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Undergraduate Course

Geography BSc (Hons)

From climate change to social inequalities, geographers tackle some of the most critical global issues facing the world today.

geography students in class

Investigate the world around you, its changing nature, and the challenges facing it. This course balances human, physical and environmental geography meaning you gain a broad understanding of this fascinating subject. The course is accredited by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).

100% of Geography students said that they were able to contact staff when they needed to. (National Student Survey 2022)

95% of Geography students thought that the course provided them with opportunities to explore concepts and ideas in depth. (National Student Survey 2022)

  • This course is accredited by the Royal Geographical Society

York campus

  • UCAS Code – FF84
  • Duration – 3 years full time, 6 years part time
  • Start date – September 2023, September 2024
  • School – School of Humanities

Minimum Entry Requirements

    104 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language and Maths

Tuition Fees

    UK 2023 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2023 entry £13,000 per year full time

Discover Geography at York St John University

Course overview

Our Geography degree offers a wide ranging approach to the subject, and you will study everything from social and cultural geography to ecosystems and landforms.

Our emphasis is on practical learning, taking you out into the world and bringing the world into the classroom. Immerse yourself in different environments through fieldwork. Hear guest lectures from professionals working in relevant sectors. These opportunities give you up to date, relevant insights into our changing world.

We make the most of the region around us, from the historic city of York to the rugged landscapes of Yorkshire. Our course normally includes a residential field trip in each stage of the degree, taking you further afield in your second and third year to investigate other environments and cultures. In recent years, destinations have included Edinburgh, Belfast, the Isle of Skye, Malta and Slovenia. These are essential to your learning, so there is no additional cost to taking part.

The course offers lots of opportunity to choose your own direction, following your interests and developing your own specialist knowledge. Your practical and technical fieldwork skills will grow along with your theoretical understanding. We will support you to become independent researchers and professionals, designing and carrying out your own research, generating your own knowledge and forming your own conclusions.

Course structure

Year 1

Our academic year is split into 2 semesters. How many modules you take each semester will depend on whether you are st­udying full time or part time.

In your first year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • 3 compulsory modules in semester 1
  • 3 compulsory modules in semester 2

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Modules

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Discover the breadth of human geography at university level, as you are introduced to contemporary issues and debates. Using examples and case studies from local, regional, national and global scales. These themes are likely to include:

  • Globalisation
  • Social justice and inequalities
  • Sustainability
  • Mobility
  • Landscape spaces

You will also develop your skills in academic writing, referencing and critical thinking.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will focus on the essential concepts for understanding physical geography and geoscience. You will explore the Earth systems ranging from global atmospheric circulation and ocean systems to Earth surface processes and ecosystems, looking at how we understand patterns in the natural environment. Practical work will include field and/or laboratory work.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will focus on the essential concepts for understanding physical geography and geoscience. You will explore the Earth systems ranging from global atmospheric circulation and ocean systems to Earth surface processes and ecosystems, looking at how we understand patterns in the natural environment. Practical work will include field and/or laboratory work.

 

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Investigate aspects of environmental changing as you develop your understanding of how to handle, process and analyse numerical data. Through a series of workshops we will introduce you to the theory behind data handling and statistical analysis, before developing your skills using software such as Microsoft Excel and IBM’s SPSS Statistics which are both widely used in industry. These skills prepare you for your own investigations later in your degree.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Engage with a range of qualitative methods commonly used in geographical research. Through a series of workshops we will introduce you to the theory behind data handling and statistical analysis, before developing your skills using software such as Microsoft Excel and IBM’s SPSS Statistics which are both widely used in industry. These skills prepare you for your own investigations later in your degree. You will also assess the ethical and health and safety considerations at a basic level involved in your study.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Environmental geography investigates human/nature relations. Through this module you will explore environmental concerns from a variety of perspectives, from society’s impact on biological and physical systems such as soil or water, through environmental policies and politics, to environmental values and identities.

Year 2

In your second year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • 1 compulsory module and 2 optional modules in semester 1
  • 2 compulsory modules and 1 optional module in semester 2

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Optional modules will run if they receive enough interest. It is not guaranteed that all modules will run every year.

