Geography BA

Year of entry

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UCAS code
L700
Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
Duration
3 years full time
Work placement
Optional
Study abroad
Optional
Typical A-level offer
AAA or AAB (specific subject requirements)
Typical Access to Leeds offer
ABB or BBB (including an accepted subject) plus a pass in the Access to Leeds scheme
Full entry requirements
Accredited
Yes

Course overview

Geography BA UG banner students at computer

A degree in human geography provides the knowledge and skills to understand our rapidly changing world, including international development, population growth, urban transformation, sustainability, global geopolitics, human rights, globalisation, and patterns of inequality (ethnicity, class and gender).

Our graduates are in demand for both their specialist and transferable skills. Throughout this course, you’ll build skills in presenting your ideas in reports and orally, in data collection, presentation and analysis, and in the use of specialist mapping and statistical software.

Each year of this programme is designed around a combination of compulsory core modules, as well as opportunities to take optional modules and discovery modules across the University so you can choose additional subjects of interest. This means you can specialise in either human or physical geography – or choose modules from a mixture of both.

Broad expertise and knowledge will equip you to tackle important real-world problems in a range of organisations and sectors, from the public sector (such as working for local government), to private industry (as a retail analyst or location planner) and for non-governmental organisations (such as Amnesty International as a policy and campaigns officer).

Why study at Leeds:

  • This course is accredited by the Royal Geographical Society with IBG
  • Our globally-renowned research at Leeds has had a pioneering impact on current global agendas in environmental protection, public health and the economy and feeds directly into your course, shaping what you learn with the latest thinking.
  • This course is highly flexible so you can tailor your degree to suit your interests. You can specialise in either human geography or physical geography or opt to study a mixture of our BA and BSc modules.
  • Experience expert teaching delivered by a School that has taught  and is made up of academics and researchers who specialise in a variety of geography disciplines.
  • Access excellent teaching facilities, including specialist labs, a dedicated field store fully equipped with research-grade equipment and industry-standard software to support your learning and practical fieldwork.
  • Put theory into practice with our extensive fieldwork activities, where you’ll experience ‘real world’ learning that will advance your research, project planning and teamwork skills whilst gaining hands-on experience highly valued by employers in industry.
  • Enhance your career prospects and give your CV that competitive edge before you graduate by undertaking a work placement. Our close industry links have given previous students the chance to work at — and build professional relationships with — organisations such as Sainsbury’s, Morgan Stanley and GlaxoSmithKline.
  • Gain invaluable life experience and advance your personal development with our exciting study abroad programmes, spanning across many universities worldwide.
  • Make the most of your time at Leeds by joining our student society GeogSoc which gives you the chance to meet like-minded students who share your passion for geography. The society organises a range of social activities and trips and has football and netball teams in the University’s intra-mural league.

Accreditation

Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)

Accreditation is the assurance that a university course meets the quality standards established by the profession for which it prepares its students.

This course is accredited by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).

Course details

Each year of this course is designed around a combination of compulsory core modules that provide essential foundational knowledge and skills, as well as opportunities to study optional modules in both human (BA) and physical geography (BSc), and take discovery modules across the wider University so you can choose additional subjects of interest.

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 increasingly sustainable fieldwork opportunities throughout your degree, giving you the chance to study a fascinating subject in contrasting environments away from the University.

In Year 1, fieldwork is UK-based. You'll use Leeds as your ‘laboratory’, exploring the city through group work. In future years, you'll have the option to undertake residential field classes in the UK or in Europe. During field trips, you’ll learn essential fieldwork and team working skills whilst building transferable skills that'll prove invaluable to your future career.

Year 1

You’ll develop a grounding in the foundational concepts and themes of human geography, plus key skills in academic writing, digital learning and data analysis. Core modules explore different geographies of a changing world, including planetary environmental crisis, economic and political globalisation, urbanisation and cities, neighbourhood and population change, migration and development.

We focus on issues of power, justice, difference (including ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and disability), identity, space and place across different scales and ideologies. You have the option to take a physical geography module as well but can choose to focus on human geography.

Quantitative Research Methods pathway

At the end of Year 1, you'll have the opportunity to request a place on our BA Geography with Quantitative Methods course, subject to meeting the entry requirements.

The course will help you to develop advanced analytical skills, which are in high demand across the public, private, and third sectors. You'll learn spatial and statistical analysis techniques and their application to ‘real’ world problems related to crime, health, transport, business, planning and environment.

Find out more about the Quantitative Research Methods pathway.

