Case study Geography with Transport studies

Ned Gilfoyle

Ned is a Geography with Transport Studies student, currently in his second year. He’s really enjoyed his time at Leeds so far, having learnt some key skills to take forward with him in his career.

A natural next step

“Leeds was a natural next step for me in terms of my educational and personal development. Having lived in London for 18 years, I wanted to experience a new place where I could be fully independent. I’d heard nothing but good things about the School of Geography and the University of Leeds from my teachers. It was also clear that Leeds was by far the best option for me to study transport, with the Institute for Transport Studies being internationally renowned.”

Why this course?

Ned chose Geography with Transport Studies BA because human geography fascinated him all the way through school plus transport has been one of his biggest interests from a very young age. 

With regards to human geography Ned relates that “In the end, it’s what truly teaches us about the inner workings of the world around us and the decision making behind our lived experiences. There’s a vast range of topics on offer (at Leeds) that can take you down so many different career paths, and the School of Geography’s use of optional and Discovery modules means you really can tailor the course to your personal interests.”

Feeling inspired

“The main inspiration I’ve taken from my course is the thought of taking the knowledge I’ve gained about the development of places and the key aspects of how they operate and using it to help provide populations with services that are of a high quality and accessible for everyone.

“The best aspect of the course is the high quantity of seminars and tutorials you will partake in. These will enable you to think independently and have in-depth academic discussion with equally knowledgeable like-minded people - something you may not necessarily experience in school.”

Exciting projects

Ned’s found that the most exciting projects he’s carried out on the course so far have simulated real-life policy making. “My first-year assignments included mock COP26 resolution writing for Haiti and a transport policy making simulation for a hypothetical city. These assignments are what really differentiates the university experience from the A-level experience - they’re more practical. I gained real insight into governmental decision making and they stimulated me to view the topics through a more political lens and to think about my future career. This year, I’ve enjoyed podcast making, as this has enabled me to incorporate some creativity into my work.” Ned’s also enjoyed writing formal academic papers as writing these made him truly felt like a researcher rather than just a student.

I gained real insight into governmental decision making and they stimulated me to view the topics through a more political lens

Ned Gilfoyle, Geography with Transport Studies BA

A course with high impact 

“This course contributes hugely to people’s daily lives as it enables graduates to work in political spheres that can greatly influence the ways in which urban and rural areas can develop, or work in services that are essential to the running of a town or city and contribute to people’s lived experiences. Chances are the bus services that you use to get around will have been planned by someone who specialised in transport at university. Chances are your school will have been designed by a land-use planner who studied human geography and specialised in spatial development.”

A fantastic city for students

Ned explains that Leeds is a fantastic city for students. “No two areas are the same, so there’s something for everyone. The city centre has great retail and nightlife, and most students tend to live in Headingley which is a great part of Leeds. There’s some really nice green spaces and some incredible places you can travel to. I highly recommend visiting York and Manchester while you’re here, as well as the Yorkshire Dales and some of the surrounding smaller towns such as Ilkley, Otley, Knaresborough and Harrogate.”

Future ambitions

Ned’s main ambition for the future is to work in the transport sector, something he’s always wanted to do since he was little. “I’d like to work for a rail company or a local transport authority and am looking into ‘Years In Industry’ (which you can take between second and third year) at organisations like Transport for Greater Manchester and Northern Rail. I’m also considering taking the Masters degree in Transport Planning that Leeds offers once I've finished my Bachelors.

“The main career skill I’ve taken from my experience at Leeds has been teamwork. I’ve worked collaboratively on numerous occasions during my time here, not only academically during group assignments, but also in extracurricular settings having been on my halls committee in my first year and the archery committee this year. I’ve also learned valuable lessons about formal academic writing, which can be a key transferable skill in many different disciplines.”

Advice to future students

“I can’t recommend BA Geography with Transport Studies highly enough - it was definitely the best choice I could have made for my university studies. The course will give you a professional USP - transport is such a crucial industry and you’ll be better equipped to work within it than people who take straight geography. You’ll be very tight-knit with your course mates - everyone in my cohort knows each other - and you’ll get a sense of community.

You’ll be very tight-knit with your course mates - everyone in my cohort knows each other - and you’ll get a sense of community.

Ned Gilfoyle, Geography with Transport Studies BA

Not only will you gain a wealth of knowledge on two areas of study with a huge array of different topics, you’ll be in a really enjoyable place to live. Even as someone who’s fairly introverted, I’ve been able to make good friends with course mates, people I’ve lived with and other students in the societies I joined.”

Join us

To find out more about studying in the School of Geography, view our Undergraduate courses.