Two people looking at plans on a table


Geography and Planning

Please note the tariff points stated for this course are indicative. The tariff points for 2018 will be published by August 2017.

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Tariff points:
Geography and Environmental Management
BA(Hons): three years full-time
Programme leader:
Nick Smith
Key fact:
This exciting course adds a distinctive edge to our established courses in Geography and provides new opportunities for work across the UK and beyond.

Page last updated 22 March 2017


Why BA(Hons) Geography and Planning

Civilisation is putting increasing pressure on the world's environment and resources. This has become a critical issue for society, in particular geographers and planners. Their challenge is to plan and create healthier, better quality and more sustainable places for communities. This will help preserve resources for future generations while meeting a wide range of needs.

Why study our course?

On this course, you will explore the wide-ranging influences that affect environment, place and society and develop an understanding of how planners can tackle these challenges. These extend from the global - such as responding to the effects of climate change - to creating successful and thriving neighbourhoods. Our diverse teaching team brings the course to life through case studies, inspiring guest lecturers and innovative coursework briefs. The course also has an international outlook, paying attention to geographic regions balancing urbanisation with environmental challenges.

Real world experience

Throughout the course, you will gain experience and develop problem-solving skills on projects in our well-equipped studios. Some of these will involve working with real-life problems, communities or leading practitioners, often in multidisciplinary contexts. You will research and assess locations on day trips and residential field trips. You will also gain first-hand experience of the role that geographers and planners can make in society at regular presentations from visiting professionals and past students.

Where it can take you

A combined understanding of Geography and Planning opens up a wide range of career opportunities in the public, private and voluntary sectors. Areas of potential work could be in planning, tourism, economic development, regeneration, housing and environmental protection. You might also choose to pursue a career in research or teaching.

Watch the Royal Town Planning Institute's short film 'How do we plan our world?'

Watch the Royal Geographical Society's short film 'Going places with Geography'.



The course provides a blend between the subjects of Geography and Planning. Although the former dominates year one, greater emphasis is given to planning over the course of the remaining years.

Year one

During your first year you will explore some of the issues and agendas that geographers and planners are embracing. You will also be introduced to some of the key theories and ideas that are helping us to respond to the challenges identified, and the key skills and competencies that are being demonstrated by practising geographers and planners.

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Healthy Sustainable Communities
  • Geographies of Globalisation
  • Culture, Society and Place
  • People and Planning
  • Geographical Skills.

Year two

During year two you will begin to understand the role for planning in helping to address the type of challenges identified through year one. You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Future Places
  • Development, Practice and Law
  • Researching the City.

In addition, you will study three optional modules from the list below:

  • Managing Global Resources
  • Regenerating Cities
  • Rural Change and Development
  • Migration, Policy and Society
  • Culture, Geography and Tourism
  • Managing National Parks.

Final year

This year provides further opportunity to individualise your study. All students will need to take this module:

  • Achieving Design Quality

As well as this, you will also need to select one of the following:

  • Environmental Assessment (non-placement students) or
  • Placement (placement students)

In addition, you will select optional modules (according to credit requirements):

  • Final Year Project
  • Independent Project (Planning)
  • Design and Implementation Project.

In addition, you will study two of the following optional modules:

  • Planning Global Cities
  • International Tourism Development and the Environment
  • Environmental Management in the Global South
  • Transforming Cities
  • Renewable Energy
  • Integrated Water Management
  • Advanced Geographic Expedition.

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 diverse team of staff achieves consistently high scores on the National Student Survey and provides a friendly, enabling environment for learning. Staff regularly attend conferences and produce articles for publication. Many are also involved with professional and subject-based networks through which research and policy agendas are shaped.

Our focus on active learning means that you will encounter a wide range of innovative classroom and field based learning involving lectures, tutorials, workshops, seminars, and e-learning. You will develop your creativity and problem solving skills throughout the course, working in our studios on exciting and contemporary project briefs. Some of these will involve you working with real-life problems, communities or leading practitioners, often in multidisciplinary contexts.

Through our Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme, first year students receive mentoring and support from second year students to enhance the learning experience across our courses.

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

After successfully completing three years of full-time study, you will graduate with a BA(Hons) in Geography and Planning.

