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

News
news
Arts and Entertainment
tvSPOILER ALERT: Like a mash-up of 28 Days Later, Braveheart, The Killing and Lord of the Rings, this GoT episode was a belter
Life and Style
Angel Di Maria is shown the red card
tech
Sport
Roger Federer after his win over Tomas Berdych
sport
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Guru Careers: Junior Designer / Design Graduate

£18 - 20k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Junior Designer / Design Graduate to...

Guru Careers: Graduate Software Developer / Junior Developer

£20 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate Software Develop...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Trainee Teacher - Maths

£18000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This organization is the larges...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral