Geography with Chinese Studies BA


Fact file - 2017 entry

UCAS code:L7T1
Qualification:BA Hons
Type and duration:3 year UG
Qualification name:Geography with Chinese Studies
UCAS code
UCAS code
Geography with Chinese Studies | BA Hons
3 years full-time
A level offer
Required subjects
Geography or equivalent subject (environmental science, environmental studies or world development); GCSE grade C or above
IB score
34 (5 in geography at Higher Level)
Course location
University Park Campus 
Course places

This course may still be open to international applicants for 2016 entry. Please visit our international pages for details of courses and application procedures from now until the end of August.


Combining geography with the study of contemporary China, this course offers students the option to tailor a course to their own career aspirations as well as the chance to learn Mandarin.
Read full overview

Geography with Chinese Studies at Nottingham provides you with an exciting opportunity to learn about the rapid transformations currently taking place in China. The course is designed to facilitate progressive learning key and transferable skills being important aspects of the training provided. You may opt to learn Mandarin.

This degree offers opportunities to travel to inspirational destinations in the UK and overseas, through a number of modules with a field trip element.

Year one 

The first year is a foundation programme covering human and physical geography and Chinese studies modules, covering contemporary social and economic issues. Optional choices allow you to study Mandarin or a number of other topics.

Year two

In year two you have a combination of core modules in geography and Chinese studies, including coverage of environmental and urban issues in China, and the opportunity to choose from a range of human and physical geography and Chinese studies modules. This choice allows you to specialise in particular areas of interest.

Students can apply to spend the autumn semester of their second year studying abroad

Year three

In year three the dissertation is the sole core module and you are encouraged to focus on a China-related aspect of geography. Alongside this you have the opportunity to choose from a range of advanced modules from geography and Chinese studies, appropriate to your degree and career aspirations and your year-two optional choices.


Entry requirements

A levels: AAB including geography or equivalent subject (environmental science, environmental studies or world development)

GCSEs: Grade C or above in GCSE maths is required for all geographt courses

English language requirements 

IELTS: 7.0 with at least 6.0 in reading, writing, speaking and listening

Students who require extra support to meet the English language requirements for their academic course can attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education (CELE) to prepare for their future studies. Students who pass at the required level can progress directly to their academic programme without needing to retake IELTS. Please visit the CELE webpages for more information.

Alternative qualifications 

View the alternative qualifications page for details.

Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, The University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.

Notes for applicants 

We are looking for students who have the ability and motivation to benefit from our courses, and who will make a valued contribution to the department and the University. Candidates for full-time admission are considered on the basis of their Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) form.

All applications are considered equally on merit; students are usually selected on the basis of academic excellence and personal qualities.

We do not rely on predicted grades alone but take into account the broader context of each applicant's achievements, primarily as reflected by their engagement with geography beyond studying it as an academic subject - as evidenced in their personal statement and reference.

Applicants are not routinely interviewed. If you are offered a place you will be invited to a UCAS visit day. The aim of the visit is for you to ensure that Nottingham meets your perceived needs and aspirations. In addition to a formal presentation, which provides details of the courses we offer, you will also be able to meet members of the teaching staff and, very importantly, some current undergraduates.



Typical year one modules

Core geography modules

Careers Skills for Geographers
  • Self-marketing and CVs
  • Preparing for interviews and assessment
  • Careers for geographers
  • Subject-focused vocational talk
  • Postgraduate study (masters and PhD) 
  • Guest lectures (eg. from Royal Geographical Society - Institute of British Geographers) 
  • Career planning 

Topics will be delivered by the school's Career Advisor from the Careers and Employability Service (CES) and academics from the School of Geography.

Importantly, you will be expected to make regular use of the Careers and Employability Service (CES) to assist with progress during the year and attend a range of employer presentations and other events (eg. employer fairs).

The module aims to:

  • introduce the issues of career education and employability within the Geography undergraduate curriculum
  • develop and enhance the students' key skills for use in seeking work experience, graduate employment and postgraduate opportunities 
  • provide students with the opportunity to critically evaluate and reflect on their personal and key skill development in the School of Geography and the University 
  • inform students of the role of the Careers and Employability Service (CES)
Earth and Environmental Dynamics

This module integrates knowledge taken from the atmosphere, oceans and continents to inform an understanding of global physical systems as they affect people and the environment. The module considers:

  • principles of climate and general circulation patterns in the atmosphere and ocean 
  • principles of Earth and geomorphological systems

This module aims to:

  • provide an understanding of the atmosphere and hydrosphere 
  • develop knowledge of the terrasphere through learning about geoscience and geomorphology
  • provide a platform for interpreting geographical and environmental issues

On completion of the module, the students will have developed an ability to think analytically about physical and geomorphological processes and understand, synthesise and critically evaluate current debates on environmental issues within a broader conceptual and scientific framework.

Exploring Human Geography

The module provides students with introductory knowledge about current issues in human geography. It critically examines the complex relations between people and places through key themes and concepts in current human geography.

Attention is given to innovative work in cultural, historical, medical, environmental, economic and development geography and to the traditionally broad perspective of human geography as a whole. The module will examine a variety of key themes that may vary from year to year.

