BA/BSc Geography with Professional Placement

UCAS codeF8D8
Duration4 Years
Typical offerAAA–AAB; IB: 36–34; BTEC: DDD
Location Cornwall (Penryn Campus)


Why study Geography and Environmental Science at Penryn Campus?

Hear from our students and staff. View on youtube

This four-year version of the BA/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 ground-breaking BA/BSc Geography programme on the Penryn Campus in Cornwall offers a new, vibrant, and fresh approach to studying geography. This innovative undergraduate degree offers a progressive way to examine critical global challenges by exploring both human and physical issues and, importantly, the connections between the two. This contemporary approach to geographical learning provides you with a critical appreciation of 21st-century challenges from multiple perspectives.

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 programme 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.

Studying at the intimate and welcoming environment of our Penryn Campus, you will benefit from excellent student-to-staff ratios, small tutorial groups, and friendly, accessible, and supportive staff. Research undertaken at the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) – a £30 million centre leading cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research into various aspects of the relationship between people and the environment – inspires much of the teaching in Geography.

Cornwall is an exceptional place in which to study issues related to the environment and sustainability. The duchy 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.

  • An innovative and contemporary approach to studying geography
  • Modules investigate key global challenges of the 21st century by exploring 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
  • Aimed at students who are curious to explore important global challenges, but who also want to have the flexibility to study specific human and/or physical geography topics

Following a first year of interdisciplinary modules tackling broad issues, you will have the opportunity to choose a thematic route through more specialist modules in the second and final years. The topic of your final year dissertation research will, in part, determine whether you graduate with a BA or a BSc.

Year 1
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.

Year 2
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.

Year 3
Professional Placement year

Year 4
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.

Programme variations

The lecturers utilise the environment and landscape for their research, attracting both high-profile academics and like-minded students who are enthusiastic to embrace all that Cornwall has to offer. Geography really aids this with all the local field trips and is especially moulded around the sites in Cornwall which are at its disposal, making the degree practical, exciting and relevant.

Abi, Geography, Penryn Campus.

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 up to 30 credits of elective modules outside of the programme in the second and final years of the programme as long as you have obtained the explicit permission of the Programme Director, any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.

If you have mobility or health disabilities that prevent you from undertaking intensive fieldwork, reasonable adjustments and/or alternative assessment can be considered. This could include replacing a fieldwork module with an alternative in agreement with the Director of Education.

You are also permitted to take the five-credit module LES3910 Professional Development Experience in any year. 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


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

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.

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.

You will 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 interdisciplinary thinking – looking beyond traditional boundaries to the complex interactions between human societies and non-human environments.

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

All students have access to the latest geographical information systems (GIS), mapping statistics and coding software. 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. Students can access detailed information about modules and learning outcomes and interact through activities such as the 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.

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 on both campuses where you can get advice and information, including the Students’ Guild Advice Unit.

As a student on our Penryn Campus you will have the opportunity to participate in a Student Mentoring Scheme in your first year, matching you with a Second or Third Year 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.

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.


West Penwith field course video

Exploring West Penwith on the Geography first year fieldclass. View full size.

Fieldwork 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 in the UK, and overseas*, will allow you to develop key field skills, enable you to put them into practice and gain new research skills.

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.

Find out more

Visit our Fieldwork page for more information.


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.

People have often asked me whether my Masters helped me get my first job, and I have no doubt it did. The extensive range of knowledge and skills which I gained across my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees has proved vital to my progression in my career.

First role on graduation: Project Officer, Clear about Carbon, Cornwall Development Company
Current role: Senior Commercial Services Specialist, Cornwall Council

David Morgan Alumnus of BSc Geography with Environmental Management and MSc Climate Change and Risk Management

Professional 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.  

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.  

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

Penryn Campus, Cornwall

WebEnquire online
Phone: +44 (0)1326 371801

Website: Visit The Centre for Geography and Environmental Science