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Undergraduate Study

BSc Geography and Geology

UCAS code FF86
Duration 3 years
Entry year 2024
Campus Penryn Campus
Discipline Geography

Web: Enquire online
Phone: +44 (0)1392 725818

Typical offer

View full entry requirements

A-Level: AAB - ABB
IB: 34/665 - 32/655

Contextual offers

A-Level: BBB - BBC
IB: 30/555 - 28/554

Prof. Placement/Study Abroad:
A-Level: ABB - BBB
IB: 32/655 - 30/555


  • Flexible programme with a wide range of modules across physical geography and geology specialisms
  • Practical, hands-on modules that teach not only how to think and reason, but how to do
  • Field courses and fieldwork opportunities
  • Study in Penryn with access to Cornwall’s spectacular geology and its extractive industry
  • Delivered jointly by the Centre for Geography and Environmental Science and Camborne School of Mines on the Penryn Campus, Cornwall

Top 15 in the world for Mineral & Mining Engineering

QS World University Rankings 2023

Top 10 in the UK for Geology

7th in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023 and The Complete University Guide 2024

Top 10 in the UK for Geography and Environmental Science

8th in The Complete University Guide 2024

Spend a year studying abroad or on a professional placement

The fieldtrip opportunities that we have been given has provided us with an amazing hands on practical way of learning.

I have been on trips around Cornwall and Wales; all of which have been with friends I have made for life on this course. Doing our own research was eye opening and very rewarding to bring all the skills I have learnt at university together.

Read more from Lydia


BA/BSc Geography

Entry requirements (typical offer)

Qualification Typical offer Required subjects
A-Level AAB - ABB

AAA - AAB (with Study Abroad/Professional Placement)
B in two science subjects*

B and above in two science subjects* (with Study Abroad/Professional Placement)
IB 34 - 32

36 - 34 (with Study Abroad/Professional Placement)
HL5 in two science subjects*

HL5 in two science subjects* (with Study Abroad/Professional Placement)

DDD (with Study Abroad/Professional Placement)
Applicants studying a BTEC Extended Diploma are also required to achieve A-level grade B or above in two science subjects*

Applicants studying a BTEC Extended Diploma are also required to achieve A-level grade B or above in two science subjects* (with Study Abroad/Professional Placement)
GCSE C or 4 and B or 5 Grade C or 4 in English Language and either Double Award Science or Chemistry. Plus grade B or 5 in Mathematics.
Access to HE 30 L3 Credits at Distinction Grade and 15 L3 credits at Merit Grade - 24 L3 Credits at Distinction Grade and 21 L3 credits at Merit Grade.

30 L3 credits at Distinction Grade and 15 L3 credits at Merit Grade (with Study Abroad/Professional Placement)
To include 24 L3 Credits at Merit Grade in two Science subjects*

To include 24 L3 Credits at Merit or higher in a science subject area* (with Study Abroad/Professional Placement)
Contextual Offer

A-Level: BBB - BBC
IB: 30/555 - 28/554

Prof. Placement/Study Abroad:
A-Level: ABB - BBB
IB: 32/655 - 30/555

Specific subject requirements must still be achieved where stated above. Find out more about contextual offers.

Other UK, EU and International equivalences

View UK, EU and International equivalences

English language requirements

International students need to show they have the required level of English language to study this course. The required test scores for this course fall under Profile B. Please visit our English language requirements page to view the required test scores and equivalencies from your country.

NB General Studies is not included in any offer.

Grades advertised on each programme webpage are the typical level at which our offers are made and provide information on any specific subjects an applicant will need to have studied in order to be considered for a place on the programme. However, if we receive a large number of applications for the programme we may not be able to make an offer to all those who are predicted to achieve/have achieved grades which are in line with our typical offer. For more information on how applications are assessed and when decisions are released, please see: After you apply

*Accepted science subjects: Biology/Human Biology^; Chemistry; Computing; Design and Technology; Economics; Electronics; Environmental Science; Environmental Studies; Geography; Geology; Life and Health Sciences (Double Award only), Marine Science; Maths/Pure Maths/Further Maths^; Physical Education; Physics; Psychology; Science (applied); Sport Science; Statistics. 

^If more than one of these is taken they would only count as one 'science' but could count as two A-levels towards our general requirements.

Course content

This programme features a practical, hands-on approach to geoscience and, in particular, the fieldwork opportunities offered by being based in the landscapes and seascapes of Cornwall. Geography and Geology benefits from this context in treating Cornwall as a ‘natural laboratory’, taking learning into the field to explore the incredible diversity of rocks, environments, Earth system processes and natural landscapes in the region.

Field courses are a feature of the programme, based on Cornwall’s spectacular geology and its extractive industry and associated environmental case studies.

Modules include a wide range of physical geography and geology specialisms, including Earth system science, petrology, stratigraphy, palaeontology, sedimentology, environmental sustainability and history, climate change, remote sensing, landscape change and hydrogeology. Teaching and research activities emphasise the value of interdisciplinary thinking, and students develop their knowledge in a supportive learning environment with small class sizes and an informal, friendly ambience.

A thorough grounding in theory and field-based geoscience with significant time spent in the field describing and interpreting the geology and geomorphology of West Cornwall.

In the second year, field work extends to field courses to the Isles of Scilly and Dorset* alongside the opportunity to begin to tailor the course with optional modules.

*Field course destinations are subject to change.

Find out more about study abroad and professional placement options under Course variants.

with Professional Placement

with Study Abroad

The final year involves a field course; you will undertake a research project supervised by a staff member in either Physical Geography or Geology and take optional modules in either palaeoenvironmental reconstruction or applied geoscience.

Course variants

UCAS code: F861

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 the 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
  • University of Exeter: Environment and Sustainability Institute
  • Wild Planet Trust

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.