This module provides a foundation for more specialised human geography modules at Levels 2 and 3.

This module aims to provide undergraduates with detailed introductory knowledge and understanding of a range of current issues in human geography. The issues relate to current themes of interest across the broad range of human geography including cultural, medical, environmental, economic, development, financial and urban. A selection of these themes will be covered.

Interpreting Geographical Data

This module will provide the basic statistical concepts and techniques required for studying geography. Topics will include:

  • Spreadsheets and statistical packages
  • Introduction to statistical concepts 
  • Descriptive statistics and distributions
  • Exploratory data analysis
  • Parametric and non-parametric tests
  • Correlation and regression

This module aims to:

  • introduce students to the core concepts and techniques of geographical data handling
  • introduce students to the core concepts and practical applications in statistical analysis (parametric, non-parametric and spatial)
  • provide training in the use of standard packages for data handling and analysis (including a standard spreadsheet and a standard statistical package)
  • introduce students to the concepts of statistical thinking, of using statistical methods to present problems, to challenge assumptions and promote critical thinking
  • provide students with the grounding in the practical and technical skills necessary to support the student's work throughout the geography degree course including understanding quantitative concepts quoted in the literature and undertaking project and field-work
  • provide a basis for more specific technical modules, both core and optional, in the second and third years of the course
Orientation and Study Skills

This module covers:

  • Orientation: academic study at University and in the School of Geography 
  • Advanced study skills: The academic craft, introduction to studying effectively
  • Advanced study skills consolidation: Information - sources, quality, referencing

This module aims to:

  • introduce newly enrolled students to studying in the School of Geography
  • equip students with the knowledge and skills required to perform well at University level in the School of Geography
  • impart understanding of the nature and craft of University-level study

Small group tutorials in both the Autumn and Spring semesters in which emphasis will be placed on discussion, essay writing and seminar presentations which will be based on topics in the Qualifying Year geography modules and from broader intellectual, cultural and political fields.

The aims of the module are to:

  • develop intellectual skills in small-group tutorials based on topics in Qualifying Year geography and from wider intellectual, cultural and political fields 
  • develop skills of problem recognition and definition 
  • develop powers to identify and evaluate approaches to problem-solving
  • develop skills of information collection and synthesis and evaluate the significance and relevance of information
  • develop powers of reasoning, discussion and cogent argument
  • develop communication skills in the form of essay writing, verbal articulation of ideas and issues through group discussions and seminar presentations

Core Chinese studies modules

Introduction to Business and Economy of China

This module intends to provide the fundamental knowledge of China's economic transformation and business development. It assists students to establish an understanding of issues including economic strategies, industrial sector transformation, investment, trade and business management.

The educational aims of this module are to:

  • provide an introductory programme that facilitates students learning in the disciplines of Management, Economics and Chinese Studies
  • introduce to students theoretical debates and empirical materials that are used in explaining business-related issues
  • familiarize students with comparative perspectives on business practices generally, and Chinese business practices specifically
  • practise and develop students' intellectual and transferable vocational skills 
  • foster students' awareness with economic issues, policies and institutions of China
Introduction to Contemporary China

This is an introductory course designed to provide students with an overview of contemporary China and help students establish a foundation of knowledge and skills to pursue more advanced studies of China in their later years of study. The module examines the following topics since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, though particular attention is paid to the changes in China since 1978.

On completion of this module, students will:

  • have a basic knowledge of political, economic, social and environmental developments in contemporary China 
  • be familiar with theoretical debates regarding issues in contemporary China and differing empirical approaches to studying the nature of changes in contemporary China 
  • be able to comment in an informed, critical manner on contemporary issues and developments 
  • have improved their capacity to conduct research on contemporary China

Optional geography modules include:

Exploring Place

The module introduces students to geographical research on place, conveying current research in the field, including that carried out within the School of Geography. Students will gain knowledge of key concepts and methodological approaches, with understanding developed through the examination of place-based case studies.

Lectures will outline developments in the geographical study of place in recent decades, and explore key themes such as place and memory, place and knowledge, and place and identity. The challenges and opportunities offered by the digital exploration of place will be outlined, using case studies of digital mapping and the public display of geographical information. Regional case studies will show how the research themes presented in the module can be brought together around the study of specific places and landscapes.

Throughout the module, staff will draw upon their own research as well as the wider academic literature, giving students a sense of the possibilities of geographical research exploring place.

This module aims to provide students with an introduction to the geographical understanding of place, conveying current research in the field, including that carried out within the School of Geography.

Students will gain knowledge of key concepts and methodological approaches in the exploration of place, with understanding developed through the examination of place-based case studies.

Geography Field Course

A four day intensive residential field study period. Teaching will concentrate on the rationale and techniques of field study in both human and physical aspects of geography. Particular emphasis is placed on the design, practice and analysis of small research projects based on geographical issues.

The aims of this module are to:

  • provide a field course experience away from Nottingham 
  • provide the opportunity to evaluate issues involved in applying research design and execution skills within the specific context of field-based research
  • provide the opportunity to evaluate field based techniques and approaches to the collection of geographical information 
  • foster an awareness of the ethical issues related to data gathering 
  • foster a culture of safe field work through awareness, management and practice of both general and specific safety issues
  • develop skills of risk assessment related to field work 
  • further develop intellectual and communication skills gained with tutorials
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

The module provides students with the theoretical background and practical training to undertake basic spatial analysis within a contemporary Geographic Information System (GIS). 

