Geography fieldwork*

Iceland field trip. Credit Caroline Clason

<p>Geography fieldwork in Brittany</p>
Fieldwork in Brittany
Geography fieldwork in Iceland
Studying glacial environments in Iceland
We provide a leading fieldwork programme taught by geography academics who are expert researchers in their field. Students gain experience of hands-on research, investigating critical contemporary social and environmental issues in a wide variety of environments. The skills gained from fieldwork such as project design, data collection, teamwork, and working in different settings are highly sought after by a range of employers.

In addition to local field visits associated with specialist modules, residential international fieldwork is an integral part of our degree programmes. Current and previous field courses have run across four continents and included Sweden, Iceland, Western Australia and the USA. Destinations vary from year to year but our Plymouth geography degree courses all contain a zero cost international field trip option. A supplementary cost may apply to some destinations.
We believe that worthwhile and responsible international travel provides an important context for us as geographers to better understand different cultures and landscapes. This international theme is also a core part of our BA (Hons) Geography and International Relations course. We've signed up to the Royal Geographical Society's (with IBG) principles for undergraduate field courses. These encompasses safe, sustainable, ethical, accessible and inclusive fieldwork. Additionally our field trips comply with the British Standard (BS 8848) for educational activities abroad including university and academic fieldwork. More information from two of our previous field courses to Western Australia and the Pacific Northwest of the USA can be explored via these links.

Dr Matt Telfer, Geography Programme Leader

Year 2

Put your research methods training in practice on a residential field course to one of a range of exciting destinations around the world. Recent trips have run to Australia, Belize, Borneo, China/Hong Kong, France, Iceland, Ireland, Morocco, Portugal, Sweden, and the United States. 
The trips involve both student-led and staff-led work, and allow you to sharpen your research and transferable skills while you investigate in the field issues you have learnt about at the University.

Year 3

Depending upon the modules chosen, there are opportunities for local fieldwork visits in support of these advanced courses.


Geography fieldwork USA2016
Climbing up towards the Mt St Helens volcanic crater in Washington, USA

Kings Park - Students on glass bridge, Western Australia&nbsp;&nbsp;<br></p>
Kings Park - Students on glass bridge, Western Australia


Fieldwork is a vital part of geography and ours is among the very best programmes in the UK.

This short video shows some of the issues explored by our final year students on their trip to the Pacific North West region of the USA in 2016.

"One of the highlights of my degree was the North West USA fieldwork module." Amy Sparrow, BA Geography

Geography fieldwork in Morocco
Trekking across the dunes in Morocco
Geography fieldwork in United States
The landscape of the US city - the view from Seattle space needle
Geography fieldwork
Engaging with the ancient Maya archaeological site Cahal Pech in Belize

Geography students investigate causes and impacts of devastating forest fires in Oregon

For the past decade, geography students on our Pacific North West field course have been examining the causes and effects of wildfires in Eastern Oregon. Working with the United States Forest Service, they have explored how fire impacts on slope hydrology and how the forest itself has coped with fire.

Wild fires are a natural part of the ecosystem along the Pacific coast and tree species present there have evolved to make use of fire to propagate and win competitive advantage. Challenges for the present day come not just from climate change but arise from a more complex history of 20th and early 21st century fire management, private property rights, and political and economic drivers, among others.

During the field courses students have learned specialist techniques, such as tree coring, to gain first-hand experience of how to research and address these challenges.


students in front of
burnt forest


students in front of burnt forest, image courtesy of Jamie Quinn

<p>Geography fieldwork - Pacific North West <br></p>

Geography fieldwork - Pacific North West -&nbsp;

tree coring 5


Geography fieldwork - Pacific North West -&nbsp;

Students tree

*Fieldwork may be subject to change due to staffing and external factors, such as covid restrictions.