Geography and Planning students can also transfer across at the end of their first year to join year two of the RTPI's accredited BSc Urban Planning award.


You will be assessed through a combination of coursework and examinations. Examinations are held in either January or May and include written exams, in-class tests or assessed presentations. Coursework is varied and involves writing essays or reports, undertaking surveys or design work, or producing team based projects. You are actively encouraged to do formative work to prepare for assessments. This will not count towards your final marks but feedback should help you enhance your final mark. Support is available for any students who need it.

For more details see our full glossary of assessment terms.


Professional accreditation

The department has excellent links with the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), and provides an input into the shaping and making of policy and initiatives across the Institute. Similar links also exist with the Royal Geographical Society with the university contributing to a full calendar of events across the area.


Students who get work experience are more likely to graduate with a better degree and get higher quality work on graduation. So as well as helping hone your professional skills, industry knowledge and networks, experience will make you highly employable on graduation. We encourage you to take up internships through your time with us and you will also have the opportunity to take a placement between years two and three.


We arrange a series of day trips so you can visit the locations you are studying and meet the people that can inform your work.

These are supplemented by a series of field trips:

  • In Years one and two, we visit UK cities to explore live planning and development projects. Past cities have included Manchester, Liverpool, London and Sheffield.
  • In Year three you can visit a European city to explore new urban developments, meet community members, and hear from local lecturers. Past destinations include Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Lyon and Berlin.

Study facilities

You will be taught in modern, well-equipped facilities, which include our physical Geography laboratories. You will:

  • Study and collaborate on group assignments in our dedicated Project Room.
  • Conduct spatial enquiry and analyse data using industry-standard GIS and statistical software in our computer laboratories.
  • Develop desktop publishing and design skills, and access support for photography, digital imaging, filming and sound recording.

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

Learn from industry

We arrange regular presentations from visiting professionals and past students so you can learn about industry challenges and best practice. 

Socialise and campaign

There are student societies relating to both Geography and Planning with a host of social and educational events being organised throughout the year.

Showcase your work

Our final year students regularly showcase their work at UWE's annual Environment and Technology Degree Show. Have a look at our Pinterest Boards for examples of student's work.


Careers / Further study

Many of our students go on to pursue a career in planning. Planners work in a variety of places for a wide range of employers. Some go into careers in the private sector for consultancies. Others choose the public sector, advising government or working for agencies providing specialist environmental advice.

Graduates keen to develop a career in planning can pursue chartered membership of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) by undertaking further study or gaining experience in the sector.

Through study, Geography and Planning graduates can take an additional course, such as the university's MSc Urban Planning. From here, graduates will need to follow the RTPI's Assessment of Professional Competence and gain two years of practical planning experience to achieve status as a chartered planner (allowing graduates to use the letters 'MRTPI' after their name).

By taking the experience route, graduates can work towards associate membership by completing two years of practical experience in the sector. At this point they can use the letters 'AssocRTPI' after their name. Graduates can then follow the institute's Assessment of Professional Competence, and pursue a further two years experience, to achieve chartered status and use the letters 'MRTPI' after their name.

Award-winning Careers Service

Our award-winning careers service helps 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.

Be inspired

Read about what being a town planner involves.

Read about the career options available with a Geography degree.


Supplementary fee information

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

For information about funding for undergraduate courses see our funding pages.


Typical offers

  • Tariff points: 112
  • GCSE: For all applicants, Grade C or above, or Grade 4 under newly reformed GCSE grading, in English Language and 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 overall tariff. You must have a minimum of two A-Levels.
  • Relevant subjects: Geography, Environmental Studies
  • EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: No specific subjects required.
  • Access: Achievement of the Access to HE Diploma; to include 30 level 3 credits at merit.
  • Baccalaureate IB: No specific subjects required.

Entry requirements

We welcome applications from students without the conventional entrance requirements but who do have substantial relevant work or other experience and whose motivation and skills would enable them to succeed on the course.

If you don't meet the entry requirements of this course, you may be eligible for Foundation Year entry into this or other related degree courses.

Please read the general information about entry requirements.

UWE Bristol's International College
International students who do not meet the academic or English language requirements to study this course can qualify by completing preparatory study at our International College.

How to apply

Please see the general information about applications.

For further information


UWE Main Campus

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