School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

BA (Hons) Geography

Geography explores the relationships between people, places and the environment. Our diverse degree has a strong emphasis on applied skills and career development. You can choose to specialise or maintain a broad range of interests, and a placement year offers valuable work experience. Plymouth is the ideal setting, giving you hands-on experience of a vibrant, historically-rich, urban environment surrounded by iconic rural and coastal communities and landscapes.

You will learn from expert, accessible, supportive staff who are skilled researchers in their field. You’ll enjoy unique open access to our laboratory and resource centre designed for students studying science and engineering courses. You’ll also take advantage of a wide range of study abroad possibilities in Europe and the USA, as well as a residential field course in each year of the course.

India, Kerala, Western Ghats Mountains, tea plantations, elevated view. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

It's not too late to apply for 2018

Don’t worry if you’ve missed the UCAS January deadline. 

If you want to study with us in September 2018, contact us for advice about available spaces on this course.

Get in touch with our friendly admissions team on +44 (0)1752 585858 or email us at

The final deadline for UCAS applications is 30 June 2018.

Key features

  • Choose from a range of human, physical and environmental geography modules – our stimulating programme of geographical studies includes theory and practical elements.
  • Develop your understanding of the ways in which humans interpret, organise and respond to aspects in their social, cultural, economic, political and physical environments through teaching that includes lectures, seminars, international residential fieldwork, tutorials, information and communications technology and geographic information systems.
  • Learn from expert, accessible, supportive staff who are skilled researchers in their field.
  • Benefit from our unique location, in the heart of the historical city of Plymouth, bordered by Dartmoor National Park as well as the Tamar Valley and South Hams Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Devon and Cornwall have glorious beaches, coasts, rivers and estuaries.
  • Take advantage of a wide range of study abroad possibilities in Europe and the USA, as well as a residential field course in each year of the course.
  • Experience a valuable work placement programme, opening up a range of career opportunities such as consultancy, policy development and management, teaching, planning and conservation.
  • LABplus is a unique open access laboratory and resource centre designed for students studying science and engineering courses. The lab provides a flexible workspace, computing facilities, specialist software, access to microscopes, microscope cameras and bespoke resources. 

We’re very proud of our National Student Survey (NSS) 2017 return which shows an overall student satisfaction of 92 per cent and 100 per cent of students agreed that staff made the subject interesting*.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In your first year, modules will introduce you to the latest developments in human and physical geography. Undertake residential fieldwork and develop your practical and applied skills through lab work. You’ll also take part in small group tutorials.
    Core modules
    • GGX1200 Geography Matters

      Introduces the key concepts and debates in Geography, and provides understanding of what Geography is. Provides baseline knowledge and skills for University-level learning. Gives `first-hand¿ experience of geographical patterns and processes and issues of sustainable development and management in the field, around a UK-based residential field course.

    • GGX1201 Introducing Geography 1: Society and Environment

      The module provides an overview of contemporary geography. It is structured around key a number of key themes that are prominent in geographical thinking about society and environment. Students are introduced to current thinking and topics within these themes as well as broader concepts that are common to the understanding of human and physical geography.

    • GGX1202 Practising Geography 1

      This module develops a student's use of the tools needed to investigate contemporary issues in geography. Using a series of enquiry-based activities, the module explores the roles of fieldwork, laboratory work, quantitative data, graphic and spatial analysis in discerning and understanding processes in a Geographical context. Through small group tutorials, students gain the key study skills for a degree in geography.

    • GGX1203 Introducing Geography 2: Changing Places

      The module builds on the overview provided in Introducing Geographies 1. It looks at changes across space and time through the lenses of human and physical geography. Students are introduced to current thinking and topics within these themes as well as broader concepts that are common to the understanding of human and physical geography.

    • GGX1204 Practising Geography 2

      This module expands the student's experience of specific tools which can be employed to investigate contemporary issues in geography. The learning activities will provide the student with further knowledge of laboratory analysis methods, statistical techniques, and introduce qualitative and geospatial methods and techniques.

    Optional modules
    • GEES1001PP Natural Hazards

      This module examines the major short-term natural hazards that affect the contemporary Earth. The various different hazards will be covered ranging from geohazards including landslides, volcanoes, earthquakes as well as weather related hazards such as tropical cyclones, extra tropical storms. Emphasis is placed upon natural hazard processes, identification, risk potential and hazard mitigation.

    • GEES1002PP Climate Change and Energy

      This module provides a scientific evaluation of climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It introduces climate change policy, renewable energy options and societal challenges over GHG reduction measures. Students engage in literature searches and review climate change policy options.

    • GEES1003PP Sustainable Futures

      This module explores the concepts and principles of sustainable development and critically examines their application to a range of real-world contemporary issues. The module provides opportunities to enhance knowledge and understanding and develop key skills by exploring an aspect of 'sustainability in practice' through student-led research.

    • OS106PP Our Ocean Planet

      In this module students will explore important topical issues associated with our ocean planet. Students will have a creative opportunity to work in teams on a topic of their choice using a project based learning approach. They will develop a variety of communication skills in order to present their ideas in a medium of their team's choice.

    • OS107PP Space Exploration

      This module introduces the wonders of space and humankind's attempts to explore and understand them. Topics range from telescope making, using weather balloons and observing the night sky, to contemporary issues such as black holes, the space station and the possibility of life on other planets. The Immersive Vision Theatre will be used as a planetarium, and to take the students visually through space to other planets.

    • SPNX100PP Spanish 1

      This module is designed for beginners in Spanish, or those whose previous qualification/experience is not equivalent to GCSE grade B. It develops communicative competence at a basic level, enabling students to establish and maintain adequate social relations with speakers of Spanish, negotiate everyday needs in Spain / a Spanish speaking country, and communicate using spoken and simple written language in a limited social or work setting.

  • Year 2
  • In your second year, you’ll deepen your knowledge with a wide range of optional modules in human and physical geography and core modules in theories, practical skills and careers development. You’ll also have the chance to take field courses in Ireland or Brittany.
    Core modules
    • APIE205 Preparation for a Year Long Work Placement in Geography

      This module is designed to assist students in their search and preparation for a year long work placement. It is aimed at students who would like to undertake the placement to enhance both programme specific and employment-related skills during Stage 3.

    • GGX2200 Fieldwork in Geography

      This module enhances students' knowledge and understanding of geographical patterns and processes in the field environment, using appropriate research techniques. Parallel fieldtrips are run to British Isles and mainland European destinations, to an identical academic format.

    • GGX2201 Principles and Applications of Geography 1

      In this module students learn about and critically reflect upon various approaches to the production of geographical knowledge, and the different ways and contexts in which this knowledge is applied. The module develops students' awareness of the place and importance of geographical research in preparation for dissertation study and fieldwork modules, and identifies links between geographical research and employability.

    • GGX2202 Principles and Applications of Geography 2

      Students learn about, practise and critically reflect upon different research methods and techniques in the production of geographical knowledge. The module refines students' awareness of the place and importance of geographical research in preparation for dissertation study and fieldwork modules, and its links to employability. Tutorials are provided for additional, small group discussion of issues arising.

    Optional modules
    • GGH2200 Spatial Planning

      Planning plays a significant part in the relationship between people and the environment and in managing space and shaping the geography of urban and rural places. This module provides an understanding of the evolution and operation of planning in the British context and explores contemporary planning issues.

    • GGH2202 The Global Countryside: Sustainability, Resilience and Society

      The module uses perspectives from human geography to examine the changing countryside and its governance. Drawing on perspectives from the first world, it critically considers the economic, environmental, social and cultural sustainability of the countryside. Attention is given to the way that these issues are governed as well as the contribution of the `cultural turn¿ to understanding the issues facing rural areas.

    • GGH2203 Nature and Society

      This module critically evaluates relationships between nature and society, through the consideration of a range of historical and contemporary examples in Britain and beyond. The core premise of the module is that `nature¿ is inseparable from the realms of culture, politics, economy and science.

    • GGH2204 Transport, Travel and Mobilities

      The module covers key themes, concepts and issues in contemporary transport and mobilities geographies. The geographical nature of transport and travel is discussed, and spatial aspects of the relationships between transport and the economy, society and the environment are explored. The focus is on passenger movement.

    • GGH2205 Social and Cultural Geography

      The module examines the development of the subdisciplines of social and cultural geography, drawing on contemporary case studies. Key geographical concepts and elements are explored within a variety of social and cultural contexts. The module explores the ways in which spaces and places are imagined, practised, and contested, and analyses the role of space in the production or contestation of inequalities and injustices.

    • GGP2200 Quaternary Environments and Archaeology

      This option module examines climatic and biotic changes and human-environment relations during the Quaternary period, and provides training in, and understanding of, several key palaeoenvironmental and dating techniques. Particular reference is made to the British Isles and to the last glacial/interglacial cycle.

    • GGP2201 Catchment and River Environments

      Catchment and river processes shape and integrate physical and human landscapes. Almost all human-environment interactions take place within river basins which are the fundamental unit for environmental management. Geographical knowledge of land and water processes, i.e. how catchment and river systems work and respond to human impacts, is essential to underpin management decisions that support food and water security.

    • GGP2202 Landscape Ecology

      This module examines the principles and applications of landscape ecology ¿ a young discipline that examines the way in which spatial pattern and ecological processes interact in landscapes. The module examines pattern and process at both the patch and the landscape scale, introducing a variety of methods through which these phenomena can be studied.

    • GGP2203 Coastal Environments

      This module provides an introduction to coastal processes and geomorphology. The first part deals with the processes that drive coastal morphological changes, such as sea level, tides and ocean waves. The second part discusses the characteristics of a variety of coastal landforms, and briefly looks at links between geomorphology and coastal management. The module includes a 1-day field trip.

    • GGP2204 Cold Environments

      This module provides an overview of the geomorphic processes operating and the landforms found in cold environments and will focus on present day glacial, periglacial and fluvioglacial environments. It will include material on Quaternary climates, past glaciations and relic landforms.

    • GGX2203 Geographical Information Systems

      Module provides grounding in theory and practical techniques of GIS. Lectures are on theory, methods and spatial literacy. Practical work covers stages of handling geospatial data, construction of GIS models and automation, provides exposure to a range of techniques in spatial analysis and visualisation, and gives context and experience to spatial literacy concepts. Knowledge and skills are developed in project work.

  • Optional placement year
  • This is your opportunity to spend a year working in industry to improve your knowledge of applied geography and gain invaluable work experience. Our employability service will help you find a placement from our extensive network across all sectors.
    Optional modules
    • APIE305 Geography:Placement

      This module provides an opportunity for professional training of at least six months duration with an approved company or host organisation between stage 2 and 5. While on placement, students will gain experience of how geography is used in the workplace, be able to apply their geographical knowledge and expertise, and learn further skills and relevant techniques.

  • Final year
  • In your final year, you’ll have the option of an overseas field-course (recent courses have run in USA, Iceland, Borneo, Denmark and Portugal). You’ll also write a dissertation on any aspect of human or physical geography. There’s a wide range of optional modules in human or physical geography, plus the option of taking a work experience module to prepare you for your first job.
    Core modules
    • GGX3200 Dissertation in Geography

      Students undertake a major piece of independent, investigative research into a geographical issue of their choice and report on this in a dissertation of ca.12,000 words. The report should establish the wider academic context for the investigation and demonstrate originality and the effective application of intellectual, subject-specific and key skills.

    Optional modules
    • GGH3200 The Competitive City

      This module examines the global competitiveness of cities in the twenty-first century and the strategies adopted to enhance and maintain their performance in economic, social and environmental agendas (representing the three pillars of sustainability). The module is global in focus, focusing on a wide range of in-depth urban case studies to illustrate approaches, concepts, ideas and debates in urban studies.

    • GGH3201 Geographies of Citizenship

      This module uses geographical ideas of citizenship to analyse social, political and cultural issues affecting first world societies. It examines how the use of citizenship by policy makers and other agencies has shaped relations between the public and the state. Particular attention is given to the geographies of participation, power, inclusion and exclusion.

    • GGH3202 Geographies of Landscape

      This module introduces students to the geographic study of landscape. The module looks at the portrayal of landscape through a variety of media, including film, literature, and music, as well as considering `real¿ built and natural landscapes. In doing so, the module expands students¿ understanding of a range of key social, cultural and political geographic themes such as power, memory, identity, place, and dwelling.

    • GGH3203 Global Environmental Politics

      This module investigates the processes, actors and policies associated with the evolution of global environmental politics. Using key examples of issues such as tropical deforestation, climate change or desertification, the module analyses the factors shaping, and difficulties facing, global environmental policy formulation and implementation in various geographical and actor scales.

    • GGH3204 Economic Development in Developing Economies

      This module examines various development challenges faced by developing economies. It provides a critical analysis of the changes in conceptualization of development over time and subsequent changes in strategies, policies and programmes undertaken to address those challenges, as well as the role of institutions involved in promoting economic development.

    • GGH3206 Changing States and Global Political Geography

      This module explores how the state became the dominant unit in world politics and the challenges states face from globalisation, nationalist movements, non-state actors, and extremist networks. Using contemporary case studies, students will examine key theories in political geography regarding identity, power, and how political authority has been (and might be) arranged over different territorial divisions worldwide.

    • GGP3200 Restoring Freshwater Environments

      This module develops a critical understanding of how humans have impacted natural catchment processes and the techniques available for sustainably restoring degraded environments where a legacy of historical mismanagement has degraded the environmental value of freshwaters, destroying the aquatic habitat and increasing flood and drought hazards.

    • GGP3201 Long Term Ecology and Conservation

      This module considers the response of organisms (plants, animals) to human impact, climate and ecological change on Quaternary timescales. We examine human-environment interactions in the Anthropocene; origins and trends in biodiversity; evolution & extinction; ecosystem processes and biogeochemical cycling; long-term conservation. The module links modern ecology and biogeography with long-term ecology.

    • GGP3202 Tectonic Geomorphology

      The module focuses on how landforms can be created and modified by tectonic processes and how geomorphology can be used to interpret the nature of tectonic activity. An examination of the direct and indirect impact of tectonics on geomorphological systems at local through to regional and global scales.

    • GGP3204 Biological Conservation

      This module examinee the pursuit of biological conservation. Drawing on a wide range of case study material, in temperate and tropical, terrestrial and aqueous environments, the module examines the drivers and rationales for biological conservation, and the role of stakeholders, policies, legislation and practices in achieving it.

    • GGP3205 Global Climate Change

      This module is concerned with climate and environmental change in the past, present and future. Different timescales of climate change and their potential mechanisms are examined in detail. We critically review the process of future climate change prediction and review societal response options.

    • GGP3206 Desert Environments

      This module considers the unique aspects of the physical geography of deserts and other drylands, which occupy 47% of the world¿s land area, and assesses the challenges of human-environment interactions. Key processes and landforms in these regions are explored, before examining their history and the prospects for the future of both landscape and inhabitants.

    • GGX3201 Advanced Fieldwork in Geography

      Students will undertake an advanced field study, relating to key human and / or physical geographical issues in the visited area. After an introduction to key themes in the context of both urban and rural areas, students will conduct a group research project of their own design.

    • GGX3203 Work Based Learning in Geography

      This module provides an opportunity for work based learning. Students work with an appropriate host organisation for a minimum of 100 hours, engaged on activities relevant to geographical skills, knowledge and expertise.

    • GGX3205 Advanced GIS and Big Data

      This module provides an overview of advanced geographical information system (GIS) concepts and facilitates further practice of analytical skills. The concept of `big data¿ is explored within the geographical context. Themes and practice around the acquisition, processing, analysis and application of big data are introduced. Examples within geography are demonstrated across the natural and social sciences.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BA Geography Programme Specification September 2017 1381

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

108 - 112

28 overall to include 5 in geography at Higher Level. English and mathematics must be included.

A level/AS level
A typical offer is 112 points from a minimum of 2 A levels including C @ geography, excluding general studies

Please contact, stating explicitly the full list of modules within your qualification.

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

Access courses 
Pass a named Access to HE Diploma (e.g. science, humanities, combined), (including GCSE English and mathematics grade C /4 or above or equivalent) with at least 33 credits at merit and to include at least 12 credits in geography related units with merits.

Mathematics and English language grade C.

Equivalent qualifications may be considered.

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2017 2018
Home/EU £9,250 £9,250
International £12,250 £13,000
Part time (Home/EU) To be confirmed To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Fees are correct at the time of publication and may be subject to change. Please note that fees are subject to Government approval, reviewed on an annual basis and may be subject to change.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email

Discover more about our course

Our location offers an excellent quality of student life and the chance to study a range of geographical issues at first hand.

The mix of town, country and coast makes Plymouth the ideal place to study geography

Find out more about BA (Hons) Geography

Geography at Plymouth

Study a varied and exciting range of topics whilst gaining skills to equip you for a lifetime of learning.

Geography at Plymouth is renowned as a vibrant, welcoming community committed to teaching and research.

Find out more about what we do in geography

Student insight

The staff are specialists in their field, knowledgeable and passionate about their subject. The facilities are excellent too: particularly useful was LABplus, an open plan drop-in laboratory, with a range of equipment, apparatus and computers.

Hannah Chiswell BA (Hons) Geography graduate

Read more feedback from our students

Student insight

Studying geography at Plymouth was one of the best decisions I have made. I had the opportunity to build a degree that matched my interests and career direction. The location is also a significant benefit.

Andrew Fenton, BA (Hons) Geography graduate

Read more feedback from our students

Simon Cook - graduate profile

Plymouth provided the perfect environment to prepare for an academic career. Geography at Plymouth is part of a welcoming and dynamic department, truly engaged in student learning.

Simon tells us about the great research being done at Plymouth University and the different ways in which he’s collaborated with academic staff.

Learn more about Simon Cook

Matt Bishop – graduate profile

Since graduating in 2014, Matt has been planning the first ever circumnavigation of the planet on a scooter with a sidecar. His expedition aims to connect people through the medium of storytelling & raise awareness for the fight against Modern Day Slavery

Additional fieldwork and equipment costs

This course includes residential fieldwork. Typically, where the fieldwork is a compulsory part of the course, transport, accommodation and the majority of food costs are paid by the Faculty.

Some courses offer alternative or optional field courses with an additional cost.

Find out more information

Potential High Achievers Scheme

In the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences we recognise that our students are the future leaders in our subject disciplines and core to the development of a sustainable planet. We know that our applicants will thrive in the environment we can provide, and we want to ensure our best applicants become our future.

The scheme is now open for students who have applied to study, from September 2018, any full-time undergraduate course within the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, including chemistry. We will be contacting applicants who are not only on course to achieve top marks but who have an outstanding personal statement, in order to offer them a chance to receive an unconditional offer immediately.

Find out more about the scheme.

Academic staff

*These are the latest results from the National Student Survey. Please note that the data published on Unistats is updated annually in September.

The results of the National Student Survey (NSS) and the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey (DLHE) are made available to prospective students and their advisors through the Unistats website.