It aims to ensure competency in the use of a contemporary GIS software package whilst developing transferable ICT skills. It also encourages students to develop the analytical skills necessary for the creation of workflows that utilise the built-in analytical functionality of a GIS to solve a spatial problem. 

Specific topics covered are: 

  • What is GIS?
  • Cartographic principles behind GIS
  • Spatial data models and database management systems
  • Fundamental spatial analysis
  • Creating maps within a GIS

This module aims to develop the fundamental practical and conceptual skills necessary to undertake simple GIS analysis, and the theoretical and practical competency necessary to study GIS at a higher level. 

It aims to introduce the student to commercially available software, instruct students in the use of this software in applied GIS analysis scenarios and ensures a solid theoretical and conceptual foundation in GIS fundamental methods and analyses.

On Earth and Life

On Earth and Life explores the deep historical co-evolution of Earth and Life and emphasises uniqueness of place and historical contingency. The module leads on from and complements Physical Landscapes of Britain in exploring geological, plate tectonic and palaeoenvironmental ideas and research, but at the global scale.

The module also prepares the ground for and contextualises several second and third year geography modules, especially Environmental Change and Patterns of Life.

The aim of the module is to encourage students to explore the history of the Earth and life, as well as the history of ideas about the nature and evolution of the Earth's surface and the evolution and biogeography of plants, animals and humans.

On completing the module, students should know more about the evolution of the Earth and life and be able to assess critically the ideas and methods of researchers in the historical and geographical sciences.

Physical Landscapes of Britain

This module provides an understanding of the history and origins of the Earth and its life and landforms through consideration of the following topics:

  • Origins of the Earth 
  • Development of life over geological time
  • Environmental changes over geological time
  • Field trip to the Peak District (full costs will be supplied nearer the time of the trip)

The aim of this module is to provide an understanding of the history and origins of the Earth and its life and landforms. Particular attention is paid to the way in which the area of Britain has formed via tectonic and geomorphological processes. Both systematic and regional approaches are used, with a number of case studies being presented.

Tracing Economic Globalisation

The module introduces students to contemporary and historical approaches to understanding economic globalisation and its spatial unevenness. Students will develop knowledge relating to globalisation as a set of discourses and practices using case studies relating to key themes of relevance.

Lectures will outline the key debates relating to globalisation as a phenomenon and will interrogate the relevance of the concept through an examination of commodities, labour and work, governance and money and finance.

The students will also explore the spatial unevenness of globalisation, and develop understandings of the ways in which globalisation has contributed to an increasingly unequal and differentiated society at a variety of scales. Alternatives to globalisation will also be discussed, focusing upon various counter-globalisation strategies in the forms of localism, activism and protest.

Throughout the module, staff will draw upon their own research as well as the wider academic literature, giving students a sense of the complexity, and importance, of globalisation as a set of theories and a set of sited realities.

This module aims to provide students with an introduction to the economic geographies of globalisation, providing an overview of contemporary research in the field, including that undertaken by staff within the School of Geography.

Students will gain knowledge of key concepts in the exploration of economic globalisation and this understanding will be developed through the study of pertinent geographical case studies.


Optional Chinese studies modules include:

East Asian Business in the 20th Century

In view of the impact East Asian business has had on world business and trading patterns in recent decades, it is important to understand how business has evolved in the region. This module provides the historical background to key developments in East Asian business, including:

  • The history of Western business in Asia from colonial times to the post-Second World War period 
  • The economic, political and social background to business development in key countries in the region 
  • The emergence of Japan as Asia's first industrialized nation, the 'Economic Miracle' and development of the 'Japan, Inc.' model 
  • The development paths of East Asia's newly industrialized countries (NICs) from colonial rule into the 1980s China's post-1978 economic growth and business development 
  • The 1997 Asian financial crisis Business organisation, industrial groups, and industrial relations in East Asia

This module aims to assess the reasons why industrial capitalism developed in East Asian economies, as well as to analyse how it was adapted to local circumstances. As well as the major economies like Japan, China, and South Korea, insights will also be gained into smaller countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, and Hong Kong. Time will also be devoted to the Chinese diaspora and the development of Chinese and other transnational business groups in the East Asian region.

Introduction to the Chinese Legal System

The module aims to provide an introduction to the origin, key elements and characteristics of the evolving Chinese legal system. It mainly includes an introduction to the history of Chinese law, organisation of the P.R.China as a state and its constitutional laws, the law making process in China, the legal institutions and the Chinese court system, the criminal process, the civil process and legal profession in China. 

Based on the introduction on the legal system, it also aims to provide contextual understanding on the political, social and cultural factors which have impacted or shaped the Chinese legal development.

