BA(Hons) Geography and Planning (with Foundation Year)

Entry year
Course code
Tariff points
Geography and Environmental Management
Four years full-time, five years sandwich
Full-time, sandwich
Programme leader
Dr Sara-Jayne Williams

Please note we are no longer offering this course to new applicants.

If you would like information about our alternative course(s), please visit the BA(Hons) Geography (with Foundation Year) or BSc(Hons) Urban Planning (with Foundation Year) course pages.

Page last updated 20 July 2020


This distinctive course provides new opportunities for work across the UK and beyond.

Why study geography and planning?

Civilisation is putting increasing pressure on the world's environment and resources.

This has become a critical issue for society, particularly geographers and planners.

Our challenge is to plan and create healthier and more sustainable places for communities, preserving resources for future generations.

Why UWE Bristol?

BA(Hons) Geography and Planning helps you explore the wide-ranging influences that affect environment, place and society.

The course provides a blend of geography and planning, although the former dominates year one and greater emphasis is given to planning over the remaining years.

Develop an understanding of how planners can tackle global issues such as responding to the effects of climate change, to local issues like creating thriving neighbourhoods.

Learn from case studies, inspiring guest lecturers and innovative coursework briefs. Explore international geographic regions balancing urbanisation with environmental challenges.

Where can it take me?

A combined understanding of geography and planning opens up a range of careers in the public, private and voluntary sectors.

You could work in planning, tourism, economic development, regeneration, housing and environmental protection. You might also choose to pursue a career in research or teaching.

Research and assess locations on day trips and residential field trips. Build your understanding of the role that geographers and planners can make in society at regular presentations from visiting professionals.

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 in multidisciplinary contexts.



The optional modules listed are those that are most likely to be available, but they may be subject to change.

Year zero (foundation year)

You will study:

  • Physical and Human Environment of the City Region
  • Environment and Sustainability
  • Foundation Year Project
  • Field Study
  • Challenges and Data.

You normally need to pass your foundation year before going into Year one.

Year one

You will study:

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

Year two

You will study:

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

Plus, three optional modules from:

  • Sustainable Resource Management
  • Geopolitics of Migration
  • City Regeneration
  • Culture, Geography and Tourism
  • Climate and Environmental Justice
  • Transport and Mobility

Placement year (if applicable)

If you study on the four year (sandwich) course, you'll spend a year away from the University on a work placement after Year two.

You'll complete a placement learning module.

See the Placements and Fees sections for more information.

Final year

You will study:

  • Planning Global Cities.

Plus, optional modules from (the number depending on credit requirements):

  • Independent Project (Planning) and Final Year Project
  • Professional Experience

Or if a sandwich year has been completed:

  • Planning Global Cities
  • Independent Project (Planning).

Plus, two optional modules from:

  • International Tourism and Sustainable Development
  • Transforming Global Cities
  • Advanced Geographic Expedition
  • International Planning Expedition
  • Environmental Planning and Design
  • Water and Energy Futures
  • Sustainable Transport: Technologies and Behaviour

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 on the National Student Survey and provide a friendly environment for learning.

They 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.

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

Learn through a blend of lectures, seminars, small group work, debates, laboratory classes, fieldwork, practical work such as IT and internet skills, and conference organisation. Our offer is shaped by an employers' advisory board that helps to ensure the relevance of your learning.

Teaching is informed by our research activity, directed through research centers such as the Centre for Sustainable Planning and Environments and the Centre for Transport and Society.

Explore some of the issues and agendas geographers and planners are embracing. Discover key theories and ideas that are helping us to respond to challenges. Develop your creativity and problem-solving skills by working in our studios on exciting and contemporary project briefs.

Benefit from the support of an Academic Personal Tutor and take advantage of the programme's mentoring scheme that connects you with somebody in practice.

Receive mentoring from more advanced students through our Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme. Attend presentations from visiting professionals so you can learn current thought and best practice. 

See our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Approximate percentage of time you'll spend in different learning activities*:

YearScheduled learning and teaching studyIndependent studyPlacement study

*Calculated from compulsory and optional modules (where applicable) each year

Socialise and campaign

Get involved with student societies relating to geography and planning, with a host of social and educational events organised throughout the year.

Showcase your work

Show your work at the annual Environment and Technology Degree Show.

