Physical 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 Physical Geography and Physics. For the Physical Geography element of this course, you will discover new ways to understand and appreciate the natural world as you explore the rapidly evolving science behind Earth’s changing landscapes and environments. 

Combined Honours

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


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UCAS code: FF83

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This course, ranked top for student satisfaction in the 2015 and 2016 National Student Survey, focuses on Earth as a global environmental system.

Course Overview

For the Physical Geography element of this course, you will discover new ways to understand and appreciate the natural world as you explore the rapidly evolving science behind Earth’s changing landscapes and environments. This course, ranked top for student satisfaction in the 2015 and 2016 National Student Survey, focuses on Earth as a global environmental system.

We take an interdisciplinary perspective that will allow you to embed influences from fields such as geology, environmental science and life sciences into your studies. With our global approach you will discover landscapes and points of view that transcend traditional boundaries. You will learn to collect and interpret evidence in the field and in the laboratory, acquiring skills in surveying, GIS and a range of physical and chemical analytical techniques. You will have the chance to apply your new skills on field courses in the UK and overseas.

What will this mean for my future?

Geography graduates are highly employable. Your degree from Keele will equip you for future employment or advanced study, and will establish a lifelong appreciation of the world around you. Your skills could take you into directly related careers such as environmental planning or consultancy, or you could apply them in industries such as energy, agriculture, meteorology or construction. Your problem-solving skills and global, interdisciplinary approach will be of value in a huge range of careers.

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. Take this course as a single honours or combined honours and your degree will be accredited by the Institute of Physics.

Indicative modules

First Year

  • Fundamentals of Physical Geography
  • Geographical Skills
  • The Practice of Physical Geography
  • People and the Environment
  • Mechanics, Gravity and Relativity
  • Nature of Matter
  • Oscillations and Waves
  • Electricity and Magnetism

Second Year

  • Dynamic Geographies
  • Practical Physical Geography
  • Regional Landsystems
  • Geographical Research Training
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Optics and Thermodynamics
  • Nuclear and Particle Physics
  • Statistical Mechanics and Solid State Physics

Third Year

  • Dissertation
  • Glaciers and Glacial Geomorphology
  • Global Environmental Change
  • Water Resources
  • Inspirational Landscapes
  • Applied GIS
  • Coastal Environments
  • Electromagnetism
  • Physics Project
  • Quantum Mechanics II
  • Particle Physics and Accelerators
  • Physics of Fluids
  • Plasma Physics
  • Cosmology
  • Physics of Compact Objects
  • Physics Dissertation
  • Life in the Universe
  • Atmospheric Physics
  • Polymer Physics
  • Physics of the Interstellar Medium

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

Physical 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 Physical Geography modules only; please also see the document for your other subject. For Physical Geography Combined Honours:  

 

Year

Compulsory

Optional

Electives

Min

Max

Min

Max

1

60

0

0

0

0

2

60

0

0

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)

Physical Geography Year 1 (Level 4)

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Fundamentals of Physical Geography

15

None

 

Geographical Skills

15

   

The Practice of Physical Geography

15

   

People and the Environment

15

   

 

Politics Year 1 (Level 4) (minimum of 3 modules to be taken)

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Why Politics Matters

15

Debates in US Politics

15

Modern Democracies

15

Justice, Authority and Power

15

   

Introduction to International Relations

15

   

Securing Global Order

15

Modules - Year Two

Year 2 (Level 5)

Physical Geography Year 2 (Level 5)

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Dynamic Geographies

15

None

 

Practical Physical Geography

15

   

Regional Landsystems

15

   

Geographical Research Training

15

   

 

Politics Year 2 (Level 5) (minimum of 3 modules to be taken)

Optional modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

US Politics

15

British Politics

15

Russian Politics

15

Politics of the European Union

15

Elections, Parties and Voters

15

Freedom and Equality

15

Environmental Politics and Policy

15

Why Policy Changes

15

Contemporary International Relations

Theory

15

International Organization

15

The Modern Middle East

15

African Politics

15

International Relations of Eurasia

15

The Practice of Politics

15

The Practice of Politics

15

Work Experience

15

 

 

Modules - Year Three

Year 3 (Level 6)

Physical 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

   

Environment and Sustainability Case Study

15

   

Natural Hazards

15

 

Politics Year 3 (Level 6) (2 or more modules)

Optional modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Dissertation module

30

Russia and Europe

15

The Extreme Right in Western Europe

15

The Left in Modern Politics

15

Environmental Politics in the USA

15

Modern Russia

15

The Northern Dimension

15

Proliferation

15

Environmentalism, Environmental

Movements and Protest

15

Britain and war since 1945: War, Cold War

And Society

15

The Missing Dimension

15

Politics of Development

15

Israel-Palestine: Key Debates and Issues

15

Policing International Order

15

Gendering Global Politics

15

Understanding Terrorism and Counter-

terrorism

15

The U.S. Presidency

15

Urban Politics

15

Modules - Year Four

Year 3 (Level 6) (Major Route)

If you choose to specialise in Physical 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

   

Single Dissertation ISP

15

   

Glaciers and Glacial Geomorphology

15

   

Global Environmental Change

15

   

Water Resources

15

   

Natural Hazards

15

   

Inspirational Landscapes

15

   

Applied GIS*

15

   

Coastal Environments

15

   

Trees in their Environment*

15

   

Contemporary Topics in Environmental Science

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