Each of us has come into contact with geography. We learned about geographical discoveries, what the highest mountain in Africa is called, what the weather is like in Australia, which states the Mississippi flows through, where the population is the highest, or on the contrary, the lowest. We use our knowledge of geography while planning summer holidays, while making decision whether to go to the Croatia seaside, or to the ponds of South Bohemia.
Study of geography has a strong bearing on this knowledge, at the same time developing and interconnecting it. Long gone are the times of encyclopaedic knowledge, occasional search and describing unique phenomena, artefacts or curiosities. Present-day modern discipline of geography (as distinct from the past) is, first of all, concerned with regularities, coherences, preconditions or causes and effects of the development, territorial differentiation, trends, processes in the physical-geographical and socio-geographical domains.
It is the complex approach that rates geography at the borderline between natural and social (humanities) sciences, thus ascribing it a specific position. As teachers and research workers, we are trying to pass this vision of the world, denoted as geographic vision, down to our students in the course of studies, during excursions and practice, as well as by engaging them in the projects under investigation. I am convinced that our graduates, fitted out with the corresponding knowledge and skills, will not only find broad range of employment at the job market, but will also have good experience with exploiting their theoretic knowledge for solving practical tasks and intentions.
Doc. RNDr. Martin Balej, Ph.D.
Head of the Department of Geography
We offer attractive choice of study of geography in modern fields oriented towards education professionals employable in a broad spectrum of fields in public administration and private sector.
Bachelor’s degree program
GEOGRAPHY OF CENTRAL EUROPE
The study field prepares professionals for the domain of regional development, project management, international and cross-border cooperation. The study is oriented towards the problems of European integration, causes and effects of integration and disintegration tendencies, regional policy of the European Union, environment and sustainable development in the European space, cultural and political environment of the EU, development of economic systems and residential structures of the member states and geographic assessment of Central European countries.
GEOGRAPHY and GEOGRAPHY TWO-SUBJECT
The study fields are more specifically oriented towards general and methodological problems of physical geography, social geography, cartography and geo-informatics with application in regional development, landscape protection and development, and environmental problems. The two-subject program is realised in combination with another subject provided by the Faculty of Science, the Faculty of Education, or the Faculty of Philosophy (e.g. biology, mathematics, physical education, German language, history, etc.).
Follow-up master’s degree program
The study field expands the knowledge of geographical analysis and synthesis, and implementing geoinformatical tools in the process of sustainable regional development, and territorial and landscape planning. In the framework of compulsory optional courses, students can focus more deeply on one of the two thematic areas: Landscape and GIS, and Tourism.
TEACHING OF GEOGRAPHY AT ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
TEACHING OF GEOGRAPHY AT SECONDARY SCHOOLS
The follow-up educational master’s degree program places emphasis on pedagogical transformation of geographic issues.
Along with the courses oriented towards the studied subject (i. e. landscape), every study field includes learning foreign languages and realisation of professional practice in public administration and private institutions. The opted study fields also include courses oriented towards law, sociology or economics, European funds and international cooperation. All the study fields are accredited in the form of full-time study. However, due to flexible study system, it is possible to incorporate study with other student’s activities.
Due to their knowledge in the field of geography, regional development, European integration and further super-structural disciplines, our graduates of professional study fields find employment in:
- institutions of local territorial administration
- nature and landscape protection bodies
- institutions and bodies of the EU
- territorial and landscape planning
- educational and science research institutions
- enterprise management
- tourism, etc.
A great contribution to graduates’ employability is their experience of work with the most modern technologies (geographical information systems, 3D modelling, virtual reality), communication in two world languages, overview in economic, political and social problems of European society and skills for qualified analysis and interpretation of information. Already during the course of study, students engage in practice in institutions and organisations outside the university, by which way they get acquainted with operation of these workplaces and simultaneously gain experience and contacts for the future. Graduates of educational study fields get qualification of teachers at the second stage of basic schools or at secondary schools.
Among prominent graduates of geographic course in Usti nad Labem belong Mayor of Usti nad Labem, an expert on geographic information systems in an international company, a film producer, headmasters at secondary and basic schools. We can name many prominante graduates of geography in Usti nad Labem, e.g. the former Minister for European Affairs, and many others.
Background of the study
Teachers: the Department has in the past years become the workplace for a number of renowned Czech and foreign geographers, particularly in the field of regional and social geography. There are regularly held single-theme lectures in the Czech or a foreign language delivered by professionals from universities and practice. In the academic year 2008–2009 there were 18 teachers of different orientatio at the Department of Geography, including 2 professors and 4 associate professors.
The department of geography realizes education in well furnished classrooms disposing of audio-visual facilities with the possibility of individual connection to the university WiFi. Along with standard classrooms, the department also disposes of a lecture hall equipped with video-conference facilities, a GIS laboratory with 25 computers and a laboratory for virtual reality. A considerable part of the education is carried out directly in the field.
