Geography

Geography

Type and form of studies:

  • Full-time 1st-cycle (undergraduate) studies (programme)
  • full-time 2nd-cycle (graduate) studies (programme)
  • part-time 2nd-cycle (graduate) studies

GEOGRAPHY – 1st-cycle studies:

Geography students learn to understand and interpret the processes which underlie the geographical environment, as well as socio-economic and cultural human activity occurent in space and time. They discover the linkages between the natural environment and human activity, analyse the associated phenomena and processes from local to global scales. They learn how to use environmental databases and modern imaging methods for mapping natural and socio-economic phenomena as well as Geographic Information Systems (GIS). They acquire skills in an all-encompassing assessment of the human environment. Studies of the region have huge importance in their study process because the Faculty of Earth Sciences is located in a highly urbanised and industrialised area. The study programme consists of subjects closely related to the field of study, that is geography, social subjects and humanities, as well as a wide range of optional courses. Laboratory classes and field excursions organised during the summer holidays in Poland and abroad are integral components of the studies. During the undergraduate studies, you can also gain teacher qualifications after completing the ‘educational course.’

Career prospects: Each graduate of the 1st-cycle geography studies obtains skills in interpreting and evaluating the geographical environment as well as human socio-economic and cultural activities in space and time; they can plan and design scenarios of change in the natural and socio-economic environment, and prepare development forecasts at local and regional levels. Graduates of the 1st-cycle studies in Geography can continue their education by enrolling in 2nd-cycle ‘Geography’ or ‘Tourism’ studies at the Faculty of Earth Sciences. Potential employers for graduates in 1st-cycle Geography studies include institutions dealing with the protection, modelling and monitoring of the geographical environment, land-use planning offices, and environmental departments at various levels. Thanks to their comprehensive specialist preparation in the field of broad-ranging geographic sciences, but also their basic knowledge of economics and the law, graduates can also go on to run their own businesses in a range of sectors.

GEOGRAPHY – 2nd-cycle studies:

Geographers who complete the 2nd-cycle studies in Geography at the Faculty of Earth Sciences have a profound understanding of the relationship between humans and the environment in areas subjected to strong human impact, and are prepared to solve difficult environmental problems on a global scale (mountain, polar, desert, man-transformed, and metropolitan areas, etc.). They are also familiar with regional specificities (environmental problems faced by mining, industrial, rural, and heavily urbanised areas). Graduates in Geography are highly sought after on the labour market, which they owe to their wide range of competence and practical skills. The specific competencies of the graduates in the 2nd-cycle Geography studies depend on the specialism they choose. Their potential employers include:

  • State meteorological, hydrological, geological, geodetic and cartographic services
  • Central and local government administrations at all levels, including departments dealing with crisis management, spatial planning, regional development, environmental protection and development, promotion and tourism;
  • Units of the Polish Environmental Protection Directorate (of the regional and general level);
  • Regional development agencies,
  • Statistical offices;
  • Institutions organising and providing tourist services – travel agencies and chambers of tourism,
  • Services of national and landscape parks,
  • Educational institutions at all levels, as geography and natural science teachers,
  • Operating their own businesses across a range of economic sectors,
  • The science sector – organisations dedicated to research, implementation, and experimentation, environmental monitoring, etc.), and prospects for further education under the PhD programme.

Their specific career opportunities depend on the competence they gain in the individual specialisations. In the academic year 2017/2018, the 2nd-cycle study specialisations are as follows:

  • Geographic information systems – GIS
  • Climatology
  • Hydrology and water management
  • Reconstruction of the geographical environment
  • Integrated environmental management
  • Spatial development
  • Tourism economy
  • International tourism
  • Exploration of polar and mountain regions

DESCRIPTION OF THE SPECIALISATIONS INCLUDING CAREER PROSPECTS

  1. The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialisation offers professional skills and expertise in working with GIS tools. The ability to analyse and use spatial data is a necessary skill for any geographer who expects to be greatly sought-after and highly valued on the labour market. The course covers the basics of working with GIS software (ArcGIS, MapInfo, Surfer), as well as using OpenSource tools (QGIS). Students learn how to use databases, mobile geoinformation systems (GPS, GPRS, etc.) and are familiarised with the broad-ranging possibilities offered by web-based work (WebGIS). Graduates gain knowledge and acquire skills which allow them to manage information about the natural environment in a comprehensive manner using state-of-the-art IT technologies.

Career prospects: Potential employers include Surface Surveying and Cartography Offices, Statistical Offices, Architecture and Planning Departments, Crisis Management Centres and Environmental Planning Offices of the public administration at all levels, as well as other organisations which deal with spatial information. They are also highly qualified to run their own companies, providing such services as mapping, surface surveying, and preparation of environmental studies and expert reports.

