BSc Geography with Professional Placement

UCAS code F813
Duration 4 years
Typical offer A*AA-AAA; IB: 38-36; BTEC: D*DD-DDD
Discipline Geography
Location Streatham (Exeter)


This four-year version of the BSc Geography degree includes a year spent undertaking a professional placement between the second and final years. You will spend this third year working in an appropriate organisation and you will apply the skills learnt during the first and second years, improve personal and transferable skills, make new contacts and enhance employability.

Our BSc Geography with Professional Placement programme offers you the opportunity to tailor your physical geography degree to suit your developing interests. The first year of the programme provides an excellent grounding in both physical and human geography and ensures you develop the core skills required to progress successfully. The second and final years allow for greater flexibility and specialisation with an emphasis on physical geography. You can choose from a diverse set of optional modules which span a breadth of topics including areas in which we have a particular strength such as hydrology, geomorphology and earth surface processes, Quaternary environmental and climatic change, and GIS. You will also have the opportunity to undertake physical geography research methods, participate in a physical geography field trip, and carry out a physical geography dissertation.

Through field work and other forms of experiential learning the programme aims to promote your curiosity about natural, social and cultural environments and to enable you to develop a range of skills specific to the geographer as well as a series of cognitive, generic and transferable skills.

The programme is available as a four-year degree with the third year spent studying at a partner university abroad.

  • Choose optional modules drawing directly upon internationally leading research in bio-geography, principles of environmental modelling, landscape dynamics, geomorphology, hydrology and sea-level and the cryosphere
  • Develop sought after skills such as statistical analysis, learning to code for data analysis, geospatial investigation, image analysis and data collection in the field
  • Excellent facilities managed by experienced and dedicated technical support staff as well as access to industry leading software
  • Take the opportunity, in your third year of a four-year programme, to study abroad or undertake a year’s work placement within an organisation relevant to your degree
  • Option to select modules from human geography in your second and final years

Year 1
The first year of the degree programme provides an excellent introduction to wide ranging research areas in Physical Geography (including the geosphere, oceans and atmosphere, cryosphere and biosphere) and core academic skills development (independent learning, effective communication, and academic writing) and includes a residential field trip in the first term, during which you will develop a series of physical geography research skills.

Year 2
The second year offers a diverse range of optional modules in physical geography, including reconstructing past climates, landscape dynamics, ecosystems and remote sensing. Modules at the interface between human and physical geography also enable students to examine the challenges of climate change and natural hazards. Core components of second year skills development are research training in GIS, statistical methods, scientific computing and environmental modelling, alongside an international residential fieldtrip to places such as the Bay of Naples, Brazil or New York*.

Year 3
Professional placement year.

Final Year
The final year offers optional modules across a wide range of critical subject areas in physical geography, which are closely linked with research in the department (including tropical coastal and terrestrial environments, land-atmosphere interactions, and climate change). The final year also offers you the opportunity to undertake your own research project.

Programme variations

*Field course destinations are subject to change. Please note, some optional/alternative field courses may incur additional costs.

The teaching at Exeter is fantastic, with enthusiastic tutors freely available to discuss topics and concepts with you, in a lively research-orientated department. This means that your lecturers are at the forefront of the latest concepts to have come from academia. With many opportunities for students to get involved with the department, I found both my confidence and key skills improved, and a sense of pride gained as I was ‘giving back’ to a department that has given me so much. Combine fantastic teaching, excellent resources and a beautiful location, and you have the reason for choosing to pursue studying Geography at the University of Exeter.

Tim, Geography Graduate.

Programme structure

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.

The following tables describe the programme and constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted, or replaced as a consequence of the annual review of this programme.

You may take optional modules as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.

You may take elective modules up to 30 credits outside of the programme in each stage of the programme with permission as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.

You are also permitted to take the five-credit module GEO3910 Professional Development Experience in Stages 2 and 3. Registration on this module is subject to a competitive application process. If taken, this module will not count towards progression or award calculation.

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Entry requirements 2020

Typical offer

A-level: A*AA-AAA
IB: 38-36

Required subjects

GCE A-levels: Grade A in a Science subject*.

IB: HL6 in a Science subject*.

BTEC: Applicants studying a BTEC Extended Diploma will also require GCE A-level grade A in a science subject*.

GCSEs: Grade C or 4 in English Language.

