Why Geography at Lancaster?
From our flexible degree pathways to our incredible fieldwork opportunities, find out why our students love studying Geography at Lancaster.
9th for Geography and Environmental Science
The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide (2023)
13th for Geography and Environmental Sciences
The Complete University Guide (2023)
Top 100 for Environmental Sciences in the QS World Ranking league table
Discover Geography at Lancaster and overseas with our exciting Study Abroad programme. Explore a range of amazing locations; study Master's-level modules; and learn from world-renowned lecturers.
Geography is a distinctive subject: it studies our world in a vast range of areas. Our Study Abroad Master's programme provides a unique first-hand experience of work and life in a different country. You will spend a year exploring the diverse physical environments, societies and culture in North America or Australasia, as well as benefiting from our world-class teaching at the state-of-the-art Lancaster Environment Centre (LEC).
While studying in the Lancaster Environment Centre (LEC), you will have access to new teaching and research labs, computer systems and software and even our very own weather monitoring station. Working in comfortable class sizes, you will have the opportunity to get to know your lecturers personally, enabling you to benefit their expert knowledge and helpful one-to-one advice.
Modules taken at Lancaster will make extensive use of the rural settings of the north and the bustling cities of Liverpool and Manchester, allowing you to explore some of the UK’s most unique areas of geographic interest. You will gain a wealth of hands-on experience with field trips to places such as the Yorkshire Dales, Cumbrian coast and Lake District, as well as international locations including Iceland, Croatia or New York.
You will develop a fundamental understanding of human, physical and environmental geography in your first year Geography modules. These first year modules equip you with a well-rounded introduction to some of the key themes of geography, as well as providing you with some of the key skills used by geographers to analyse problems in both the physical and human aspects of the discipline.
Third year modules will be taught at a partner university in North America or Australasia. You may engage in topics such as cities and globalisation, environmental change, glacial systems, coastal processes, and water management. In addition, you will gain valuable fieldwork experience in another country.
Lancaster University will make reasonable endeavours to place students at an approved overseas partner university that offers appropriate modules which contribute credit to your Lancaster degree. Occasionally places overseas may not be available for all students who want to study abroad or the place at the partner university may be withdrawn if core modules are unavailable. If you are not offered a place to study overseas, you will be able to transfer to the equivalent standard degree scheme and would complete your studies at Lancaster.
Lancaster University cannot accept responsibility for any financial aspects of the year or term abroad.
Your fourth year of study provides an advanced qualification which will give you a competitive edge in the graduate jobs market by equipping you with the extra experience, knowledge and skills that come with studying Master's-level modules and undertaking a dissertation. This will enable you to stand out from the crowd in the selection process for graduate roles.
We offer flexible programmes with a strong emphasis on practical learning. You will engage in a wide range of modules that span the breadth of geographical topics and infuse content from the humanities, along with the social and physical sciences. Your work will be regularly assessed by a combination of assignments, written examinations and project reports.
This programme has been accredited by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). Accreditation recognises programmes that deliver the geographical knowledge, understanding, skills, approaches and professional attributes expected of high-quality geography graduates, as recorded in the QAA Subject Benchmark Statement for Geography.Learn more about the Royal Geographical Society accreditation
Geography helps us to understand the world around us, from the study of cultures and people, to the processes going on beneath our feet that shape the landscapes we live in. A degree in geography will help you get to grips with the many challenges we face with a growing population and an increasingly precarious climate situation by providing you with the opportunity to tackle a wide variety of complex issues. With such a diverse curriculum of topics, our geography graduates go on to work in a diverse range of positions such as Planning Officers, Environmental Consultants, Landscape Architects, Geospatial Analyst, Hydrologist, Emergency Planning and many more. Geographers are also well placed to secure roles and opportunities in sectors that might not be obvious such as marketing and sales, teaching, travel and tourism, and commercial business. This is down to your transferable skills in communication, software competencies, project management and data analysis. Graduates from our courses are also well-paid, with the median starting salary of graduates from Lancaster Environment Centre being £24,500 (HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey 2022).
Here are just some of the roles that our BSc and MSci Geography students have progressed into upon graduating:
Lancaster University is dedicated to ensuring you not only gain a highly reputable degree, you also graduate with the relevant life and work based skills. We are unique in that every student is eligible to participate in The Lancaster Award which offers you the opportunity to complete key activities such as work experience, employability/career development, campus community and social development. Visit our Employability section for full details.
A Level AAB
Required Subjects A level Geography is recommended, or alternatively one of the following subjects: Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry, Classics, Economics, English Literature, Environmental Studies, Geology, History, Mathematics, Philosophy, Physics, Psychology, Religious Studies, Sociology, World Development.
GCSE Mathematics grade C or 4, English Language grade C or 4
IELTS 6.5 overall with at least 5.5 in each component. For other English language qualifications we accept, please see our English language requirements webpages.
International Baccalaureate 35 points overall with 16 points from the best 3 Higher Level subjects including Geography or alternative cognate subject at HL grade 6
BTEC Distinction, Distinction, Distinction in a related subject but may additionally require a supporting A level in Geography or alternative cognate subject at grade B. Please contact the Admissions Team for further advice.
We welcome applications from students with a range of alternative UK and international qualifications, including combinations of qualification. Further guidance on admission to the University, including other qualifications that we accept, frequently asked questions and information on applying, can be found on our general admissions webpages.
Contact Admissions Team + 44 (0) 1524 592028 or via email@example.com
Lancaster University offers a range of programmes, some of which follow a structured study programme, and others which offer the chance for you to devise a more flexible programme to complement your main specialism. We divide academic study into two sections - Part 1 (Year 1) and Part 2 (Year 2, 3 and sometimes 4). For most programmes Part 1 requires you to study 120 credits spread over at least three modules which, depending upon your programme, will be drawn from one, two or three different academic subjects. A higher degree of specialisation then develops in subsequent years. For more information about our teaching methods at Lancaster please visit our Teaching and Learning section.
The following courses do not offer modules outside of the subject area due to the structured nature of the programmes: Architecture, Law, Physics, Engineering, Medicine, Sports and Exercise Science, Biochemistry, Biology, Biomedicine and Biomedical Science.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, and the University will make every reasonable effort to offer modules as advertised. In some cases changes may be necessary and may result in some combinations being unavailable, for example as a result of student feedback, timetabling, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes and new research.
This module provides an introduction to environmental processes and their impacts in a variety of different environments. We discuss the physical processes governing the Earth's global climate system and their influence on recent and future patterns of climate and environmental change. We investigate the Earth’s surface materials and the laws that govern the behaviour of fluids, and how these affect environmental flow and fluid transport processes. We also explore the processes which influence the development of soils and associated ecosystems at the land surface, including deposition and erosion processes.
This module provides an introduction to the skills used by geographers to analyse problems in both human and physical geography. The module begins by reviewing the principles of cartography and recent developments in the electronic delivery of map-based information through mobile devices and web-based services. This is followed by an introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) which provide facilities for the capture, storage, analysis and display of spatially-referenced information. Later in the module we introduce remote sensing and explain its relationship to GIS. We also consider quantitative and qualitative techniques of analysis (which are taught within the context of contemporary conceptual approaches), with emphasis placed on the study of both environmental and societal processes.
The global environment and human society are now threatened by unprecedented changes resulting from human activities such as intensive agriculture and fossil fuel combustion, as well as facing natural hazards like volcanic eruptions and climatic extremes. This module introduces you to the major contemporary environmental issues and the complexities associated with researching, explaining and managing the Earth's environment. It provides a broad foundation in the skills required to contribute to future understanding and management of global environmental challenges. You will gain a clearer understanding of the connections between social, environmental and biotic processes and explore possible solutions for key environmental issues.
Introducing you to contemporary human geography, this module focuses on the interactions between society and space, and between people and places at a variety of spatial scales and in different parts of the globe. We introduce the key processes driving geographical change affecting society, economies, the environment, and culture. We critically analyse relevant issues using theoretical models, with examples from across the world. The module encourages you to think critically, argue coherently, appraise published material, and relate real world issues to relevant theoretical frameworks.
Introducing the nature of biological diversity and the patterns of distribution of organisms on global, regional and ecosystem scales, students discover the underlying causes of the observed biodiversity patterns and the main current threat to biodiversity. The reasons why species become extinct is explored and then the reasons why species should be preserved. Students will be able to outline the criteria that can be used to identify species and areas of high conservation importance.
Fieldtrips take place on campus, where students will look at sampling techniques and biodiversity, and to sites of special conservation interest in the Arnside and Silverdale AONB. There will also be an excursion to Blackpool Zoo.
Billions of people are at risk from natural hazards, and the cost of natural disasters to the global economy is steadily increasing. This module examines the distribution of, and hazards associated with, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes and floods. The underlying geological and meteorological processes are described, along with the most commonly-used intensity scales and monitoring and forecasting methods. Students will then consider how human vulnerability to these hazards can be reduced, drawing upon risk mitigation case studies from around the world.
In the practicals, students will apply simple equations and measurements from a variety of maps and graphs to understand and quantify concepts such as scale, speed and intensity of hazardous phenomena. They will be taught to contour spatial data by hand, and interpret the deformation of a volcano in terms of magma chamber depth. Students will learn about disaster preparedness through playing a team-based game, and will consider a wide range of potential careers in which knowledge of natural hazards can be applied.
The coursework will develop students’ scientific writing skills and ability to integrate their own figures and interpretations with information derived from their background reading.
Students will typically study eight modules at one of our partner universities in North America or Australasia. These will include courses that are similar to our core Y2 modules at Lancaster (i.e. Spatial Analysis and Geographical Information Systems, and Research Project Skills).
The dissertation project is an individual and individually supervised extensive project ending in submission of a substantial dissertation report. Students will choose from a set of dissertation research areas or topics based on a LEC-wide list compiled by the module conveyor. There will be regular meetings with dissertation supervisor, and students will develop a specific dissertation topic, along with research questions, aims, objectives and methods. This will be followed by a period of background reading, discussion and planning, before their dissertation drafts are analysed, marked and a final draft of up to 10,000 is submitted in week 11 of the term.
Students must take active involvement in the module and make good use of interaction with the supervisor in order to deepen their subject specific knowledge and ability to work independently. Depending on the discipline, style and topic, students may focus on methods, field techniques, lab techniques, or a combination of computer and software tools.
You will have the option of taking either a Dissertation or a Dissertation with External Partner. However, please note that students taking a Study Abroad year must take the Dissertation option.