Modules

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will examine the relationship between space and society. You will consider how space relates to social identities, as well as how these identities are both expressed in and produce, particular spaces. This includes spaces such as the home, the workplace, public spaces and virtual spaces. There is a focus on difference, inequality and exclusion and their implications within increasingly transnational global contexts.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will consider how the concept of landscape has changed throughout history, and learn how to read landscapes from different perspectives. You will examine landscape in symbolic and material terms, engaging with debates in visual cultural theory that have shaped the geographical analysis of the past 40 years. You will approach landscapes as expressions of power, identity and economic change.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will examine the causes, consequences and management of environmental hazards. Learn the difference between hazard, risk, vulnerability and disaster, and explore different approaches to risk management. You will study both the natural and the social processes related to environmental hazards, emphasising the need for clear communication between multiple stakeholders.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Geography is an extraordinarily diverse discipline. In this module you will learn about the variety of methodological approaches that geographers use in their research, across human, physical and environmental geography. This includes paying attention to the very latest developments, as well as the ethical and political dimensions of producing geographical knowledge. The module prepares you for undertaking your own research later in your degree.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This is an opportunity to experience professional practice related to your degree. This might be a short internship, a period of shadowing a relevant professional, voluntary work in an appropriate setting or a study of a profession, workplace or employer relevant to geography. This will develop new skills and experience that will help you become more employable after you graduate. It will also help you identify areas of personal and professional development you would like to build on to prepare for your career.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This module will involve working in small groups to develop research plans and then undertaking the research on a residential field trip. Our current destination for this trip is Malta. The module provides practical experience in conducting your own research, helping prepare you for your independent dissertation next year. During the module you will also produce a research proposal for your dissertation.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Why do species live where they do, and how and why is biodiversity changing? What role does conservation have to play? What are the most effective conservation approaches in different places? These are the types of questions this module’s lectures, seminars, and workshops focuses on. You will explore the theory of ecosystems and practice of conserving the habitats and species within them.

 

Credits: 20

Optional module

Building on your understanding of physical systems developed in your first year, you will focus on the key concepts of geomorphology. Examine the processing driving change in a variety of physical environments such as river, desert, coastal and hillslope systems and learning about the landforms they produce. You will have opportunity to take part in practical laboratory classes to learn about scientific methodology and observe physical processes in controlled environments.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Cultural and heritage tourism is a growing sector of the tourism industry at an international level. It is also a major attraction for the City of York and its region. It's an important factor in connecting our city to the international tourism industry. You will explore the impact of:

  • Historical buildings and sites
  • Event management
  • Museums and galleries
  • Food tourism
  • Festivals and sport
  • local traditions and customs

Credits: 20

Optional module

The development of sophisticated Geographical Information System (GIS) and online mapping tools in recent years has revolutionised the use of geospatial data. This module will develop your theoretical and practical understanding of these technologies and their applications. A central theme is the use of geospatial technologies to address problems and concerns associated with environmental geography. You will gain first hand experience in using the GIS flow line, collecting data, manipulating and analysing it, and then presenting it.

Year 3

In your third year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • A Dissertation module across semesters 1 and 2
  • 2 optional modules in semester 1
  • 2 optional modules in semester 2

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Optional modules will run if they receive enough interest. It is not guaranteed that all modules will run every year.

Modules

Credits: 40

Compulsory module

This year long module will involve working independently to research a topic of your choice. It is the culmination of your degree studies, and your chance to explore a topic you are passionate about. You will build on the research skills you developed earlier in the course, demonstrating your capacity for independent working, autonomy, self reliance and project management. Once your dissertation proposal has been approved and has passed ethical scrutiny you will work under the guidance of a tutor. A dissertation conference gives you the opportunity to present your ongoing research and allows for supportive peer discussion.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module investigates cities and urban spaces to understand how they are shaped. Key themes of democracy and public participation in urban governance run throughout the module. You will examine cities through a range of perspectives, including economic geography, post-colonialism and sustainability, looking at how urban space is understood and contested at different scales.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Development is a concept commonly used and has proved to be powerful and useful over the years. Due to the term causing debate surrounding an agreed definition, you will explore key issues that have arisen from the development of the world. You will examine a series of case studies that illustrate development issues:

  • Poverty and inequality
  • Gendered vulnerabilities
  • Unemployment
  • Malnutrition and disease
  • Natural disaster

Credits: 20

Optional module

Scientists use an array of different tools to measure and monitor the environment, from detecting land cover change from satellite images, through using lasers on aircraft to map landforms, to monitoring volcanic activity using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones). This module explores how these ‘remotely sensed’ technologies have transformed the ways we understand, measure and model the Earth’s environment. You will further develop your own data analysis and spatial problem-solving skills through a variety of practical exercises, using leading commercial and/or open-source software.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Rivers are a vital resource for life on Earth, providing important services and habitats, and yet also hazards. On this module you will develop your understanding of water quantity, water quality and sediment transport processes throughout the river system, upland to lowland. You will use this understanding to explore the consequences of human-induced environmental change for rivers, and to investigate river management strategies.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module offers you the opportunity to explore geography’s connections with other Humanities disciplines, building on key concepts from human and cultural geography introduced earlier in your degree. You will encounter the subfields of creative geographies and literary geographies, discovering how geographers have contributed to understandings of literature, and how they are using creative practices such as storytelling, poetry, art and performance in their work. The module is an opportunity for you to produce your own creative geographical work.

Credits: 20

Optional module

You will analyse the connection between social justice and sustainability in relation to climate change mitigation and adaptation on this module. Social action and public participation will be explored in the contexts of:

  • Climate justice
  • Environmental justice
  • Ecological justice

You will also be required to examine a local urban case study, and to reflect on your own, and other's thoughts and opinions to present the need for change.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module builds on earlier modules to develop your understanding of ecosystems and biodiversity through a consultancy style project. Techniques used to maintain, enhance, restore and recreate a range of habitats are examined, including through fieldwork. The module also features cutting-edge techniques around species modelling that are increasingly used in industry. Drawing on the taught topics and skills, you will undertake your own assessment of a selected locality and develop a professional habitat management plan.

Credits: 20

Optional module

The focus of the module is a period of residential fieldwork, normally overseas. Through this module, you will be required to develop your understanding of the field locality and plan a focal investigation. You will be expected to apply geographical concepts and ideas to the field locality and communicate your findings in a creative manner.

Organisation, responsibility and self reliance are all key elements and skills you will demonstrate on this module.

Credits: 20

Optional module

The focus of the module is a period of residential fieldwork. Through this module, you will be required to develop your understanding of an environment that is remote from the centre of population and is in some respect different from other environments you have previously studied. This will usually be in an overseas country, but may also take place closer to home. You will consider the following:

  • The natural environment around
  • Human relations with the non-human world
  • Communicating your understanding of the environment to a diverse audience

Organisation, responsibility and self reliance are all key elements and skills you will demonstrate on this module.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning

For all of our Geography degrees, our aim is to get you practising geography for yourself from the outset. This means collecting and analysing data, applying theories for yourself and developing your skills.

We use a range of teaching styles and settings to support you in this. This includes:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Fieldwork
  • IT practical sessions
  • Collaborative learning

Teaching sessions include discussions, problem-solving exercises, group work, debates and data analysis exercises. We encourage you to take an active part in teaching sessions, rather than just being a passive receiver of information. Sometimes you will even take the lead in sessions.

Our teaching draws on both our research and professional experience. This means your learning is informed by the most current thinking in the subject area. You can find out more about our research and backgrounds by visiting our staff pages.

Assessment

There are no exams on this course. The assessment methods we use reflect the kinds of work geographers are likely to undertake after graduation. Your assessments could include:

  • Essays
  • Reports (including fieldwork reports)
  • Verbal presentations
  • Portfolios

You will receive feedback on your work throughout each module. This will help you to improve your work for your graded assessments.

Placements

You may have the opportunity to work on placements with a range of organisations. This includes:

  • Charities such as Dig Deep, Sustrans or The Conservation Volunteers
  • Public sector organisations, such as Visit York or City of York Council
  • Schools
  • Commercial companies

Career outcomes

Your future with a degree in Geography

 This degree will provide you with specialist geographical skills such as cartography, the use of Geographical Information Systems, research, fieldwork and data analysis. It also allows you to build more broadly transferable skills in critical thinking, forming arguments, decision making, self management and team working.