The educational aims of this module include:

  • Providing an overview to the Chinese legal system 
  • Introducing students to the origin, key elements and characteristics of the Chinese legal system 
  • Setting out the foundation for students to better understand important issues in relation to studies on contemporary China (such as economic reform, promotion of democracy and human rights, protection of environment and sustainable development) from a legal perspective 
  • Further development of analytical skills
Mandarin (at appropriate level)

Mandarin modules are available from beginners’ (Level 1) to research (Level 5). Students are assessed and placed at the appropriate level of study. 

Please note: Native speakers of Mandarin will take Advanced English for Disciplinary Study modules instead of Mandarin.

This module provide students with the knowledge of Chinese phonetics, grammar, vocabulary and cultural information in order to develop their competence in Mandarin Chinese. The focus is on communicative competence in both spoken and written language. The script of Mandarin Chinese is taught to make sure that students on the course are not disadvantaged by their written language.

The overall aim of the module is provide students with the phonetic and basic grammatical knowledge and develop a competence in Mandarin Chinese in spoken and written language.


Typical year two modules

Core geography modules

Dissertation Preparation

This module is taught by formal lectures, scheduled preliminary fieldwork, supervision meetings with dissertation tutor. It covers the following:

  • Introduction to the dissertation process and procedures 
  • What is a dissertation? 
  • Ethics, risk and safety implications when conducting Geographical research 
  • Preparing a dissertation proposal 
  • Analysing material 
  • Critically reflecting on literature and writing a coherent literature review 
  • Evaluation of past dissertations

The aims of this module are to prepare undergraduate geography students for undertaking their 40 credit dissertation which is a significant piece of supervised research that includes working in the field, collecting primary and/or secondary data, conducting a literature review, undertaking independent research and writing their research up to produce a significant piece of original scholarship.

The module will equip students with an understanding of research design and methodology, will explore the nature of the dissertation and how to select a topic, determine appropriate methodologies and methods of analysis and will explain the ethical, risk and safety frameworks under which dissertations are undertaken. The module will detail the timetable, procedures and processes that students need to follow in order to complete the dissertation.

Research Tutorial

This module will cover the breadth of world-leading research being carried out in the School of Geography and is reflected in the school's research themes.

The two lectures will introduce the role, breadth and practice of research in geography. Joint delivered by researchers on the physical and human sides of the discipline, the lectures will examine the epistemological and philosophical bases of research in geography, with a focus on the diversity but also shared, unifying features of geographical research, providing broader context for the small group tutorials.

Each student will be assigned to a small tutorial group for the semester and will participate in tutorials with a different member of staff. Specific topics will be chosen by staff members based on their own, active, research programs and will reflect the leading research questions and problems in the discipline. Students will be supplied with a set of readings prior to each tutorial. Students will also be required to research the background context of the readings.

This module will expose students to the breadth and depth of research undertaken in geography. The module aims to develop a critical appreciation of contemporary research problems in geography and introduce students to alternative approaches to geographical research.

Students will benefit through discussing the complete research process, from idea and project development, to methods, dissemination and evaluation of research in geography.

Techniques in Human Geography

This module allows students to understand and experience human geography research methods through participation in three practical projects. The module covers methods for:

  • arts and humanities research (such as archival research, visual and textual analysis) 
  • social science research (such as interviewing, questionnaires and discussion groups) 
  • quantitative human geography research (such as mapping and visualisation)

This module aims to explore methods for students undertaking original research in human geography including for their dissertation. The module comprises a small number of lectures on different types of sources followed by three practical projects through which students undertake research methods for the arts and humanities, for social science and for quantitative human geography. 


Core Chinese studies modules

Cities in China

This modules provides students with an introduction to key issues in China's urbanization, exploring dynamics of city development through contemporary research on integration with the global economy, distinctive characteristics of China's urban development and strong state intervention at local level. The module is an overview of contemporary research in the field of urban China, including that undertaken by staff in Contemporary Chinese Studies.

The module aims to apply interdisciplinary and comparative perspectives to develop critical analysis of urbanization in China today. Students will become familiar with diversity and complexity of China's cities today. Students will also gain knowledge of key debates and concepts in the urbanisation of Chinese and global cities, and this understanding will be developed through general and case study of China cities.


Optional geography modules include:

Cultural and Historical Geography

This module introduces students to cultural and historical geography, including:

  • The development of cultural and historical geography as sub-disciplines
  • The key thematic areas of contemporary cultural and historical geography, including landscape, identity, culture, power and knowledge 
  • The theoretical underpinnings of cultural and historical geography 
  • The links between cultural and historical geography and other fields of enquiry in the humanities and social sciences 
  • The methods and sources used in cultural and historical geographical research, including archives, texts and images, and field study 
  • The work of key figures from the sub-disciplines past and present

The module aims to introduce students to the sub-disciplines of cultural and historical geography, covering both empirical and theoretical issues. Students are given a grounding in the contribution of geography to cultural and historical study, and the module thus provides a foundation for specialist modules and dissertation research within the School of Geography.

On completion of the module students will have a clear conception of cultural and historical geography as fields of enquiry, the ability to connect theoretical discussion with empirical case studies, and a clear appreciation of the methods and sources required for such work.

