School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

BSc (Hons) Geography with Foundation Year

Our degree explores the relationships between physical processes, nature and environmental change. All our geography degrees provide students with the knowledge and skills to understand and tackle the biggest global challenges facing the planet and humanity; and our modules do this by engaging with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Your learning has a strong emphasis on applied skills and career development, with an optional placement year offering work experience.

Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2022*

The University of Plymouth has been named among the top 5% of universities globally in 2022 for its contribution to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals*, in particular, work on marine issues and on climate change. In the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, sustainability is at the heart of our research and teaching. From sustainable cities, affordable and clean energy, to climate policy, biodiversity, and natural hazards, our academic staff work with partners locally and overseas to help understand, communicate and solve fundamental and pressing sustainability challenges.
Find out more in our press release 

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

  • Your degree pathway is flexible, as you can choose human geography (GGH) modules, even if you have entered to study a BSc (physical geography) course.
  • A BSc (Hons) Geography degree would typically comprise more physical geography (GGP) option modules than human geography option modules.
  • Teaching is innovative and student-centred. You will learn through lectures, seminars, practicals, national and/or international residential fieldwork, tutorials and one-to-one dissertation support.
  • You will learn from expert, accessible, and supportive staff who are skilled researchers in their field.
  • Learn to use Geographical Information Systems to analyse and communicate complex spatial data.
  • Take the opportunity to spend your second year studying abroad in Europe, Canada, Australia, USA or elsewhere through our exchange programme.
  • Our focus on employability and applied geography supports students to pursue a range of career opportunities.
  • Choose an optional work placement programme providing skills, experience and contacts in a wide range of employment sectors.
  • 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.
  • A diverse and respectful place in which to work and study is fundamental to everything we do. Find out more about equality, diversity and inclusion in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science.

Course details

  • Year 1

  • In your first year you will learn the skills necessary to be successful at University and immerse yourself in a broad range of applications for your chosen subject. This will include learning about the fundamentals of the physical environment and build towards an end of year project to showcase your skills for sustainable development. Fieldwork and laboratory work will form a key part of the training.

    Core modules

    • Becoming a Successful Global Scientist (FYM001)

      This module will introduce learners to some of the major global environmental challenges facing society today and how science has a role in tackling them. It will help enable learners to adapt to the Higher Education Learning Environment by the development of a more independent, reflective and self-managed approach to study, learning, scientific writing, time management and mathematical skills for the study of science.

    • Essentials for Physical and Environmental Sciences (FYM002)

      This module introduces learners to the study of physical and environmental science. It covers the very small scale from atoms to large scale global systems. This module teaches the fundamental concepts and analysis methods for chemical, environmental and earth system sciences. No prior knowledge is assumed. Emphasis is placed on building understanding of core principles and confidence in essential practical techniques.

    • Our Changing Planet - Chemical and Geo-environmental Processes (FYM004)

      This module builds on the core ideas introduced in its partner module in the first semester (FYM002), introducing a range of additional physical, earth and environmental concepts. There will be a strong emphasis on applying scientific principles to a wide range of topics in earth, environmental and chemical sciences.

    • Sustainable Development Project (FYM006)

      This module will introduce the learners to group work. As part of a group, they will investigate one of the global environmental challenges facing society today. Each global environmental challenge will be investigated through its impact(s) in and around SW England. The learners will be guided in their investigation and present their findings at an end of year conference. This will be followed by an individual reflection upon the group work process.

  • Year 2

  • In your second year, modules will introduce you to the latest developments in human and physical geography, and you’ll benefit from small group tutorials. Undertake fieldwork and develop your practical and applied skills through lab work.
  • Year 3

  • In your third 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).
  • Year 4

  • 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.
  • 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.

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 With Foundation Programme Specification Year September 2024 7668

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


A level: 32 to 48 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of 2 A levels.
BTEC: 18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma PPP.
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: pass Access course (preferably from a science/combined studies/natural sciences/nursing subject) (including GCSE English and mathematics grade C/4 or above or equivalent). For candidates that do not have a science, electrical or technology background please contact: for further advice.
T level: Pass. Any pathways related to Science/Engineering/Health.
International Baccalaureate: 24 overall to include 1 subject from science – English and mathematics must be included. 
GCSE: English and mathematics at grade C/4 or above. 
Applications from students with non-standard qualifications, including those without science qualifications at level 3, are welcomed and are assessed on an individual basis.  
This programme is also suitable for those returning to study who can offer work or other related experience in place of formal qualifications and who have the equivalent of basic mathematical, English and science skills (i.e. the equivalent of a grade C/4 at GCSE level). 
We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary

Fees, costs and funding

Student 2023-2024 2024-2025
Home £9,250 £9,250
International £16,300 £18,100
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. More information about fees and funding.

Undergraduate scholarships for international students

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

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.

Tuition fees for optional placement years

The fee for all undergraduate students completing any part of their placement year in the UK in 2023/2024 is £1,850.
The fee for all undergraduate students completing their whole placement year outside the UK in 2023/2024 is £1,385.
Learn more about placement year tuition fees

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



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. 
Fieldwork may be subject to change due to staffing and external factors.

Oscar, BA (Hons) Geography student, shares his experience of a course field trip in Torquay.

Our suite of courses offer opportunities for overseas fieldwork. 

The differences between BA and BSc geography

Geography explores the relationships between people, places and the environment, focusing on contemporary global challenges such as sustainability and climate change. Our BSc (Hons) Geography degree uses predominantly scientific techniques to explore the natural world. BA (Hons) Geography typically focuses on human geography and the impacts of people on societies, mobilities and environmental governance.
Our degrees are flexible, allowing you to move between BA and BSc pathways through our choice of human and physical geography modules. 
Geography 50 - Iceland

Centre for Research in Environment and Society (CeRES)

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.
Soil erosion. Will Blake. 

Academic staff

Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) logo

Careers with geography

Studying geography develops your analytical and communication skills and your ability to evaluate data, all strengths that are in demand in the graduate jobs market. Like other science graduates, you have a broad range of career paths open to you, though you may be particularly drawn to areas such as environmental planning, health, politics education, commerce, industry, transport, tourism, public sectors and international relations. 
Geography 50