Login to UWE


Three students looking at a map on a table

About this course

Accreditations and partnerships:

Virginia Commonwealth University Institution of Environmental Sciences
  • Entry year: 2015/16
  • Course code: FF89
  • Applications: UCAS
  • Level: Undergraduate
  • Tariff points: 300
  • Department: Geography and Environmental Management
  • Campus: Frenchay
  • Duration: Three years full-time; four years sandwich
  • Delivery: Full-time, sandwich, part-time (not day release)
  • Study Abroad: Yes
  • Programme leader: Dr Chris Parker
  • Key fact: Study Geography on this course accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES), which achieves excellent scores for its learning experience and quality of teaching.


Why BSc(Hons) Geography?

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

Why study our course?

Accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES), this course will equip you with a solid understanding of the science behind key environmental challenges faced by human society. This is while learning about the different ways in which these natural forms and processes can be managed. As you progress, you can tailor the course to your interests with options including climate change, river dynamics, ecosystem conservation, and global resource management. Alongside, 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 and broaden your experience through field trips. You can also 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 can choose from opportunities ranging from environmental consultancy, conservation and government, to finance, education and research.

Read how Geography graduate Louise helps the Environment Agency assess and manage industrial operations. 

>> Structure

Student's view

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my three years on this course and it has enabled me to learn some of the skills needed to pursue a career in the environmental field." 3rd year BSc Geography student



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

See descriptions of the module content and assessment.

Year 1

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

See how a year one student's timetable might look.

Year 2

As you progress into your second year, you can start to tailor your course to suit your interests.

You will take two core modules:

  • Researching Physical Geography
  • Professional Development for Geographers and Environmental Managers

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

  • Climate Change: Tracing the Record
  • Understanding Coastal Dynamics
  • Geo-Ecology
  • Geographies of Security
  • 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 is a fantastic opportunity to get yourself a foothold on the employment ladder. The curriculum in the second year provides support in securing this.

Final year

In the final year you 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
  • Water and Energy Futures

Please note:

  • Course structures and module contents are regularly reviewed to ensure that they remain up to date and relevant, so some of them may change before the course starts or whilst you are on it. However, the overall aims and broad content of the course will remain the same.
  • 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.

Learning and teaching

Our lecturing staff achieve consistently high scores on the National Student Survey and provide a friendly, enabling environment for learning. They are active researchers or industrial consultants and are aware of modern advances in the discipline.

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

Through our Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme, first year students receive mentoring and support from second year students. Find out how we use PAL 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

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 as much time again 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 end of the first, second and final years.

See examples of the module content and assessment.

For more details see our full glossary of assessment terms.

>> Features

Special Features

Professional accreditation

This course is accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES) and the Committee of Heads of Environmental Sciences. The IES is a leading professional body for professionals and academics in environmental science.

IES Student Membership

As a student on this degree you can 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 do a work placement 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 network, a placement will make you highly employable on graduation.

Our students have done work placements 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 the UK's first Cycle City. As a result, students have found exciting placements locally in this field.

Read how Ben helped Bristol City Council set the wheels in motion on their electric vehicle strategy.

Read how Gemma gained valuable skills on her placement doing Land Quality Assessments for the RAF.


Field trips are an important part of this course and you can take advantage of three residential and numerous day trips.

In Year 1 you will spend a week studying river ecology, coastal management, woodland ecology and landscape evolution in Dartmoor.

In Year 2 you will develop your ability to think analytically and deliver effective presentations during a week around the Brittany coastline.

In Year 3 there is the opportunity to spend two weeks on an advanced geographic expedition to an exotic location (recent destinations include Iceland, China and Kenya).

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

Study facilities

You can experiment and test your theories in dedicated earth science, environmental change, and environmental physics laboratories.

• Investigate historic environments, and test water quality and soil mechanics in our physical geography laboratories.

• Map and measure angles, distances and topography, and carry out level surveys in our surveying laboratory.

• 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 has to offer.

Learn from industry

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

Socialise and campaign

You can meet fellow geographers and campaign on environmental issues in our thriving Geography Society.

Showcase your ideas

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

>> Careers

Careers/further study

Studying geography can lead to a wide range of careers. On graduation, you can go on to work for environmental consultancies, conservation agencies, government and research. There are opportunities to use your skills and knowledge in logistics, business management and finance. And if you are interested in teaching geography at secondary school level, this degree course offers a good foundation for a postgraduate teaching qualification. 

Award-winning Careers Service

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

Graduate destinations

Find out what our graduates are doing six months after graduating- includes examples of careers, employers and further study. Download a PDF from graduate destinations.

See great graduate prospects for further information.

Creating employable students

UWE places strong emphasis on employability and skills development at every level. Through work placements, volunteering, study abroad and UWE initiatives which nurture talent and encourage innovation, students gain valuable real world experience and graduate with diverse career opportunities and a competitive place in the job market.

Useful links

Prospects career options with a degree in geography

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

>> Fees


Full time course

FeeAmount (£)
Home/EU-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee9000
Home/EU-Full Time-15 Credit Module Fee1125
International-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee11250
International-Full Time 15 Credit Module Fee1406
Offshore-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee9000
Offshore-Full Time 15 Credit Module Fee1125

Full time course with placement year

FeeAmount (£)
Home/EU-Sandwich-Placement Year Fee1125
International-Sandwich-Placement Year Fee3000
Offshore-Sandwich-Placement Year Fee1125
Home/EU-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee9000
Home/EU-Sandwich-Annual Reduced Final Year fee7875
Home/EU-Full Time-15 Credit Module Fee1125
International-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee11250
International-Full Time 15 Credit Module Fee1406
Offshore-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee9000
Offshore-Sandwich-Annual Reduced Final Year fee7875
Offshore-Full Time 15 Credit Module Fee1125
Home/EU-Sandwich-Annual Full Final Year Fee9000
Offshore-Sandwich-Annual Full Final Year Fee9000

Supplementary fee information

For information about fees and funding for courses please see our fees and funding pages.

>> Entry


Typical offers

  • Tariff points: 300
  • GCSE: Grade C or above 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, Land and Environment
  • EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: A minimum of DDM from the BTEC Diploma
  • Access: Achievement of the HE Diploma; to include 30 Level 3 credits at Merit; Level 2 credits giving GCSE equivalency (where appropriate) in English Language and Mathematics.
  • Baccalaureate IB: 26 points

Entry requirements

Students who successfully complete the Built and Natural Environments Foundation course may be permitted to transfer onto the first year of this degree course.

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.

Please read the general information about entry requirements.

Students with disabilities

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. We are committed to supporting students with disabilities, and wherever possible we will make reasonable adjustments to these activities to enable students with disabilities to successfully complete the course. We encourage applicants to disclose any disabilities or support needs in their application forms, so that we can offer information, advice and support. There is a Disability Service at UWE Bristol and a Disability Support Co-ordinator in the Department. The course normally requires students to be able to:

  • Use a computer
  • Read and produce drawings, plans and maps
  • Participate in field courses or activities away from the University
  • Team working and negotiation
  • Laboratory work involving observations and physical manipulation
  • Take part in discussions and presentations

Open Days

We run Open Days throughout the year when you can meet lecturers and current students, see the facilities and resources that we offer, and visit the student accommodation. Please view our Open Day web pages for details.

How to apply

UCAS Extra We welcome applications through UCAS Extra for this programme from 25 February until 2 July 2015. Responses to UCAS Extra applications will be given within 14 working days.

Please see the general information about applications.

For further information

Copyright 2015 © UWE better together