BSc Geography with Applied Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

UCAS codeF809
Duration3 years
Typical offerAAA-AAB; IB: 36-34; BTEC DDD
Location Streatham (Exeter)


This programme will provide you with a broad understanding of geographical processes and the physical environment. It provides you the opportunity to develop your interests and research in physical geography along whilst developing transferable and discipline specific skills. Underpinning theory and core concepts are taught in lectures, seminars and tutorials, whilst computer practicals, fieldwork and lab work allows you to apply this knowledge to real physical geography data.

You will develop a range of skills specific to the geographer as well as a series of cognitive, generic and transferable skills. In the compulsory modules, you develop skills such as statistical analysis, learning to code for data analysis, geospatial investigation and mapping through the use of GIS, image analysis of earth observation data and data collection in the field. Training is provided on industry-standard software packages for spatial data analysis which are important skills across all sectors in business, government and science.

The BSc Geography with Applied GIS programmes provide the science and framework to better understand physical Geography. GIS is revolutionising this understanding through spatial analysis with mapping and geo-technologies to provide the technical means for data exploration, visualisation and dissemination of developed understanding. This programme will allow you to develop understanding of recent GIS innovations, transforming the way data is collected, the research we undertake, the networks we reach, the way we communicate through geo-apps and the decisions that we make as individuals and organisations. You will discover how mapping and analytics is accelerating our understanding of big data, empowering digital transformation and how it is being applied in a growing industry crossing all sectors including business, government, science and leisure.

The BSc programmes offer the opportunity for you to undertake physical geography research methods, participate in a physical geography field trip, and carry out a physical geography dissertation.

  • BSc Geography degree programme with core training and application of geographical information systems (GIS)
  • Learn a new specialism alongside your wide-ranging and comprehensive study of physical geography
  • Discover how mapping and analytics is accelerating our understanding of big data, empowering digital transformation and how it is being applied in a growing industry crossing all sectors including business, government, science and leisure
  • Discover how geo-technologies provide the technical means for data exploration, visualisation and dissemination of developed understanding
  • Develop understanding of theoretical and practical skills required to capture, store, manage, manipulate, analyse and present a range of geographically-referenced data in GIS using industry standard software

Year 1
The first year of study on this pathway is the same as for the BSc Geography programme. It comprises of modules that provide an introduction to wide-ranging research areas in physical geography and core academic skills. An introduction to GIS is provided in the Research Methods module.

Year 2
Building on content form the first year, you will undertake core modules in Applied GIS, Introduction to Remote Sensing and research modules including the Physical Geography Field Trip. Training and support focuses on allowing you to start to develop a proposal for a final year research
project with applied GIS. In addition, you will have flexibility to select optional physical and/or human geography modules to suit developing interests.

Year 3
A significant focus in your final year is the research-led dissertation which will utilise GIS for the data analysis. You will receive supervision from an expert in your chosen area of physical geography. You will continue to develop skills and understanding of GIS in modules including GIS for Professionals and Landscape Systems Management. We offer a wide range of modules for you to select in your final year covering both human and physical geography specialisms aligned to the research expertise of our academics.

Programme variations

Studying Exeter’s new Geography with Applied GIS programme has been an invaluable experience for transitioning into a GIS based career. Learning how to utilise GIS in various landscape management applications taught by expert lecturers in the field has provided me with not only the sought after technical skills to analyse geospatial data, but also a great passion for remote sensing and the environment.

I directly apply the skills learnt in the course into my role as a GIS Mapping Technician every day, from effective cartographic design, to georeferencing historic maps, and undertaking spatial analysis. I produce professional plans for various clients across the UK, including digitising estate maps for The Crown Estate, creating interactive Web Maps and Apps using webGIS, and managing Severn Trent Water’s national site locations in a GIS database. Having learnt these skills at Exeter, I have been able to immerse myself into this specialist field as a recent graduate, which I’d greatly recommend to all geographers with a passion for GIS.

Rebecca, Graduate (2018).

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

Entry requirements 2019

Typical offer


Required subjects

GCE AL Science subject Grade B; IB HL5 Science subject.

GCE AL/AS science includes: Biology/Human Biology; Chemistry; Computing; Design and Technology; Electronics; Environmental Studies; Geography; Geology; Maths/Pure Maths/Further Maths; Physical Education; Physics; Psychology; Science (applied); Statistics.

Applicants studying a BTEC Extended Diploma will also require GCE AL Science grade B.

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. We are actively engaged in introducing new methods of learning and teaching, including increasing use of interactive computer-based approaches to learning. 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 have thoroughly enjoyed my three years studying with the University of Exeter and I believe that Cornwall is an excellent campus with great lecturers who are passionate about their subject and are friendly and approachable. As a town Falmouth is one of the nicest I have ever been to and is a wonderful place to live, with stunning scenery as well as lots to do.

Geography undergraduate student, Penryn 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, California, Iceland, 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.


A Geography degree from the University of Exeter will equip you with a wide range of skills suitable for progressing onto further study or employment. The breadth of career opportunities open to geography graduates is vast, with research, planning and management careers in government, the commercial sector and regional councils providing many positions, as well as roles within not-for-profit organisations.

We provide a range of support to help you develop skills attractive to employers. Visit our Careers and Employability web page for more information.

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

Graduate destinations

Below are a few examples of initial jobs undertaken by graduates of University of Exeter Geography undergraduate programmes delivered in Exeter. This information has been taken from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Survey 2012/13. Please note that, due to data protection concerns, the job titles and organisations are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.

Job titleOrganisation
Data Analyst
Graduate Surveyor
Geographic Information Systems Technician
Sustainability Assistant
Audit Associate
Account Executive
Flood Risk Analyst
Climate Change Researcher/Web Portal Developer
Events Manager
Trainee Tutor
Financial Research Analyst
Affordable Warmth Projects Assistant
Immigration Caseworker
Assistant Project Manager
Student Brand Manager
Regen SW
Thames Water
Field Studies Council
Conde Naste and Heart
Environment Agency
The Climate Group
Stockholm Environment Institute
United Sustainable Energy Agency
Financial Times Ltd
English Heritage
Business, Innovation and Skills for the Government
UK Border Agency
South West Water
Red Bull

Further study

Further study is a popular choice for a number of students following graduation. Below are a few examples of further study undertaken by graduates of University of Exeter Geography undergraduate programmes delivered in Exeter. This information has been taken from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Survey 2012/13. Please note that, due to data protection, the subjects of study and institutions are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.

Subject areaInstitution
Rural Estate Management
Real Estate
ACA Association of Chartered Accountants
PGCE Primary
PGCE Secondary Geography
Graduate Diploma in Law
Modern Chinese Studies
Risk and Environmental Hazards
International Development
Rural Land and Business Management
Surveying and Land/Environmental Management
Environmental Dynamics and Climate Change
Law and Environmental Science
International Management
Environmental Mapping
Climate Change and Risk Management
Geographic Information and Climate Change
International Relations
University of Exeter
University of Reading
Cranfield University
College of Law
Royal Agricultural College
City University
University of Southampton
Oxford University
University of East Anglia
Durham University
University of Bristol
University of Nottingham
University College London

Find out more

Further information about the opportunities the University of Exeter offers to maximise our graduates’ employment prospects can be found on the CareerZone website.

Professional experience

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 experience year counts towards your degree through the completion of your placement and associated coursework and contributes to your final degree classification and ‘with Professional Experience’ 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

How to apply Get a prospectus Ask a question Visit subject website  

View the Geography, Environmental Science and Human Sciences brochure

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