Laboratories and modern facilities:
Department of Geography operates a GIS laboratory with comprehensive equipment for data processing and creating map layouts. Top-class facilities at European level is also available in the Centre for virtual reality and landscape modelling (CERAMOK) oriented towards implementation of the issues of landscape modelling and 3D modelling for geographic exploration of landscape, landscape planning, and in the field of education — towards edification and popularization of these issues. The core of the Centre is CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment), a system for creating interactive immersive virtual reality which can be used, for example, in the field of creating scenarios of landscape development, environmental sciences, architecture, molecular visualization, hydrometeorology, education. Equipment for environmental research is integrated in the Landscape synthesis research unit. Here students can make use of geological collections, semiautomatic meteorological station, noise-level meters, temperature dataloggers, increment borer, laser distance meters, soil probes, GPS receivers, photomicroscope, etc.
Outside of study, students can use a study room with 25 computers along with in-house reference library containing over 250 titles, most of which are up-to-date foreign publications. Students also have access to dozens of international science periodicals with geographic and related subject matter.
Software and data
In the framework of study, students can use a number of software products oriented towards GIS, image processing, 3D modelling, virtual reality or work with sophisticated graphic systems for multivariate statistics. Moreover, they have sample informational database that covers various geographical topics (geology, nature protection, hydrology, demography, etc.) and can be used for study purposes.
Study abroad and excursions
In the framework of LLP/ERASMUS program, students can participate in one- or two-semester study stay at one of the contracting universities abroad, or undertake practical internship in a foreign institution. The study abroad is accounted in their study at UJEP. As a compulsory part of study, there are domestic excursions which can be optionally extended by several days’ excursions abroad (in past years, for example, to France, Denmark or Albania).
Science and research
With the help of top-class equipment, we evaluate the potential and limits of landscape exploitation, including environmental change, geomorphic and hydrometeorological risks (Landscape synthesis research unit), we implement the issues of virtual reality and 3D modelling into geographical landscape research, landscape planning, and in the educational field for edification and popularization of these issues (Centre of virtual reality and landscape modelling-CEVRAMOK). The research outcomes are regularly presented at international conferences and published in scientific journals. We are publishing our own online periodical in the English language, GeoScape journal.
Our priority subjects of research are:
- evaluating potentials and limits of cultural landscape for development of tourism
- evaluating environmental stress, issues of landscape and regional identity
- historic geomorphology of risk processes, biogeomorphological systems in landscape, and paleogeomorphology of holocene.
- cross-border cooperation in European context and with orientation towards Czech-Saxon relations
- regional political, economic and social transformations in integrating Europe
- systems of interactive immersion virtual reality and their application while creating and visualizing future scenarios of landscape development
- educational transformation of geography
In the framework of research, the Department collaborates with UK (Charles University) in Prague and ZCU (University of West Bohemia) in Plzen, and abroad with TU (Technical University) in Dresden or AMU (Adam Mickiewicz University) in Poznan, UKE and UK in Bratislava. In 2009, the Department was investigating two research projects: “Czech borderland after Schengen: peculiar, oscillatory and/ or transit territory?” (GA AV ČR, principal investigator, M. Jeřábek) and “Methods for evaluation of social and ecological coherences of economic transformation: theory and application” (MPSV ČR, principal investigator J. Anděl).
Along with science research projects, we are working on projects of applied and developmental character oriented towards expanding technical backgrounds, innovation of study, etc., which are supported among others through the agency of the EU (European Social Fund, Aim 3) or through national resources (High Schools Development Fund, Usti nad Labem City Hall). For the coming years, the Department has been granted several million Crowns ((for the year 2009 4 mln Crowns) dedicated to the purchase of the most modern technologies for landscape research, preparing new study programs and study props.
Life at the department
The Department staff are trying to stay in regular contact with practical teachers and graduates, and together with their students organise a broad range of promotional events including lectures, film projections, competitions or exhibitions (e.g. the Week of Geography) which include lectures, discussions, exhibitions, competitions and film projections, or the Day of Geography focusing on further education of teachers at basic schools and secondary schools. Yet, we can also meet informally — at bowling or in the framework of the new discussion platform GeoKlub. The Department staff along with science research share in popularization publications, textbooks and lectures. Over 20 lecture notes thematically correspond to single courses in study programs, or correspond to department orientation towards regional research (e.g. Lecture notes “Geography of Usti region”, “Global Problems”).
Students are admitted for the study fields on the basis of an entrance examination, whose scope corresponds to the geography curriculum of grammar schools.
For the study programs of Geography (follow-up master’s degree) students are admitted without entrance examinations.
Faculty of Science UJEP
Department of Geography
Ceske mladeze 8
400 96 Usti nad Labem
Phone: +420 745 283 374
Mgr. Pavel Raška, Ph.D.
Phone: +420 475 283 300