- Explore key global challenges of the 21st century by examining both human and physical issues and, importantly, the connections between the two
- Gain an appreciation of global challenges from multiple perspectives with an understanding of the interactions between people, places and events
- Highly flexible programme offers an innovative, contemporary and holistic approach to Geography
- We have a hands-on approach to field work and it is an integral part of all our programmes
- Dissertation topic and thematic research route will, in part, determine whether you graduate with a BA or a BSc
Top 25 in the world for Geography and Environmental Science
QS World University Rankings 2020
8th in the UK for Geography and Environmental Science
The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020
Field courses available in each year of study
Spend a year studying abroad or on a professional placement
The biggest highlight of my course so far was the field trip to West Penwith*, as I built close relationships with my course mates. We shared lots of joy and fun together, and applied the knowledge gained through lecture-based modules to real situations in Cornwall.
My favourite part of the programme has been the module about climate change, as it delivers lots of information about how human activities have impacted global warming and the potential solutions. I also really like the diverse range of teaching styles, the helpful lecturers and how friendly the university is to international students.
I finished the INTO Foundation Programme at the Streatham Campus last year and found everyone really friendly. Also, the University of Exeter is recognised as a top-notch institution with highly-ranked research and excellent teaching.
The Penryn Campus is like a small community with lots of nice and friendly students and teachers. The environment on campus is amazing. We are surrounded by aesthetic landscapes and lots of green spaces. I feel like I belong to the campus. I am a member of the FXU Basketball Club, the FXU Christian Union and the Geography Society.
My group explored the relationships between the Cornish landscape and Cornish society. I learnt valuable techniques that I can use in my future career, such as collecting data and analysing it in order to produce reliable findings. It was a wonderful experience to work in the field and apply what I have learnt in the lectures.
After I have graduated, I think I will study a master's degree here at Exeter. I am considering an MSc in Climate Change, or an MA in International Development.
*Field course destinations are subject to change.
|Qualification||Required grades||Required subjects|
|A-Level||AAB - ABB
AAA - AAB (with Study Abroad/Professional Placement)
|No required subjects|
|IB||34/665 - 32/655
36/666 - 34/665 (with Study Abroad/Professional Placement)
|No required subjects|
|BTEC||DDD - DDM
DDD (with Study Abroad/Professional Placement)
|No required subjects|
|GCSE||C or 4||English Language|
Specific requirements must still be achieved, therefore where a grade A is required, offers will be ABC or ACC. Find out more about contextual offers.
NB General Studies is not included in any offer.
This programme will broaden your horizons by breaking down the barriers between disciplines to allow you to gain a holistic understanding of the interactions between people, places, and events. You will also have the flexibility to engage with specific human and/or physical geography topics as part of your degree.
The structure encourages you to pursue the topics that fascinate and capture your imagination. Following a first year of interdisciplinary modules that tackle broad issues, you can tailor your degree by choosing a thematic route through a series of more specialist modules in the second and final years. In essence, this exciting approach combines an all-round training in geography with the flexibility to graduate with either a BA or BSc degree, depending on your choice of optional modules.
The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.
This year comprises modules that examine modern challenges – from local landscape evolution to global environmental change – from multiple geographical perspectives. It provides you with an excellent foundation, ensuring you develop the relevant skills and knowledge to progress your studies in subsequent years.
Build on what you have learnt in your first year and continue to study some core integrated modules. You will also have the opportunity to take specific human and/or physical geography modules, enabling you to start tailoring your studies to suit your developing interests. Year 2 also includes a residential trip to the Isles of Scilly.
Find out more about study abroad or a professional placement under Course variants.
with Professional Placement
with Study Abroad
A significant focus in your final year is the research-led dissertation, for which you will receive individual supervision from an expert in your chosen field. You will also choose optional modules from a selection covering both human and physical geography specialisms aligned to the research expertise of our academics. Another highlight is the residential field course, where you will be immersed in a new environment and taught how to understand its environmental and cultural challenges from multiple geographical perspectives.
UCAS code: F8D8
Why choose a professional placement year?
In your professional placement year you will learn to apply the knowledge learnt during your first and second years, improve personal and transferable skills, make new contacts and enhance your employability. Work placements allow you to gain experience of a professional workplace prior to graduating and develop your career focus, and are extremely valued by employers.
Where can I do my placement?
On the professional placement between your second and final years, you will gain valuable experience by spending a year working within an organisation appropriate to your degree. We have established collaborations with local, national and international organisations that you can consider when applying for placement positions.
Previous students have undertaken work placements at:
- Echo Foundation
- Field Studies Council
- JBA Consulting
- Office for National Statistics
- Schaeffler Group
What support is available during my placement?
The module convenor provides support while you are researching and applying for positions and you are encouraged to consider a range of organisations, including consultancies, charities, NGOs, research institutes and universities.
Does it count towards my degree?
The professional placement year counts towards your degree through the completion of your placement and associated coursework. It contributes to your final degree classification, and the words ‘with Professional Placement’ will appear in your degree title.
How does it affect my tuition fee?
If you spend a full year on a work placement (in the UK or abroad) you will pay a reduced fee. Find out more in the fees section.
