BSc Geography and Geology with Study Abroad

UCAS code F860
Duration 4 Years
Typical offer AAA–AAB; IB: 36–34; BTEC: DDD
Discipline Geography and Geology
Location Cornwall (Penryn Campus)


Geography and Geology is delivered jointly by the Centre for Geography and Environmental Science and Camborne School of Mines on the Penryn Campus.

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.

Residential field courses are a feature of the programme, along with one-day courses 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.

This programme will provide:

  • a high-quality, very flexible broadly-based programme in a distinctive and highly attractive environment
  • exceptional access to internationally-leading research groups across all the constituent pure and applied geo- and environmental sciences
  • opportunities for research project placements within geoscience and environmental industrial partners, companies and agencies
  • practical, hands-on modules that teach not only how to think and reason, but how to do
  • local to international fieldwork opportunities

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.

Please note that this programme is currently in development and the modules outlined here are subject to change.

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Entry requirements 2020

Typical offer


Required subjects

GCE A-levels: grade A or B in two science subjects*.

IB: HL6 or HL5 in two science subjects*.

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

GCSEs: GCSE English Language at grade C or 4, plus GCSE Maths at grade B or 5, plus either GCSE Double Award Science or GCSE Chemistry at grade C or 4.

*Accepted science subjects: Biology/Human Biology^; Chemistry; Computing; Design and Technology; Electronics; 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.

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 Geology, and promotes interest in the global challenges we 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.

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.

Academic support

We are committed to providing you with a supportive learning environment in which you can build confidence and mastery of your subject.

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. 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, practical and fieldwork 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.

Study abroad

As part of BSc Geography and Geology with Study Abroad you 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 BSc Geography and Geology 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 BSc Geography and Geology programme).


Fieldwork is at the core of Geography and Geology, and experience of rocks, landscapes, processes and human impacts in the environment lie at the heart of this programme.

The observations and data gathered in the field form the basis for class teaching, practical laboratories and many assessments are linked to fieldwork.

Year 1

In the first year you will undertake a residential fieldtrip to West Penwith* to examine the granite landscapes, coastline and the environmental legacy of tin mining in west Cornwall, alongside weekly day-trip fieldtrips to examine aspects of the spectacular geology of Cornwall.

In the Surveying module you will undertake practical work in and around campus and in the Earth System Science module you be introduced to the evidence for, and implications of, changes in sea level. In May of the first year there is a residential geology fieldtrip to Pembrokeshire* and in June a residential fieldtrip to the Isles of Scilly* investigating Quaternary and Holocene palaeoenvironmental change, biogeography and human responses to environmental pressures on island communities.

Year 2

In the second year you will go on a week-long residential fieldtrip to the Dorset coast* as part of the Sedimentology module to examine the stratigraphy, palaeontology and sedimentology of the iconic Jurassic coast sequences.

Many optional modules also integrate fieldwork: for instance, if you opt for the second year Ice Sheets module you will undertake a short residential fieldtrip to North Wales at the end of the spring term.

Year 3

You will go on the flagship Geography 10-day long international fieldtrip at the start of your third year, currently to California*. If you opt for marine modules you will also gain seagoing experience in the Fal Estuary and offshore, deploying instrumentation for measuring water column properties and sampling seabed sediments.

* Please note that field trip locations are subject to change. 

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 and Geology.

Key global issues such as climate and sea-level change, environmental degradation and remediation are central to the subject area, making it one of the most relevant courses that you could choose to study.

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

The graduate attributes characterising this programme focus around numeracy, experience of numerical modelling and practical field and technical ability. The excellent relationships between the academic staff and industrial and corporate partners locally in Cornwall and further afield, nationally and internationally, will augment the opportunities for industrial and agency placements to enhance employability.

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

Supporting your career 

Each year 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 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.

Contact us

Penryn Campus, Cornwall

WebEnquire online
Phone: +44 (0)1326 371801

Website: Visit The Centre for Geography and Environmental Science