Learn about processes operating within our natural environment and explore the physical world. Work in our outstanding practical facilities, alongside world-renowned lecturers. Benefit from support to secure a paid placement enabling you to experience twelve months working in the type of organisation that you might aspire to join when you graduate.
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 to 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, Lancaster’s position 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 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. 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 to 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.
To prepare students for their work placement year, our Careers and Placements Team will provide advice and guidance on: the skills required to create effective CVs, cover letters and applications; tips and techniques on how to make an impact at interviews and assessment centres; how to create a relevant digital profile; and how to research employers and career sectors of interest. In addition, there is great emphasis placed upon developing self-awareness and on how to present yourself in a professional manner to employers. This optional provision will be delivered via a blend of traditional and digital methods including face-to-face workshops, online webinars, e-courses and 1:1 appointments.
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 could 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. You will also take part in a ‘work-based learning’ module designed to provide guidance and support as you apply for nationally advertised placements and help you gain the most from your placement year.
You will spend your third year on placement before returning to Lancaster where you will continue in your chosen specialities. The placement offers you the opportunity to work as a full-time employee of the organisation whilst still receiving both academic and pastoral support. The University will use all reasonable effort to support you to find a suitable placement for your studies. While a placement role may not be available in a field or organisation that is directly related to your academic studies or career aspirations, all placement roles offer valuable experience of working at a graduate level and gaining a range of professional skills.
If you are unsuccessful in securing a suitable placement for your third year, you will be able to transfer to the equivalent non-placement degree scheme and would continue with your studies at Lancaster, finishing your degree after your third year. The University offers a range of shorter placement and internship opportunities for which you would be welcome to apply.
In the final 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. In addition, you will be offered further optional module choices possibly including exciting fieldwork opportunities in Croatia and Iceland.