How do I apply?
You can apply to BA/BSc Geography with Professional Placement directly through UCAS using the code above.
How are the placements organised?
You are responsible for organising your own placement; however, we have established collaborations with local, national and international organisations that you can consider when applying for placement positions.
UCAS code: F8D7
Why study abroad?
Students who have studied abroad demonstrate initiative, independence, motivation and, depending on where they stay, may also have gained a working knowledge of another language – all qualities employers are looking for.
Where can I study abroad?
Our Study Abroad programme enables you to spend a year abroad at one of our partner universities across the globe. You can find a complete list of on the Study Abroad website (click on the College of Life and Environmental Sciences link).
What will I study whilst I am abroad?
Whilst abroad you will study approved modules at the host university to the value of 120 credits; these will be credited towards your degree, which you would then complete after four years of study rather than three.
Does it count towards my degree?
All assessments during the year abroad would be undertaken at the host university and would count towards your final degree. Upon return, you would then complete your degree in a fourth year (equivalent to the current Year 3 of the BA/BSc Geography programme).
How does it affect my tuition fee?
If you spend a full academic year studying abroad you will pay a reduced fee. Find out more in the fees section.
How do I apply?
To qualify for your Study Abroad year, we would expect you to have successfully completed your Year 1 studies with an average mark of at least 60%. Information about applying can be found on the Study Abroad website.
For further information on where you can go and all the issues surrounding study abroad, see the Study Abroad website.
Tuition fees for 2021 entry
UK and EU students: £9,250 per year
International students: £22,950 per year
Please note that the fees for students starting in 2021 have yet to be set. The fees provided above are the fees for students starting in 2020 and are for guidance only. We will post the fees for 2021 entry shortly.
If you choose the four-year version of this degree programme and spend a full academic year studying abroad, you will pay a reduced fee of 15 per cent of the maximum fee for that year.
Professional placement year
If you choose the four-year version of this degree programme and spend a full year on a work placement (in the UK or abroad) you will pay a reduced fee of 20 per cent of the maximum fee for that year.
Please note, some optional/alternative field courses may incur additional costs. When participating in field courses, you will be required to cover any visa costs and, if necessary, purchase anti-malarial medication and relevant immunisations. You may also need to provide your own specialist personal equipment appropriate to the field course destination. You may incur additional costs dependent upon the specific demands of the research project chosen.
Field work is an integral part of all of our programmes, taking learning into the field to explore the incredible landscapes in the region and beyond. Several modules, including day and residential field courses*, will allow you to develop key field skills, enable you to put them into practice and gain new research skills.
Cornwall is an exceptional place in which to study issues related to the environment and sustainability. It is a perfect living laboratory which offers a diverse range of marine and terrestrial habitats, a wealth of natural resources, and creative and resilient communities. Throughout your first year, local field trips will provide a comprehensive introduction to physical and human aspects of the local region.
Cornwall has an incredible diversity of cultural, ecological and physical landscapes, and the wider region has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a high density of conservation areas and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It has been recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) containing some of Britain's finest coastal scenery, including Land's End and the Lizard peninsula, and provides a perfect setting for geographical exploration.
During the residential field course in the third year you will be immersed in the scientific, environmental and cultural geography of a completely new landscape.
*Field course destinations are subject to change. Please note, some optional/alternative field courses may incur additional costs.
Learning and teaching
Where will I study?
At the Penryn Campus in Cornwall you will be welcomed into an intimate and supportive learning environment that encourages enthusiasm and passion for Geography, and promotes interest in the global challenges geographers seek to address. You will benefit from a welcoming atmosphere, excellent student-to-staff ratios, small group tutorials and friendly, accessible staff. Research undertaken at the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) – which leads research into various aspects of the relationship between people and the environment – inspires much of the teaching in Geography.
How will I learn?
- Tutorials and small group discussion meetings
- Field Work
- Laboratory sessions
- Independent study
- Access to the latest geographical information systems (GIS), mapping statistics and coding software
- Interactive computer-based approaches to learning through our virtual learning environment
- Access to detailed information about modules and learning outcomes and interact through activities such as the discussion forums, blogging and virtual field trips
- Virtual field trips which integrate video and audio data, maps, datasets, documents and published research
Learn from experts
We believe every student benefits from being part of a research-inspired culture. You will discuss the very latest ideas in seminars and tutorials and be taught by expert staff who are actively engaged in research on a wide range of specialisms, including climate change, remote sensing, landscape evolution, energy policy, environment and sustainability, social innovation and cultural landscapes. Teaching and research activities emphasise the value of holistic thinking – looking beyond traditional boundaries to the complex interactions between human societies and non-human environments.
We have strong links with research projects across every continent of the globe from Antarctica to Asia.
Your progress is monitored through tutorial work and practical assessments. The final degree mark is based on approximately 50 per cent exam-based and 50 per cent coursework-based assessments. The latter include a final year dissertation, which is an independent research project in which you study the topic that excites you most. The modules taken in Year 1 must be passed to progress to Year 2, but the marks obtained do not influence your final degree classification.
