The learning and research environment
The School of Geography provides a high quality learning and research environment for undergraduate and graduate students. The School has pioneered innovative teaching methodologies including the use of online teaching, enquiry-based learning, and blended approaches with internationally recognised expertise in first year teaching and learning. In the first year programme we complement large group teaching with student tutorials and have a dedicated first year student coordinator. From second year, practical classes are introduced, as well as some laboratory and field-based learning. Fieldwork is a core element of all of our Taught Masters programmes.
While most of our undergraduate teaching occurs in shared spaces within the Newman building and other parts of campus, we have a number of dedicated facilities within the School that are used for small, practical-based classes at the upper level of the undergraduate programme and for the majority of our Masters level teaching and research.
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Building on a strong tradition and history of cartographic expertise within the School of Geography, we have committed significant investment to developing a high-quality GIS laboratory space in recent years, including state-of-the-art software, geospatial database, web-mapping applications, digitisation capacity and a large-scale plotter/scanner.
As part of our strategic plan, we aim to increase both staff and technological capacity in geospatial applications and will be expanding our facilities in the coming years.
The School has a long tradition in Historical Geography research and a significant resource within the school is the dedicated Map Room, containing over 15,000 maps. This valuable resource has been growing since 1970 and houses many of the principal map series relating to Ireland, most notably a complete set of the 1:10,560 maps, 1900 sheets covering the entire island. Other core components are an extensive range of thematic maps, e.g., soils and administrative boundaries and an extensive collection of historical maps. The functions of a paper map collection are complemented by the acquisition of web-accessible digital maps such as Ordnance Survey maps. As much of the material in the map library has not been digitised on a free-to-use basis, the collection remains a major, and in many respects unique, resource.
The list and brief details of the principal map series are available at the Catalogue Listing of Map Collections
A large laboratory provides the ideal setting for research in physical geography. The state-of-the-art Itrax XRF Core Scanner, the only instrument of its kind in Ireland and one of only a handful in Europe, is a core element. It allows the detailed analysis of sediment and other cores. As such, the core scanner represents an unprecedented injection of technological capacity to the School which will be a major boost to research in support of Physical Geography
All of our graduate teaching takes place in our recently refurbished active learning space, located within the School. This room is an ideal environment for group work, seminars and small-scale public events with circular tables, whiteboards surrounding the room and is directly connected to the GIS computer laboratory.
The School of Geography is committed to providing excellent facilities and training for research students, including well-equipped research suites with state-of-the-art computing facilities (including high-spec GIS technology), on-site library services. Each graduate research student is provided with a personal workstation, computer, storage facilities and access to kitchen facilities.
“The allocation of an exclusive and spacious physical environment for PhD students to interact and collaborate with each other on a daily basis is a vital resource. It allows for students to develop friendships with other like-minded individuals who provide much needed intellectual and emotional support throughout the process of completing a PhD. The provision of funds for conferences, domestically and overseas, provides important support for students in their academic development”. (John Scanlon, PhD researcher)