Urban and Regional Studies


Urban and Regional Studies at Canterbury introduces students to the diversity of places and cultures in a multi-disciplinary setting. This challenging programme (offered within the Department of Geographical and Life Sciences) is concerned with the dramatic changes in urban, metropolitan and regional settings around the world in this era of globalisation.  Students will be able to choose modules from Geography, Tourism and Leisure, Media Studies, Politics and Sociology to build a unique programme tailor-made to their requirements.

A feature of the programme is the strong emphasis on world regions. We offer regional modules on Europe, North America, and the Developing World and regional case studies also feature strongly in several other modules. The programme also examines major current trends in the rapidly globalising world dealing with issues related to planning, cultural studies, behaviour, governance and economic performance.

By the end of the programme our students are able to understand the interrelationships between societies and environments and can explore policy questions relating to such issues as urban planning, social welfare and economic development. They are able to collect, process and analyse data in the study of urban, economic and social phenomena and can apply a range of statistical, graphical and cartographical skills to the analysis and presentation of information. These skills equip our students for a range of careers (see below) or for postgraduate study, including research.

The programme is full-time only.

Studying Urban and Regional Studies at Canterbury Christ Church University

Teaching is by lectures, field visits, seminars, practical workshops and tutorials. There is a strong practical element throughout the degree and this aims to foster personal development and independent learning.

Specialised teaching facilities include well-resourced computer laboratories with excellent technical support and a resource centre. Specialist hardware and software are available to teach Geographical Information Systems (GIS) both as part of core modules and within specialist options. GIS is supported by international research into the application of GIS to resource management. We make full use of multimedia lecture theatres and students have access to a wide range of student support services.

There is a strong tradition of fieldwork both within the region and abroad. In the first year students participate in a series of one-day field visits. This experience serves as a basis for residential fieldwork (currently in Malta) during the second year, where students undertake field projects on land use change, social change in Maltese villages, tourism studies, and urban planning and regeneration.

A keen interest is taken in student welfare and staff are regularly available to provide students with academic support and personal advice. As the programme is run from the Geographical and Life Sciences Department students will have access to 'GeogSoc', the Geographical Society, which is a student run society, supported by staff, which plans social events and trips that complement the academic programme, and help to ensure that new students are warmly welcomed to the Department.

The Department places a strong emphasis on teaching as well as research and following an assessment by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Department's teaching was rated as 'excellent'. The report noted in particular:

  • 'A friendly, caring environment for student learning with excellent staff- student relationships based on mutual respect and trust.'
  • 'Excellent relationships between the staff of the Department and a comparatively large number of outside organisations.'
  • 'The high quality of teaching and learning observed.'
  • 'A commitment to provide students of all abilities with a stimulating environment.'
  • 'The high quality of feedback on student work.'
  • 'Excellent provision of IT support.'

This overview has been supported by a recent internal review of the Department. This praised the good working relationship between students and tutors and the quality of the academic support provided by staff.

Study Urban and Regional Studies in Canada

The Single Honours Urban and Regional Studies Programme offers students an exciting opportunity to study for their Level 2 modules in Geography at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta. Students may be able to participate in this year-long exchange programme.

Content and Structure

There is a broad spectrum of modules available, many of which emphasise practical applications to contemporary problems including issues of sustainable development. The programme builds on a progression of knowledge and skills beginning with an introductory year in which students take six modules - five compulsory and one optional.

Year 1 (Level 4)

Compulsory Modules

  • Discovering Geography introduces a variety of approaches, techniques and skills for the study of social and physical environments at a number of spatial scales. There are opportunities for fieldwork and the development of a range of ICT skills.
  • Geography of a Changing World focuses on human geography by examining inequalities at local, regional and global scales, using detailed case studies chosen from a variety of contrasted locations.
  • World Regional Geography provides a synthesis of the world's major regions. The key geographical characteristics of each region, and the differences and similarities between contemporary world regions, are identified and evaluated. In addition, key themes in geography are introduced within relevant settings.
  • People, Nature and Place explores the changing relationship and interactions between people and the natural environment, and the exploitation and conservation of the world's natural resources. This module provides a broad introduction to sustainable development issues.
  • The Settlement of South East England traces the sequence of settlement and responses to the environment at critical phases in the human occupation of the region. The module includes an examination of the major planning issues facing the region in the 21st Century (e.g. infrastructure development, housing policy and regeneration).

Optional Modules (choose one)

  • The Coming of Globalisation
  • Introduction to Politics and Governance

A module of your choice from another Programme (Starred Module|)

Year 2 (Level 5)

In Years 2 and 3 (Levels 5 and 6) the programme provides increasing specialisation with sufficient choice to build a programme to suit your own interests and future career plans. You may wish to focus on aspects of planning and environment, or on more cultural and tourism related studies, or on a more practical pathway with a focus on GIS. Alternatively you may, with guidance from a tutor, mix modules from across disciplines to gain a broad experience of the related materials across the social sciences.

  • Geography and Geographers
  • Fieldwork Investigation in Urban and Regional Studies

Students then choose four modules from:

  • Environment and Development;
  • Introduction to Geographical Information Systems (GIS);
  • The Geography of Crime;
  • The Geography of North America;
  • Social Exclusion;
  • The Geography of Western Europe: Space and Society;
  • Tourism Leisure Environments: Place, Culture and Regeneration;
  • Tourism Policy and Development
Year 3 (Level 6)
  • Independent Urban and Regional Study
  • Independent Urban and Regional Research
  • Advanced Geographical Information Systems (GIS);
  • Global Economic Systems;
  • Space, Place and Politics;
  • Conservation and Recreation Management for the Sustainable City-region;
  • Cities: Society, Economy and Space;
  • The Cinematic City;
  • Tourism and Leisure Marketing

Methods of Assessment

For most modules assessment is based on a mixture of coursework and examination. The form of coursework assessment will vary according to the nature of the module.

Essays, reports, projects, practicals, group and individual presentations are examples of the coursework methods that may be employed. Emphasis is placed on developing skills of enterprise and self-confidence. These skills are highly rated by prospective employers, and help to equip students for their future careers or for postgraduate studies.

The Year 3 (Level 6) Independent Study represents a substantial piece of work related to an area of urban and regional interest, and demonstrates the ability of a student to plan and undertake a research project.

Important Information

Applications are made through UCAS|. The entry requirements for the Urban and Regional Studies programme can be found on the entry requirements| page. Successful applicants for the Single Honours programme will normally be expected to have an A2 Level in some related subjects, although students with other relevant experience or backgrounds will be considered. An interest in Urban and Regional Studies is the main requirement. Information about the way in which we select applicants can be found here|.

Employment Opportunities

Graduate employability is a vital consideration in planning this programme. Information Technology and other transferable skills are fully integrated within the programme at all levels and these help to enhance the employability of our students.

Our graduates develop expertise in gathering, analysing and evaluating data and presenting findings. These are useful skills and abilities sought by employers and are an excellent preparation for a wide variety of careers.