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Study information

Programme Specification for the 2023/4 academic year

MRes Critical Human Geographies

1. Programme Details

Programme nameMRes Critical Human Geographies Programme codePTR1GOAGOA02
Study mode(s)Full Time
Part Time
Academic year2023/4
Campus(es)Streatham (Exeter)
NQF Level of the Final Award7 (Masters)

2. Description of the Programme

The MRes Critical Human Geographies is accredited by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and provides in-depth research training in the social sciences in general and human geography in particular. With a focus on preparing you for a career in social science research, whether at doctoral level at university, or in the public and private sectors, the MRes offers a range of modules in contemporary social and geographical theories and methodologies, as well as three research led modules showcasing the kinds of work explored in the department.  These three research led modules reflect current Human Geography research groupings at Exeter, including Geographies of Creativity and Knowledge, Natures, Materialities and Biopolitics, and Spatial Responsibilities.

The title of the degree reflects the commitment that human geography staff at Exeter have to pursuing critical intellectual agendas within the discipline. The structure and content of the programme also reflects our commitment to integrating MRes students into the lively research culture of the department.

3. Educational Aims of the Programme

The MRes Critical Human Geographies is essentially designed to encourage your development of a broad-based and relevant knowledge of research approaches and methods in human geography and the social sciences and to provide you with a range of transferable skills appropriate to Masters level research within the discipline. The programme aims to equip you for careers as professional researchers in either academic or non-academic environments. The programme delivers compulsory training in social scientific philosophy, epistemology, methodology and analysis within a contemporary human geography context, allowing you to draw upon a range of social scientific concepts and skills in your engagement with specific topics of geographical inquiry.

4. Programme Structure

The full-time programme is approved by the ESRC as part of their 1+3 scheme for funding postgraduate research. It may also be taken part-time over 2 years (though the part-time model is not recognised by ESRC for eligibility for 3+1 Postgraduate Awards).

5. Programme Modules

You may take elective modules up to 15 credits outside of the programme with permission as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.

Stage 1

180 credits of compulsory modules

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
GEOM105A Research Methods and Design in Human Geography 15Yes
GEOM106A Contemporary Debates in Human Geography 15No
GEOM107 Dissertation 60Yes
GEOM130 Geographies of Culture, Creativity and Practice 15No
GEOM131 Geographies of Life 15No
GEOM132 Space, Politics and Power 15No
POLM063 Qualitative Methods in Social Research 15No
POLM809 Applied Quantitative Data Analysis 15No

Optional Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
GEOM145 Theory for Sustainable Transitions 15No
GEOM187 Managing the Climate Emergency 15No

6. Programme Outcomes Linked to Teaching, Learning and Assessment Methods

Intended Learning Outcomes
A: Specialised Subject Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

1. Read critically and contribute to the literature relating to research in human geography.
2. Discuss in detail the relationships between theory and practice in human geography and social science.
3. Explain thoroughly key debates relating to space, place and the environment.
4. Describe comprehensively current issues in several of the main sub-disciplines within human geography.
5. Apply understanding of geographical and social science concepts to the study of particular issues or situations, including designing individual research projects.
6. Decide when and how to apply critically particular research methods and techniques.
7. Achieve technical competence in the application of a range specialised quantitative and qualitative analytical techniques in human geography, as well as broader debates surrounding these in the other social sciences an in-depth knowledge of policy making, demand reduction, sustainability, efficiencies, issue of policy making etc.
8. Evaluate critically the diverse specialised techniques and approaches involved in presenting geographical information including GIS, cartography, and different ways of handling text.

