Three geography students discussing a map


Geography (with Foundation Year)

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About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Tariff points:
Geography and Environmental Management
Four years full-time; five years sandwich
Full-time; sandwich
Programme leader:
Dr Chris Parker
Key fact:
As you progress, you will be able to tailor the course to your interests, with options including climate change, river dynamics, ecosystem conservation and global resource management.

Page last updated 4 July 2017


Why BSc(Hons) Geography?

As environmental challenges rise in prominence, those working in governments, science and industry are continually looking for new ways to manage issues like climate change, ecosystem endangerment, water and energy availability, and flooding. Through developing your skills and knowledge in this field, you will be able to become part of this growing industry. In the process of studying this fascinating subject, you will develop the analytical and communication skills sought by employers across a wide range of industries.

Why study our course?

This course will equip you with a solid understanding of the science behind the key environmental challenges faced by human society. This will take place as you learn about the different ways in which these natural forms and processes can be managed. As you progress, you will be able to tailor the course to your interests, with options including climate change, river dynamics, ecosystem conservation and global resource management. Alongside these, you will develop valuable skills in surveying, mapping, environmental assessment, geographical statistics and computer-based spatial analysis.

Real world experience

Throughout the course, you will apply theories in our well-equipped laboratories, work towards assessments based on real-world issues and also broaden your experience, through both local and international field trips. You will have an opportunity to apply what you've learnt and develop vital professional skills on a work placement in your preferred area of expertise.

Where it can take you

Studying geography can lead to a wide range of careers. On graduation, you will be able to choose from a variety of opportunities, ranging from environmental consultancy, conservation and government, to finance, education and research.

Read Louise's story to find out how she helps the Environment Agency assess and manage industrial operations.

Accreditations and partnerships:



This course initially provides a solid grounding in geography before you choose a selection of areas to specialise in. These include ecology and conservation, resource management, river and coastal management, and climate change. Alongside these, you will also develop key analytical, communication and business skills.

Foundation Year (Year zero)

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Environment and Sustainability
  • Foundation Project
  • Society, Economy and Governance
  • Development and Place
  • Data Analysis and Design.

You will study the Foundation year alongside students from our other Geography, Environmental Management and Planning courses, and therefore may be able to transfer to a course in one of these areas at the end of the Foundation year.

The normal expectation is that you must pass all Year zero modules before progressing to Year one.

Year one

During your first year, you will develop fundamental geographical knowledge and skills within the following modules:

  • Environmental Challenges
  • Earth Science
  • Geographies of Globalisation
  • Geographical Field Study
  • Geographical Skills.

Year two

As you progress into your second year, you will be able to begin tailoring your course to suit your interests.

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Researching Physical Geography
  • Professional Development for Geographers.

In addition, you will select five optional modules, typically from:

  • Climate Change: Tracing the Record
  • Understanding Coastal Dynamics
  • Ecology
  • Meteorology
  • Understanding River Dynamics
  • Hot Deserts: Surviving Extremes
  • Managing Global Resources.

Optional placement year

All students are encouraged to spend their third year in a work placement. Undertaking a placement will represent a fantastic opportunity to achieve a foothold on the employment ladder. The curriculum in year two will provide you with support in securing this.

Final year

In the Final year, you will have complete flexibility to study the aspects of physical geography and the environment that are of most interest to you. You will complete an independent project on a topic of your choosing and choose a further three modules, typically from:

  • Global Warming and Environmental Hazards
  • Managing Rivers and Coasts
  • Biogeography and Conservation
  • GIS and Remote Sensing Applications
  • Advanced Geographic Expedition
  • Environmental Management in the Global South
  • Integrated Water Management
  • Renewable Energy.

This structure is for the full-time course delivery only. For part-time delivery, the same modules will be studied over a longer period and the structure will differ.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

Our lecturing staff achieve consistently high scores in the National Student Survey and provide a friendly, enabling environment for learning. They are active researchers or industrial consultants and are qualified to teach at the cutting-edge of this discipline.

The course is taught through a blend of learning activities, including lectures, seminars, small group work, laboratory classes, fieldwork and workshops.

Through our Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme and to enhance your learning experience, you will receive mentoring and support from Year two students during Year one.

Find out more about our Department's approach to learning and teaching.

For more details, see our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Study time

Lectures, workshops/seminars, group project work and tutoring account for 12 hours of contact time per week. However, as a full-time student, you will be expected to spend at least twice as much time in essential independent study and preparation for assessments.


Modules are assessed through various combinations of examinations, essays, projects, presentations and field exercises. Most coursework is undertaken individually but there are some group assignments. Examinations take place at the middle and end of Year one, Year two and the Final year.

For more details, see our full glossary of assessment terms.


Professional accreditation

This course has been accredited by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).

This course is accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES).

IES Student Membership

As a student on this degree, you will be able to apply to become a Student Member of the IES free of charge. You may then use the post-nominal StMIEnvSc. You can download the Student Membership Pack online.


Students who undertake a work placement are more likely to graduate with a better degree and obtain higher quality work on graduation. This means that, as well as helping hone your professional skills, industry knowledge and network, a placement will make you highly employable on graduation.

Our students have completed work placements in a variety of contexts, including recycling in Chile, ecological management in Australia and transport management in the UK. 

Bristol is a sustainability hub and gained recognition as European Green Capital 2015 and was also the UK's first Cycle City. As a result, students have found exciting placements locally in this field.

Read Ben's placement case study to find out how he helped Bristol City Council set the wheels in motion on their electric vehicle strategy.

Read Gemma's placement case study to discover how she gained valuable skills carrying out Land Quality Assessments for the RAF.