Desert Geomorphology

This module addresses the research issues and problems in desert environments. The module opens with a definition of deserts environments and a description of the characteristic features of deserts around the world. Key topics include:

  • The nature of deserts, aridity and drylands 
  • Sediment production and weathering processes 
  • Sediment entrainment by wind 
  • The formation of sand dunes and dust deposits 
  • Desert surfaces
  • The role of water

Throughout the module emphasis is placed upon past and current research including experimental design.

This module aims to provide:

  • an understanding of the geomorphology of desert environments 
  • an ability to critically evaluate contested theories of desert landform development
  • an ability to evaluate the impact of vegetation and climate in desert processes
  • a foundation of skills and knowledge for further study of desert environments
Digital Explorers

This module provides a consideration of:

  • Introduction to GI Science/Systems/Studies/Services 
  • Spatial Data Types and Sources 
  • Vector Processing Algorithms 
  • Raster Processing Algorithms
  • Spatial Analysis and Decision Making 
  • Professional Training in ArcGIS 
  • Project planning, implementation and reporting

The aim of this module is to produce students that have both theoretical and technical competence in the use of GIS software for spatial data analysis. It encompasses both taught instruction and project based learning to ensure that students have sufficient skills to independently develop, justify, undertake and report a complex GIS-based analysis project in response to a project brief.

Economic Geography

The module will cover the following topics:

  • Economic globalisation
  • Changing geographies of the world economy during the 20th century 
  • Economic geographies of advanced producer services 
  • World cities 
  • Distinctive spatialities of economic behaviour: industrial clusters, global production sites, and the creative economy, for example

The module aims to provide an understanding of the evolution of Economic Geography from a variety of perspectives. The module will build on foundation principles taught during the Qualifying Year and will feed in to more specialised, research-led modules in Part 2.

Students studying this module will be expected to develop a broad and critical understanding of the geographies of the global space economy, different ways of conceptualising change, and of the importance of different scales of analysis. The module will also consider these broader conceptual issues through the lens of particular empirical examples from around the world.

Environmental Change

This module considers the mechanisms for, and evidence of, global environmental change during the timescale of the Quaternary period. The nature, causes and impacts of change are evaluated in the context of the available evidence within a range of natural and human environments. The nature and impacts of future climate change are also considered.

This module aims to provide:

  • an understanding of the mechanisms driving global change at a range of different timescales
  • a knowledge of the existence and limitations of evidence for change
  • an appreciation of sources of information on this topic and how to integrate this knowledge into cogent written and oral arguments related to Quaternary environmental change
  • an ability to evaluate the nature of change from literature-based evidence
  • a foundation of skills and knowledge for further study of Quaternary environments and proxy records of change
Medical Geography

This module explores aspects of medical geography, with special reference to the geography of infectious diseases. Topics include:

  • Nature of Medical Geography and the Geography of Health
  • History of Medical Geography
  • Epidemiological concepts 
  • The disease record 
  • The epidemiological transition 
  • Spatial diffusion of infectious diseases 
  • The geography of disease emergence and re-emergence 
  • Islands as epidemiological laboratories 
  • Geography of war and disease 
  • Disease forecasting and control

The module aims to provide a comprehensive introduction to the rapidly developing interdisciplinary field of medical geography.

River Processes and Dynamics

Introduces the fluid and sediment processes that operate in rivers and describes the characteristic channel forms of alluvial channels and the links between process and form. Uses laboratory practicals and a fieldtrip to deliver student centred learning and supplement teaching through lectures. Topics covered include:

  • Foundations of fluvial geomorphology
  • Flow resistance, sediment transport and bank erosion
  • Introduction to biogeomorphology and aquatic ecology
  • Dominant discharge and hydraulic geometry
  • Laboratory practicals
  • Fieldtrip: fluvial processes and forms in the Hawkcombe catchment, Somerset 
  • Spaces and timescales of river change 
  • River planforms: braided, meandering and straight 
  • Morphological adjustments in an unstable channels 
  • Complex response in the fluvial system

This module assumes no prior knowledge in introducing the fundamentals of fluid flow, sediment transport and bank erosion in rivers. Semester one builds on the underpinning science of open channel flow to examine the processes that lead to channel formation and the creation and maintenance of aquatic habitat.

At the beginning of semester two, the mechanics and concepts covered are brought together through consideration of regime theory and hydraulic geometry in alluvial channels. Semester two also deals with the dynamics of rivers with straight, meandering and braided patterns. It goes on to investigate trends of change exhibited by unstable rivers and how simple disturbances can trigger complex responses in the fluvial system. 


Optional Chinese studies modules include:

China in the International Business Environment

The module covers the following main topics:

  • Introduction to international business environment
  • National differences in political economy
  • National culture and international business practices
  • China in the international trade environment
  • China in the international investment environment
  • China in the regional economic integration
  • China in the international financial environment
  • Ethics and corporate social responsibility of Chinese firms

The module aims to develop the students' awareness of the latest development in international business environment covering political, economic, legal, cultural, technological and ethical dimensions and their impacts on international business practices in contemporary China.

Chinese Business Law

The module aims to provide an overview of the development of Chinese business law in the context of economic globalization and in particular of China's WTO membership. The module mainly includes:

  • Political economy of business regulation in China and China's WTO membership
  • Introduction to the Chinese's legal system and law making process
  • Chinese contract law, law on business organisations, company law and corporate governance in China, Chinese anti-monopoly law and intellectual property laws

It concludes with discussions on the possible impacts of China's integration into the economic globalization on its domestic business regulation.