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.

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 BSc Geography and Geology with Professional Placement directly through UCAS using the UCAS code above.

UCAS code: F860

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?

On this four-year variant of the BA Geography degree you will spend your third year at one of our international exchange partner universities in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, China or Japan.

You can find a complete list of International Exchange partner universities on the Study Abroad website.

What will I study whilst I am abroad?

Whilst abroad you will study approved modules at the host university equivalent to 120 Exeter 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?

Yes: your work during the year abroad is assessed and contributes to your final degree classification. The words ‘with Study Abroad’ will appear in your degree title and 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 (see Course content).

How does it affect my tuition fee?

If you spend a full academic year studying abroad you will pay a reduced fee for that year. Find out more in the fees section.

How do I apply?

You can apply directly to this programme through UCAS using the code above. To be eligible for a Study Abroad place, we would expect you to successfully complete your Year 1 studies with an average mark of at least 60%.

Occasionally it is possible to transfer onto this programme from the standard BA Geography course in your second year, if you have appropriate language skills and have achieved a mark of 60% or more in year 1.

Further information

For further information on where you can go and all the issues surrounding study abroad, see the Study Abroad website.



Tuition fees for 2024 entry

UK students: £9,250 per year
International students: £29,700 per year

Year abroad

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 depending on the specific demands of the research project chosen.


The University of Exeter has many different scholarships available to support your education, including £5 million in scholarships for international students, such as our Global Excellence Scholarships*. Financial support is also available for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, lower income households and other under-represented groups to help them access, succeed and progress through higher education.

* Terms and conditions apply. See online for details.

Find out more about tuition fees and scholarships


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. Fieldwork is an integral part of your degree, and crucial to our teaching in Geography and Geology.

You will begin with a UK field course in your first year, where you will explore new and exciting ways of reading landscapes to research geographical issues. This will enable you to apply what you are learning about, learn how to conduct research as a geographer and observe geographical processes in action.

In Year 2 you will undertake a week-long residential field course on the Isles of Scilly*. It will enable you to develop the conceptual, analytical and practical research skills necessary for you to carry out independent research work.

We also make the most of our location in the South West of England, organising a range of day trips each year as part of modules. These provide fantastic opportunities to study a range of distinctive human and physical processes.

» Find out more about our Geography field courses

*Field course destinations are subject to change. 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.

How will I learn?

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • 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. We have strong links with research projects across every continent of the globe from Antarctica to Asia.

Academic support

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 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.


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.

Foreign Language Centre

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 and achieve at least 60 credits in a language you may be entitled to have ‘with proficiency in’ added to your degree certificate. The Foreign Language Centre offers modules in French and Spanish language from complete beginners up to advanced levels, plus German and Mandarin Chinese from beginner’s level. For further details visit the Foreign Language Centre web pages.

Proficiency in Law

Students on this course are now able to add ‘with proficiency in Law’ to their degree title, by gaining a strand of additional legal knowledge and skills that adds value to their degree.

The ‘With proficiency in Law’ modules being offered to non-law students provide a theoretical and technical basis for understanding the regulatory and legal frameworks that you might encounter within your main field of study. These modules lend themselves strongly to students wishing to develop their skillset to work across the environment and sustainability sector and in wider business.

If you accrue at least 60 credits in elective law modules you will have ‘with proficiency in Law’ added to your degree title.

Optional modules outside of this course

Each year, if you have optional modules available, you can take up to 30 credits in a subject outside of your course. This can increase your employability and widen your intellectual horizons.

Proficiency in a second subject

If you complete 60 credits of modules in one of the subjects below, you may have the words 'with proficiency in [e.g. Social Data Science]' added to your degree title when you graduate.

  • A Foreign Language
  • Law
  • Social Data Science
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership

Find out more about proficiency options

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Your future

Employer-valued skills this course develops

Students studying Geography and Geology 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 and Geology

A range of employability sessions are put on 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
  • an annual Careers Fair
  • opportunities to access high-quality work placements through an employability optional module.

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.

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 workplace 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.

Career paths

The breadth of career opportunities open to graduates is vast. Likely career paths include environmental remediation, hydrogeology, environmental management and modelling, natural resource exploration, offshore and onshore renewables, site investigation and marine engineering, conservation and environmental legislation, in addition to research pathways.

Whatever you choose to do after graduation, your Geography and Geology 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 and Geology undergraduate programmes*.

Recent graduates are now working as:

  • Civil engineers

  • Chartered surveyors
  • Chartered and certified accountants
  • Data analysts
  • Engineering professionals
  • Environment professionals
  • Physical scientists
  • Marketing associate professionals
  • Primary and secondary education teaching professionals
  • Information technology professionals

Recent graduates are now working for:

  • Centrica
  • Dundas Titanium
  • Environment Agency
  • Ernst & Young
  • Geotechnics Ltd
  • J.Murphy & Sons Limited
  • Materials Movement Ltd
  • Ordnance Survey
  • Skanska
  • UK Hydrographic Office

Further study

Further study is a popular choice for a number of students following graduation from a Geography or Geology undergraduate degree. Below are a few examples of further study undertaken by recent graduates of undergraduate programmes*.

  • Graduate Diploma in Law
  • MRes Sustainable Development
  • MSc Applied Geotechnics
  • MSc Environmental Consultancy
  • MSc Exploration Geology
  • MSc Flood and Coastal Engineering
  • MSc Geospatial Sciences
  • MSc Mining Engineering
  • MSc Rural Land and Business Management
  • MSc Surveying and Land/Environmental Management

*This information has been taken from aggregating the responses from full-time, first degree, UK domiciled students who completed 2017/18 and 2018/19 Graduate Outcomes surveys. Please note that, due to data protection, the job titles and organisations are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.

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