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Physics Project

15

Cosmology

15

Electromagnetism

15

Physics of the Interstellar Medium

15

   

The Physics of Compact Objects

15

   

Quantum Physics of Atoms and Molecules

15

   

Polymer Physics

15

   

Particle Physics and Accelerators

15

   

Binary Stars and Extrasolar Planets

15

   

Life in the Universe

15

   

Computational Methods in Physics and

Astrophysics

15

   

Data Analysis and Model testing

15

   

The Physics of Galaxies

15

   

Quantum Mechanics II

15

   

Physics of Fluids

15

   

Atmospheric Physics

15

   

Plasma Physics

15

 

 

Modules - Year Four

If you choose to specialise in Geography in your final year you will take either 120 credits from the list below, or 105 credits from this list plus 15 credits from an elective outside this list. Students must take one of the two Dissertation ISP options below.

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

None

 

Double Dissertation ISP

30

   

OR

 
   

Single Dissertation ISP

15

   

PLUS

 
   

Glaciers and Glacial Geomorphology

15

   

Natural Hazards

15

   

Global Environmental Change

15

   

Water Resources

15

   

Coastal Environments

15

   

Applied GIS

15

   

Inspirational Landscapes

15

   

Postcolonialism in South Asia

15

   

Economic Development & Environmental Transformation

15

   

Geographies of Children & Youth

15

   

Rural Geographies

15

   

Trees in their Environment

15

   

Environment & Sustainability Case Study

15

 

If you choose to specialise in Physics in your final year you will study the following modules:

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Physics Project

15

Cosmology

15

Electromagnetism

15

Physics of the Interstellar Medium

15

Dissertation and Communication Skills

15

The Physics of Compact Objects

15

   

Quantum Physics of Atoms and Molecules

15

   

Polymer Physics

15

   

Particle Physics and Accelerators

15

   

Binary Stars and Extrasolar Planets

15

   

Life in the Universe

15

   

Computational Methods in Physics and

Astrophysics

15

   

Data Analysis and Model testing

15

   

The Physics of Galaxies

15

   

Quantum Mechanics II

15

   

Physics of Fluids

15

   

Atmospheric Physics

15

   

Plasma Physics

15

 

You may, in addition to modules listed, include in level 6 of your Physics course one suitable programme approved elective module from another Principal Course, provided that you are not taking the Principal Course from which that module is derived as part of your Combined Honours combination.

You will find that in teaching you we put emphasis on problem solving. This occurs in examples classes where you solve practice problems in physics in class with staff to assist you, in laboratory teaching where you will be expected to address practical problems and in your directed work for assessment. You are encouraged to call upon module leaders and the director of study for guidance. The staff will be willing to see you at almost any time and you will have one-to-one progress interviews each semester. The teaching team will monitor your progress and we will contact you if we find that you are not achieving all that you should and advise you on how to improve.

You will benefit from a flexible approach to learning the mathematical skills that are essential to the learning and application of Physics. You will find that the classes on mathematics in level 4 are presented in a series of blocks. An assessment test is taken at the end of the class blocks. You will also attend supplementary supporting tutorials in mathematics.

For further information on the content of modules currently offered, including the list of elective modules, please visit: www.keele.ac.uk/recordsandexams/az