BSc Geography with Applied Geographical Information Systems (GIS) with Study Abroad

UCAS codeF811
Duration4 years
Typical offerA*AA-AAA; IB: 38-36; BTEC D*DD-DDD
Location Streatham (Exeter)


The four-year BSc Geography with Applied GIS with Study Abroad programme mirrors the BSc Geography with Applied GIS programme, but also gives you an exciting opportunity to spend a year studying abroad, between the second and final years. During this 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.

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
Study abroad year

Final Year
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

Year 4

Entry requirements 2020

Typical offer

A-level: A*AA-AAA
IB: 38-36

Required subjects

GCE A-levels: Grade A in a Science subject*.

IB: HL6 in a Science subject*.

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

GCSEs: Grade C or 4 in English Language.

*GCE A-level science includes: Biology/Human Biology; Chemistry; Computing; Design and Technology; Electronics; Environmental Studies, Geography, Geology, Life and Health Sciences (Double Award only), Maths/Pure Maths/Further Maths, Physical Education, Physics; Psychology; Science (applied); Statistics

Contextual offers

At the University of Exeter we are committed to the idea that all students who have the potential to benefit from higher education have the opportunity to do so. We believe that fair access to higher education is a fundamental enabler for social mobility, improving life opportunities and outcomes for individual students, while benefiting the economy and society as a whole.

Educational context can affect your grades, and we take this into account in order to recognise your potential. If you meet certain criteria, we may make you a lower offer than our typical entry requirements. Find out more about contextual offers.

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.

Research indicates that 64% of employers consider an international experience important for recruitment, and report that graduates with an international background are given greater responsibility more frequently. 92% of employers involved in a study conducted in 2014 (European Commission (2014) The Erasmus Impact Study, Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2014) indicated that they look for skills such as openness to and curiosity about new challenges, problem-solving and decision-making skills, confidence, and tolerance towards other personal values and behaviours. The research revealed that studying abroad had a positive impact on the development of these skills and concluded that the employability and competences of students greatly benefit from mobility.

Students registered on the BSc Geography with Applied GIS 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.

This International Exchange programme enables you to spend a year abroad at an international (non-European) university in an English-speaking country. 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 with Applied GIS 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 geography programmes).


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, 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.


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.

Contact us

Streatham Campus, Exeter

WebEnquire online
Phone: +44 (0)1392 725818

Website: Visit the Geography website