Field work in Human Sciences

Field courses are at the heart of our teaching and are a fundamental component of your degree. Led by expert staff, we believe they are one of the foundations to your development as a geographer, or environmental or human scientist. For many students, field courses are the highlights of their degree, with several describing the residential trips as among their most memorable and enjoyable experiences.

Each field course is designed to bring theory to life, providing practical examples of important concepts and ideas discussed in the classroom. Examples cover a range of spatial scales, from issues affecting people in local areas to global issues with importance for millions of people.

Our field courses enable you to experience a variety of teaching styles and to work in small teams undertaking your own practical research. What’s more, our academic staff are on hand to offer advice and share their knowledge and enthusiasm.

The main field courses you will have the opportunity to take part in are*:

This field course module provides early career training in fieldwork techniques that are fundamental to your degree in geography. Cornwall is a natural laboratory with an incredible diversity of cultural, ecological and physical landscapes that you will have an opportunity to explore with academic staff.

Specifically, you will receive instruction on science and social science techniques including, but not limited to, participant observation, sampling strategies, experimental design and basic statistics, which is essential for your future career as a geographer.

This module will also provide advice and training on how to enhance your future employability by enabling you to undertake a full day of environmental volunteering alongside an expert in their field.

The location of the fieldtrip and environmental volunteering has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a high density of conservation areas and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It has been recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) containing some of Britain's finest coastal scenery, including Land's End and the Lizard peninsula, and provides a perfect setting for geographical exploration.

This field course consists of a week-long residential field course on the Isles of Scilly. It will enable you to develop the conceptual, analytical and practical research skills necessary for you to carry out independent research work, initially within this module, but also with direct applicability to project work through the rest of your degree (eg final year fieldtrips and dissertation) as well as in future workplaces.

The Isles of Scilly is an ideal location in which you will get to try out a range of methodologies used in study, from ethnography to geomorphology. In addition will we introduce you to key research skills such as sampling design, data analysis, interpretation of information, and field presentations.

This module is compulsory for students on the BA/BSc Geography, BSc Environmental Sciences and, BA Human Sciences programmes. During the module you will have access to lecturers to learn new skills and to help develop your plans for your dissertation.

This field course to Kenya will tackle a range of topics that you have been introduced to during your Human Sciences degree, including some of the biggest environmental and social issues facing the world today.

The module will be introduced through introductory lectures in term 1 of the final year, covering both practical details about the field course (health and safety and risk assessments, travel plans) and background to the issues that you will learn about on the field course.

During the field course you will experience first-hand a range of natural and social environments in Kenya, and carry out guided field exercises to investigate these environments.

Upon return to Cornwall help sessions will be provided to give you support as you prepare your poster presentation.

* Please note that field course destinations are subject to change. Exact field course module options are specified on each Human Sciences degree course page.

So many of the things that you are talking about in the classroom are right here in Cornwall – it’s just brilliant to get out and see these things. That is why this field trip is so good.

First year Geography undergraduate

West Penwith field course video

Exploring West Penwith on the first year field course. View full size.