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School of Geography

Geography BSc
(Full time) 2017 start


Key facts

  • UCAS code: F800
  • Duration/Mode: 3 years full time
  • Typical A level offer: AAB
    (specific subjects required)
  • UK/EU fees: See fees section below
  • International fees: £19,750 (per year)
  • Study abroad option: Yes
  • Work placement option: Yes
  • Course terms and conditions

The world is facing a huge environmental crisis. Human activities are driving climate change, land degradation, pollution of the land, ocean and atmosphere, and extinction of plants and animals at rapidly increasing rates. An integrative approach is critical for understanding the present state of planet Earth and to predict what the future may hold.

Physical Geography is the integrative science that deals with processes and patterns in the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and geosphere, and the interaction of humans and their environment.

Our graduates are in demand for both their specialist and transferable skills. You’ll build skills in presenting your ideas in reports and orally, in data collection, presentation and analysis, and in the investigation and computer simulation of environmental processes.

Your expertise will equip you to tackle important real-world problems in environmental management and environmental policy in a range of organisations, from the public sector, such as Defra, to private industry, and non-governmental organisations, such as the National Trust.

Extending this degree

You can convert your 3-year degree into a 4-year degree by spending an additional year on an industrial placement or overseas, before returning to Leeds to complete your final year of study. Read "Study abroad and work placements".

Real world learning

Fieldwork is an integral part of all our geography degrees. All compulsory fieldwork in Years 1 and 2 is funded by the School.


This programme has been accredited by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). Accredited degree programmes contain a solid academic foundation in geographical knowledge and skills, and prepare graduates to address the needs of the world beyond higher education. The accreditation criteria require evidence that graduates from accredited programmes meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including subject knowledge, technical ability and transferable skills.

RGS IBG logo
Accredited by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)

Student profile

The modules available encompass such a wide variety of geographical themes that you can tailor your degree in your second and third year.Emily Smith, BSc GeographyRead more


Course terms and conditions

Course content

Each year of this programme is designed around a combination of compulsory core modules, as well as opportunities to take optional modules and/or discovery modules so you can choose additional subjects of interest. The balance of compulsory to core modules depends on the year and programme of study and is explained fully in the programme catalogue. If you study this programme part-time you’ll study fewer modules in each year.

If you opt to study abroad or to join our year in industry scheme you will do this at the end of Year 2, returning to your final year of study once completed.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

You will study the following compulsory modules:
  • Dynamic Landscapes 20 credits
  • Living Planet 20 credits
  • Environmental Change: Past and Future 20 credits
  • Nature, Society and Environment 20 credits
  • Data analysis and Physical Geography Tutorials 20 credits
  • Studying in a Digital Age 5 credits

Optional modules

You may study the following optional module:
  • Mathematics for Earth, Environmental and Geographical Scientists 10 credits

Year 2

Compulsory modules

You will study the following compulsory modules:
  • Career Skills in Geography 10 credits
  • Skills for Physical Geographers 40 credits

Optional modules

You must take one of the field trip modules. You will also choose up to 40 credits from other optional modules.
  • The Dynamic Environment of the European Alps 10 credits
  • The Dynamic Environment of Mallorca 10 credits
  • The Dynamic Environment of the Western Algarve 10 credits
  • Living within limits: Natural Resource Management for Sustainable Development 20 credits
  • Earth Surface Processes 20 credits
  • Ecosystems: Process, Pattern and Change 20 credits
  • Climate Systems 20 credits

Year 3

Compulsory modules

  • Dissertation 40 credits

Optional modules

You select modules from the following options. Restrictions apply to some modules.
  • New Zealand Field Trip 20 credits
  • Water Science and Management 20 credits
  • Creating Alternative Futures 20 credits
  • Management of Wilderness and Global Ecosystems 20 credits
  • Environment, Conflict and Policy 20 credits
  • Workplace Co-operative Project 20 credits
  • Geographers into Teaching: School Placements 20 credits
  • The Cryosphere 20 credits
  • Tropical forests and sustainable development 20 credits
  • Hydrological Monitoring and Modelling 20 credits
  • Research Placement 20 credits
  • Biogeochemical Cycles: Process to Policy 20 credits
  • Timescales of Global Change 20 credits
For more information on typical modules, read Geography BSc in the course catalogue

Broadening your academic horizons

At Leeds we want you to benefit from the depth and breadth of the University's expertise, to prepare you for success in an ever-changing and challenging world. This course gives you the opportunity to broaden your learning by studying discovery modules. Find out more on the Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

You’ll learn through a mixture of lectures, tutorials (groups of six), seminars (groups of approximately 30), computer classes, lab practical classes, group-work, online exercises and fieldwork, depending on the modules you study.

Opportunities for extra help, including “drop-in” workshops, one-to-one assistance, and an extensive programme of generic skills training.

Part of studying at university is that you will take increasing responsibility for your own learning as you progress through your degree. Developing the skills to think and work independently is crucial to your success both at university and in your future career. Independent study involves a lot of reading around the subject, and although this may seem daunting at first, we will guide and support you.


Assessment methods vary from module to module, giving you the flexibility to choose modules based on the assessment criteria that suits your particular strengths. Types of assessment include: examinations, individual or group reports and presentations, practical exercises, essays, posters, projects (such as the dissertation) and reflective logs.

Entry requirements, fees and applying

Entry requirements

A-level: AAB preferably including geography

If geography is not included then we would expect two A-levels from biology, chemistry, geology, maths and physics. Offers exclude general studies and critical thinking.