*GCE A-level science includes: Biology/Human Biology; Chemistry; Computing/Computer Science; Design and Technology; Electronics; Environmental Studies; Geography; Geology; Life and Health Sciences (Double Award only); Maths/Pure Maths/Further Maths; Physical Education; Physics; Psychology; Science (applied); Sport Science; Statistics.

International students

International students should check details of our English language requirements.

If your academic qualifications or English language skills do not meet our entry requirements our INTO University of Exeter centre offers a range of courses to help you reach the required language and academic standards.

International Foundation programmes

Preparation for entry to Year 1 of an undergraduate degree:

Further information

Please read the important information about our Typical offer.

For full and up-to-date information on applying to Exeter and entry requirements, including requirements for other types of qualification, please see the Applying section.

Learning and teaching

You will be taught by expert research-active staff who cover a wide range of human and physical geography specialisms, ranging from climate change to popular culture. We have strong links with international, national, and local research projects around the globe, and staff draw upon the insights and examples these provide in their teaching.

Teaching is through lectures, seminars, tutorials, laboratory classes and field work. Tutorials complement lectures by encouraging you to explore issues in small group discussion meetings (between six and twelve students per group). We have well-equipped laboratories with the latest scientific teaching equipment. We believe every student benefits from being part of a research-inspired culture and taught by experts. You will discuss the very latest ideas in seminars and tutorials and, in appropriate degree programmes, you will become an active member of a research team.

We have strong links with international, national and local research projects across every continent of the globe from Antarctica to Asia.

Technology Enabled Learning

All students have access to the latest geographical information systems (GIS), mapping statistics and coding software.

As support for lectures, seminars and tutorials, we frequently make use of video-conferencing and webcasting. We’re actively engaged in introducing new methods of learning and teaching, including increased interactive computer-based approaches to learning through our virtual learning environment. For example, you may be set a collaborative or group learning project and find yourself utilising the University’s surface tables which offer multi-user capability; or you may be required to undertake learning before a class using material prepared by the lecturer, such as a video, reading or web application, and then during the actual class you will engage in a discussion, test or seminar about the material. In lectures we encourage student contribution through the use of smart phone interactive technology to ask questions, collect feedback and test the understanding and engagement of our students.

We have a virtual learning environment, where the details of all modules are stored in an easily navigable website. You can access detailed information about modules and learning outcomes and interact through activities such as discussion forums, blogging and virtual field trips. The virtual field trips integrate video and audio data, maps, datasets, documents and published research to help you develop field work and analytical skills that are firmly grounded in the real world.


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 the first year must be passed to progress to the second year but the marks obtained do not influence your final degree classification.

Academic support

We are committed to providing you with a supportive learning environment in which you can build confidence and mastery of Geography. As well as a minimum of 10 hours of direct contact time with your lecturers per week, 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 in Geography are represented through Student-Staff Liaison Committees and can regularly feedback through module and course evaluations.
There are also a number of services where you can get advice and information, including the Students’ Guild Advice Unit.

I chose the University of Exeter to study BSc Geography because of all the available resources on the doorstep such as the Jurassic coast. The university also has great research community, with the latest information being fed to the students through  lectures and tutorials. Since being here I have really valued the fact that we have the leading experts in their field teaching us as they are writing the textbook!

Emily, Geography, Streatham Campus.


Field work is an important component of our Geography degrees and you’ll participate in a number of field courses throughout your degree.

In the second and final years, field trips provide an opportunity for you to develop and apply your research skills to wider environments. The main residential field class runs in the second year. Previous destinations have included the Bay of Naples, Berlin, Brazil, New York and Seville*.

You will be introduced to key geographical research techniques in core modules and field courses during the first two years of your degree. First and second year modules provide training in research design, quantitative and qualitative analytical techniques that form the basis of your geographical investigation in your final year.

Residential field trips in the UK help you apply what you are learning about, how to conduct research as geographers and observe geographical processes in action.

*Field course destinations are subject to change. Please note, some optional/alternative field courses may incur additional costs.

Find out more

Visit our Fieldwork page for more information.

I have found the degree both informative and thoroughly enjoyable, due to the wide variety of modules available. The flexibility of the programme means that if you find a particular area really interesting then you can study it in more depth. The field trips, both local and international, enable a learning culture outside of the lecture theatre.

