Postgraduate queries: I am interested in doing a Masters in sociology with emphasis on social geography. Do any universities offer this course?

Steve McCormack

Q: I am interested in doing a Masters in sociology with emphasis on social geography. Do any universities offer this course?

A: The phrase used most commonly to describe the course I think you have in mind is "human geography". It's the study of how people affect the places they inhabit, or how geography affects people.

Many places offer these Masters, but each course has a flavour of its own, reflecting historic strengths and specialisms within specific universities. Sometimes these are reflected in course titles. The University of Utrecht, for example, has a Masters in human geography and planning, while the University of Glasgow has a research Masters in human geography: space, politics and power.

Since you're approaching this from a sociological angle, this suggests a course principally concerned with human behaviour, but you'll recognise which course is for you only when you dig a little deeper into the course programme and, perhaps, also talking to tutors, to find out what they consider is the DNA of each course.

Q: Four years ago I got a BSc in construction management and am now working as a civil engineer. Is there a way I can add to or upgrade my degree by distance learning, so that I have a BEng in civil engineering?

A: There's no easy way that a construction management degree can be topped up to a BEng in civil engineering, since the two degrees are very different. What's more, there are no accredited distance learning BEng courses, though there are some part-time ones.

However, it is possible to do a general civil engineering MSc by distance learning – Heriot-Watt in Edinburgh and the University of Surrey have suitable courses. Acceptance on to one of these would depend on an assessment of your first degree and your practical experience in the civil engineering world.

It's also possible to qualify as a professional engineer via what's known as the technical report route, under the auspices of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ice.org.uk) whose education team will be able to tell you more.

Q: Where can I do a PhD relating to the security industry? I got an MSc in international business 11 years ago, and have set up a successful private security firm.

A: Your inquiry is timely. Only a fortnight ago, a University of York academic drew attention to what he described as an "interesting funding opportunity" for a PhD looking at "regulatory reform and the private security industry".

It's hosted within York's politics department and linked to a grant from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Even though it's a niche area, there are several institutions where the private security landscape is studied. At the University of Bristol, for example, a student in the department of sociology, politics and international studies is currently working towards a doctorate on the link between gender and race and the private security industry, while the University of Leicester's department of criminology has also hosted research in this area.

There's plenty of scope within that broad title. From nightclub bouncers, to stewards at football matches and pop concerts, and bodyguards accompanying politicians and the super-rich in countless locations around the world, private security is a fact of modern life that society needs to understand and regulate. And that can't be done without reliably researched facts.

Send your queries to Steve McCormack at  steve.mcc@virginmedia.com

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Guru Careers: Graduate Database Administrator / Junior DBA

£20 - 25k: Guru Careers: A Graduate Database Administrator / Junior DBA is nee...

Guru Careers: Graduate Administrator / Junior Operations Admin

£20 - 25k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate Administrator / Junior Oper...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Software Developer - Entry Level

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate Software Developer i...

Guru Careers: Graduate Print Producer / Account Executive

£18 - 25k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Graduate Print Producer / Account Execut...

SPONSORED FEATURES

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen