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Undergraduate course

Environmental Geography BSc (Hons)

Our natural world is remarkable - explore it, our relationship to it and learn more about how we can protect its future.

Studying the effect humans are having on the planet is more relevant and urgent now than it has ever been. Environmental Geography focuses on the natural world and our relationship with it. If you are passionate about facing major environmental issues and communicating their importance to others, then this is the degree for you.

100% of Geography students were satisfied with their course. (National Student Survey 2020)

92% of Geography students thought that their course was intellectually stimulating. (National Student Survey 2020)

Accredited by:

  • RGS Accredited programme

York campus

  • UCAS Code – FF81
  • Duration – 3 years full-time | 6 years part-time
  • Start date – September 2021
  • School – School of Humanities

Minimum Entry Requirements

    104 UCAS points

    3 GCSEs Graded C/4 or above (or equivalent) including English Language and Maths

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2021 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2021 entry £12,750 per year full time

Discover why York St John is The One

Course overview

This programme has been accredited by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) and approaches these issues from both human and physical geographical perspectives, considering the environment itself along with the people and populations who interact with it. Topics you will explore include ecosystems, biogeography, environmental hazards, nature conservation, sustainability and the global environmental challenges we are facing today. Tackling these issues head-on will challenge you to think about your own environmental values and your relationship with the natural world.

This confrontation of environmental issues is never purely theoretical. We see relevant, real-world experience as an essential part of your learning. You will go beyond the classroom to get out into the field and study the natural world up close. We make the most of our location, in a Yorkshire landscape of moors, National Parks and coastland. Guest speakers from local environmental organisations also strengthen your connection to the region.

As you progress through this degree you will study an increasingly broad range of natural environments. You will take part in residential field trips, which at present include locations such as Malta and Slovenia. This experience of planning and carrying out your own research develops valuable, employable skills and is an essential part of the course and therefore participation on these trips is included within your course fees.

Those who choose to study Environmental Geography usually want to make a difference in the struggle for the health of the planet. Graduates from this subject may go on to have rewarding careers in environmental charities, sustainability management and environmental policy and planning. With the fate of the planet in our hands, having skills to confront the challenges which humanity faces will be invaluable.

Course structure

Level 1

From 2020 onwards we will be offering non-residential and/or virtual fieldwork as an alternative to residential field trips. This was developed in response to the travel restrictions and concerns caused by COVID19. For the 2020-21 academic year it is likely that all students will undertake this version of fieldwork in place of international work. While we hope to have all of our trips up and running again as soon as possible, non-residential and/or virtual fieldwork will continue to be available as an option in the future.



Modules include:

  • Ecosystems and Biogeography examines relationships between plants and animals and their living and physical environment

  • Earth Systems and Geomorphology investigates the processes that shape the physical landscape

  • Critical Thinking and Academic Skills in Geography focuses on a contentious issue to critically analyse arguments and evidence, developing your own position. This module incorporates a compulsory residential field trip within the UK

  • Mapping the Geographies of Yorkshire develops cartographic skills, designing maps using both professional graphic software and geographical information systems (GIS) software

  • Nature Conservation focuses on conservation policy to sense of the huge variety of nature conservation designations

  • Environmental Geography Fieldwork Studies introduces you to geography’s history of field exploration and develops your own environmental geography field research skills

All modules are compulsory and are worth 20 credits.

Level 2


Modules include:

  • Environmental Change involves identifying and understanding environmental change.

  • Environmental Hazards examines causes and consequences of hazards, and how to manage them

  • Geographical Thought (studied by students on all geography programmes) reviews the range of approaches that geographers have taken to doing geographical research

  • Sustainability: Global Environmental Challenges examines key environmental challenges of the 21st Century, from local to global scales

  • Research Project: in this module students work in small groups to develop research plans for an environmental or physical geography project, then undertaking the research on residential field work (current destination: Malta)

  • Geographers’ Professional Practice (work placement)


All modules are compulsory and worth 20 credits.