Taking modules outside of your programme
Depending on your programme you can take up to 30 credits each year in another subject, for instance a language or business module, to develop career-related skills or widen your intellectual horizons.
You can boost your employability by using up to 30 credits each year to study a foreign language. If you study the language for more than one year you may be entitled to have ‘with proficiency in’ added to your degree certificate. The Foreign Language Centre will be offering modules in French and Spanish language from complete beginners up to advanced levels, plus German and Mandarin Chinese from beginner’s level.
If you achieve at least 60 credits in a language via our Foreign Language Centre you may be able to have the words ‘with proficiency in’ and the language added to your degree title.
Further details can be found on the Foreign Language Centre web pages.
As well as a minimum of 10 hours of direct contact time with your lecturers per week in your first year, all students have a personal and academic tutor who is available for advice and support throughout their studies and to support the transition to university-level learning. In addition, all students are represented through Student-Staff Liaison Committees and can regularly feedback through module and course evaluations.
You will have the opportunity to participate in a Student Mentoring Scheme in Year 1, matching you with a Year 2 or Year 3 student who can answer your questions, offer advice and moral support to smooth your transition to university.
We have a large variety of equipment that can be used on student research projects. These include a wide range of devices to assess soil, water and air conditions and a cutting edge handheld XRF analyser to directly measure heavy metal concentrations in soil and river sediment. Digital media such as iPads, cameras and voice recorders are also available.
Employer-valued skills this course develops
Students studying Geography develop both a depth and breadth of knowledge, skills and experiences that make them highly employable across a diverse range of careers.
These skills include:
- Data gathering
- Information retrieval
- Problem solving
- Project planning and management
- Organising and communicating information
- Report production and presentation (written and oral)
- Plus the ability to work effectively on your own and as part of a team.
Supporting your career in Geography
We put on a range of employability sessions for students which include:
- career talks with visiting alumni and employers from a range of backgrounds,
- career conversations and employability seminar series events with employers,
- a Careers in Sustainable Development and Environmental Protection Careers and Networking event
- visits to the Met Office and UKHO
- the College of Life and Environmental Sciences annual Careers Fair
- and opportunities to access high-quality work placements through an employability optional module.
We have a dedicated, award-winning Careers Service ensuring you have access to careers advisors, mentors and the tools you need to succeed in finding employment in your chosen field on graduation. We offer the Exeter Award and the Exeter Leaders Award which include employability-related workshops, skills events, volunteering and employment which will contribute to your career decision-making skills and success in the employment market.
The University of Exeter has an excellent reputation with graduate recruiters and our students and graduates compete very successfully in the employment market. Whatever path you wish to follow, we’re here to help and support you with all your career and employability needs.
Royal Geographical Society (RGS) Ambassador Scheme
You will have the opportunity to apply for the RGS Ambassador Scheme. The scheme recruits, trains and supports geographers currently at university and graduate geographers from the work place to act as ambassadors for geography in the classroom. Ambassadors act as positive role models for pupils and can illustrate, with enthusiasm, both the specific and transferable skills they have developed as a geographer. For more information you can visit the RGS Ambassador Scheme website.
The breadth of career opportunities open to Geography graduates is vast, with recent graduates starting careers in planning, environmental and sustainability projects, water analysis, insurance, teaching and more – both in the UK and overseas.
Whatever you choose to do after graduation, your Geography degree will stand you in good stead, with excellent employment prospects and transferable skills.
Below are a few examples of initial jobs undertaken by graduates from our Geography undergraduate programmes. This information has been taken from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Surveys 2016/17. Please note that, due to data protection, the job titles and organisations are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.
Recent graduates are now working as:
- Civil Servant
- Conservation Adviser
- Data Analyst
- Energy Services Project Officer
- GIS Technician
- Higher Education Project Officer
- Police Officer
- Protected Species Surveyor
- Research Support and Communications Assistant
- Sustainability and Environmental Policy Executive
Recent graduates are now working for:
- British Armed Forces
- Department for Transport
- Eden Project
- George Burton Architecture and Ecology Ltd
- Natural England
- The National Trust
- Walkers Crisps PLC
- Wilmott Dixon
- Wiltshire Wildlife
Further study is a popular choice for a number of students following graduation from a Geography undergraduate degree. Below are a few examples of further study undertaken by recent graduates of undergraduate programmes. This information has been taken from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Surveys 2016/17.
- MA Climate Change: History, Culture, Society
- MA Environment, Development and Policy
- MRes Critical Human Geographies
- MSc Applied GIS and Remote Sensing
- MSc Sustainability, Planning and Environmental Policy
- MSc Oceanography
- PGCE Geography
- MSc Spatial Planning and Development
- MSc International Management
- MSc Environment and Human Health
Fantastic facilities, outstanding teaching, world-leading research and exceptional graduate employability are just a few of the reasons we think you'll love it here. Find out what our students say about choosing Exeter.
Studying at our campuses in Devon or Cornwall means you'll have some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the UK on your doorstep. Find out about student life at Exeter and the huge range of sports, clubs and societies on offer.
One University, two locations
We have around 20,000 students across our three campuses in Devon and Cornwall which means we offer the academic excellence and facilities you'd expect of a major university but also a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.