This intensive week-long residential fieldtrip to south west Switzerland is a new collaborative third year module, jointly offered by the University of Lausanne and Lancaster University. It is a unique intercultural exchange in knowledge, with Lancaster and Lausanne students working together. The module provides students with training in the design and implementation of research to understand alpine environments. Students will collect significant amounts of field data and focus on one of six interconnected study themes, spanning: alpine climate and hydrology; glacial processes; alpine rivers; streams; soils; and ecosystems. The module will provide students with an in-depth understanding of a particular thematic focus of alpine environments.
This module explores climate change in the context of it being a ‘wicked problem’. The aim is to provoke students to look beyond the simple narratives pushed at us about climate change and to start to think critically as wicked problems require us to do. In doing so, students are invariably forced to abandon often naive assumptions about what can and can't be done to tackle climate related risks.
This module employs developing and using an Integrated Assessment Model (IAM) as its primary learning device because, for all their deficiencies, IAMs have become the most important way synthesising the various components of the climate change 'problem'. Practical decision making is a theme running through the module supported by quantitative analysis. However, this necessarily involves debate and discussion over the normative values we use in our analysis of climate change and students will be expected to actively participate in this debate, holding and developing their line of argument both in small groups and in class wide discussions.
By the end of this module, students will recognise the role of societal and climate dynamics in climate change management, and will gain the necessary knowledge required to comprehend the basis of sustainable development in the context of climate change management. They will also be able to perform simple, yet meaningful evaluation of a range of climate related options.
This module is designed to provide students with a critical understanding of the key concepts of coastal systems and their properties. Students will develop specialist knowledge of key coastal processes and their interaction, and will gain an appreciation for the interaction of natural processes and human intervention at the coast. The module will promote an understanding of the human and natural pressures acting on these systems and challenges facing future coastal management, and students will learn to evaluate different theories and models describing coastal processes and coastal behaviour. By gaining experience in synthesising theories, models and evidence from field measurements, students will be able to explain complex coastal systems and in applying these for solution of coastal management problems.
Students will gain knowledge in waves, currents and sediment transport, and their role in shaping the coastal environment. They will develop the ability to evaluate theories and models describing coastal processes and coastal behaviour, and will learn to synthesise theories, models, and evidence in order to explain coastal systems.
Students will learn both the principles on which remote sensing systems operate, and how useful environmental information can be derived from remotely sensed data. From this, students will be able to compare the information provided by remote sensing sensors from several areas of research such as ecology, biology, geography, geology, marine and atmosphere science.
They will also develop image processing skills and learn how remote sensing data can be used to extend our understanding of ecosystems and global environmental changes.
The aims of this module are fulfilled by initially examining the physical basis of remote sensing in terms of the characteristics of electromagnetic radiation and its interactions with the Earth's atmosphere and biosphere. This physical basis is also examined in terms of how the sensors and satellites operate in a modern earth system observatory. The techniques used to analyse and interpret images will then be used to understand local, regional and global environmental changes.
This is followed by an investigation of the environmental applications of remote sensing. Here, satellite images from NASA, ESA and several international space agencies are used to illustrate the increasing importance of remotely-sensed data for environmental and climate applications.
Laboratory practicals allow students to study the physical principles of remote sensing, and computer practicals are used to demonstrate image analysis techniques using ENVI Imagine: a state-of-the-art software package.
This module covers both the principles of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and GIScience, and provides practical experience in the use of GIS using ArcGIS, a leading windows-based package. Students will engage with a number of theoretical issues, such as the problems of representing real world phenomena in GIS databases, and will consider emerging trends within the discipline such as WebGIS and the Open Source GIS movement. Lectures also explore the use of GI in government, commercial and academic sectors and related employment opportunities, and are complimented by a series of practical sessions in ArcGIS. Initial exercises are concerned with creating, manipulating and querying spatial data using the core functionality of the software, and subsequent exercises demonstrate more sophisticated forms of spatial analysis using a range of extension products including Spatial Analyst, Network Analyst and ArcScene.
Over the duration of the module, students are required to source their own data, conduct appropriate analyses and produce a project report. This combination of concepts, theories and practical experience provides students with the requisite skills to enter the graduate workplace, and they will learn how to explain how data may be modelled, captured, stored, manipulated and retrieved from within GIS. Additionally, the module will enhance students’ abilities in a range of areas, such as the design and implementation of a spatial database and appropriate forms of analysis, knowledge of the latest developments and emerging issues and trends in GIS and GISc.
This module takes a broad look at geological hazards, covering contemporary events, to those that have shaped the Earth over geological time. Specific hazards are addressed, including earthquakes and tsunamis, terrestrial and sub-marine landslides at a variety of differing scales, landslide triggering and principles of run-out, volcanic hazards (eruption styles, plumes and pyroclastic flows) and extreme events which civilisation has yet to witness.
The module explores in depth the fundamental processes involved, and to what extent events can be predicted. Case histories of national and international disasters will be used to illustrate these hazards, with the inherent risks and potential mitigation measures discussed. The module develops a sense of human-place in the geological world, promoting an understanding of how the geological world impacts human society, and what can be done to limit that impact.
Students will be able to describe and explain the processes responsible for the occurrence, recurrence and magnitude of geological hazards, and will gain the knowledge needed to evaluate hazard prediction methods. Additionally, students will gain a critical understanding of risk mitigation strategies, with reference to examples from around the world, and will gain the practical knowledge required to apply simple principles of analysis of slope failure using a variety of natural hazard situations. Students will also be able to demonstrate how simple probabilistic models may be applied to forecasting earthquakes, and discuss the uncertainties inherent in these techniques.
This module will give you an insight into the physical dynamics and ecological interactions within glacial systems. We begin with the concept of mass and surface energy balance, determining when and where snow and ice melt may occur. This determines how water flows through a glacier and introduces the concept of hydrological regime. We then study the implications that this has for glacial dynamics and the legacy of past glacial systems in the environment. Where ice sheets and glaciers overlie active volcanic systems there is currently very little understanding of how the two forces interact - does volcanic activity control glacier behaviour or is it the other way round? We introduce the concept of studying glaciers as ecosystems, rather than just physical systems in the landscape, and discuss recent advances in glacier hydrochemistry in the context of climatic change.
The aim of this module is to introduce the concept of the Earth system and how the different components interact with each other to shape the Earth's climate and control how the climate might change. The module begins with underlying concepts that shape the Earth's, before considering natural and human drivers of climate change, including volcanoes, solar output, greenhouse gases and land use change. In addition, it will also introduce the computer models and global observation networks that scientists use to understand the Earth system as well as the IPCC process.
This module provides students with an introduction to the physical processes which influence global climate change, leading to a better understanding of Earth system science and give them a clear understanding of the Earth system and the human impacts on it, and how scientists investigate this area with Earth system model.
Students will gain the level of experience and knowledge necessary to demonstrate subject specific skills, such as how to calculate a global 2-compartment radiative budget, along with an understanding of the major parts of the Earth system and how they interact. Students will develop the communication skills required to describe what an Earth system model is, and will be able to explain pollutant sources and sinks.
This course is based at the Slapton Ley Field Studies Centre, South Devon in the summer and centres on a study of the hydrological processes governing nitrate eutrophication of Slapton Ley, a coastal freshwater lake of ecological significance. The course offers a unique opportunity to examine an actual environmental problem - eutrophication - through the integration of field measurements and laboratory analysis. Field measurements, in small groups, will combine qualitative observations with borehole hydraulic testing and some geophysics. Laboratory analysis will include contaminant breakthrough experiments, soil physical properties, nitrate chemistry and topography-based simulation modelling. Your understanding of the nitrate remediation measures will be reinforced through a field visit on 'Catchment Sensitive Farming' led by Natural England staff.
This module introduces the underpinning aspects of geophysical and remote sensing techniques used to investigate the Earth's surface and near surface. The techniques covered are illustrated by case studies demonstrating their advantages and limitations, for example, for the investigation of contaminated sites and sites suitable for exploitation (e.g. for minerals or for hydrothermal energy) and for monitoring hazardous regions such as volcanoes. The module delivers a synoptic view of active and passive techniques, seismic, gravity, magnetic, radar and electrical methods for sub-surface characterisation and GPS, radar and laser techniques for surface measurements. The techniques are linked through developing an understanding of measurements in terms of both spatial and temporal coverage and resolution.
Students will develop a range of skills necessary to describe the range of applications of geophysical measurements, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different geophysical and remote sensing techniques. Students will gain the practical experience required to assess appropriate measurement strategies for specific environmental problems and identify sources of geophysical measurement error. Additionally, students will be able to relate different geophysical measurements in terms of spatial and temporal coverage and resolution.
In this module, students will be shown how, through manipulation of species, communities and ecosystems, habitats can be managed in a sustainable way that preserves and enhances their aesthetic, scientific, recreational, and often utilitarian, value. The creation of new habitats will be considered, as well as management of existing areas of conservation interest. The module is largely taught by external lecturers who are directly involved in the application of ecological principles to practical problems.
Students will develop the level of ability required to describe the nature of selected habitat types, as well as explaining a series of underlying ecological processes which necessitate management. Students will also be able to identify the techniques used for conservation management specific to a range of habitat types, in addition to reinforcing a range of transferrable skills, such as the ability to present scientific data clearly and concisely, in both written and oral format. Students will learn to work autonomously as well as being involved in group work.
Join a discussion and debate where you are encouraged to critically examine primary literature and ideas on topical issues in conservation biology in the UK and globally. Gain an understanding of the key factors that constrain conservation and of the interdisciplinary nature of conservation problems in the real world.
This module covers primarily the physical processes and phenomena that govern the nature of lakes, rivers and estuaries. It also covers the biological and chemical processes that operate within the framework of their physical structure and investigates how the physical, chemical and biological aspects of lakes, rivers and estuaries influence and relate to each other.
Students shall become well versed in the following areas: the nature and functioning of aquatic environments, the ways in which physical, chemical and biological processes and phenomena interact in the environment, and ways in which fundamental scientific concepts play out in the environment.
From this, they will be able to determine the water quality and ecological health of these areas. Students will also acquire the skill of interpreting data sets generated by instrumentation that are widely deployed for monitoring and management purposes in lakes, rivers and estuaries.
They will also learn how curiosity-driven scientific understanding can be applied in the exploitation, management and conservation of aquatic environments.
Modern resource-intensive agriculture has proved incredibly successful in delivering relatively abundant, cheap food (at least in the developed world), but sometimes at considerable environmental cost. Therefore the general public is usually keen to embrace "sustainable agriculture" but is generally unaware of the economic and food production costs of proposed changes in crop management. By emphasising the concept of crop resource use efficiency, this module focuses on the viability of less intensive agricultural systems.
Students will critically examine primary literature on topical issues concerning the sustainability of different agricultural systems. They will gain an understanding of the key factors constraining food production, and the environmental and food production consequences of different crop production systems.
In addition to gaining the ability to identify key issues affecting the sustainability of agriculture, students will critically appraise the literature on these issues, and will develop the skillset required to recognise the economic and societal problems constraining the adoption of more environmentally sustainable agriculture. Ultimately, students will gain the ability to discuss alternative scenarios and solutions for key environmental problems associated with agriculture and document said issues in a cogent and critical manner.
In this module, students will learn the mechanisms by which radiation damages the body and the systems by which we measure and control exposure to radiation. The sources of naturally occurring radioactivity and radioactive contaminants and their behaviour in the environment will be studied in order to better understand how people can become exposed. Students will become better equipped to understand and evaluate the risk to human populations of nuclear accidents.
Through the study of specific radiation-related case studies, students will develop an understanding of risk in a wider context, being able to contribute more thoughtfully to nuclear-related debates in society. They will practice and develop their numerical skills through the determination of radioactive decay, learning to manipulate and solve basic radioactive decay law equation in the process.
Laboratory classes will be used to demonstrate concepts addressed in lectures, and students will be encouraged to put the data generated into the wider context. For example, students will practise dose assessments, and linking those back to the processes that control the fate and distribution of radionuclides in the environment, hence developing skills in synthesis and evaluation.
This module expects students to apply a range of skills already developed in previous modules Geology, Natural Hazards, Geoscience in Practice and Geological Hazards. It allows students to improve their theoretical and practical knowledge of volcanic processes by studying the evolution of a basaltic volcano. Students will explore a wide range of the complex physical volcanic processes that take place both on the surface and beneath volcanoes, including lava flow emplacement, intrusive and explosive events. This problem-based learning module covers two levels of problems: the higher-level problem (e.g. understanding the plumbing system of a complex volcano or the role of ‘volcano spreading’ or slope instability in the evolution of volcanoes) will occupy the entire module. Lower level problems will be solved at a number of key localities where students will be expected to unravel the processes involved.
On completion of this module, students will express the ability to systematically observe and interpret field evidence for emplacement processes of volcanic rocks, along with gaining the knowledge required to describe the intrusive, effusive and explosive processes that take place during volcanic eruptions. Students will also demonstrate the ability to recognise the role of regional tectonics, gravitational deformation of the volcano and major slope instabilities on the evolution of basaltic volcanoes. The module will also prepare students with the level of practical knowledge necessary to explain the problems of dealing with volcanic hazards on heavily populated active volcanoes.
Water is fundamental to life and is therefore a critical natural resource for human society and for all ecosystems. Employers of graduates from a wide range of environment-orientated degrees increasingly value understanding of the frameworks and technologies through which water resources can be conserved and restored, alongside the interactions between water and other natural resources such as land. This module focuses on providing this understanding, drawing on a wide range of real-world examples from the UK water sector. Students will cover the major UK and European regulatory frameworks that currently drive water resource management, the technologies available to treat wastewater, the approaches used to assess chemical and biological water quality, and the links between agricultural and urban development and water quality. This learning will be reinforced by field visits to wastewater treatment works, and by practical work dealing with datasets collected by the Environment Agency of England and Wales.
Over the duration of the module, students will be required to apply standard Environment Agency statistical procedures to assess chemical water quality, along with applying standard Environment Agency procedures to evaluate biological water quality. The module will enhance students’ ability to identify the strategies for assessing and managing water quality in the UK, and they will be able to derive simple dilution models to describe pollutant concentrations in river networks. Finally, students will gain the knowledge required to be able to explain and describe the fundamentals of water treatment processes.
Students undertaking this module will learn about the human and physical aspects of the Mediterranean environment. The module will focus on the distribution, allocation and use of water, whilst exploring the ways in which land use or land management affect the water environment.
Students will learn about the physical constraints on water availability whilst analysing the role of government institutions and private companies in developing and managing water for a range of purposes.
By participating in a four-day field course, students will have the opportunity to experience the distinctive environmental, cultural and socioeconomic nature of the Istrian peninsula. Generally, the module is designed to develop students' independent and group-based skills and enhance their knowledge related to water, particularly in the Mediterranean environment.
This module will build on the third year project to enhance student independence and provide greater experience of the research environment. The aim is for students to conduct an extensive research project in one focused area of science aligned with the research interests of the Lancaster Environment Centre.
Students may choose one of these topics in consultation with the module convenor and potential supervisor, or suggest their own topic to potential supervisors for consideration.
As part of the dissertation process, students will formulate a relevant hypothesis; design suitable experimental or other appropriate means of testing that hypothesis; and evaluate the data arising from such tests. Then they will critically review the investigative technique they have adopted and the results it obtained, and justify the conclusions arising from their investigation in a concise and constrained style.
*Please note this module will not run in 2022/23*
Catchments are increasingly perceived as complex and highly interconnected systems. This presents significant difficulties for those who manage catchments, but also a range of novel and timely research opportunities. In this context, the module aims to provide you with understanding and practical experience of key research and management challenges facing the future management of catchments. The module will take the Eden catchment as a case study, and draw on the latest land and water management framework, derived from the Water Framework Directive, as a basis for discussion. After analysing this framework and identifying significant challenges, you will use a combination of field, laboratory and data analysis techniques to investigate research questions related to biophysical processes within catchments. These investigations will lead to an appreciation of the limits to current knowledge and the opportunities for future research.
This module aims to explore and reconfigure the ways in which climate change is understood through a focus on the social, rather than the scientific-environmental discourses that have dominated the policy and politics of climate change. This module give you a wide-ranging and intensive introduction to the politics, cultures and theories of climate change research in the social sciences and humanities. You will be able to critically evaluate different theoretical perspectives on a range of climate change debates and present alternative arguments.
This module consists of a full course in statistics and data analysis from a non-mathematical viewpoint. It covers both parametric and non-parametric methods, up to and including generalised linear models. Other topics include data types, graphs, statistics, estimation and testing, categorical and continuous responses, and sampling strategies and designs of experiments.
After taking this module, students will be able to design a sensible experiment or sampling scheme and perform exploratory analysis. They will be able to decide on sensible statistical analysis, including a choice between parametric and non-parametric testing, if relevant, and perform that analysis in SPSS followed by interpretation of the results. They should also be able to realise when the analysis that they need to perform is beyond the materials covered in the module and that they should therefore consult a statistician.
This module focuses on data processing and visualisation to support dissertation work, and will provide students with advanced scientific numeracy skills. It includes introductory elements of MATLAB and Simulink, the industry standard for programming language, and students will learn to design, modify, run and debug simple MATLAB programs. They will be able to adapt the skills learnt to other programming languages such as Fortran and C.
Students will be taught the main programming elements, such as data input, processing, output in numerical and graphical forms, programming tools and structures (loops, conditional statements and other flow control).The module also introduces selected principles of dynamic systems analysis such as transfer functions applied to environmental systems in the form of examples and case studies.
Coursework will include writing brief MATLAB scripts based on the scripts used during workshops, as well as an essay on selected problems of environmental systems modelling linked with these scripts. Tests will be taken which will involve writing code snippets related to simple numerical and graphical problems.
Current approaches to cutting-edge research in the environmental sciences are highly dependent on digital data, and a wide variety of different data types can now be accessed relatively easily. You only need to consider the data required to understand climate change to appreciate the diversity of information that is currently available, and which is needed to address the biggest global issues.
In this module you will learn the fundamentals of retrieving, annotating, analysing and interpreting digital data from a variety of sources, applying integrated, scientific methodologies. You will develop data manipulation skills and an awareness of the tools available to maximise the value of heterogeneous digital data. We demonstrate everyday problems in data collection, both avoidable and unavoidable, and explore techniques that minimise their impact. We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of current software for data mining and visualisation, and you will get hands-on experience of data integration using spreadsheet, database and GIS technologies.
This module covers the possible positive and negative effects that various forms of renewable energy have on the environment. You will develop a critical understanding of the key concepts of renewable energy, and the tools and techniques for assessing the environmental impact of renewable energy schemes. In particular, you will be able to assess the challenges facing the development and deployment of large renewable energy schemes and the uncertainties related to their environmental impact.
Environmental auditing is a widespread management activity in both the public and private sectors of economies across the entire world. The module is designed to introduce students to the principles of environmental auditing and to give them practical experience in the use of key methods and techniques.
As part of the module, students will review and evaluate company environmental policies and undertake an environmental audit for a client organisation. This module has been designed to meet the professional standards and requirements for new entrants to the environmental auditing field.
Once this module is completed, each student will have advanced their understanding of the origins and history of environmental auditing. They will also be aware of the main drivers behind the emergence of this field, and will have gained the ability to apply key auditing tools and techniques. Students will have gained sufficient knowledge and experience to go on to design and conduct their own on-site assessments and prepare audit reports for clients in a professional manner.
Students will gain a critical understanding of key concepts, principles, tools and techniques for the management of natural resources and the environment. Particular attention is given to the challenges of dealing with complexity, change, uncertainty and conflict in the environment, and to the different management approaches which can be deployed in ‘turbulent’ conditions.
Contemporary environmental problems will be examined and interpreted from both an academic and policy perspective. In order to do this effectively, students will learn to evaluate and critique arguments and evidence related to environmental problems, and will demonstrate advanced understanding of alternative management concepts through constructive debate.
The focus is to understand the component parts and the interdisciplinary basis of the global food system. To this end, students will examine challenges facing global agricultural production as a result of climate change. They will also gain an understanding of the shortage of key resources for food production and the subsequent issues that affect people’s access to food.
In addition to this, the module will demonstrate how basic plant physiology can inform both plant breeding and agronomy to increase the sustainability of agriculture. The factors impacting food safety and food quality (especially nutritive value) will also be explored.
Ultimately, students will develop a familiarity with several current/impending crises in global food security.
This module introduces students to the fundamental principles of GIS and remote sensing and explores how these complimentary technologies may be used to capture, manipulate, analyse and display different forms of spatially-referenced environmental data. This is a highly vocational module with lectures complimented by computer-based practicals (using state-of-the-art software such as ArcGIS Pro and ENVI) on related themes. At the end of the module students are required to complete a project in which a functioning analytical environmental information system is designed and implemented in order to solve a specific problem.
Taking a broad look at geological hazards, this module will cover everything from contemporary events to those that have shaped the Earth over geological time. The module explores in depth the fundamental processes involved in these events and how and to what extent such events can be predicted. Case histories of national and international disasters will be used to illustrate these hazards, and the inherent risks and potential mitigation measures will be discussed.
