BA/BSc Geography with Study Abroad

UCAS codeF8D7
Duration4 Years
Typical offerAAA-AAB; IB: 36-34; BTEC DDD
Location Cornwall (Penryn Campus)


This four-year version of the BA/BSc Geography degree includes a year studying abroad, between the second and final years. In this third year you study at a university with which we have established links, for example in North America or Australia, and credit for this academic work counts towards your degree at the University of Exeter.

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
Study Abroad 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 of your degree is a residential field course to California, 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 2019

Typical offer


International students

International students should check details of our English language requirements and may be interested in our Foundation programme for Biomedical, Life and Environmental Sciences.

International students

International students should check details of our English language requirements and may be interested in our Foundation programme for Humanities, Law and Social Science.

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.

Study abroad

Students registered on the BA/BSc Geography with Study Abroad can apply for a place to study with a number of International Exchange partner universities in the United States and Australia. You can find a complete list of International Exchange partner universities on the International Exeter website (click on the College of Life and Environmental Sciences link).

This International Exchange programme enables you to spend a year abroad at an English speaking international (non-European) university. Whilst abroad you will study approved modules at the host university to the value of 120 credits; these will be credited towards your University of Exeter BA/BSc Geography degree, which you would then complete after four years of study rather than three.

To qualify for application for an International Exchange place, we would expect you to have successfully completed your Year 1 studies with an average mark of at least 60%. All assessments during the year abroad would be undertaken at the host university and would count towards your final degree. Upon return to the University of Exeter, you would then complete your degree in a fourth year (equivalent to the current Year 3 of our BA/BSc Geography programme).


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.

The international field course in the third year is one of the capstones to your degree, where 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.

The fieldtrip was amazing! It allowed you to get a good understanding of a range of environmental management practices within the physical world, which could be used as in depth examples. The trip provided a good grounding in analysis and statistical methods and their limitations in preparation for the dissertation, and there was a good level of work and travelling, as well as free time. In addition, our tutor was really helpful and prepared us well for our dissertation proposal.

Second Year Geography undergraduate


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 in Cornwall. 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 job titles and organisations are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.

Job titleOrganisation
Assistant Catastrophe Exposure Assistant
Planning Assistant
Performance and Efficiency Analyst
Marine Conservation and Divemaster Internship
Marketing Assistant
Case Assessor
Business Graduate
Recruitment – Energy Sector
Information and Systems Assistant
Research Consultant
Army Officer
London Borough Newham Council
HCC Insurance
Department for Transport
British Armeed Forces
University of Exeter
Spencer Ogden
Pinnacle Internet Marketing
Scott and May
Thales UK

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 in Cornwall. 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
Climate Change and Risk Management
Sustainable Crop Production
Volcanology and Geological Hazards
CIM Professional Certificate in Marketing
Food Economics and Marketing
Energy Policy
Oil and Gas Management
University of Exeter
University of Warwick
University of Lancaster
Coventry University
University of Reading

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.

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

Contact us

Penryn Campus, Cornwall

WebEnquire online
Phone: +44 (0)1326 371801

Website: Visit the Centre for Geography, Environment and Society website