Choosing geography at Reading
Choosing to study in the Department of Geography and Environmental Science at the University of Reading was a clear choice for Rory; when visiting on an Open Day it became apparent that the course and campus aligned with his career ambitions.
“The subject's real-world application and wider knowledge drew me to Reading. As a well-rounded course, you can acquire a range of skills and knowledge that are applicable to many different potential career paths.
"I loved how spacious and green the campus was, the transport links were ideal for me, and it is attached to a good University Air Squadron, based in Oxford."
Prior to applying to university, Rory had his heart set on becoming a Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot. He is part of the Oxford University Air Squadron, an RAF Volunteer Reserve Squadron for university students.
Studying a BSc Geography (Human and Physical) degree at Reading alongside this, has provided the perfect complementary experience.
“As I don't plan on a geography related career, the broad and flexible nature of the course has suited my needs perfectly."
With Rory's current occupation and career goal, his use of the career and employability support offered by the Department and University has been relatively limited. He has however, taken advantage of some of the guidance available.
“I've always known that the careers advice and support has been there for me if I needed it. In the last few weeks of my time at Reading the Department have helped by checking over a cover letter and application form."
Flexible learning experience
At Reading we recognise that everyone learns differently. Varied teaching and assessment methods are offered, giving students the best opportunity to perform to their best.
For Rory there was one word that came to mind when reflecting on his learning experience.
“Flexible. The range of modules to choose from, and the ability to tailor your degree to how broad/narrow you want, was perfect for me. I chose the Geography (Human and Physical) pathway purely to have the full range of offered modules to choose from.
"By the end of my degree, I have learnt that I prefer the physical geography side so I have tried to tailor my modules to that preference as time has gone on.
"A lot of my study was independent, whilst working on coursework – my preferred assessment method; this allowed more flexibility and choice into what to focus on.”
A highlight for many students in the Department of Geography and Environmental Science are field trips. During these, students gain valuable experience in the field and learn from renowned experts to ensure an overarching balance of practical and theoretical skills.
“Field trips offer a totally different environment in which to learn and the opportunity to get to know course mates. It also provides the chance to get to know staff members in a casual environment – something that really helped when moving towards final year and dissertation research.
"My trip to Crete at the end of my second year was definitely the best 20 credits I've ever done. Most of the time, it didn't feel like we were away on an academic trip as we were learning without noticing. Getting out into the world and seeing first-hand what you are learning about is invaluable.”
Learning new software
The curriculum is designed to develop students in both the attitudes and aptitudes to be effective in the workplace. Picking up new skills in lab and computer sessions was particularly satisfying for Rory.
“Learning new software and techniques for me was probably the most rewarding part of the course. Once you get it, it makes you feel quite proud of yourself."