How will I be taught?
As a Birmingham student, you are joining the academic elite and have the privilege of learning from world-leading experts in their fields. Throughout your studies, you'll be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner, thriving on challenge and opportunities to think for yourself. At first, you may find these new ways of working and learning a challenge, but we'll help you to make the transition and you'll soon be benefiting from some of the most highly regarded teaching in this subject in the country.
Lectures explore a particular text, topic or context, often involving brief factual descriptions and outlining major questions and interpretations. Their main purpose is to challenge and stimulate, encouraging you to come to your own conclusions based on further reading and seminar debates.
Tutorials and seminars run alongside the lecture course, addressing any individual problems you may have and allowing you to consolidate lecture material, engage in constructive debate and expand your understanding.
Workshops fall somewhere between a lecture and a seminar. After a short lecture, the workshop takes the form of group activities and project-based work. Working from previously circulated material, you will approach critically different aspects of a problem or issue, developing and deepening themes and questions raised in the introductory lecture.
Supervised self study In your final year you will undertake your dissertation, a substantial piece of independent research. We support you in this through a series of workshops, as well as one-on-one supervisions with a tutor who will be an academic expert in your chosen topic
Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is an excellent tool for supporting our academic modules, allowing you to share thoughts on assignments with other students via the discussion group facilities, and even submit your work electronically.
Enquiry Based Learning (EBL) is when learning is driven by the shared enquiry of students and tutors. This places you, the student, at the centre of your own degree: you learn through involvement and ownership, not simply by being a passive recipient of information thrown at you. We believe that this is the best way of learning while you are at Birmingham as it's very effective in enabling you to acquire the key skills and attributes that are valued by employers: creative and independent thinking, self-motivation, self-organisation, team-working, goal-setting and problem-solving.
From the outset, you will be assigned your own Personal Tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies, providing academic and welfare advice, encouraging you and offering assistance in any areas where you need extra support, to make the most of your potential and your time here at Birmingham.
Academic Writing Advisory Service
The Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) will provide you with individual support from an academic writing advisor and postgraduate subject-specialist writing tutors. You will receive guidance on writing essays and dissertations at University-level which can be quite different from your previous experiences of writing. Support is given in a variety of ways, such as small-group workshops, online activities, feedback through email and tutorials.
These vary slightly according to your choice of modules. However, contact is timed carefully and we're very clear about what you should do during your independent study hours. During contact hours, you will have the opportunity to work in small groups, to build relationships with your tutors and fellow students, and to receive one-to-one feedback on your assignments.
As a student in the Geography department your degree will have a modular structure. In each year learning is delivered over two teaching semesters of eleven weeks and a third summer term of eight weeks for revision, examinations and progress review. Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, including lectures, small group tutorials, seminars, laboratory classes and through supplementary IT-based materials, as well as the more traditional use of books and journals in the University Library. Particular course modules in Geography may involve individual or group project work, preparing oral presentations, and library or web-based research. One of the advantages of a larger, long-established university such as Birmingham is the breadth and size of the library resources. With approaching four million books and fast-growing electronic resources, the University Library and Information Services is something we are proud of.
Fieldwork is an important aspect of studies in both human and physical geography. These experiences are embedded in courses to enable you to develop your transferable skills and to demonstrate your ability to work on your own initiative and as part of a team. This is invaluable in equipping you for future employment. As your degree progresses the modular structure allows you increasing choice so that you can follow the subject themes in Geography that most interest you.
You will have access to a comprehensive support system throughout your studies that will assist and encourage you, including personal tutors and welfare tutors. You will be assigned to a Personal Tutor for the whole three years, who can help you with any questions you may have while you study. You will also have your own Dissertation Supervisor in Year 2 and Year 3, to help guide you through the exciting process of designing and carrying out your dissertation project in an area of your choice.
Studying with us you will benefit from cutting edge equipment and facilities in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, including our state-of-the-art Earth imaging and visualisation laboratory for teaching.
Studying at degree-level is likely to be very different from your previous experience of learning and teaching; you will be expected to think, discuss and engage critically with the subject, and find things out for yourself. We will enable you to make the change to this new style of learning, and the way that you are assessed during your studies will help you develop the essential skills you need to make a success of your time here at Birmingham.
During your first year you will take part in a formal 'transition' review with your personal tutor to see how you are getting on and whether there are particular areas where you need support.
At the beginning of each module you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed for that particular programme of study. Feedback is an essential part of learning and we use a wide range of methods, such as essays, group and individual presentations and formal exams. You will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, highlighting the positives of your work as well as any areas that need more attention, so that you can learn from and build on what you have done.
Studying at degree level is likely to be very different from your previous experience of learning and teaching at school or college. You will be expected to think, discuss and engage critically with the subject and find things out for yourself. We will enable you to make this transition to a new style of learning, and the way that you are assessed during your studies will help you develop the essential skills you need to make a success of your time at Birmingham.
A range of assessment methods are used on our Geography programmes. Employers require graduates with a wide range of skills and it is our aim to ensure that these are assessed fully. As such, assessment at Birmingham is not limited to exams and students will be tested via presentations and group exercises, as well as project and field work.
During your first year you will also undergo a formal transition review to see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support. This is in addition to the personal tutor who is based in your school or department and can help with any academic issues you may encounter.
At the beginning of each module, you?ll be given information on how and when you?ll be assessed for that particular programme of study. You?ll receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so that you can learn from and build on what you have done for future modules.