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About the course

Aberystwyth University’s Masters in Practising Human Geography is specifically designed to provide you with the knowledge, skills and competencies required of an advanced, professionally trained researcher specialising in Human Geography. Based at Aberystwyth University’s internationally-renowned Department of Geography and Earth Sciences (DGES), this course will equip you with both subject-specific expertise and a broad base of professional skills which are transferrable into a wide range of employment contexts.

To help you become a thorough and professional researcher, you will receive a comprehensive grounding in the practical research methodologies of the discipline. You will also be trained in the philosophical, epistemological and theoretical approaches to Human Geography. Together, the uniquely practical and theoretical approaches to the subject will make you a balanced, adaptable and highly-competitive candidate for employment and further doctoral-level research.

Throughout the course you will demonstrate initiative and self-motivated learning, supported by the crucial self-awareness to be both flexible in working practice but always academically rigorous. Your skills in communication, teamwork and project-management will be strengthened, and you will become fully confident in framing coherent and insightful questions and expressing them in oral and written form in a range of group and individual settings.

These qualities, supported by comprehensive subject knowledge, will enable you to gain employment with government agencies, public bodies, research institutes and private consultancies.

The DGES invites applications from postgraduate students in a range of related disciplines including geologists, geographers and environmental earth scientists.

This degree will suit you:

- If you wish to obtain the expertise required for advanced research in Human Geography;
- If you are interested in pursuing a career in Human Geography;
- If you wish to obtain an excellent postgraduate qualification from an internationally-recognised, research-led institute;
- If you wish to build upon your a second class degree or higher in a related discipline.

Course content and structure

The course is a year-long, full-time programme divided into two parts over three semesters. In part one, you will establish a breadth of necessary skills in a number of core modules whilst directing your own study by choosing specialist modules. In part two, you will apply your learning in the individual dissertation worth an additional 60 credits. Contact time is approximately 10 -14 HOURS per week and our small, friendly classes provide a productive environment where you can engage with your subject matter fully supported by staff and your peers.

Core modules:

Advanced Research in Human Geography
Geographical Research Methodologies
Key Concepts and Debates in Human Geography
MA Dissertation
Principles of Research Design
Quantitative Data Collection and Analysis

Optional modules:

Postgraduate Work Experience
Rural Economy, Society and Policy
Risk Management and Resilience in a Changing Environment


Assessment: Part 1 of the course is delivered and assessed through lectures, tutorials and essay projects. In Part 2, the successful acceptance of your dissertation (up to 20,000 words) leads to the award of an MA. 


Every aspect of the MA in Practising Human Geography is designed to enhance your employability. Alongside the development of your subject-specific knowledge and experience, an especially noteworthy strength of this course is the emphasis on personal development. As an emerging specialist in Human Geography, your strengthened research and critical faculties will make you a strong candidate for any post where ideas and topics need research, analysis, discussion, expansion and classification.

In addition to gaining such specialised knowledge in the theoretical concepts of Human Geography, the course aims to develop your more general skills such as written and oral communication, data handling and statistics, team work, information technology and problem solving. These skills are highly prized by employers and can be applied across innumerable graduate and master’s level jobs. Because you will have secured and proved your competency in these areas, you will be very well equipped for entering the general employment market but also in pursuing positions in subject-related professions.

A host of employers look for accuracy, thoroughness, an eye for detail and the ability to find and prove connections across broad subject matter, and you certainly will have proven yourself, simply by graduating from this prestigious MA course.

Professional Exposure and Networking

You will have the opportunity to attend two major research groups (the Cultural and Historical Geography Group and the New Political Geographies Group) which are based in the Institute of Geography and Earth Science. These groups are comprised of experts in their fields who regularly contribute to international debates. By attending meetings and seminars, you will experience Practising Human Geography at the cutting edge; you will be aware of the most up-to-date debates, theories and methodologies in the context of a lively and robust working department. This will give you an enviable edge and fluency in your professional and doctoral applications.

You will also be strongly advised to take every opportunity you can to widen your professional exposure. The department’s regular guest seminars and the residential ‘theory school’ in conjunction with Cardiff and Swansea Universities, are such opportunities. These provide excellent opportunities for you to network and socialise with your teachers and peers in a professional context.

Project Management in the Dissertation

The dissertation project will require you to work independently and to pursue your own individual topic. You will be required to cultivate a professional work ethic to deliver the combination of research, analysis, communication and presentation demanded by this project. This rigorous part of the MA will require you to employ project management skills which are entirely transferrable to almost any work context that Master’s graduates apply for.

Studying for this Master’s degree will allow you to sharpen up all your core scientific disciplines, your professional work ethos and your presentation and communication skills. Once secured by obtaining your Masters Degree, you will have gained confidence in the level of your academic expertise and practical field skills, which in turn will enhance your employability in both highly specialised related professions and also on broader, unrelated professional paths.

Visit the Practising Human Geography - MA page on the Aberystwyth University website for more details!





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