Physical Geography BSc Hons - 2020 Entry

UCAS Code
F840

Entry Year
2020

A Level Requirements
AAB see all requirements

Duration
Full time 3 Year(s)

Course Overview

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 Iceland, the Mediterranean 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 transferrable 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 Iceland.

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.

Entry Requirements

Grade Requirements

A Level AAB

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 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 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.

Year 1

    Core

    Optional

Year 2

    Core

    Optional

Year 3

    Core

    Optional

Careers

Careers

Geography graduates can achieve success in a variety of exciting careers. Recent examples of career opportunities have included entering the professions of Planning Officer, Environmental Consultant, Geographical Information Systems Officer, Weather Forecaster, Emergency Planner, Technical Consultant with the Ordnance Survey, Intelligent Transport Systems Consultant, working within the energy sector, or Water Waste Management at Severn Trent Water. Alternatively, many of our graduates choose to continue their studies to postgraduate level.

Our goal is to empower all our graduates with the skills, confidence and experience they need to achieve a successful career. You will be offered a wide range of support, helping you realise your career ambitions and providing you with the skills to reach your full potential.

We offer a variety of extra-curricular activities and volunteering opportunities that enable you to explore your interests and enhance your CV. Our weekly careers bulletin and careers blogs are written by student volunteers, and inform you of all careers events. The Green Lancaster programme run by the Students Union offers placements with external organisations, allowing students to gain volunteering experience at weekends by working in the local community, taking part in a wide range of activities and developing their practical skills.

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.

Fees and Funding

Fees

Our annual tuition fee is set for a 12-month session, starting in the October of your year of study.

Our Undergraduate Tuition Fees for 2020/21 are:

UK/EU Overseas
£9,250 £22,550

Undergraduate tuition fees

For students starting at the University for the 2020 session, subsequent year’s fees may be subject to increases. UK fees are set by the UK Government annually. For international applicants, any annual increase will be capped at 4% of the previous year’s fee. For more information about tuition fees, including fees for Study Abroad and Work Placements, please visit our undergraduate tuition fees page.

Applicants from the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man

Some science and medicine courses have higher fees for students from the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. You can find more information about this on our Island Fees page.

Funding

For full details of the University's financial support packages including eligibility criteria, please visit our fees and funding page

Students will be required to pay for travel to field sites and will have to purchase wet weather clothing, boots and waterproof notebooks for fieldtrips for which the estimated cost is approximately £110. The course offers optional field trips and students will have to pay for any travel and accommodation costs. If students undertake placements then they may incur additional travel costs. Students on certain modules may wish to purchase a hand lens and compass clinometer but these may be borrowed from the Department.

Students also need to consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation it may be necessary to take out subscriptions to professional bodies and to buy business attire for job interviews. 

Download the latest Geography brochure, featuring all of the information you could need. The includes detailed course information about each of our courses.

Learn on location

We take full advantage of our natural surroundings to create amazing fieldwork experiences, in addition to the opportunities to travel the world with optional overseas field trips. Fieldwork is a fascinating way to develop your practical skills. You'll gain hands-on experience of a wide range of environmental, ecological and geological situations that will place your studies in the context of real-world issues.

Iceland

Experience glacial processes first-hand and their impacts on the dynamic tectonic landscape of Iceland. You will learn how glaciers interact with the surrounding volcanic landscape. As well as developing your practical field skills, you will also observe the stunning Icelandic scenery and understand how glaciers fit into the broader study of the physical environment.

Paris

You’ll have the opportunity to visit various food settings, including urban markets, industrial food production sites and ethnic food stands. You will also explore the temporal and spatial links between food production and consumption, and discover how food, culture and politics are woven into daily life and that of the dinner table!

The Brazilian Amazon

The Amazon is a fascinating place to explore the conservation and development challenges facing tropical forests. You will visit people's homes and agricultural plots to understand the challenges faced by local people. This is a unique opportunity to work alongside experts and understand the challenges of pursuing biodiversity conservation while reducing poverty.

New York

This trip offers you the opportunity to engage critically with the geography and inequality of New York. You will visit activist groups and learn about migration and gentrification. Throughout the trip, you will study the links between cultural, economic, political and social processes and the ways they influence life in New York City.

Emily's story

"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

Geography student Emily Christopherson

Lectures

Lectures provide an introduction to the key issues and findings in each topic. An expert in that particular field will deliver each module. Lectures usually last either one or two hours and should be complemented by reading the relevant literature on the topic. We provide online reading lists, suggesting suitable books and journals which will be available either digitally or in print from our library.

Tutorials

Tutorials are usually one-hour sessions where you will be encouraged to discuss your learning with a small group of fellow students, under the guidance of a tutor. We encourage you to make the most of these groups by becoming used to speaking out, listening to others and learning to present yourself with confidence. You'll become experienced in being part of a team and explore the topics under study together.

Practical Classes

Many of our modules include practical sessions alongside lectures and tutorials. These are designed to help you discover the critical biological principles underpinning your study, while also developing your skills which you will be able to put to use throughout your degree and future career.

Assessment

The assessment process varies across modules but includes laboratory reports, essays, independent project reports, group presentations, multiple-choice tests and exams. Assessment is an on-going process, rather than being left solely until the end of the degree. We can offer feedback to you throughout your degree and, equally as importantly, it relieves pressure on you when modules are examined at the end of each year.

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Important Information

The information on this site relates primarily to 2020/21 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 the event of a course being withdrawn or if there are any fundamental changes to your course, we will give you reasonable notice and you will be entitled to withdraw your application. You are advised to revisit our website for up-to-date information before you submit your application. Further legal information.

The amount of time you spend in lectures, seminars and similar will differ from year to year. Taken as an average over all years of the course, you will spend an average of 8.7 hours per week in lectures, seminars and similar during term time.

A broad range of assessments methods will be used throughout the degree. As a guide, 66% of assessment is by coursework over the duration of the course.

Our Students’ Charter

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.