Year 2

You’ll be provided with a core programme of research and career skills training that you’ll supplement from optional modules that cover geo-politics and international development, service planning for changing populations, economic geography, the development of modern cities, citizenship and identity, natural resource management, and sustainable transport. You can also take a physical geography module in a range of topics spanning natural planetary systems.

Year 3

You'll undertake a significant independent final year project - a human geography dissertation - alongside a selection of optional modules that cover subjects such as urban social movements, creating alternative futures, population and health geographies, retail location planning, global insecurities, the Mediterranean migration crisis, and healthy transport. You'll also have the choice of a research, work or teacher placement module with an external organisation. You can also take a physical geography module in a range of topics covering water science, the cryosphere, and sustainable development in tropical forests.

One-year optional work placement or study abroad

During your course, you’ll be given the opportunity to advance your skill set and experience further. You can apply to either undertake a one-year work placement or study abroad for a year, choosing from a selection of universities we’re in partnership with worldwide.

Each academic year, you'll take a total of 120 credits.

Course Structure

The course information shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

Most courses consist of compulsory and optional modules. There may be some optional modules omitted below. This is because they are currently being refreshed to make sure students have the best possible experience. Before you enter each year, full details of all modules for that year will be provided.

For more information please read Geography BA in the course catalogue.

Modules

Year 1

Compulsory modules

The Urban Age - 20 credits

You'll learn about the dynamic nature of urban and economic geography, exploring the geography of cities and urban settlements and their constitution by environmental, economic, social and political processes through time and space. Particular attention is paid to planetary urbanisation, urban planning, systems of collective consumption, housing and the welfare state, service and retail economy, neoliberal globalisation, post-industrial urbanism, power, austerity and contestation. Key features of the module are small group tutorials and local urban fieldwork.

Planet Under Threat – 20 credits

This module focuses on the major environmental challenges facing humanity and the wider biosphere from both human and physical geography perspectives such as climate change and global warming, biodiversity loss and species extinction, deforestation and desertification, flooding and extreme weather, food and energy shortages, and resource and territory conflicts that generate climate refugees. You will learn how to evaluate the range of political responses and potential solutions at different scales, assess the effectiveness of national and international environmental policies, and acquire a foundation for studying human and physical geography throughout the course.

Digital Geographies – 20 credits

A beginner’s guide to the important and rapidly changing world of geographical data analysis that blends new digital, mobile and spatial technologies with core numerical skills and conceptual understandings of how space and spatial relationships can be represented. You will learn basic techniques of data collection, analytics and mapping, how to design online surveys and collect data using smartphones and other GPS-enabled devices, as well as the potential uses and applications of data from policing to planning, and new forms of data such as crowdsourcing and twitter. The module also explores the pros and cons of citizen science versus designed experiments, as well as the politics and ethics of data use and representation.

Optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Year 2

Compulsory modules

Career Skills in Geography – 10 credits

This module provides you with a suite of insights, skills and experiences that will better prepare you for how to use your geography degree in a future career. This includes: developing a professional CV; what to expect at graduate scheme selection days; understanding how the diverse skills possessed by geographers can be most effectively presented to employers; enhanced understanding of the range of employment and other opportunities available to geographers, and how geographical skills can be used effectively in a diversity of workplaces; gaining familiarity with the process of searching, applying and interviewing for a graduate job; and an opportunity to demonstrate skills possessed by geographers whilst undertaking an applied role-playing project and associated pitch presentation.

Research Approaches in Human Geography - 20 credits

This is an essential training programme for human geography students in the fundamentals of devising, conducting and writing up qualitative research so that you're equipped to conduct your own final year independent research project. You'll first learn about the core ideas and scientific approaches underpinning human geography and be trained in the key skills of compiling, summarising and critically analysing different literatures and data sources. This is followed by training in research design, methodology and a variety of qualitative research methods before putting them into practice through conducting fieldwork, data collection, and data analysis in a research team.

Social and Spatial Data Analysis with GIS - 10 credits

This module provides human geography students with essential training in quantitative analysis such as social data statistics, spatial data analysis and the theory behind Geographical Information Systems (GIS). You'll develop advanced skills in collecting, summarising, and manipulating data as well as exploring spatial data relationships through overlay analysis, sieve mapping, cluster analysis and classification, heatmaps, spatial trends, data projections, network analyses, digital elevation models, and regression. This will be complemented by exploring the potential uses and applications of spatial data through site and location suitability analyses.

Optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Year 3

Compulsory modules

Human Geography Dissertation – 40 credits

This module forms the pinnacle of your degree: a 10,000 word thesis based on an independent research project that is focused on a specific problem or question that you have devised. Doing a dissertation introduces you to the practicalities of doing research, from coming up with a topic, thinking about aims and objectives, planning and working through the different elements of your research (theoretical, empirical, analytical), and writing up your findings. You will be following a very similar process to the one that academics undertake when conducting research and writing books, reports or papers for journals.

Optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Learning and teaching

As a geography student at Leeds, we ensure that you benefit from a wide range of teaching methods, including lectures, tutorials (groups of eight), seminars (groups of approximately 30), computer classes, lab practical classes, group-work, online exercises and fieldwork, depending on the modules you study.

Independent study is also an important part of this course and will develop your research and analytical skills in order to think and work independently. You’ll receive guidance and support throughout your degree, and there will be opportunities for extra support through one-to-one assistance, workshops and training.

You’ll be assigned a personal tutor to guide you through your studies, and you'll receive support from fellow students through our peer mentoring scheme. Peer mentors are students who are on your course but are in years 2 and 3. They’ll help you when you arrive at University and throughout your first year. You’ll meet your peer mentors during your first week for a social activity.

Taster lecture

Watch our taster lecture to get a flavour of what it’s like to study at Leeds:

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.

Assessment

You’ll be assessed using a range of methods throughout the course. There will be timed examinations, essay and report writing, presentations, practical exercises, posters, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, research-based projects (such as the dissertation) and reflective logs.

All assessments are closely tied to the learning objectives of the course to ensure you graduate equipped with cutting-edge knowledge and skills, as well as being structured to help you develop the key transferable qualities that employers are looking for within the workplace.

Assessments are reviewed annually to ensure they remain fair and inclusive, and to maintain an element of flexibility within module choices such that you can select a package of learning to best reflect your own learning style and long-term career goals.

Entry requirements

A-level: AAA or AAB including a social science/humanities subject.

Accepted social science/humanities subjects: Ancient History/History; Business/Business Studies; Classical Civilisation; Economics; English; Geography; Government and Politics; Law; Media Studies; Modern Languages or Ancient Languages; Philosophy; Politics; Psychology; Religious Studies; Sociology.

Excludes A-Level General Studies or Critical Thinking.

GCSE: English Language and Mathematics at grade C (4) or above, or an appropriate English and Mathematics qualification. We will accept Level 2 Functional Skills English in lieu of GCSE English.

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), International Project Qualification (IPQ) and Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate (ASCC): We recognise the value of this qualification and the effort and skills required to undertake it, where an applicant is taking the EPQ/IPQ/ASCC this may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. The EPQ/IPQ/ASCC taken with A-Levels, for example, could be AAB with an A in the EPQ/IPQ/ASCC or ABB (including an accepted subject) with A in EPQ/IPQ/ASCC.

Alternative qualification

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

D*DD/DDD in National Extended Diploma/3 National Extended Certificates in Geography or two relevant subjects. We will accept a combination of BTECs and A-Levels.

Cambridge Pre-U

D2, M1, M1 including Geography or two relevant subjects

International Baccalaureate

17/16 points at higher level at 6,6,5 / 6,5,5 including 5 in a relevant subject.

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

AAAAAA/H2H2H2H2H2H2 including Geography or two relevant subjects

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

AA in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers, or A in an Advanced Higher and AAABB in Highers, or AAAAAA in Highers. To include Geography or two 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.

Typical Access to Leeds A Level offer: ABB or BBB (including an accepted subject) plus a pass in the Access to Leeds scheme.

If you do not have the formal qualifications for immediate entry to one of our degrees, you may be able to progress through a foundation year. We offer a Studies in Science with Foundation Year BSc for students without a science background at A-level and an Interdisciplinary Science with Foundation Year BSc for applicants who meet specific widening participation criteria.

International Foundation Year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

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.

Fees

UK: £9,250 (per year)

International: £27,250 (per year)

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will remain capped at £9,250 for 2023/24 and 2024/25. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 and 2024/25 are available on individual course pages.

Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
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

Travel, accommodation and subsistence costs associated with compulsory field trips are covered by the university. However, you must pay for incidental or personal expenses.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more on our living costs and budgeting page.

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.

Applying

Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

We typically receive a high number of applications to our courses in the School of Geography. The number of applicants exceeds the number of places available so, to ensure that we treat all applications fairly and equitably, we wait until after the UCAS equal consideration application deadline has passed before making a final decision on applications.

