Physical Geography

BSc Hons

  • UCAS Code F840
  • Entry Year 2024 or 2023
  • A Level Requirements ABB
  • Duration Full time 3 Years

Overview

Top reasons to study with us

  • 9

    9th for Geography and Environmental Science

    The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide (2023)

  • 13

    13th for Geography and Environmental Sciences

    The Complete University Guide (2023)

  • Top 100 for Environmental Sciences in the QS World Ranking league table

Learn about processes operating within our natural environment and explore the physical world. Work in our outstanding practical facilities, alongside world-renowned lecturers.

Physical Geography considers the processes and patterns occurring within our natural environment, including the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and geosphere. Our Physical Geography degree has a strong emphasis on practical work. You will discover how the environment has changed in the past, the controls on environmental processes in the present, and how we can predict changes in the future. You are able shape your degree by choosing from an extensive range of modules.

Lancaster proves to be an exceptional location for studying a degree in physical geography. Located between the rural settings of the north and the bustling cities of Liverpool and Manchester, enables us 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 such as Switzerland and Croatia.

While studying at 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. You will work in comfortable class sizes, giving you the opportunity to get to know your lecturers personally and benefit from their expert knowledge and helpful one-to-one advice.

First year modules equip you with a well-rounded introduction to some of the key themes of physical geography. In addition the Physical Geography modules, you will be given the opportunity to take two other subjects alongside your first year studies. You will further develop your understanding of environmental processes by studying another subject from within LEC, such as Environmental Science, as well as undertaking a third subject from either within LEC or the wider University, such as Biology or Maths, to enhance your transferable skills.

In the second year, you will learn a variety of physical geography skills and concepts. Modules include Spatial Analysis and Geographic Information Systems, and you will develop valuable research project skills in preparation for your final year of study. Optional choices include a field trip to Spain, where you will study environmental problems in Mediterranean environments, and modules that address individual topics in hydrology, soil science, and glaciology.

In the third year you will undertake a dissertation project, guided by your academic supervisor which offers a chance to perform original geographical research on a topic of your choice. While completing the dissertation, you will use the key research, analytical and academic writing skills you have learnt throughout your degree. You may wish to take advantage of the unique opportunity to collaborate with a business to complete your dissertation research, allowing you to gain valuable work experience at the same time. In addition, you will be offered further optional module choices including exciting fieldwork opportunities in Croatia and Switzerland.

BSc/MSci Hons Physical Geography (Study Abroad)

Our Study Abroad programme enables you to complete a year of your study at one of our partner universities in the USA, Canada, New Zealand or Australia. While there, you will engage in a range of modules including local field courses that will allow you to make extensive use of your surroundings.

MSci Hons Physical Geography

This four-year programme includes a second dissertation project and Master’s level modules. You will gain further experience of formulating, designing, researching, analysing and reporting of your own independent research project, enabling you to stand out from the crowd in the selection process for graduate posts.

Assessment

We offer flexible programmes with a strong emphasis on practical learning. You will engage in a wide range of fieldwork and lab-based modules that span the breadth of geographical topics and infuse content from across the physical sciences. Your work will be regularly assessed by a combination of classroom and lab-based assignments, in addition to written examinations and project reports.

Careers

A degree in Physical Geography will help you to understand the way our natural environment works and changes, and will stand you in excellent stead for embarking on careers tackling some of the biggest contemporary issues, such as climate change and flood risk management. Graduates from our Physical Geography courses have gone on to many exciting careers, from Environmental and Land Consultants, to Data Analysts and Flood Risk Specialists. Physical 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 Physical Geography students have progressed into upon graduating:

  • Research Assistant – Western Sydney University
  • Data Maintenance Team Leader – Yorkshire Water
  • Environment and Energy Lead – Avanti West Coast
  • Environmental Safety Engineer – EDF Energy
  • Case Worker – Office of Cat Smith MP
  • Assistant Land Consultant – Mott MacDonald
  • Low Carbon Analyst and Consultant – Gemserv
  • Project Delivery Fast Streamer – UK Government
  • Graduate Catchment Scientist – Mott MacDonald
  • Geography Teacher - Bedfordshire County Council

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.

Entry Requirements

Grade Requirements

A Level ABB

Required Subjects A level Geography is recommended, or alternatively one of the following subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Environmental Studies, Mathematics, Physics.

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.

Other Qualifications

International Baccalaureate 32 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, Merit 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 ugadmissions@lancaster.ac.uk

Course Structure

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.

Core

Optional

Core

Optional

Core

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Fees and Funding

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:

UK International
£9,250 £26,280

Scholarships and Bursaries

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.

Emily Christopherson, BSc Geography

A place for Emily

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

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Important information

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.

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