One aspect of the coming academic year I am excited about is studying modules that I have chosen. Crazy right? In the first year, all modules were compulsory and covered a broad range of topics (see my earlier post), however in the second year, alongside a few compulsory modules, there is a choice. A choice that could affect your whole life? Potentially! But lets not start a panic. In this post I hope to answer all your questions.
When do I have to decide?
This module choosing process begins at the end of your first year, in the final semester. There is time after exams, when you have nothing to do, for you to decide.
What am I choosing between?
Take a look at the uni website for a list of module options for each geography course. The modules differ for each degree and can vary from year to year. For BSc Geography this year, I had to choose 2 modules from 2 physical modules and 1 human module – and decide whether to take Geographies in Education or Workplace Geographies.
Why is this decision important?
Choosing your modules for the second year is the first step you take towards specialising in your degree. Think of it as coming to a fork in the road – with each path leading in a different direction. Further on down your chosen path there are more forks and decisions, which you will make for the final year and your dissertation. The modules you take in your second year set you up for modules in the third year. You can still take a module in the third year that related to a module in the second year, but this may make it harder because you wont have the base knowledge from that second year module. You may have to do extra work in order to achieve a good result. It is important to make the right choice in your second year to avoid this situation.
Furthermore choosing certain modules may close you off to certain third year field trips. Don’t leave it to your final year to find out you can’t go to the Amazon or the Mojave Desert because you took the wrong modules.
How do I make the right decision?
Make the most of your first year to help you discover what you find interesting and what you enjoy. Research the modules available and choose one in which you will be motivated to succeed – not just whichever your friends are doing!
Consider what you are good at and if not, are you willing to put in the extra effort to study what you find interesting? This was a dilemma I faced. At the end of the first year, I had a higher grade in physical geography but had a growing interest in human geography. Perhaps I would find it easier studying two physical modules in my second year but would a physical and a human module be more fascinating and rewarding for me? In the end I opted for the human module – Environment and Development, since I felt this held much more for me than the physical option module. I have a strong interest in the environment and decided I wanted to have an deeper understanding of both human and physical aspects of the environment. Hopefully this will motivate me to improve at the human side of geography in my second year.
You may also want to consider what you want to do after Uni. If you have a dream job or career, you may want to tailor your modules to achieving that goal. Although I do not know specifically what I want to do after uni, I am interested in a career in the environmental sector.
Read through the module descriptions you receive nearer the time to gain a general idea of the modules. If you are having difficulty deciding, or want to find out more about the modules you can talk to your personal tutor or the module lecturers.
Don’t stress too much, you have a few weeks to make your decision after exams are over, and the department are very helpful! Be sure to attend the lecture which helps to clear up any confusion, and go with your gut feeling.
Good luck! Feel free to leave a reply with any questions or comments 🙂