A demonstration and elaboration of the geological processes responsible for the occurrence, recurrence and magnitude of hazards will be given. Students will also learn to apply and report on the methods of prediction and mitigation strategies of geological hazards, and will apply simple prediction scenarios of geological hazard occurrence using geological datasets.To this end, students will develop skills in integrating sparse quantitative measurements and qualitative observations in order to derive interpretations from relevant datasets.
The module underscores far-reaching concepts such as using the past to inform the future and environmental risk. It will ultimately develop a sense of human-place in the geological world, promoting an understanding of how the geological world impacts human society, and what can be done to limit that impact.
The aim of this module is to introduce the concept of the Earth system and how the different components (atmosphere, ocean, ice and ecosystems) all interact with each other to shape the Earth's climate and control how the climate might change. The module will cover issues related to recent climate change, including natural and human drivers of the change. It will introduce the computer models and global observation networks that scientists use to understand the Earth system. It will also discuss the role of atmospheric chemistry and climate in the Earth system, including issues related to air quality, greenhouse gases and aerosols.
Overall, this module aims to provide an introduction to the physical processes which influence global climate change, leading to a better understanding of Earth system science.
Students will cultivate an appreciation of the scale and variety of groundwater resources within the UK and overseas. The vulnerability of these resources and the various procedures and challenges for the implementation of policies for their protection will also be a major focus during this module.
The module will introduce the principles of groundwater flow and transport for which both physical and mathematical aspects of groundwater systems need to be discussed. Use will be made of computer models to solve practical problems relevant to the water industry. The students will also gain hands-on experience of groundwater investigation methods in the field.
Those who take this module will learn to apply a specific groundwater model (MODFLOW) to a number of problems, after considering the different methods that are widely used for investigating groundwater systems. Students will then learn to state the limitations of such models for practical use and will numerically evaluate the model results that they gather.
This module will ultimately impart the skills needed to prepare reports for a Head of Section as if working for an organisation such as the Environment Agency.
Students will be given an introduction to the foundations of lake ecology, an area with an acknowledged national lack of expertise. The module presents a holistic approach to the drivers and internal interactions that control water quality in lakes.
Those who take this module will be taught basic ecological principles, which will be elucidated using lake ecology. They will also be introduced to the various applications of state-of-the-art techniques and provided with essential background information for dealing with regulation such as the Water Framework Directive.
This module also includes a field trip and practicals that will give students experience of working with the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology in a management/policy context. Modelling to predict impact of management measures is also an important aspect of the module, and an appreciation of its principles and uses when it comes to lakes and catchment will be encouraged.
Students will come to understand the state-of-the-art tools and approaches needed to study and manage lakes as used in industry, government and science.
This module provides an introduction to basic principles and approaches to computer-aided modelling of environmental processes with applications to real environmental problems such as catchment modelling, pollutant dispersal in rivers and estuaries and population dynamics. Emphasis is placed on the use of computer-based methods and practical examples and you will be introduced to general aspects of environmental systems modelling.
Having a basic level of numerical skill is required in order to perform well in many LEC PGT modules. This module provides baseline numerical, statistical and mathematical skills to underpin academic modules and as an employability skill in its own right.
This module has no credits and no formal assessment. It is taught online and students work through at their own pace.
The aim of this module is to provide students with a theoretical foundation for the study of development and the environment from a geographical perspective. Students will focus on understanding the ways in which scholars have brought together development theory alongside the analysis of nature-society relations in the developing world.
This module provides students with a critical understanding of the evolution of contemporary development discourses and new ways of thinking about the relationship between environment and development. Key topics of discussion include theories of development, indigenous knowledge and development, biotechnology and food security, and the political economy of natural resources.
Ultimately, this module will enhance student’s academic skills to develop reasoned arguments through the analysis, interpretation and critical appraisal of complex evidence, with a module designed to deepen student’s understanding between theory and practice.
This module aims to provide you with knowledge of volcanoes and volcanic systems. Its foundations are an understanding of the properties and behaviour of volcanic materials gained through laboratory, theoretical and field study. The module emphasizes the widely-applicable physical and chemical processes that occur during volcanic activity, including variations in solubility, rheology, phase, density and permeability. The interaction of volcanic processes with the biosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere are discussed. The products of volcanism, together with the hazard and benefits to life on Earth are studied.
Students will consider four inter-related, important factors (soil water, nutrients, physics and biology) that determines a soil’s ability to produce crops, and the agricultural/economic consequences of failing to manage this resource properly. Most agricultural production is dependent on the soil not only to anchor plants, but to supply their hydraulic and nutritional needs. This module will teach students a range of management approaches that contribute to the long-term ability of the soil to sustain agricultural production. They will learn to compare and contrast soil carbon stocks in agricultural/non-agricultural land and to evaluate methods used to raise soil carbon status.
From this, students will learn to recognise effective soil and plant-based crop nutrient management. They will also be able to evaluate the impacts of plant-microbe interactions on crop disease and nutrient status, and appraise the impact of soil erosion on water body pollution.
Please note, if taking the Food Security pathway this is a core module.
This module will allow you to improve your practical and theoretical knowledge of volcanic processes through a residential field course held on an active basaltic volcano. We start off with classroom sessions to introduce the field site and provide insight into some of the magmatic and tectonic processes involved. Then, in the field, you will visit key localities and unravel the complex links between magma properties and eruptive style. We will examine effusive (lavas) and explosive (tephra) products, and will discuss and observe the roles of dykes, fissures and conduits at first hand. The module is usually held on Mount Etna, Sicily, although the location may change in future years.
