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School of Geography

For 2018 entry course see BSc Geography and Geology 2018

Geography and Geology BSc
(Full time) 2019 start


Key facts

  • UCAS code: FF68
  • Start date: September 2019
  • Duration/Mode: 3 years full time
  • Typical A level offer: AAB
    (specific subjects required)
  • UK/EU fees: See fees section below
  • International fees: £22,750 (per year)
  • Study abroad option: Yes
  • Work placement option: Yes
  • Course terms and conditions

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. Geology investigates the dynamics of the earth, from its origins over 4.5 billion years ago to the processes that define how we live today. The two disciplines together have an important role in understanding how humans can deal with environmental change in the future.

Delivered jointly by the School of Geography and School of Earth and Environment, this degree combines the study of physical geography and the earth sciences. You’ll tackle diverse questions, from how the climate is likely to change in the future to the impact of building housing estates in river catchments. At the same time, you’ll study the origins of rocks and minerals, the evolution of life on earth, volcanism, geological mapping and the use of geological natural resources.

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.

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.


This course gives you the option to study modules that secure professional accreditation from The Geological Society of London.

The Geological Society - accredited degree programme
Accredited by the Geological Society


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.

In Year 3, you can choose to follow one of three "pathways" which allow you to focus on specific areas of geography and geology that suit your own interests and career plans. You’ll be able to sample a range of modules before deciding on which pathway to take. Advice on which pathway you should take will be provided by your tutor throughout years 1 and 2 of your studies.

Geography leaning pathway: you specialise in geography in Year 3 and carry out your independent research project in the subject, under the supervision of a geography tutor.

Geology leaning pathway (non-accredited): you take more specialized modules in geology and carry out an independent geological mapping project between years 2 and 3 under the supervision of a geology tutor.

Geology-leaning pathway (accredited): You’ll also be able to take a combination of modules from years 2 and 3 that secure professional accreditation by The Geological Society of London. This will grant you fast-track progression towards obtaining Chartered Geologist status, which is the key professional qualification for a career in some commercial spheres of employment.

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

  • Data analysis and physical geography tutorials 20 credits
  • Studying in a Digital Age (Environment) 5 credits
  • Geology 1 30 credits
  • Geology 2 30 credits

Optional modules

  • Dynamic Landscapes 20 credits
  • Living Planet 20 credits
  • Environmental Change: Past and Future 20 credits

Year 2

Compulsory modules

  • Sedimentary Processes 10 credits
  • Advanced Fieldwork, Mapwork, and Study Skills 20 credits
  • Palaeoecology, Palaeobiology and Evolution 10 credits

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
  • Earth Surface Processes 20 credits
  • Ecosystems: process, pattern, and change 20 credits
  • Climate Systems 20 credits
  • Research project and skills in physical geography (geological mapping route) 10 credits
  • Research project and skills in physical geography (geography dissertation route) 10 credits
  • Chemistry of the Earth 10 credits
  • Introductory Oceanography 10 credits
  • Contaminated Land Studies: Integrating Business Skills and Science in Consultancy 10 credits
  • Mineralogy and Petrology 20 credits
  • Sedimentary Basins and Hydrocarbon Resources 10 credits
  • Explosive Volcanism: Processes, deposits and resources 10 credits

Year 3

Optional modules

  • New Zealand Field Trip 20 credits
  • Water Science & Management 20 credits
  • Costa Rica Field Trip 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
  • Physical Geography Dissertation 40 credits
  • The Cryosphere 20 credits
  • Tropical forests and sustainable development 20 credits
  • Hydrological Monitoring and Modelling 20 credits
  • Research Placement 20 credits
  • Global Environmental Cycles 20 credits
  • Timescales of Global Change 20 credits
  • Contaminated Land Studies: Integrating Business Skills and Science in Consultancy 10 credits
  • Easter Field Class (Geological Science) 10 credits
  • Advanced Sedimentology and its Applications 10 credits
  • Independent Field Projects (GS) 40 credits
  • Applied Micropalaeontology 10 credits
  • Earth System Science: Biogeochemical Cycles 10 credits
  • Engineering Geology 10 credits
  • Volcanic Processes 10 credits
  • Physical and Chemical Hydrogeology 10 credits
  • Plate Tectonics and Geodynamics 10 credits
  • Basin Dynamics and Petroleum Systems 10 credits
  • Field Class: Petroleum Reservoir Architectures 10 credits
  • Environmental Geology in Northern Ireland 10 credits
For more information on typical modules, read Geography and Geology 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 including a science and preferably geography

If Geography is not included, we would expect two science A-levels from Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Maths and Physics. We do not accept General Studies and Critical Thinking.

GCSE:English and Mathematics at grade B (6) or above, or an equivalent English language and Mathematics qualification.

Alternative qualifications

  • Access to HE Diploma: Pass 60 credits overall with 45 credits at Level 3, 30 credits with Distinction and the remaining 15 credits with Merit or above.
  • BTEC: DDD in Extended Diploma/3 Subsidiary Diplomas in a science and Geography or two relevant subjects. We will accept a combination of BTECs and A-Levels. Please contact us for further information.
  • Cambridge Pre-U: D3, M1, M1 including Geography and Science or two relevant subjects.
  • International Baccalaureate: 35 points overall, with 17 points at higher level to include 5 points in a science and Geography or in two relevant subjects.
  • Irish Highers (Leaving Certificate): AAAABB/H2H2H2H2H3H3 including Geography and Science or two relevant subjects.
  • Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers: AABBB overall with AB in 2 Advanced Highers (AH). For non-AH applicants AAAABB. To include Geography and a science or 2 relevant subjects.

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.

Improve your English

If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

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.

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 2019


UK/EU: See fees section below

International: £22,750 (per year)

For UK and non-UK EU full-time students starting in 2018, the fee for 2018/19 will be £9,250. 

For UK and non-UK EU full-time students starting in 2019, the fee for 2019/20 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% in 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 the 2019/20 academic year will have home fee status and be eligible for UK government student loans. The UK government has not confirmed the situation for future years, so keep checking our website for updates.

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

We offer a range of scholarships.

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

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.

Geography-Geology graduates are highly regarded by employers for their teamwork, problem solving, IT and data handling and manipulation skills. They find jobs across a range of sectors including environmental regulation, environmental consultancy, mineral exploration, engineering geology, and the hydrocarbon/petroleum industry.

Here is a snapshot of the types 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

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.

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.

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

  • Denmark: University of Copenhagen *
  • France: Université Grenoble Alpes
  • France: Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense
  • Netherlands: Utrecht University *
  • Norway: University of Bergen *
  • Spain: Universidad de Valencia

*Starred institutions may offer a programme in English. Students may apply for department-specific or university-wide destinations. Academic suitability and language requirements should be discussed with your School Study Abroad Coordinator prior to application.

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

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.


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 BSc 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.