The module aims to develop students' knowledge and understanding on the legal framework of business regulation in China after its WTO membership. It in particular focuses on the characteristics of contemporary Chinese business law. By introducing the transformation of the business laws in China, it aims to serve as one useful angel for students to better understand the transformation in the contemporary China.

Chinese Society and Economy

This module emphasises sociological theories of family and society with reference to China. Topics include:

  • Political and social structure of China: the State, society, families and individuals 
  • Trust, Guanxi (social relations), and social capital 
  • Rural-urban divide: dualism, 'urban bias' or 'State bias' 
  • Nationhood, identity and ethnicity 
  • Health, education and aspirations

The aim of this module is to provide an introduction to the socio-economic aspects of China. The module objectives are to develop an understanding of contemporary Chinese society, its social structures and the effects of economic reform upon these, and to generate a familiarity with the main sources of information concerning China. 

Students will apply relevant theoretical frameworks to the analysis of social issues in contemporary China and analyse evidence on these issues.

Greater China Field School

Approximately three week intensive field study period in Hong Kong, southern China, and Taiwan. By visiting government agencies, business groups, cultural as well as non-profit organisations, as well as rural and urban communities participants will gain a first hand insight into contemporary history, politics, economics, society, culture and language of the Greater China region.

The educational aims of this module include:

  • Providing an interdisciplinary study tour experience in the Greater China region, including visits to Hong Kong, southern China, and Taiwan
  • Exploring a range of themes and issues relevant for understanding contemporary China
  • Contrasting academic knowledge with insights of practitioners by visiting organisations in the government, business and civil society sector
  • Fostering cultural awareness and sensitivity in a foreign environment
  • Developing an awareness of the ethical issues related to gathering data
  • Fostering a culture of safety through awareness, management and implementation of appropriate fieldwork practices
  • Developing skills of risk assessment related to fieldwork in China
  • Further development of communication and group work skills
The Rise of Modern China

This module covers the history of China from the 1840s, through to the establishment of the People's Republic in 1949. It looks at social, cultural, political and economic developments in this period from a variety of angles and approaches.

The module focuses in particular on the ways in which Chinese society responded to the arrival of 'modernity' in the form of the Western powers and Japan throughout the period in question, but also how different groups in China tried to remould or redefine China as a 'modern' nation-state and society.

The educational aims of this module are to:

  • develop students' understanding of the major events and processes which shaped Chinese society between1840 and 1949 
  • enhance students' understanding of historiographical debates around the subject 
  • practise and develop students' intellectual and transferable skills
Mandarin (at appropriate level)

Mandarin modules are available from beginners’ (Level 1) to research (Level 5). Students are assessed and placed at the appropriate level of study. 

Please note: Native speakers of Mandarin will take Advanced English for Disciplinary Study modules instead of Mandarin.

Module content is as follows:

  1. Studies on accuracy of grammar on times and changes, and connectors and discourse markers in spoken and written Chinese
  2. Vocabulary related to physical features, personalities, human social behaviours, economic developments and basic statistics 
  3. Language functions for relating experiences, describing physical features, making generalisations, defining historic personalities and celebrities and describing changes, etc. 

The aim of this module is to build on the practical language experiences gained previously, to consolidate and extend vocabulary, to increase comprehension, to reinforce grammatical accuracy and to develop a fluent command of written and spoken Mandarin Chinese.


Typical year three modules

Core geography modules

Dissertation BA

This is an individual project based on a geographical topic involving fieldwork and/or secondary data, and agreed by the candidate with their tutor and a specialist supervisor.

The module aims are:

  • Developing skills of problem recognition and definition 
  • Raising awareness of and responding to the ethical issues related to gathering data 
  • Implementing risk assessment skills related to fieldwork and developing a culture of safety and appropriate research practices 
  • The opportunity to develop and apply research design and investigation skills in a field-based environment 
  • Enhance skills of information collection and synthesis, and the ability to evaluate the significance and relevance of information

Optional geography modules include:

Advances in Remote Sensing

The anticipated content and structure is:

Part I - Principles and Systems

  • Introduction: the past, present and the future
  • Electromagnetic radiation and the terrestrial environment
  • Interaction of radiation with matter 
  • Interaction of radiation with matter 
  • Sensing systems from a range of vantage points 
  • Remote sensing scale and data selection issues 
  • Using remote sensing data I, II and III 

Part II - Information Extraction

  • Exploiting advances in the spatial, spectral and temporal domains 
  • Exploiting strengths of data: data fusion 
  • Technological innovations 
  • Integrating remote sensing and GIS 
  • Practising remote sensing 
  • Student led assessment

The aim of the module is to provide an advanced study into the rapidly evolving field of remote sensing. The module will cover the basic physical principles of remote sensing, key remote sensing systems, digital image processing and applications.