GCSE:A*-B English and maths

Alternative qualifications

  • BTEC: We accept BTEC qualifications in a relevant subject area but only in combination with other A-levels.
  • Cambridge Pre-U: D3, D3, M2.
  • International Baccalaureate: 35 overall (17 higher)
  • Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers: AAAABB/AAB

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.

Access to Leeds entry requirements for this course: BBB


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For information contact the School of Geography Undergraduate Admissions Team.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for the programme may be able to study an English for Academic Purposes pre-sessional course with a progression route to the degree programme. For information and entry requirements, read Pre-sessional programmes.

How to apply

Apply to this course through UCAS. The institution code for the University of Leeds is L23. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

Read advice on how to apply on the School’s website.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK/EU students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

Faculty of Environment Undergraduate Admissions Policy


UK/EU: See fees section below

International: £19,750 (per year)

For UK and non-UK EU full-time students starting in 2017, the fee for 2017/18 will be £9,250. 

The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation, and as permitted by law. For example, the increase of 2.8% for 2017/18 was based on the government’s forecast for the RPI-X measure of inflation.

The UK government has confirmed that non-UK EU students starting in 2017 will have home fee status and be eligible for UK government student loans for the duration of their course. Read the full government statement

If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Additional cost information

We have optional level 3 field classes. As these field trips are optional, they are at an additional cost to the student.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.

Career opportunities

Industry links

To find out more about our links with industry, read Study abroad and work placements.

Graduate destinations

Up to 80% of our undergraduates secure appropriate graduate employment within six months of graduating; others go on to do further study.

Here is a snapshot of the kinds of careers our graduates pursue:

Environmental management

  • Conservation
  • Land and water management
  • Public utilities
Management and consultancy
  • Transport planning and consultancy
  • Graduate training schemes in multinational companies
  • IT and business consultancy
Using GIS
  • Retail Planning
  • Direct marketing
  • GIS companies
Government and NGOs
  • Local government administration
  • Civil service (police, armed forces)
  • Regional and overseas development
  • Banking
  • Insurance
  • Financial services

Further study and training

  • Vocational Masters courses
  • PhD study
  • Teacher training/conservation courses

Find out about your career prospects first-hand from employers and graduates of the School in our employability video!

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.

In the School of Geography we take your future very seriously and know that employability is uppermost in many students’ minds. If you choose to study geography at Leeds, you can be confident that you’re not only joining a university whose graduates are targeted by top employers, but that as geography graduates, your employment opportunities couldn’t be more exciting and wide-ranging.

We structure this programme to ensure you develop the key transferable skills sought by graduate recruiters, skills such as: team-working, commercial awareness, report-writing, fluency in oral communication and presentation, numerical analysis, IT expertise and investigative skills.

Placement opportunities

Study abroad

You can convert your 3-year degree into a 4-year study abroad degree by spending an additional year overseas, before returning to Leeds to complete your final year of study. You don’t apply directly to this course, instead you can register your interest with us once you’ve enrolled on the 3-year degree.

To be eligible for Study Abroad you’ll need to maintain a good average in your assessments in years 1 and 2 and, for some destinations, you may have to show you have the necessary language skills. Read more about eligibility on the Study Abroad website.

The Study Abroad Office and the School provide guidance to help you set up a study place at one of the University's partner institutions from around the world. Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

School of Geography partnerships

The School of Geography has long-established partnerships with a number of overseas universities who reserve places each year specifically for Leeds geographers.

European (Erasmus) destinations

The University of Grenoble, France
The University of Utrecht, Netherlands
The University of Valencia, Spain

Worldwide destinations

Teaching takes place in English at all these universities:

The University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
The University of McMaster, Ontario, Canada
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
The University of Adelaide, Australia
The National University of Singapore
The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Find out more from staff and students in our study abroad video

Work placements

“Recruiters have confirmed that a record 32% of this year’s entry-level positions are expected to be filled by graduates who have already worked for their organisations – either through paid internships, industrial placements or vacation work.”

(The Graduate Market in 2016, High Fliers Research)

At Leeds our aim is to ensure our students thrive in their academic studies and leave us as highly employable graduates with a wide range of skills and attributes sought after in today’s job market. Leeds is one of the few geography departments in the UK to offer a year in industry scheme which allows you to extend your three-year programme to a four-year industrial degree.

This is a fantastic opportunity to add value to your CV, experience the “real world” first-hand and, in many cases, be offered a permanent job with the placement company on graduating. With staff dedicated to helping you to secure a placement that is right for you, and by keeping in close contact with you throughout your placement year, we ensure you get the most out of your time with your chosen company.

You don't have to decide to do a placement year before you start your course, you can register your interest with us once you’ve enrolled on the 3-year degree.

Find out first-hand from employers and year in industry students about your options!


Ask any of our students and they will tell you that taking part in field trips is one of the most enjoyable and memorable aspects of the geography programmes at Leeds.

We offer BA field trips at each level of study and they provide a great opportunity to study a fascinating subject in contrasting environments away from the University. During the field trips you will learn essential fieldwork and team working skills, transferable skills that will prove invaluable to your future career. Field trips are also a fantastic way to travel and see new places and to get to know your tutors and other students better.

On this course the fieldtrips offered are:

Level 1 – Malham

Level 2 – Austrian Alps, Algarve, Portugal and Mallorca, Spain

Level 3 – New Zealand

Watch our field trip videos to the Austrian Alps and Malham!