This degree could be the first step toward your career in:

  • Environmental management
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) management
  • Local government and planning
  • Tourism management
  • Surveying
  • Sustainability
  • Conservation

Discover more career options on Prospects careers advice pages.

You could also progress onto a postgraduate degree and take your learning even further.

PGCE at York St John University

Further your education and work towards a rewarding career in teaching by studying for a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) after you graduate. For over 180 years, we have worked with enthusiastic individuals who want to shape the future of young people across both primary and secondary school settings. You'll spend a lot of time in schools, developing your practice by teaching. You will graduate with Qualified Teacher Status and become part of the well respected alumni of York St John educators.

Discover more about PGCE

Whatever your ambitions, we can help you get there.

Our careers service, LaunchPad provides career support tailored to your ambitions. Through this service you can access:

  • Employer events
  • LinkedIn, CV and cover letter sessions
  • Workshops on application writing and interview skills
  • Work experience and volunteering opportunities
  • Personalised career advice

This support doesn't end when you graduate. You can access our expert career advice for the rest of your life. We will help you gain experience and confidence to succeed. It's your career, your way.

Entry requirements

Qualifications

Minimum Entry Requirements

    104 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language and Maths

Calculate your UCAS Tariff points

International Students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements.

Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our International pages.

If English is not your first language you will need to show that you have English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

Additional Requirements

  • You do not need an A level in Geography to apply for this course.
  • You will need to demonstrate an interest and enthusiasm for Geography in your personal statement.

This course is available with a foundation year

If you do not yet meet the minimum requirements for entry straight onto this degree course, or feel you are not quite ready for the transition to Higher Education, this is a great option for you. Passing a foundation year guarantees you a place on this degree course the following academic year.

Liberal Arts foundation year

Mature Learners Entry Scheme

If you have been out of education for 3 years or more and have a grade C GCSE in English Language or equivalent, you are eligible for our entry scheme for mature learners. It's a scheme that recognises non-traditional entry qualifications and experience for entry onto this course. Information on how to apply can be found on our dedicated page.

Mature entry offer scheme

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. You can read them on our Admissions page.

Fees and Funding

To study for an undergraduate degree with us, you will need to pay tuition fees for your course. How much you pay depends on whether you live inside the UK, or internationally (outside the UK). Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

UK 2023 entry

The tuition fee for 2023 entry onto this course is:

  • £9,250 per year for full time study
  • £6,935 per year for the first 4 years if you study part time

These prices apply to all UK, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students

You can find out more about funding your degree by visiting our funding opportunities page:

Funding Opportunities

Placement year funding

If you choose to take a placement year, and your course offers it, you can apply for the Tuition Fee and Maintenance Loan for your placement year. How much you are awarded is based on the type of placement being undertaken and whether it is a paid or unpaid placement. The tuition fee for your placement year will be reduced.

Tuition Fees

    UK 2023 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2023 entry £13,000 per year full time

International 2023 entry

The tuition fee for 2023 entry to this course is £13,000 per year for full time study.

This price applies to all students living outside the UK.

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a Student Visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

Find out more about funding your degree:

International Fees and Funding

Additional costs and financial support

There may also be some additional costs to take into account throughout your studies, including the cost of accommodation.

Course-related costs

If your application is successful, you will be invited to a portfolio day. On the day, you will show your work to our tutors and discuss your work and the ideas behind it.  You should prepare your portfolio with a range of work that may include finished projects, sketch books, digital work, paintings, photographs, drawings, 3D work, storyboards, short films or animations.

Study Abroad

For more information on tuition fee reductions and additional costs for studying abroad, please visit our study abroad pages.

Accommodation and living costs

For detailed information on accommodation and living costs, visit our Accommodation pages.

Financial help and support

Our Funding Advice team are here to help you with your finances throughout your degree. They offer a personal service that can help you with funding your studies and budgeting for living expenses. 

For advice on everything from applying for scholarships to finding additional financial support email fundingadvice@yorksj.ac.uk.

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