  1. The Hydrology and Water Management Specialisation offers expertise in hydrological processes in the hydrosphere, as well as the mechanisms and principles of water management at local, regional and supraregional levels. Students acquire a thorough knowledge of the hydrological processes specific to watercourses (rivers, streams, brooks, ditches, and channels), groundwater, springs, lakes, wetlands, glaciers, seas and oceans. Notably, the education includes updates about the water balance of territorial units at various levels, including the key river basins in Poland, Europe and worldwide. A special focus is on the potential implications for water use, especially water management (e.g. water supply, sewage disposal, flood and drought protection, quantitative and qualitative changes in the water regime, protection of water resources). In addition to general hydrology-related subjects, some classes and lectures are dedicated to specific regional problems in the Silesian Province and Katowice conurbation. For the most part, they concern quantitative and qualitative changes of waters within urbanised areas as well as ways of preventing the degradation of aquatic ecosystems, e.g. renaturalisation of rivers, rehabilitation of lakes and reservoirs, surface and underground water protection, adjustment of river basins for retention purposes.

Career prospects: Graduates of this specialisation have the necessary knowledge, skills and social competence for employment in institutions of central and local government administration of different levels, as well as with production facilities or service providers. They are professionally qualified to perform functions and tasks as employees of hydrometeorological services (e.g. the Polish Institute of Meteorology and Water Management), water management institutions (e.g. the National Water Management Board, Regional Water Management Boards, Provincial Land Melioration and Water Facilities Boards, municipal water and sewerage companies), environmental services (e.g. the National Environmental Inspectorate), administration of protected areas (e.g. national parks and natural landscape parks), central and local administrations of all levels (e.g. environmental departments, planning and development departments, public utilities departments). For example, they can be hired as experts overseeing the construction of major structures exposed to extreme hydrological phenomena, or by multinational companies as hydrological advisers across the world. Graduates of the Hydrology and Water Management Specialisation can also go on to conduct their own business operations, including preparation of expert documents in the field of hydrology and water management (e.g. legally required aquatic reports, specialist opinions, maps and plans) and broad-ranging water use (e.g. water purification, hydropower, farming of fish and other aquatic organisms, sewage treatment, extraction of minerals, water transport, tourism and recreation).

  1. The Reconstruction of the Geographic Environment Specialisation offers practical skills in the use of a variety of environmental reconstruction methods and prepares graduates for managing environmental projects. Students also learn the basic legal issues related to environmental investment planning. As part of the specialisation, students can participate in national and international research projects delivered by academic staff.

Career prospects: Graduates have the knowledge, skills and social competence required for them to work for institutions of central and local government administrations of all levels (e.g. environmental departments), production facilities or service providers, as well as crisis management organisations. They can also go on to establish their own businesses and deliver services related to the preparation of expert reports and studies. Graduates also acquire skills in conducting independent research and design work.

  1. The Climatology Specialisation offers knowledge of the processes, mechanisms and patterns which occur in the atmosphere. Students become familiar with the relationships between the atmosphere and other components of the geographic environment, and gain understanding of the impact of atmospheric processes on the functioning of society. They acquire skills in conducting climate-related environmental impact assessments, meteorological measurements and observations, interpretation of synoptic charts, and methods of preparation of climate data for a variety of purposes, satellite imagery, radar images, and working with synoptic reports. In addition, they are knowledgeable about the spatial variation and changes of the climate of Poland, Europe and the world. Students are also familiarised with such issues as global warming and extreme meteorological events (floods, droughts, strong winds, violent storms, hail, etc.) and their impact on human life and the economy. The knowledge they acquire also includes city climate, including the causes and effects of the concentration of air pollution. Skills in using computer applications (EXCEL, STATISTICA, SURFER, ArcGis, etc.) are also mastered, which are not only useful in climatology.

Career prospects: Employment with research institutions associated with the national weather service; institutions dealing with the use of natural energy resources; atmosphere and natural environment monitoring services; central and local government administration; natural environment monitoring and protection stations and laboratories; institutions which generate and analyse monitoring data; crisis management centres, schools, universities or research institutes.

  1. The Integrated Environmental Management Specialisation educates professionals in the field of rational environmental management, adept at interpreting the mechanisms behind the functioning of the natural environment in space and over time. Graduates of this specialisation analyse and evaluate the conditions and trends underlying changes in the environment and predict the effects of environmental transformations. They are also capable of using their knowledge for comprehensive space management and development activities, and are prepared to solve difficult environmental problems faced by mining, industrial and heavily urbanised areas. Students acquire expertise in forecasting environmental changes under the influence of human economic activities, surface surveying and cartography, including the preparation of thematic maps, hydrological, topo-climatic, geomorphological, soil and agricultural maps, maps of environmental transformations, physiographic studies and other documents.

Career prospects: Institutions dealing with the protection, modelling and monitoring of the geographic environment, Regional Development Agencies, Natural Environment Monitoring Services, central and local government administration; natural environment research and protection stations and laboratories; institutions which produce and analyse monitoring data; crisis management centres, schools, universities or research institutes. Graduates can also establish their own businesses (e.g. offices preparing environmental impact assessments and engaged in environmental decision-making).

