These programmes enable you to conduct in-depth research into a science or social science focused aspect of geography.
They are aimed at students who wish to focus primarily on achieving a research-based masters-level qualification.
With close support and guidance from subject-specialist academics, MA (by Research) students typically conduct in-depth research in human geography (social science, arts and humanities aspects of geography), while MSc (by Research) students focus on a scientific or technological aspect of geography.
You will benefit from being part of a world-leading, research-intensive school, spending time on a topic of your choice while enhancing your research skills and subject expertise.
Our culture of interdisciplinary study and knowledge transfer enables us to generate high-impact research that influences government public policy, private enterprise and third sector organisations.
You will complete a supervised dissertation worth up to 180 credits and can replace up to 60 of those credits with optional taught modules across our wide-ranging portfolio of modules. This will also reduce the maximum number of words permitted for the dissertation element of the course.
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Approaches to Landscape
This module provides an introduction to recent research on landscape, drawing on studies and materials from several disciplines.
Areas of research considered include landscape in cultural geography, and landscape and the arts and humanities. The module considers historical and contemporary evidence under each of these headings and allows a critical assessment of both empirical research and underlying theory.
Critical Human Geography
The module introduces you to a range of philosophical approaches and current research themes within human geography. It enables you to integrate questions of theory and empirical research, each stage of the module stressing the philosophy underpinning the research under discussion, and the cultural and political contexts of the research.
Key thematic issues structure the module, including geographical understandings of culture and economy, and the geographies of nature. Each section of the module integrates historical and contemporary understanding, emphasising the distinctive contribution made by human geography in thinking spatially, while at the same time highlighting geography's relationship to the social sciences, natural sciences and humanities.
Dissertation: Environmental Management
This module will require you to research an environmental issue of your own choice under the supervision of an appropriate member of staff and to report your findings in the form of a written dissertation (12,000 words).
Key skills developed include those of independent study, critical analysis and report writing.
Dissertation: Geographical Information Science
The module involves you undertaking an individual research project in the field of Geographical Information Science.
You are required to identify a research question, set this within the academic context, develop a suitable methodology, execute the programme of work, evaluate the results, draw logical conclusions and present the project in the form of a dissertation.
Dissertation: Human Geography
Building directly on the work undertaken in the Research Design module, this module requires you to write a substantive research dissertation on a subject chosen following discussion with a nominated supervisor. The dissertation will be 20,000 words in length.
Dissertation: Landscape and Culture
This dissertation represents the culmination of the Landscape and Culture MA. You are required to submit a dissertation within 12 months of your initial registration.
The precise nature of the dissertation (the empirical content and theoretical perspectives) will obviously vary, but all dissertations must be a substantial research-based document on a specific topic that will have been discussed and approved by a nominated supervisor from within the teaching team on this course early in semester two.
Meetings between students and supervisors will take place regularly from the beginning of semester two until the main period of research and data collection during the summer. A minimum of five supervisions will take place. You are also advised about the required format of the dissertation.
Environment, Development and Livelihoods
This module investigates key links 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.
Environmental Management in Practice
The module will introduce you to a range of approaches to environmental management and their use in practice within government and non-governmental agencies and the private sector. Approaches covered could include:
- tendering for projects in the context of environmental consultancy
- environmental management practices
- participatory approaches to environmental policy and planning
Environmental Management Tutorial
This module will cover the following:
- referencing and searching for literature
- reading and note-taking
- review writing skills
- approaches to group working
- presentation skills
- critical review of environmental paradigms
- writing a literature review paper
- philosophies of research design
- selecting an appropriate environmental management research topic
- preparation of a dissertation proposal
Environment, Space and Society
This module is split into a number of sections following an opening session which introduces the different ways in which human geography engages with environmental issues. Indicative content of the remaining sessions include:
- environmental history
- environmental knowledge and governance
- environmental activism
- economy and environment
These issues are also explored through a day field visit.
Foundations of Environmental Management
The module provides a foundation for the scientific concepts and issues which underpin environmental management.