1. Seminar discussion and reading group forums dedicated to contemporary human geography research practices, ethics and debates

2. Attendance at the Human geography research seminar series

3. Module specific fieldtrips

4. Formalising research interests through literature reviews

5. Tutorial discussion

6. Self-directed reading and learning

Assessment methods vary depending on module specifications. However, current modes of assessment include:

1. Essay assignments

2. Specialist method assessments in both qualitative and quantitative techniques

3. Seminar presentations

Intended Learning Outcomes
B: Academic Discipline Core Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

9. Identify, formulate and evaluate research questions and research problems within human geography.
10. Plan and conduct a programme of original research by a deadline.
11. Evaluate the appropriateness and apply a number of techniques to exploring different research issues in human geography.
12. Collect, synthesise, evaluate and analyse data from various different sources.
13. Develop clear lines of argument.

1. Developing and formalising research interests and projects

2. Seminar discussion groups centred on situating potential research projects within contemporary landscape of geographical research

1. Research project proposals

2. Individual presentations on methods and design of research project

3. Research dissertation

4. Coursework essays

5. Presentations

Intended Learning Outcomes
C: Personal/Transferable/Employment Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

14. Organise and present data and arguments in visual and oral form, with due recognition of the requirements of different audiences.
15. Reflect, question and critically evaluate the work of others, and respond to criticisms/feedback on your own work.
16. Use a wide range of quantitative and qualitative research methods appropriately.
17. Work individually or as part of a team (with fellow students, or supervisors).
18. Plan your work efficiently to achieve realistic goals within constrained time frames.
19. Plan, execute and write up research through individual initiative.

1. Class work based on engagement with the human geography research seminar series will develop skills in research presentation and dissemination

1. Reflective essays on research presentations

2. Research dissertation

3. Coursework essays on research design and data analysis

4. Practical use of data gathering and data analysis methods

7. Programme Regulations

Programme-specific Award Rules

You will be permitted to exit with a PGCert on successful completion of GEOM105A and 45 other credits, and a PGDip on successful completion of GEOM105A and 105 other credits.


8. College Support for Students and Students' Learning

All students in Geography are allocated Personal Tutors who monitor and advise you on your academic progress and performance throughout your degree programme. Each Personal Tutor keeps a record of your performance which culminates in a detailed record of achievement which is used, in addition to formal assessments, to help inform personal references requested by prospective employers. Personal Tutors provide pastoral oversight for non-academic problems (advising you as necessary on the availability of appropriate specialist and professional assistance), and encourage and facilitate Personal Development Planning through use of ePDP.

You attend University and School Induction courses on arrival, and are given access to the Discipline Handbooks, providing information on programmes, the structure of the Geography Discipline, general information, contact numbers, etc. This information is updated through the Discipline’s website and ELE, which also provides a point of access to all learning and teaching materials. Student learning is supported by the Discipline’s ‘Advanced Computing Laboratory’, which provides dedicated support for GIS and other Discipline computing needs. This resource is in addition to a variety of university-level facilities, including the University Library and IT Services.

You can apply to the Myrtle Murray Travel Award for financial support of fieldwork. All teaching staff maintain an ‘open door’ policy to facilitate student access. Staff email addresses are also made available to you to further facilitate staff-student contact. There is also student representation at all levels in the Discipline and programme development takes place with explicit consultation, notably through the Student-Staff Liaison Committee and formal representation of students on the Discipline Education Committee and at the termly Discipline meeting.

9. University Support for Students and Students' Learning

10. Admissions Criteria

11. Regulation of Assessment and Academic Standards

12. Indicators of Quality and Standards

The programme is not subject to accreditation and/ or review by professional and statutory regulatory bodies (PSRBs).

13. Methods for Evaluating and Improving Quality and Standards

14. Awarding Institution

University of Exeter

15. Lead College / Teaching Institution

Faculty of Environment, Science and Economy (ESE)

16. Partner College / Institution

Partner College(s)

Not applicable to this programme

Partner Institution

Not applicable to this programme.

17. Programme Accredited / Validated by


18. Final Award

MRes Critical Human Geographies

19. UCAS Code


20. NQF Level of Final Award

7 (Masters)

21. Credit

CATS credits ECTS credits

22. QAA Subject Benchmarking Group

[Honours] Geography

23. Dates

Origin Date


Date of last revision