  1. The Spatial Planning Specialisation offers expertise and skills in protecting the value of space and in its optimal modelling so that new development is more efficient and functional, and at the same time achieves a specific social, economic, environmental and spatial policy. The range of topics addressed by this specialisation ensues from the fact that the Faculty of Earth Sciences is located within a strongly urbanised area (an emerging metropolis) and from its orientation towards regional problems, in particular those related to its urbanisation, metropolisation, re-design, and regeneration.

Career prospects: Persons who complete the specialisation can work for local government administrations at all levels as officials assigned to spatial management and planning responsibilities, as well as in many other related areas of municipal management. The knowledge they gain enables them to occupy positions which require creativity and for them to seek individual solutions. This includes areas related to development programming, organisation of strategic undertakings, and preparation of various types of documents, i.e. municipal regeneration programmes, local zoning plans, municipal urban development studies, development strategies, organisation of urban and regional investments. Graduates can also find employment with private companies cooperating with the public sector: consulting firms and opinion polling firms. They also acquire competences which enable them to start their own businesses.

  1. The Tourist Economy Specialisation offers opportunities for learning the basics of tourism geography, with a focus on the natural and cultural determinants underlying tourism development in the modern world. Students will learn how to evaluate geographical environments for the needs of tourism, assess the potential of tourist regions and tourist attractions, how to prepare typologies of tourism types and forms, and will also gain skills in tourism operation. They become familiar with new tourism trends and developments, learn how to prepare value survey maps using GIS software, and are familiar with the most popular booking systems; they can prepare customer service strategies, know the basics of management, marketing, and exhibit entrepreneurship in the field of the tourism economy; they can assess consumer behaviours and conduct business negotiations. They are aware of and exploit the potential of cultural heritage and tourist policy to create comprehensive tourism products; and they are familiar with the key economic principles underlying tourism, as well as methods for assessing the environmental impacts of tourism. Students gain all-encompassing knowledge useful in managing tourism both in Poland and abroad and are capable of tailoring their activities to the increasingly diverse and rapidly developing tourism industry of today. Because the University of Silesia lies within a highly industrialised area, special stress will be placed on the management of post-industrial resources for tourism. Students attain the knowledge needed to build the tourism economy at local, regional and national levels with a special focus on sustainable development.

Career prospects: Travel agents and tourism promotion offices, regional development agencies and bureaus, tourism and promotion units of local government administration, national and regional tourism organisations, businesses specialising in ecotourism and agrotourism, other types of companies, especially accommodation providers; own business opportunities.

  1. The International Tourism Specialisation is intended for students who wish to obtain qualifications in organising and operating international travel. Students learn the latest theoretical and practical achievements in this field, with the programme covering the latest techniques used in organising international tourist events. They also gain knowledge about the world’s cultural heritage, world tourism geography, and selected tourist highlights across the continents. In the course of their education, students take part in internships in Poland and other countries. International Tourism students acquire experience and skills in tourism geography, the basics of tourism, tourism law, and in the evaluation of the geographic environment for tourism needs. They explore the potential of tourist regions and tourist attractions, and the types and forms of tourism, and acquire tour operation competence. They become familiar with new tourism trends and developments; learn how to prepare value maps using GIS software, and are skilful at using the most popular booking systems; other areas of expertise include customer service strategies, consumer behaviour, business negotiations, basic tourism economics, knowledge of the impact of tourism on the environment, and forms of extreme tourism. During their studies, they also complete a tourist guide course.

Career prospects: employment with national and regional tourism organisations, culture, sport, tourism and promotion departments of local government units, travel agencies and tourism promotion offices, companies specialising in organising business tourism, private tour operators, and running your own business.

  1. The Exploration of Polar and Mountain Areas Specialisation is intended for enthusiasts of geography who have developed a ‘polar fever’ and for those who are addicted to the mountains. Graduates gain knowledge about the components and mechanisms of the mountain and polar environments, their impact on socio-economic processes and effect on neighbouring regions; they are skilled in using modern field geodetic, geophysical, and geomorphological surveying methods, as well as in acquiring and working with data obtained through measurements and remote sensing and its integration and interpretation using geographic information systems (GISs); they are also knowledgeable in the effective and safe preparation and conduct of polar and mountain explorations for research-, tourist-, and business-related purposes. The Faculty supports the exploration of mountain regions, including very distant ones (in the Arctic and Antarctica), inviting students to participate in national and international research projects and cooperate with the international Centre for Polar Studies. The projects are conducted jointly with the Institute of Geophysics and the Institute of Oceanology of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

Career prospects: Institutions dealing with the protection, modelling, monitoring and assessment of the quality of the natural environment, especially mountain and polar regions; central and local government administrations – units responsible for managing the geographic space, especially of mountain and polar areas, travel agencies and tour operators, units dealing with regional tourism development and institutions involved in organising and operating polar and mountain expeditions.