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Study information

Professional Placement for Geographers

Module titleProfessional Placement for Geographers
Module codeGEO3603
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Dr Steven Palmer (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks

minimum of 9 months full-time work over the entire year

Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

Increasingly, graduate positions request that applicants have work experience applicable to the role. This module will enable you to immerse yourself in a professional environment; you will learn to apply the skills learnt during the first and second years, improve personal and transferable skills, make new contacts and enhance employability. This module allows you to arrange your own placement year and to incorporate this into your degree programme, and for this to be reflected in your degree title. It is your responsibility to find, apply and secure a placement position with a relevant organisation. A minimum of nine months full-time should be spent in the workplace. The module has a range of assessments, and successful completion also requires a satisfactory end of experience report from the employer.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module will enable you to develop general professional skills. This module offers an excellent opportunity for you to immerse yourself in an environment where you can develop professional skills, gain a greater understanding of the use of your degree and ultimately improve your CV. You will be encouraged to reflect on your experiences during the placement to help you to make career decisions for the future.

You will further develop the following academic and professional skills: problem solving (linking theory to practice, developing your own ideas with confidence, showing entrepreneurial awareness, being able to respond to novel and unfamiliar problems), managing structure (identifying key demands of the task, setting clearly defined goals, responding flexibly to changing priorities), time management (managing time effectively individually and within a group), collaboration (respecting the views and values of others, taking initiative and leading others, supporting others in their work, maintaining group cohesiveness and purpose), and audience awareness (presenting ideas effectively in multiple formats, persuading others of the importance and relevance of your views, responding positively and effectively to questions).

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Research suitable employers and identify an employer which suits your own skills and interests
  • 2. Produce a CV and covering letter
  • 3. Interact effectively in a professional environment
  • 4. Work in a team and deal proficiently with the issues that teamwork requires (i.e. communication, motivation, decision-making, awareness, responsibility, and management skills, including setting and working to deadlines)

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Apply skills learnt during Stages 1 and 2 in a professional environment
  • 6. Learn practical skills for use in a professional environment
  • 7. Illustrate the transferable skills gained during your degree and how these can enhance future employability

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Evaluate your own performance in a role and identify skills that you’d like to develop further
  • 9. Demonstrate how skills learnt during the placement are transferable to other contexts
  • 10. Understand and articulate the importance of continued professional development
  • 11. Evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses in relation to graduate-level professional and practical skills, and act autonomously to develop new areas of skills as necessary
  • 12. Reflect effectively and independently on learning experiences and evaluate personal achievements

Syllabus plan

Whilst undertaking this module you will gain valuable experience by spending time working within an organisation appropriate to a future graduate. Placements can begin as soon as you have completed the second year and should last for a minimum of nine months (leave during this time to be taken according to the host organisation’s leave procedure). During your work experience you will be expected to participate in monthly email updates with the module convenor, and to submit six blog entries during the module. Midway through the placement, you will produce a poster aimed at prospective employees to outline the role of the organisation, including its values and aims. You will produce a report at the end of the placement to reflect on your professional development during the placement, including the skills learnt, your own strengths and weaknesses in the role and how the placement has influenced your career aims; you will also give an oral presentation to describe and evaluate your experiences during the placement.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Guided independent study80Searching for suitable work placements and conducting additional reading in preparation for module assessments.
Placement1120Practical experience working with an independent organisation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Monthly email updatesOngoing3-6, 11-12Written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Poster15Poster1, 7, 9Written
Blog entries (x6)30Ongoing performance2-6Written
Reflective review402000 words5-12Written
Oral presentation1510 minutes1, 4-12Written
Employer’s report (this assessment is pass/fail only and must be passed; failure in this assessment will lead to failure in the module and the programme) 0Statement from employer that placement has been completedn/an/a

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
PosterPoster1, 7, 9August assessment period
Blog entriesBlog entries2-6August assessment period
Reflective reviewReflective review5-12August assessment period
Oral presentationPowerpoint and notes1, 4-12August assessment period
Employer’s reportNot applicableNot applicableNot applicable

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to complete further written assignments, as detailed in the table above. If you are successful on referral then the final module mark will be capped at 40%.

The employer’s report is neither referable not deferrable. If you fail this assessment or the module overall your degree title will be commuted to BA or BSc Geography accordingly.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Cottrell, S. (2003), Skills for Success: The Personal Development Handbook. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Fanthome, C. (2004) Work Placements: A survival guide for students. Palgrave

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Careers, employability, CV, work experience, transferable skills, personal development

Credit value120
Module ECTS


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NQF level (module)


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Last revision date