Level 3


Modules include:

  • Nature/Culture examines the cultural idea of ‘nature’, critiquing our sense of separation from nature and highlighting the ways that ideas of nature or naturalness are embedded in everyday life

  • Applied GIS uses geographical information systems to address real-world environmental problems

  • Habitat Management applies knowledge of ecosystems and biogeography to undertake a consultancy-style project

  • International/Environmental Fieldworks involves interpreting the natural environment through residential fieldwork (current destination: Slovenia) and developing skills in environmental communication

  • Environmental Geography Dissertation (40 credits) is a year-long module in which students undertake their own research project on a relevant topic of their interest, guided by a tutor

All modules are compulsory and are worth 20 credits unless otherwise stated,

Teaching & Assessment

For all of our Geography Degrees, our aim is to get you practising geography for yourself from the outset: collecting and analyzing data, applying theories for yourself, and developing your skills and abilities – generating your own knowledge.

Teaching methods

We use a range of teaching styles and settings to support you in this. This includes lectures and seminars (small groups of students with a tutor), tutorials (one-to-one meetings with a tutor), fieldwork, ICT workshops, independent study outside of formal teaching sessions, collaborative learning (working with your fellow students) and using online resources through the university’s Virtual Learning Environment. Teaching sessions include discussions, problem-solving exercises, group work, debates and data analysis exercises. Throughout your degree you are encouraged to take an active part in teaching sessions, rather than just being a passive receiver of information. Sometimes students are even asked to take the lead in sessions.


You may have the opportunity to work on placements with a range of organisations, including charities such as International Service and Dig Deep, tourism organisations including Visit York and the National Glass Centre, as well as with schools and commercial companies.

Assessment & Feedback

Assessment of this degree is entirely through coursework, with no exams. This is to ensure that the kinds of work you are doing through the degree reflect the kinds of work geographers undertake after graduation, in professional employment. You will encounter a wide range of assessment, including essays, reports (including fieldwork reports), verbal presentations and portfolios (potentially with some multimedia elements in them). Many modules are assessed through one piece of coursework, with development of this work supported throughout the course of the module. Feedback on assignments is designed to support you in your future learning, at the same time as assessing what you have already learned.

Final year dissertation

By your final year, you will be ready to take control of your learning for yourself. The dissertation involves you undertaking an independent research project (guided by a tutor) on a geography topic of your choice, demonstrating self-reliance and developing skills of project management. The fieldwork module in your final semester brings together all that you will have learned through your degree, giving you plenty of scope to demonstrate your knowledge, abilities and creativity.

Entry requirements

The minimum entry requirements for this course are:

104 UCAS Tariff points

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

Calculate your tariff points.

 A demonstrable interest in, and enthusiasm for, geography. An A Level (or equivalent) in Geography is not essential requirement. You can use your UCAS personal statement to provide evidence of your interest in the subject, along with any relevant past experience.

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 your first language is not English you must show evidence of English language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

Foundation Year

This course is available with a foundation year. This option is ideal if you do not yet meet the minimum requirements for entry straight onto a degree course, or feel you are not quite ready for the transition to Higher Education. A foundation year prepares you for degree level study, giving you the confidence and skills needed to make the most of your course. Passing it guarantees you a place on this degree course the following academic year.

Foundation courses

Personal statement

Essential criteria

As well as a strong standard of written English, the ability to demonstrate knowledge and interest in the subject is essential. This can be done in a variety of ways, for example, visits to design exhibitions, museums or collections. Applicants will also show an ability to 'think outside the box' and have relevant experience of group work.

Valued criteria

We also value the ability to demonstrate a real enthusiasm for the subject that goes beyond achieving good grades in exams. Examples of this include involvement in projects or entering competitions, and being aware of any current issues relating to design, such as sustainability. Candidates will also be able to discuss influences including favourite designers, design product or style of design.

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. These can be accessed through our Admissions webpages.

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 EU, or internationally (outside the UK/EU). Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

UK and EU 2021 entry

The tuition fee for 202 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/EU, 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.

International 2021 entry

The tuition fee for 2021 entry to this course is £12,750 per year for full time study.

This price applies to all students living outside the UK/EU.

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

While studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

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

View our accommodation pages for detailed information on accommodation and living costs.

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. 

All undergraduates receive financial support through the York St John Aspire card. Find out more about the Aspire scheme and how it can be used to help you purchase equipment you need for your course. 

Aspire Card

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