The main focus of the module is on the remote sensing of the terrestrial environment using a range of sensors, at a range of vantage points. The students will be taken to the research frontier within the discipline with exposure to the current issues, for example, use of volunteered information, terrestrial and atmospheric carbon accounting and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Environment, Development and Livelihoods

This module investigates key linkages between development, livelihood and environmental problems in the global South with particular reference to competition and conflict over environmental resources. Attention is placed on exploring livelihood-environment interactions from the perspectives of different income, gender and community groups and contrasting their everyday realities with key development concepts and aggregate statistics.

The module contains a mixture of lecture-based sessions, seminar-based sessions and workshops involving role-play, practical exercises and data analysis. The module emphasises the importance of livelihood concerns to an understanding of the motivations of those participating in environmental management. As teaching is strongly research-led teaching, a significant proportion of the case studies given in lectures are centred on India.

The aims of this module are to:

  • enhance understanding of the interactions between livelihoods and environmental issues in the global South from the perspectives of people from different income, gender and community groups 
  • take a political ecology approach to highlight variations in livelihood security by gender, community socio-economic status and dependence on natural resources
  • enhance understandings of how the 'messy realities' underlying key development concepts and aggregate statistics are experienced by different socio-economic, gender and community groups through participation in group-based role-play exercises
  • heighten appreciation of environment and livelihood interactions and how these are experienced by different socio-economic and gender groups in a range of geographical contexts 
  • emphasise the diverse economic, socio-cultural linkages between environmental problems, livelihoods and development and foster an appreciation of the complexity of environmental issues at a range of scales and in different geographical contexts
Geographies of Fashion and Food

This module covers a range of issues relating to the geographies of fashion and food. Topics covered include:

  • Commodity chains, global networks of supply and regulation 
  • The embodied and material practices of food and fashion consumption 
  • Branding, labelling, consumer knowledges and reflexive consumption 
  • Commodity biographies, origins and the social life of things 
  • Retail power, architecture and space 
  • Theorising agency and value 
  • Transforming, industrialising and globalising food 
  • City foodscapes 
  • Alternative food networks and food quality 
  • Gender and food provisioning

This module aims to explore the economic geographies of fashion and food - two of the most global and yet most intimate and personal commodities. It explores the two sectors from a variety of scales and examines the contested conceptual bases of work on commodity chains, ethical systems of provision, retailing and exchange.

The module examines the geographies of production, employment, commodity movement, retailing, regulation and consumption of both fashion and food. We will be critically questioning who makes our food and clothes, where, how, why and under what conditions? Throughout we expect students to critically reflect on a range of geographical and other relevant literatures and to understand a variety of approaches to the topic.

Geographies of Money and Finance

This module aims to explore the economic geographies of money and of the contemporary processes of financialisation. Competing theories of money, and the changing landscapes of finance and the financial services industry are explored at a variety of spatial scales. Spaces examined include the global financial system, the UK retail financial market, the City of London and the emergence of local currency systems.

More specifically, the following core topics are covered:

  • The history and theory of money 
  • Financial services and financial intermediation 
  • Globalisation and the international financial system 
  • The City of London as international financial centre 
  • Landscapes of retail financial services 
  • Alternative and imagined landscapes of money

This module aims to explore the economic geographies of money, finance and the financial services industry. It reveals the contested nature of knowledge about money and finance and in so doing it enables students to critically reflect on a range of geographical and other relevant literatures.

Global Climate Change
  1. A review of modern climate systems and forcings
  2. Climate modelling, projections of future climate change and their uncertainty
  3. Controversies around climate change, the argument between believers and sceptics and the ways in which climate change is communicated to and perceived by the public 
  4. The impact of climate change on the world's physical and built environments, water and food resources, and human health
  5. Mitigation and adaptation to future climate change including the role played by policy markers and NGOs

The aim of this module is to introduce students to the science and issues that surround present and future climate change and its impacts on human society and the natural environment. The module will cover the scientific basis for global climate change together with its impact on society, policy, mitigation and adaptation.

Practical River Management and Restoration (Mt St Helens Field Course)

This module further develops themes of river processes and dynamics introduced in module F82164 and considers them within the context of human attempts to manage and restore rivers. It initially centres on changes in the fluvial system that occur in response to river management and engineering and then goes on to examine approaches to restoring the natural functions of rivers that have been heavily degraded by human impacts.

The module includes reviews of past and present river channel restoration and rehabilitation activity in Europe and the USA. It details principles by which rehabilitation practice is guided, and introduces criteria for selection between rehabilitation strategies.

The module includes a residential field trip in semester one and a non-residential field trip in semester two, where students will have the opportunity to explore a range of river management and restoration issues relevant to rivers in the UK and develop practical skills in field survey and modelling techniques employed in contemporary river management.