Topics covered include:
- climate-change impacts and mitigation
- river channel processes and management
- pure and applied research on biodiversity patterns
- the science of risk-based contaminated land management
Geographical Research Methods
This module is split into three major sections:
- Quantitative Methods: An introduction to parametric and non-parametric statistics and the use of databases and statistical packages.
- Social Research Methods: An introduction to the philosophical and analytical issues that lie behind designing social research methods. A range of social research methods are considered in terms of their approach, design, implementation and analysis.
- GIS: An introduction to the technologies of GIS. It covers the design and operation of these systems and how they are used as decision support tools. The material also covers the concept of modelling and what issues the user must be aware of in evaluating model outputs.
Geospatial Technologies: Mobile, Augmented and Virtual
Information across a wide range of applications in society and the research agenda that is underpinning these developments. We will explore the use of location-aware mobile devices and techniques for geo-visualisation that are visually immersive and interactive. Content is organised as follows:
Part I: Digital Geographic Information in the public domain
Here we consider how a convergence of technologies (positioning, communication and processing) has allowed digital geographic information to make an impact 'beyond the desktop' at both a global scale through the web, and at a personal scale via the mobile device. This includes Virtual Globes, 'open' and 'linked' geographic information, Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI), Location Based Services, and mobile geospatial apps.
Part II: Virtual Geographic Environments
Here we look at the role and impact of multi-dimensional geographic visualisation to support decision making, environmental impact assessment, and the communication of spatial context. This includes animation and 3D graphics, advances in data capture, urban and rural landscape visualisation, interaction design and immersion, Augmented and Virtual Realities.
Project Management and Environmental Legislation
This module will develop your understanding of the principles of project management and land related environmental legislation. The lectures will focus on:
- the management organisation of projects and the roles taken by individuals in the management structure
- the management of change, quality and risk
- time and resource management techniques
- project selection strategies
- project finance
- evaluating the legal context of land contamination related liability
This module covers the following:
Semester one - High Latitudes and Palaeoecology
- Lectures: Introduction to oceans as drivers of climate change; Antarctica/Southern Ocean including Biological Pump; the Arctic; the Mid Pleistocene Transition; Lake Baikal
- Lectures: Palaeoecology; Multivariate statistics andtransfer functions
- Practicals: Diatom microscopy (Swinnerton Laboratory); Computer practical on transfer functions
Semester two - Low Latitudes with a Mediterranean focus
- Lectures: Introduction to Mediterranean and low latitude climates; Mediterranean Ocean history; Lakes and caves: Glacial-interglacial change and Holocene change; People and the environment in the eastern Mediterranean
- Lectures: Isotopes in the hydrological cycle (source to geological sink); Isotope archives and coursework intro
- Computer Practical: GNIP data analysis and Proxy System Models
Research Design A
The module takes the form of weekly seminars, in which the following core topics are covered:
- Introduction to research design
- Research ethics
- Writing strategies
- Research plans for dissertations
- Positionality and reflexivity
Research Design B
This module provides an introduction to research design skills and core topics covered include:
- introduction to research design
- research ethics
- writing strategies
- research plans for dissertations
- positionality and reflexivity
Small group teaching is an integral component of the module.
Space and Social Theory
The module provides an introduction to space and social theory. The module will provide an introduction to a range of theoretical approaches within the social sciences, that have influenced research in human geography. The module will focus upon the work of some of the following (and others), and its relationship to geographical research:
Spatial Decision Making
The first part of the module covers the theory and practice of utilising Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for supporting spatial decision making. It reflects upon the broader discipline of Geographical Information Science (GI Science) before considering the importance of data quality, key spatial analysis tools and visualisation techniques.
The second part of the module extends the skills and knowledge gained in part one by applying them to a real world problem supplied by an external client (Experian). Students will work in teams by responding to an invitation to tender, then developing a GIS-based solution to a problem supplied by Experian which will typically involve evaluating alternative locations for retail developments around Nottingham.
Teams will plan their own meetings, manage the division of workload and ensure they are meeting the requirements of the client (but also exploring further possibilities that the client may not have considered).