Keri, Geography Graduate


No matter what your ambitions, aspirations or career choice may be there has never been a better, or more significant, time to study Geography.

Key global issues such as climate change, migration, environmental degradation and social cohesion are not only at the forefront of socio-political philosophies and attitudes, but are also deep-rooted within geography, making it one of the most relevant courses that you could choose to study.

A Geography degree from the University of Exeter will equip you with the experience and skills to help you progress into further study or employment. 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.

Careers services

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. Our graduates compete very successfully in the employment market, with many employers targeting the University when recruiting new graduates. 

Supporting your career in Geography

Each year Geography students are able to access a huge range of opportunities when considering their future career options. Recent events have included, career insights with visiting alumni, career conversations with employers on campus, mock interviews with visiting employers and alumni, immersion day at the Met Office, the Life and Environmental Sciences Careers Fair, nature and conservation training courses.

Royal Geographical Society (RGS) Ambassador Scheme

As a Geography student 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. This is a great way to introduce younger students to the benefits of studying geography and to encourage them to pursue the subject beyond the compulsory stages. The 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.

Recent graduates

Below are a few examples of initial jobs undertaken by graduates of University of Exeter 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 for:

  • Barratt Developments
  • British Red Cross
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Civil Service
  • Down's Syndrome Association
  • FleishmanHillard Fishburn
  • Flint Group Insurance
  • Food and Drink Federation
  • Mayfair Capital
  • Ministry of Defence
  • Mott Macdonald
  • Natural England
  • NHS
  • Octopus Energy
  • PriceWaterhouseCoopers
  • Rolls-Royce
  • Savills
  • South West Water
  • Southdowns Environmental Consultants
  • Test Valley Borough Council
  • The Carbon Trust
  • Willis Towers Watson
  • WPP

Recent graduates are now working as:

  • Associate Management Consultant
  • Audit Trainee
  • Business Analyst
  • Conservation Adviser
  • Environmental Technician
  • Financial Accountant
  • Flood risk engineer
  • Freelance Writer
  • Geography Teacher
  • GIS Consultant
  • Graduate Soil Scientist
  • Graduate Surveyor
  • Insurance Broker
  • Investor Relations Coordinator
  • Marketing executive
  • Planning Support Officer
  • Police Officer
  • Qualitative Research Executive
  • Recruitment/HR Coordinator
  • Sustainability and Environmental Policy Executive

Further study

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. Please note that, due to data protection, the subjects of study and institutions are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.

  • Graduate Diploma in Law
  • MA Climate Change: History, Culture, Society
  • MA Conflict, Security and Development
  • MA Environment, Development and Policy
  • MA Landscape Architecture
  • MRes Critical Human Geographies
  • MSc Applied GIS and Remote Sensing
  • MSc in Sustainability, Planning and Environmental Policy
  • MSc Oceanography
  • PGCE Primary
  • PGCE Geography
  • MSc Real Estate Development
  • MSc Spatial Planning and Development
  • MSc International Development
  • MSC International Management
  • MSc Marketing
  • MSc Applied Meteorology
  • MSc Construction Cost Management
  • MSc Environment and Human Health
  • MSc in Public Health
  • MSc in Rural Land and Business Management

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 after graduation, we’re here to help and support you with all your career and employability needs.

After my degree I hope to go into travel or environmental journalism, and the flexibility of my programme means that I am gaining knowledge in a wide variety of areas and keeping my options open for the future.

Lara, Geography, Streatham Campus

Professional placement

These four-year programmes give you the opportunity to spend the third year of your degree on a student-organised work placement with an organisation relevant to your degree. You will be supported through your placement by a programme director who will provide high quality advice and support and gain insightful and valuable experience of a professional workplace prior to graduating. The professional placement year counts towards your degree through the completion of your placement and associated coursework and contributes to your final degree classification and ‘with Professional Placement’ will be recorded on your degree certificate. During your first, second and final years of study, you will follow the same programme of study as the BA Geography.

We have established collaborations with local, national and international organisations that you can consider when applying for placement positions.

You will gain valuable experience from the work placement: you will learn to apply the skills learnt during the first and second years, improve personal and transferable skills, make new contacts and enhance employability. Work placements allow you to develop your career focus and are extremely valued by employers.

Contact us

Streatham Campus, Exeter

WebEnquire online
Phone: +44 (0)1392 725818

Website: Visit the Geography website