School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

BSc (Hons) Geography with Ocean Science

Geography explores the relationships between people, places and the environment. Choose to specialise or maintain a broad range of interests. A placement year offers valuable work experience. Ocean science focuses on aspects of physical oceanography including ocean circulation, shelf sea oceanography, tides, waves and coastal processes. Plymouth is the ideal setting, giving you hands-on experience of the physical geography of a dynamic estuary and coast within walking distance of campus.

You will maximise your choice of option modules by studying geography as a major subject within a BSc combined honours degree. Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, local and international fieldwork and tutorials. You’ll also gain excellent communication skills by working independently and as part of a team and learn from expert, accessible, supportive staff who are skilled researchers in their field.

Key features

  • Maximise your choice of option modules by studying geography as a major subject within a BSc combined honours degree. Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, local and international fieldwork and tutorials.
  • Develop your understanding of coastal and marine processes and their interactions with marine biology and ecology, and the ways in which people choose to respond to, and manage, the coastal and marine environments. 
  • Seize the opportunity to gain 'problem-solving' experience. You’ll also be equipped with advanced computer and information technology skills and expertise in other work-related areas.
  • Establish a sound knowledge base across all areas of ocean science, with options to study physical oceanography and meteorology, biological and chemical oceanography, and coastal oceanography.
  • Gain excellent communication skills by working independently and as part of a team and learn from expert, accessible, supportive staff who are skilled researchers in their field.
  • Benefit from our unique location in Britain's 'Ocean City', with glorious beaches, coasts, rivers and estuaries on your doorstep, and within sight of Dartmoor National Park and the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
  • Choose to study abroad in Europe or the USA. You can also experience a valuable work placement programme, opening up a range of career opportunities.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In your first year, lectures, tutorials, practicals and local fieldwork in physical geography will strengthen your knowledge and introduce new ideas and techniques. Geography modules include geomorphology, population and development and practising physical or practising human geography. You’ll complete ocean science foundation modules, covering aspects of oceanography and meteorology. 
    Core modules
    • GGP1202 Introducing Physical Geography 1

      The module provides an overview of physical geography and develops the student's use of the tools needed to investigate contemporary issues in the subject. It will also introduce simple geographical data presentation methods and provide foundational knowledge of data manipulation methods and descriptive statistics. A series of small group tutorials aids students in developing the geographical study skills.

    • GGP1203 Introducing Physical Geography 2

      The module provides a foundation in physical geography and develops the student's use of tools needed to investigate contemporary geographical issues. It focuses on the use of more sophisticated laboratory methods and introduces the students to applied quantitative data analysis, and the examination of geospatial data using GIS. A series of small group tutorials aids students in further developing geographical skills.

    • 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.

    • OS102 Physical and Chemical Processes of the Ocean

      This module provides an introduction to the main physical and chemical processes occurring in the world's oceans and a foundation in key aspects of underpinning science and mathematics.

    • OS103 Biology and Hydrography of the Ocean

      This module aims to develop an understanding of the diversity of life in the sea and how we explore marine environments. Methods of marine exploration will be studied and a general understanding of where different organisms live and how they interact in marine ecosystems will be developed.

    Optional modules
    • FREX100PP French 1

      This module is designed for beginners in French, 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 French, negotiate everyday needs in France / a French speaking country, and communicate using spoken and simple written language in a limited social or work setting.

    • 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.

    • GERX100PP German 1

      This module is designed for beginners in German, 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 German speakers, negotiate everyday needs in a German-speaking country, and communicate using spoken and simple written language in a limited social or work setting.

    • MATH1608PP Understanding Big Data from Social Networks

      The amount of data from questionnaires and social networks has grown enormously. Computer tools are needed to understand what these data are telling us. Students will gain valuable experience in questionnaire analysis, and in the use of software for understanding and reporting the underlying messages from data sources such as social networks. They will also meet appropriate high performance computing techniques.

    • 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 specialise in physical geography options (fieldwork options may also be chosen). Geography modules include the principles and practice of geographical research, sustainability policies and practices, and geography and employability. You’ll also have a chance to study in Europe, North America or Australia. Develop ocean science knowledge through modules covering large-scale ocean dynamics and mixing processes and tides, waves and coastal processes.
    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.

    • OS201 Global Ocean Processes

    • OS204 Waves, Tides and Coastal Dynamics

      This module provides an introduction to the characteristics of ocean waves and focuses on how waves and tides interact with the coast and drive the coastal processes that result in shoreline erosion and accretion.

    Optional modules
    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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, leading to a Certificate of 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
  • In your final year, you’ll write a dissertation on your choice of geography or ocean science research topic and take further geography option modules. Fieldwork options outside the UK are offered. You’ll also complete ocean science modules exploring shelf sea oceanography, estuarine processes and further aspects of waves and coastal processes.
    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.

    • OS303 Ocean Dynamics

      The module provides an introduction to dynamical oceanography with emphasis on the large- and meso-scale circulation in the world ocean and shelf seas. Topics include geostrophic and wind driven currents, eddies, formation of fronts, upwelling, interactions between water masses, exchanges between shelf and deep seas. Emphasis is placed on quantitative understanding of physical processes and the analysis of field data.

    • OS306 Coastal Geomorphology and Estuaries

      A study of the different geomorphological archetypes of the coastal zone which builds on the student's knowledge of physical processes to describe how the geographical characteristics of these zones develop. The module explores how the characteristics of these zones influence the associated ecosystems and examines how human utilisation of this space contributes to or conflicts with the natural setting.

    Optional modules
    • 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.

    • 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.

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 Ocean Science Programme Specification September 2016 0087

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

IB
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

BTEC
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
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

GCSE
Mathematics and English language grade C.

Other
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 Check with School To be confirmed
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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.

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.



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

Overall, I cannot fault the course and I thoroughly enjoyed my three years with you. I feel that the transferable skills and the general skills we were taught have been a huge benefit to me. Foreign fieldwork in the third year was a fantastic opportunity.

Natalie Lavell, BSc (Hons) Geography graduate who at the time of writing had completed her PGCE and entered the teaching profession.

Read more feedback from our students

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

Ocean Science at Plymouth

Over 70 per cent of the Earth's surface is covered by water and many of the most difficult and urgent challenges we face relate to interactions between people, land, coasts and oceans and understanding the processes that operate in these environments.

You'll get to grips with these pressing challenges as part of your minor pathway.

Marine Station

Boasting lecture facilities overlooking the sea, a wet lab for sample examination and analysis, a seawater aquarium, and field equipment storage and changing facilities.

The Marine Station is a landmark £5 million development; a state-of-the-art teaching and research facility on the shores of Plymouth Sound.

Discover more about the Marine Station

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 2017, 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