The module aims for students to:

  • Appreciate recent developments in conservation-orientated river management
  • Stress the importance of retaining the physical integrity of river systems as the appropriate basis for sustainable river management
  • Raise awareness of the range, type and methods of river rehabilitation
  • Develop knowledge and critical evaluative skills to propose a rehabilitation design appropriate to a field-based example

Optional Chinese studies modules include:

China from Revolution to Socialism

This module focuses on China from the Communist Revolution in the 1920s through the pre-reform era (1921-1978), examining how China was organized and governed, changes in rural and urban society, the family, the economy and the Chinese workplace under the socialist period (1949-1978). Major topics covered include:

  • The origins of communism in China and the CCP's rise to power
  • The transformation of rural and urban society post-1949
  • The Great Leap Forward and subsequent famine
  • In-depth analysis of all phases of the Cultural Revolution
  • Return to Power of the pragmatists and the Beginning of Reform
  • Changing views of Mao as a leader

The educational aims of this module are to:

  • introduce students to key events and processes in China's social, economic and political development from 1949
  • develop students' understanding of historiographical debates about the period and their ability to handle relevant empirical materials
  • practise and develop students' intellectual and transferable vocational skills
  • foster students' cultural awareness
China's Political Economy

This module examines the interaction between politics and economy in China during the economic reform period from 1978 onward. Particular attention will be given to the progress and periods of China's reform, the political context of major economic policies, reform of major aspects of the economy, evolution of economic institutions, as well as an overview of economic development in China prior to 1978.

The module will highlight the role of the political factors and state policies in China’s economy, which is important for a good understanding of the reform and economic development in China.

The educational aims of this module are to:

  • enhance students' understanding of the relationship between politics and economics in contemporary China and how politics affects economic policies in China 
  • familiarize students with debates and empirical materials that are used in explaining changes in China's political economy 
  • provide a programme that facilitates progressive learning in the disciplines of Political Economy and Chinese Studies 
  • foster students' cultural awareness and understanding of a populous developing nation and economy 
  • provide a programme that facilitates students' progressive learning in the disciplines of Political Economy and Chinese Studies
  • enhance students' understanding of the theoretical debates and empirical materials that are used in explaining the inter-relationship of politics and economics in contemporary China 
  • practise and develop students' intellectual and transferable vocational skills 
  • foster students' cultural awareness
Chinese Film and Literature

The module examines the close linkage between literature and cinema in China. It also explores trends in modern Chinese cinema and literature, with a primary focus on different genres and themes developed since 1978. By placing Chinese cinema and literature within their cultural, social and historical contexts, students will analyse, interpret and appreciate such phenomena.

It will include analyses of individual texts in translation and films with English subtitles. The module requires students to view films in English subtitles each week. It will increase students' awareness of the major developments in literature and film as they are embedded in the wider changes in modern China.

The module leads students to examine the shifting socio-political and cultural landscape in mainland China in the 20th and 21st centuries through the lens of film and literature.

Crossing disciplinary boundaries including film studies, cultural studies, media studies and sinology, students will not only gain a knowledge of key issues and events in modern and contemporary Chinese history and society, but also of approaches to understanding and appreciating literary and cinematic texts.

Media and Communications in Globalising China

Media systems are critically important in any modern political system, and this module leads students directly to the heart of understanding how the media relates to contemporary society and politics in the People's Republic of China. It introduces students to the unprecedented transformation in contemporary Chinese media and communication in the context of economic reforms, development of new media technologies and globalisation.

The educational aims of this module are to:

  • demonstrate to the students that Chinese media embodies a tense negotiation site between official ideologies and the market, the Party and state and the society, propaganda and commerce 
  • foster students' awareness of the relationships between the Party-state and the society, intensified by powers brought by commercialisation, globalisation and new media 
  • introduce students to the key changes in media and communications embedded in the rapidly changing political, economic and globalising contexts since 1978 
  • develop students' understanding of the debate between media and democracy and their ability to handle relevant empirical materials 
  • practise and develop students' intellectual and transferable vocational skills


The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. The above list is a sample of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.



As a graduate from The University of Nottingham, you will be highly sought after, and by studying a degree in the School of Geography, you will acquire a broad skill set that will lay the foundations for your chosen career.

Employability is at the heart of our teaching, and we ensure that all of our degrees will equip you with the essential skills and knowledge that employers are looking for. Our comprehensive careers programme includes one-to-one CV workshops and employer talks from school alumni, as well as career networking events and a summer internship scheme.

Our graduates go on to a wide range of careers. Some graduates enter roles that have a direct correlation to their degree, including conservation and heritage protection and land surveying. Other graduates secure positions that utilise their transferable skills such as management consultancy, PR, marketing and financial roles.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2015, 95% of first-degree graduates in the School of Geography who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £21,702 with the highest being £39,500.*

* Known destinations of full-time home first degree undergraduates 2014/15. Salaries are calculated based on those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Careers support and advice

Studying for a degree at The University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our Careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.  


Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

The University of Nottingham provides information and advice on financing your degree and managing your finances as an international student. The International Office offers a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees.

International/EU students

The University of Nottingham provides information and advice on financing your degree and managing your finances as an international student. The International Office offers a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees.  

Key Information Sets (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS)

KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.


There is assessment associated with this programme that is not attached to a specific module. In the first year, students take a non credit bearing course on building employability. Sessions cover key skills needed to find work experience and employment and evaluating personal development, while highlighting the range of support available. 

The course is assessed by the production of a Curriculum Vitae (CV) and self reflection on employability skills acquired, as well as a plan for further skills building.

How to use the data


having the opportunity to learn Mandarin as part of your undergraduate degree
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This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.


The Undergraduate Admissions Secretary, School of Geography  









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