Have a look at our Pinterest boards for examples of students' work.

Study time

Lectures, workshops and seminars, group project work and tutoring account for 12 hours of contact time each week.

You'll be expected to spend at least twice as much time studying independently and studying for assessments.


You'll be assessed through a combination of coursework and exams.

Exams are held in either January or May and include written exams, in-class tests and assessed presentations.

Coursework is varied and involves writing essays or reports, undertaking surveys or design work, or producing team based projects.

We encourage you to do formative work, eg practice tests, to prepare for assessments. This won't count towards your final marks but feedback should improve your final mark.

Support is available if you have difficulties with numeracy, IT, literacy and study skills.

See our full glossary of assessment terms.

Approximate percentage of marks awarded by each assessment method*:

YearWritten exam assessmentCoursework assessmentPractical exam assessment

*Calculated from compulsory and optional modules (where applicable) each year



Students who get work experience tend to graduate with better degrees. Experience also hones your skills, industry knowledge and professional network, making you a sought after graduate.

If you study on the five year (sandwich) course, you'll spend a year away from the University on a work placement after Year two.

You'll get help to find your placement and support throughout from department staff and our award-winning careers service.



We arrange a series of day trips so you can visit the locations you're studying and meet people that can inform your work. These are supplemented by a series of field trips.

Year one

Visit UK cities to explore live planning and development projects. Past cities have included Manchester, Liverpool, London and Sheffield.

Year two

Visit a European city to explore new urban developments, meet community members, and hear local lecturers. Past destinations include Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Lyon and Berlin.

Study facilities

Learn in modern, well-equipped facilities, including our physical geography laboratories.

Study and collaborate on group assignments in our dedicated Project Room.

Conduct spatial enquiry and analyse data using industry-standard geographic information system (GIS) and statistical software in our computer labs.

Develop desktop publishing and design skills, and access support for photography, digital imaging, filming and sound recording.

This mix of traditional and highly creative learning environments enables you to learn essential knowledge and real-world skills, standing you in good stead for your professional career.

Learn more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources.


Careers / Further study

Many of our students go on to pursue a career in planning.

Planners work for a 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 following a combination of further study and gaining experience in the sector.

Get inspired

Our award-winning careers service will develop your employment potential through career coaching and find you graduate jobs, placements and global opportunities.

We can also help find local volunteering and community opportunities, provide support for entrepreneurial activity and get you access to employer events.

Visit our employability pages to learn more about careers, employers and what our students are doing six months after graduating.

See also:

Watch the Royal Town Planning Institute's short film 'How do we plan our world?' and the Royal Geographical Society's short film 'Going places with Geography'.

Prospects - what being a town planner involves

Prospects - career options with a geography degree


Supplementary fee information

Your overall entitlement to funding is based on how long the course is that you're registered on. Standard funding is allocated based on the standard number of years that your course lasts, plus one additional year.

You'll apply for funding each year that you study and Student Finance will take into account how long the course is in each year that you apply. So if you register for the five year course and then transfer to the four year course, the number of years you can apply for funding will change. Student Finance will reassess your funding based on how many years you have been in study, not just those years for which you received student finance.

Always seek advice before taking any action that may have implications for your funding.

Learn more about funding.

Additional costs

Additional costs are for items you could need during your studies that aren't covered by the standard tuition fee. These could be materials, textbooks, travel, clothing, software or printing.

Learn more about costs.


Typical offers

  • Tariff points: 48
  • GCSE: Grade C/4 in English Language and Grade D/4 in Mathematics, or equivalent. We do not accept Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Certificate in Adult Numeracy and Literacy as alternatives to GCSEs.
  • A-level subjects: No specific subjects required.
  • EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: No specific subjects required.
  • Access: 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 applicants with a mixture of A levels and BTEC qualifications.

We welcome applications from highly motivated students who do not meet the usual entrance requirements given above, but who have gained equivalent knowledge and skills from substantial relevant work or other experience.

Students who expect to achieve a higher tariff score may also be interested in our BA(Hons) Geography and Planning.

Read more about entry requirements.

UWE Bristol's International College

If you are an international student your recommended route of study for this degree is through UWE Bristol's International College which, upon successful completion to the required level and with good attendance, guarantees entry to Year 1 of the degree.

How to apply

Read more about undergraduate applications.

For further information


UWE Main Campus

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