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Undergraduate course

Human Geography BA (Hons)

Physically and academically explore the world to understand the impact humans have on it.

Students on the shambles

Human Geography is all about people, asking you to consider big questions about globalisation, social justice, inequality and cultural identity. This degree lets you see things from new perspectives, think about your place in the world and consider how you can make a difference to the global community.

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

Accredited by:

  • RGS Accredited programme

York campus

  • UCAS Code – 8B12
  • 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 focuses on urban, social, cultural and tourism geographies. York is a fascinating city with a thriving tourist industry, meaning it is an ideal location to study these exciting areas of geographical interest. You will get the opportunity to study a broad range of key geographical themes including landscape, place, spatial variation and inequality which are integrated throughout the programme.

On this course you won’t be confined to the classroom, from the start you'll actively engage with the environments and issues we investigate through fieldwork. You will be applying your knowledge to the real world across a variety of places, spaces and landscapes – from exploring the city on your doorstep to developing your own research on residential field trips in the UK and abroad. Field trips are great fun, but this real-world experience is also integral to your study, which is why the costs of participation are covered by your course fees. They allow you to develop a range of technical skills, deepen your understanding through first-hand experience and gain confidence in your abilities as an independent researcher.

The transferable skills that you will gain on this course will make you employable for positions in tourism management, heritage management, urban regeneration and many other sectors. You'll learn to analyse geographical data and critically interpret landscapes, as well designing and implementing your own research projects. You will also gain skills such as communication, team-working, problem-solving and time-management, which are applicable to an even wider range of careers.

Course structure

Level 1

Updated information about  residential field trips

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:

Urban Geography (20 credits) 

Explores the changing nature and role of cities in the 21st century.

Social and Cultural Geography (20 credits)

Examines social and spatial inequalities with reference to issues such as gender, age, class, ethnicity, race and disability.

Critical Thinking and Academic Skills in Geography (20 credits)

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 (20 credits) 

Develops cartographic skills, designing maps using both professional graphic software and geographical information systems (GIS) software.

Tourism Geographies (20 credits) 

Covers key themes and debates in tourism, looking particularly at how places are represented through images and texts.

Human Geography Fieldwork Studies (20 credits) 

Introduces you to geography’s history of field exploration and develops your own human geography field research skills.


All modules are compulsory.

Level 2

At Level 2 there is a more specific focus on social and cultural geography. In addition, there is also training in ‘doing’ research and all students will work in small groups on a research project of their choosing (under the guidance of a tutor) in a fieldwork destination (which may be in the UK or Europe). You also undertake a work placement with an appropriate employer.

Modules include:

Society and Space (20 credits)

This module focuses on the ways that social identities (e.g. age, class, ethnicity) are expressed in, and produce, particular spaces.

Culture and Landscape (20 credits) 

This module examines the changing concept of ‘landscape’ through history, and how to ‘read’ landscapes from different perspectives.

Geographical Thought (20 credits) 

This module is studied by students on all geography programmes. it reviews the range of approaches that geographers have taken to doing geographical research.

Research Project (20 credits) 

In this module students work in small groups to develop research plans for a human geography project, then undertaking the research on residential field work (current destination: malta).

Geographers’ Professional Practice (20 credits) 

This is a work placement module designed to give you real-world experience. 

Cultural amd Heritage Tourism (20 credits) 

This module will build on the year 1 tourism geographies module with a particular focus on heritage tourism and the role of the cultural industries in tourism. 

All modules are compulsory.

Level 3 

Level 3 is advanced study that will introduce you to ideas and debates that are at the ‘cutting edge’ of the discipline. There is a particular focus on urban geography and students can also choose from a range of optional modules. All students undertake a dissertation, an original piece of research on negotiated topic of their choice, done independently but under the guidance of a tutor. Finally the year ends with residential fieldwork in an international setting.

Modules include:


Human Geography Dissertation (40 credits) 

This a year-long module in which students undertake their own research project on a human geography topic of their interest, guided by a tutor.

Cities in Transition (20 credits)  

This module focuses on contemporary issues in cities, particularly relating to democracy and decision-making. 

Nature/Culture (20 credits) 

Examine the cultural idea of ‘nature’, critique our sense of separation from nature and highlight the ways that ideas of nature or naturalness are embedded in everyday life whilst studying this module. 

International/Cross-Cultural Fieldwork (20 credits) 

Applies your knowledge through residential fieldwork, interpreting some aspect of the geography of the destination for a public audience (current destination: Slovenia)



Responsible Tourism (20 credits)

This module considers the positive and negative impacts of tourism and addresses sustainable tourism development, particularly in developing countries.

Media Geographies (20 Credits)

Explores issues of globalisation, localisation, regionalism and national identity in relation to city cultures.

Transnational Cinema (20 credits) 

Focuses on cinema as a transnational cultural form, paying particular attention to diaspora and migration.

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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