Geography with Foundation Year

BSc, 4-5 years

This is for you if... you want to study for a degree in geography but do not have the appropriate entry requirements.

Course Description

Our integrated Science, Technology and Engineering (STEM) Foundation Year degrees are aimed at students who wish to study a STEM subject, such as geography, but don’t have the traditional entry requirements.

  • By completing the STEM Foundation Year you will automatically progress onto the first year of your chosen degree.
  • You will be taught by our expert academic staff from across a number of departments.
  • The course does not require a maths test for entry, but it will cover the A-level maths syllabus and understanding of this will be measured before you progress.
  • The course strongly emphasises the development of essential professional and personal skills, which are necessary throughout your studies and beyond.
  • During your foundation year you will join our student community and be able to enjoy all aspects of the University of Leicester student experience. You will be able to join the Students’ Union, use our academic and leisure facilities, live in our accommodation and access all our support services.
  • You will have a personal tutor to support you.
Key Facts
Typical offer
UCAS code
Start date
September 2018

Admissions enquiries
+44 (0)116 252 5281

Course enquiries: Dr Paul Howes
0116 252 3587

Department of Geography website

View Key Information Sets

Why Leicester?

All field classes in your first and second years are subsidised by the University.

You will have access to a Geochronology Lab, an Environmental Stable Isotope Lab, a Palaeoecology Lab and a Geomorphological Hardware Modelling Lab with a rainfall simulator and flume channel, plus a 3D virtual reality theatre.

Our student society GeogSoc is affiliated to EGEA, a massive European network providing great opportunities for exchanges and professional development.

The small-medium size of the Department means that you will be a member of the team, not just an anonymous face.

Course Structure

Foundation Year

Foundation Year


  • