School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

BSc (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 an optional placement year offers work experience. You learn from expert, accessible, supportive staff who are skilled researchers in their field. Plymouth is the ideal setting as a vibrant urban environment surrounded by iconic rural and coastal landscapes.

Our geography degrees make the most of geography’s strengths in tackling head on the biggest global challenges we face. Modules have been designed to address many of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals – developed by the UN as the 'blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all' – all of our degrees are fully accredited by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).

2020 NSS results for Physical Geographical Sciences, including this course:

We’re very proud of our National Student Survey (NSS) 2020 return:

  • 93% satisfaction rate for overall quality of the course. 
  • 93% agreed that the staff were good at explaining things.
  • 96% said that the course was intellectually stimulating.

Scholarships for outstanding applicants

The School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences’ scholarship scheme recognises and rewards students joining our degree courses who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement.

Scholarships of £1,000 will be awarded to the two applicants in geography who achieve the highest grades in their A level or equivalent exams. The scholarship will be awarded during their first year of study at the University of Plymouth.

Iceland Field trip, May 2017. Photos courtesy of Caroline Clason.

Careers with this subject

Geography graduates have high rates of graduate employment. The RGS notes 'there is no such thing as a geography job; rather there are multiple jobs that geographers do'. Employment areas directly linked to geography include working in consultancy, planning, tourism, local/regional/national government, NGOs and teaching; others find the social and numerical skills learned lead towards management and finance.

Key features

  • Our newly designed curriculum places sustainability challenges at the centre, with modules designed to help address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Choose from a range of physical and/or human geography choice modules so that you determine your degree pathway.
  • Our supportive staff are expert researchers and many are world leaders in their field.
  • Teaching is innovative and student-centred. You will learn through lectures, seminars, practicals, national and international residential fieldwork, tutorials and one-to-one dissertation support. 
  • Learn to use Geographical Information Systems to analyse and communicate complex spatial data. 
  • Take advantage of a wide range of study abroad possibilities in Europe, North America and Australia. 
  • Study on a course designed with a focus on employability and applied geography, supporting a range of career opportunities such as environmental consultancy, conservation and biogeography, earth science and hazard management, expedition work, and catchment management.
  • Experience a valuable work placement programme, opening up a range of career opportunities.
  • 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. 
  • 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.Choose from a range of human, physical and environmental geography modules – our stimulating programme of geographical studies includes theory and practical elements.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In your first year, modules will introduce you to the latest developments in human and physical geography, and you’ll benefit from small group tutorials. Undertake residential fieldwork and develop your practical and applied skills through lab work. 
    Core modules
    • GGH1202 Changing Places

      Here we begin our overview of contemporary human geography. The module is structured around key themes that are prominent in geographical thinking about how society is organised spatially, and how it changes. Lectures provide a framework for understanding, and through fieldwork and follow-up practical classes, we explore examples these themes using quantitative data, graphic and spatial statistical analysis.

    • GGH1203 Culture, Society and Space

      Here we continue our overview of contemporary human geography. The module is again structured around key themes that are prominent in geographical thinking about how society is organised spatially. Lectures provide a framework for understanding these themes, and through fieldwork and follow-up practical classes, we explore local examples using quantitative and qualitative data, and statistical analysis.

    • GGP1206 Environment and Climate

      Here we continue our overview of contemporary physical geography (which begin in GGP1205). The module is structured around key themes that are prominent in geographical thinking about environment al processes and change. Lectures provide a framework for understanding these themes, and we explore in more detail local examples in laboratory and practical sessions.

    • GGP1207 Hydrology and Geomorphology

      Here we begin our overview of contemporary physical geography. The module is structured around key themes that are prominent in geographical thinking about the environment. Lectures provide a framework for understanding these themes, and through supporting laboratory classes we explore examples of their local manifestation using quantitative data, graphic and spatial statistical analysis.

    • GGX1205 Geographical Journeys

      In this module we introduce geography as an undergraduate subject. Through lectures, residential fieldwork and a suite of tutorials we explore the interactions between human and physical geography, and consider the subject in relation to students¿ personal and future professional development. The tutorials support students adjusting to university-level study, in relation to both subject and key / transferable skills.

    • GGX1206 Sustainable Futures

      In this module we explore how geographers use the concepts and principles of sustainable development, and critically examine their application to a range of real-world issues. You enhance your subject knowledge and understanding, and develop your key skills, by investigating an aspect of `sustainability in practice¿, and you are supported through a full programme of tutorials.

  • 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 overseas destinations (recent courses have run in Morocco, USA, Iceland, Australia and Sweden).
    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.

    • 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.

    • GGX2204 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 overseas destinations, to a comparable academic format.

    Optional modules
    • ENVS2005 Weather and Climate

      Understanding weather and climate is essential for developing in-depth knowledge on how climate is changing today and will change in the future. This module will develop intellectual and practical skills in critical analysis of weather and climate data. In addition, an examination of the scientific evidence for current and predicted effects of weather and climate will be addressed.

    • GGH2206 Nature, Country and Society

      This module explores the relationship of human societies to nature and the country. You will examine different understandings of nature and rurality, and how these affect the ways in which different cultures approach environmental problems.  We will consider how the countryside is changing and the implications for people and nature. The module will also ask you to think about your own lives in relation to these ideas.

    • GGH2207 Transport, Travel and Mobilities

      We establish a framework for investigating how and why people move, and why this is important. After focusing on the politics and policy of mobility, we consider people’s everyday mobilities (such as walking, cycling and commuting) and uses of travel time, socialities and embodied encounters. We look at the mobility of specific groups, in particular domestic and international students, within their everyday communities.

    • GGP2206 Quaternary to Anthropocene

      The Earth has undergone significant and fundamental changes during our current interglacial period (the last ~12,000 years), to the point of a new Geological epoch being suggested: the Anthropocene. This module focusses on deepening students’ understanding of how our planet has moved from one that was nature-dominated to the current culture-dominated environment we inhabit, at both local, continental and global scales.

    • GGP2207 Catchment to Coast

      Practically all human-environment interactions take place within river catchments and the coastal zone. To address key environmental challenges of the 21st century, such as climate change and sustainable resource management, we need to understand how these integrated systems function. This module provides the process knowledge required to contribute to global and local debates, and includes field and laboratory work.

    • GGX2203A 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.

    • GGX2203B 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.

    • HTM216 Tourism, Development and Culture

      The importance of culture and underlying social principles are explored to aid in understanding tourism development. The module also examines the relationship between tourism and host communities with particular reference to developing countries.

  • Optional placement year
  • Choose an optional 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.
    Core 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
  • You’ll 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
    • GGH3207 Sustainable Cities

      The aim of the module is to explore the challenges of sustainable urban growth in contemporary cities, in the UK and internationally. A key focus is understanding how spatial planning and urban governance can tackle sustainable development and climate change challenges in an increasingly urban world. Using geographical concepts, these issues will be explored through case studies and good practice from a range of cities.

    • GGH3208 Citizenship, Territory and War

      As Brexit, climate-change protests and national independence movements demonstrate, politics and geography matter. Using contemporary case studies, this module explores the geographies of citizenship, territory and war. We identify and discuss varied forms of spatial governance, from local to national, maritime to global, as well as exploring contemporary processes and ideologies that challenge these forms.

    • GGH3209 Living Landscapes

      This module introduces students to the geographic study of landscape. The module considers everyday practices of living in landscapes in terms of the construction of identity, memory, and power; how such landscapes come to be portrayed through a variety of media, including film, literature, and music. The module expands students’ understanding of the forms that landscapes can take and the complexity of living therein.

    • GGH3210 Environmental Politics and Governance

      This module explores the main concepts and forces shaping environmental politics and governance. It examines how science, ethics, interests and power influence environmental debate and decision-making, using case studies of climate change, energy, deforestation, air pollution, marine protection and Antarctica to interrogate how governments and other actors have strived to address global to local environmental challenges.

    • 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.

    • GGP3207 Desertification and Dryland Change

      Drylands comprise 47% of the world’s land surface, and are home to well over 2 billion people. Although there tends to be a perception of drylands as barren, dead landscapes, these environments are environmentally dynamic, complex and highly sensitive to change on a very diverse range of timescales. This module focuses on the physical dynamism of desert landscapes through the lens of land degradation in the 21st century.

    • GGP3208 Restless Landscapes and Resilience

      The earth’s surface has been shaped throughout its history by rapid-onset natural processes. With large human populations now occupying many landscapes vulnerable to such geohazards, understanding high-magnitude, low-frequency natural events is crucial. This module explores geophysical and hydrological hazards, how geomorphology assists in understanding them and how communities can build resilience to them.

    • 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.

    • GGX3204 Big Data & Spatial Analytics

      This module provides an overview of advanced spatial analysis concepts and facilitates practice of data processing and management skills. Data manipulation through programming is introduced and the concept of big data is presented. Themes and practice around the acquisition, processing, analysis, visualisation and application of big data are explored, drawing on examples from 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:

BSc Geography programme specification 0079

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

104 - 112

IB
27 overall. English and mathematics must be included.

A level/AS level

104-112 points from a minimum of two A levels. Excluding general studies.

BTEC
DMM. We welcome this qualification however please contact admissions@plymouth.ac.uk, 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.

GCSE

Mathematics and English language grade C.

Other
Equivalent qualifications may be considered.

English language requirements.

We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated Brexit webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

New Student 2020 2021
Home £9,250 £9,250
International £13,800 £14,200
Part time (Home) £770 £770
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. For more information about fees and funding please visit www.plymouth.ac.uk/money.

Undergraduate scholarships for international students

To reward outstanding achievement the University of Plymouth offers scholarship schemes to help towards funding your studies.

Find out whether you are eligible and how you can apply

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the Faculty of Science and Engineering and more details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page: Additional fieldwork and equipment costs.

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 international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Assessment

  • 6 Practical: 12%
  • . Exams: 9%
  • b Coursework: 79%

Fieldwork*

Fieldwork is an essential part of studying geography. Our Royal Geographical Society accreditation means that all of our degree courses include learning through practical experience from the field. 

* We are not undertaking residential fieldwork during the Covid-19 pandemic, but once the pandemic has passed our residential fieldwork will resume.

Find out where geography at Plymouth can take you.

USA fieldwork

Research

Our research is focused on environment-society interactions, environmental processes and change, and their governance through regulation, management policies and stakeholder involvement.

Individual staff engage with a wide range of other departments in universities and research institutes from around the world.

Find out more about our research

Academic staff

Amber Joyce

I decided that geography would be an interesting and valuable subject to study because it encompasses so many different aspects of the world that we live in.

BSc (Hons) Geography student

Find out more about Amber and her course

Student insight

There were many highlights: travelling to Bath in the first year was the first time I'd felt challenged to be a geographer, the legendary trip to Iceland, and the camaraderie that developed with the geography staff and technical team.

Simon Quincey BSc (Hons) Geography graduate.

Read more feedback from our students

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