Field trips are an important part of this course and you will be able to take advantage of three residential trips.

In Year one, you will spend a week studying river ecology, coastal management, woodland ecology and landscape evolution on Dartmoor.

In Year two, you will develop your ability to think analytically and deliver effective presentations during a week researching the physical geography of the Brittany coastline.

In Year three, you will have the opportunity to spend two weeks on an advanced geographic expedition to an exotic location (recent destinations include Iceland, China and Kenya).

In addition, there will be field trips associated with many of the optional modules you will be able to take in Year two and Year three.

Hear students talk about studying Iceland's diverse geography on an advanced geographic expedition.

Study facilities

You will have an opportunity to experiment and test your theories in dedicated earth science, environmental change and specialist computer laboratories. You will:

  • investigate historic environments and test water quality and soil mechanics in our earth science and environmental change laboratories
  • carry out spatial enquiry and analyse data using industry-standard GIS and statistical software in our computer laboratories.

Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE Bristol has to offer.

Learn from industry

To help you decide which career to go into and learn about industry challenges, there will be opportunities to attend presentations from visiting professionals.

Socialise and campaign

You will be able to meet fellow geographers and campaign on environmental issues in our thriving Geography Society.

Showcase your work

Our Final year students regularly showcase their environmental ideas to friends and family, the public and potential employers at the annual degree show.

Be inspired

Read our students' experiences whilst studying Geography, Planning and Environmental Management courses.


Careers / Further study

Studying geography can lead to a wide range of careers. On graduation, you will be able to go on to work for environmental consultancies, conservation agencies and government, or take on research opportunities. There will also be opportunities to use your skills and knowledge in logistics, business management and finance. Along with this, if you are interested in teaching geography at secondary school level, the course will offer a good foundation for a postgraduate teaching qualification. 

Award-winning Careers Service

Our award-winning careers service will help you develop your employment potential through career coaching, a vacancy service for internships, placements, jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity, plus support for entrepreneurial activity and access to employer events.

Creating employable students

UWE Bristol places strong emphasis on employability and skills development at every level. Through work placements, volunteering, study abroad and initiatives nurturing talent and innovation, you will have opportunities to gain valuable real world experience, allowing you to graduate with diverse career opportunities and a competitive place in the job market.

Visit our Employability pages to find out about careers, employers, real world experience and what our students are doing six months after graduating.

Useful links

Prospects career options with a degree in geography

Guardian - what to do with a degree in environmental science/physical geography


Indicative Additional Costs

FeesAmount (£)
Additional Course Costs - Full Time - Home/EU - Indicative Maximum Cost Per year150

Full time course

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee9250
Home/EU-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1156
International-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee12250
International-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1531
Offshore-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee9250
Offshore-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit) 1156

Full time course with placement year

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU-Sandwich-Annual (Per Year) Fee9250
Home/EU-Sandwich-Full Annual Fee Following Placement Year9250
Home/EU-Sandwich-Module Fee (15 Credit)1156
Home/EU-Sandwich-Placement Year Fee1156
Home/EU-Sandwich-Reduced Annual Fee Following Placement Year8094
International-Sandwich-Annual (Per Year) Fee12250
International-Sandwich-Full Annual Fee Following Placement Year12250
International-Sandwich-Module Fee (15 Credit)1531
International-Sandwich-Placement Year Fee1531
International-Sandwich-Reduced Annual Fee Following Placement Year10719
Offshore-Sandwich-Annual (Per Year) Fee9250
Offshore-Sandwich-Full Annual Fee Following Placement Year9250
Offshore-Sandwich-Module Fee (15 Credit)1156
Offshore-Sandwich-Placement Year Fee1156
Offshore-Sandwich-Reduced Annual Fee Following Placement Year8094

Supplementary fee information

The additional costs listed are those you could reasonably expect to incur during your studies and are for items not covered by the standard tuition fee. These could be materials, text books, travel, clothing, software or printing.

Further information about fees and funding.


Students starting this course in September 2017 should follow this link to view their joining instructions.

We automatically send a message via your Welcome website plus an email to notify you once your joining instructions are available. It is important that you regularly check your Welcome website for new messages about your Registration and Enrolment. If you have not received the email please contact our Applicant Experience Team by email at so we may check that we have the correct address.

For more information about joining the University, please see our New Students pages.

Typical offers

  • Tariff points: 72
  • GCSE: For all applicants, Grade C or above, or Grade 4 under newly reformed GCSE grading, in English Language and Grade D or above, or Grade 4 under newly reformed GCSE grading, in Mathematics, or equivalent. Please note the University does not accept Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Certificates in Adult Numeracy and Literacy as suitable alternatives to GCSEs.
  • A-level subjects: No specific subjects required. Points from General Studies and AS-Level subjects (not taken onto full A-Level) can be included towards the overall tariff. You must have a minimum of one A-Level.
  • EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: No specific subjects required.
  • Access: Achievement of the Access to HE Diploma; no specific subjects required.
  • Baccalaureate IB: No specific subjects required.

Entry requirements

The 'Typical offers' information above is only for full-time students entering the foundation year.

We are happy to consider your application if you have a mixture of A-Levels and BTEC qualifications.

We also welcome applications from highly motivated students who do not meet the usual entrance requirements given above, so we will consider you if you have gained equivalent knowledge and skills from substantial relevant work or other experience.

UWE Bristol's International College

If you are an international student and do not meet the academic or English language requirements to study this course, you can qualify by completing preparatory study at our International College.

Please read the general information about entry requirements.

If you expect to achieve a higher tariff score, you may also be interested in our BSc(Hons) Geography course.

How to apply

Please see the general information about applications.

For further information


UWE Main Campus

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