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Geography and Geology BSc (Full time) 2018 start

  • Overview

    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.

    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 - a wide range of field trips will equip you with fieldwork and teamwork skills, and you’ll have the option to focus on the topics that interest you by choosing a specialist pathway in Year 3. All compulsory fieldwork in Years 1 and 2 is funded by the School.


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

  • 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: 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.

    Accreditation (geology-leaning pathway only): 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
    • 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
    • Research project and skills in physical geography (geological mapping route) 10 credits
    • Research project and skills in physical geography (geography dissertation route) 10 credits
    • Intermediate Mathematics for Environmental and Geophysical Scientists 10 credits
    • Advanced Mathematics for Environmental and Geophysical Scientists 10 credits
    • Chemistry of the Earth 10 credits
    • Deformation Processes 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
    • Fundamentals of Geophysics 10 credits
    • Introduction to Geophysics 10 credits
    • GIS for Geoscientists 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
    • 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 or above, or an equivalent English language and Mathematics qualification.

    • 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.

    International Foundation Year Programme

    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.

    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: £21,500 (per year)

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

    The fee for undergraduate students starting in 2019 will be confirmed in September 2018.

    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 in 2018-19 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.

    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 about additional costs

    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.

    The School of Geography offer a range of scholarships for Home, EU and International students.

    Scholarships for 2019 entry are to be confirmed.

  • Career opportunities

    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.

    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

    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.

    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.

  • Study abroad and work placements

    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

    • 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

    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

  • Fieldwork

    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.

    On this course the fieldtrips offered are:

    Level 1 – Malham, Yorkshire Dales, Pembrokeshire and the Lake District

    Level 2 – Austrian Alps, Algarve, Portugal, Ireland

    Level 3 – New Zealand, Cyprus, Costa Rica

    Watch our field trip videos to the Austrian Alps and Malham