We set our fees on an annual basis and the 2024/25 entry fees have not yet been set.
As a guide, our fees in 2023/24 were:
Some optional modules require students to carry out fieldwork that, depending on the location and type of fieldwork, may require wet weather clothing, boots and waterproof notebooks, for which the estimated cost is approximately £110. The course offers optional residential field trip modules and students choosing to take these will have to pay towards their travel and accommodation costs.
There may be extra costs related to your course for items such as books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation, you may need to pay a subscription to a professional body for some chosen careers.
Specific additional costs for studying at Lancaster are listed below.
Lancaster is proud to be one of only a handful of UK universities to have a collegiate system. Every student belongs to a college, and all students pay a small college membership fee which supports the running of college events and activities.
For students starting in 2022 and 2023, the fee is £40 for undergraduates and research students and £15 for students on one-year courses. Fees for students starting in 2024 have not yet been set.
To support your studies, you will also require access to a computer, along with reliable internet access. You will be able to access a range of software and services from a Windows, Mac, Chromebook or Linux device. For certain degree programmes, you may need a specific device, or we may provide you with a laptop and appropriate software - details of which will be available on relevant programme pages. A dedicated IT support helpdesk is available in the event of any problems.
The University provides limited financial support to assist students who do not have the required IT equipment or broadband support in place.
In addition to travel and accommodation costs, while you are studying abroad, you will need to have a passport and, depending on the country, there may be other costs such as travel documents (e.g. VISA or work permit) and any tests and vaccines that are required at the time of travel. Some countries may require proof of funds.
In addition to possible commuting costs during your placement, you may need to buy clothing that is suitable for your workplace and you may have accommodation costs. Depending on the employer and your job, you may have other costs such as copies of personal documents required by your employer for example.
Details of our scholarships and bursaries for 2024-entry study are not yet available, but you can use our opportunities for 2023-entry applicants as guidance.
Check our current list of scholarships and bursaries.
The course was a great transition from studying Geography at A level and focused on enhancing my skills to the next level. As a geographer, I've always loved exploring and getting out there, and that's exactly what my course enabled me to do.
At Lancaster, I've had the opportunity to continue studying both human and physical aspects of geography. The first year of my course gave me a great taster of both, leading me to specialise more in my second year. I chose to balance my studies between physical and human geography, but you can choose to focus more on one or the other if that's what you'd like to do. The degree is yours to be flexible with.
There's a great selection of modules, including interdisciplinary modules. I went on a water management trip to Croatia which combines aspects of physical and human geography. There's definitely something for every kind of geographer.
There are loads of opportunities to develop your learning at Lancaster, and fieldwork is the main one for me. I've visited Kendal to focus on implementing field management measures. I've visited White Scar Caves to look into hydrology and water systems. In laboratory sessions, I've done everything from studying rock formations in geology to studying flow rates in water. Not only is it varied and interesting, but it's also been brilliant to learn these industry skills to prepare me for life after my degree.
The Careers Service at the University ran a module for us, which was a four-week course on how to write a CV, the best places to look for jobs, and how to create a good cover letter and more, which was invaluable.
Emily Christopherson, BSc Geography
Our new £4.4 million teaching laboratories feature cutting-edge laboratory and teaching equipment, giving you the best environment to begin your degree.
Our Geographic Information Systems (GIS) facilities benefit from the support of a dedicated technician who offers one-to-one practical support to enable you to get the most out of our resources.
Our Hazelrigg Weather Station has been making daily weather observations at Lancaster University since 1966, allowing you to explore a continuous and high-quality record of weather patterns as a part of your degree!
We develop and run a variety of custom-built computer models to simulate environmental processes, predict the transformation and fate of pollutants, and explore the global climate system.
We work across the tropical forests of South America and Malaysia where researchers and students have been operating since 2003.
As a part of our Geography degrees, you will have the opportunity to conduct fieldwork in a variety of locations, both in the UK and abroad. Some of the destinations open to our students are:
Our summer open days give you Lancaster University in a day. Visit campus and put yourself in the picture.Undergraduate Open Days
Join Meenal and Vlad as they take you on a tour of the Lancaster University campus. Discover the learning facilities, accommodation, sports facilities, welfare, cafes, bars, parkland and more.Undergraduate Open Days
The information on this site relates primarily to 2024/2025 entry to the University and every effort has been taken to ensure the information is correct at the time of publication.
The University will use all reasonable effort to deliver the courses as described, but the University reserves the right to make changes to advertised courses. In exceptional circumstances that are beyond the University’s reasonable control (Force Majeure Events), we may need to amend the programmes and provision advertised. In this event, the University will take reasonable steps to minimise the disruption to your studies. If a course is withdrawn or if there are any fundamental changes to your course, we will give you reasonable notice and you will be entitled to request that you are considered for an alternative course or withdraw your application. You are advised to revisit our website for up-to-date course information before you submit your application.
More information on limits to the University’s liability can be found in our legal information.
We believe in the importance of a strong and productive partnership between our students and staff. In order to ensure your time at Lancaster is a positive experience we have worked with the Students’ Union to articulate this relationship and the standards to which the University and its students aspire. View our Charter and other policies.