If we put your application on hold for review after the UCAS application deadline, we will send you an email to let you know. Although you may have to wait longer than usual to receive a decision, you will hear from us by mid-May at the latest, in line with the deadline that UCAS sets universities for making decisions on applications submitted by the January UCAS deadline.

Offer decisions are made based on an overall review of applications including predicted grades, breadth of knowledge demonstrated through qualifications, personal statement, extra-curricular and work experience, and contextual information. We look for enthusiastic and talented students who have the potential to succeed in their studies with us and contribute to our community.

Advanced entry is not generally permitted on this course.

Admissions guidance

Read our admissions guidance about applying and writing your personal statement.

Offer holder events

If you receive an offer from us, you’ll be invited to an offer holder event. This event is more in-depth than an open day. It gives you the chance to learn more about your course and get your questions answered by academic staff and students. Plus, you can explore our campus, facilities and accommodation.

International applicants

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students.

We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Read about visas, immigration and other information here.

If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of Geography

Contact us

School of Geography Undergraduate Admissions

Email: geo-ug-enq@leeds.ac.uk
Telephone:

Career opportunities

Studying geography opens up a wide range of exciting careers. Whether your future career plans lie in environmental management, journalism, the financial sector or nature conservation, our degrees are structured 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.

Plus, University of Leeds students are among the top 10 most targeted by top employers according to The Graduate Market 2023, High Fliers Research.

Example of recent destinations include:

  • CBRE
  • UHY Hackey Young Chartered Accountants
  • Proctor & Gamble
  • Lloyds Banking Group
  • IAEM & Red Cross
  • Raw TV Ltd

Read profiles of our alumni to find out more about where some of our graduates are working.

Careers support

At Leeds, we help you to prepare for your future from day one. Our Leeds for Life initiative is designed to help you develop and demonstrate the skills and experience you need for when you graduate. We will help you to access opportunities across the University and record your key achievements so you are able to articulate them clearly and confidently.

You'll be supported throughout your studies by our dedicated Employability team, who will provide you with specialist support and advice to help you find relevant work experience, internships and industrial placements, as well as graduate positions. You’ll benefit from timetabled employability sessions, support during internships and placements, and presentations and workshops delivered by employers.

You'll also have full access to the University’s Careers Centre, which is one of the largest in the country.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

Studying abroad is a unique opportunity to explore the world, whilst gaining invaluable skills and experience that could enhance your future employability and career prospects too.

From Europe to Asia, the USA to Australasia, we have many University partners worldwide you can apply to, spanning across some of the most popular destinations for students.

This programme offers you the option to spend time abroad as an extra academic year and will extend your studies by 12 months.

Once you’ve successfully completed your year abroad, you'll be awarded the ‘international’ variant in your degree title which demonstrates your added experience to future employers.

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

Work placements

A placement year is a great way to help you decide on a career path when you graduate. You’ll develop your skills and gain a real insight into working life in a particular company or sector. It will also help you to stand out in a competitive graduate jobs market and improve your chances of securing the career you want.

Benefits of a work placement year:

  • 100+ organisations to choose from, both in the UK and overseas
  • Build industry contacts within your chosen field
  • Our strong connections with industry mean you’ll be in direct contact with potential employers
  • Advance your experience and skills by putting the course teachings into practice
  • Gain invaluable insight into working as a professional in a particular company or sector
  • Improve your employability

If you decide to undertake a placement year, this will extend your period of study by 12 months and, on successful completion, you'll be awarded the ‘industrial’ variant in your degree title to demonstrate your added experience to future employers.

With the help and support of our dedicated Employability team, you can find the right placement to suit you and your future career goals.

Here are some examples of placements our students have recently completed:

  • Geospatial Data Science Intern, Sainsbury’s
  • Supply Chain Placement, Cummins Emission Solutions
  • Project Analyst, Virgin Media
  • Urban Planner, Newham Council
  • Corporate Affairs Industrial Placement, Morgan Stanley
  • Financial Services Consultant, Ernst & Young
  • Corporate Social Responsibility, Emerald Group
  • Communications Assistant, GSK
  • Government Social Research, Office for Statistics Regulation
  • Project Controls Placement, Turner & Townsend

During your industrial placement, you'll have an industrial supervisor from within the company, plus an academic supervisor who will keep in touch throughout your placement.

Find out more about Industrial placements.

Student profile: Rane Lucido

Studying Geography at Leeds has genuinely been the best decision I’ve ever made.
Find out more about Rane Lucido's time at Leeds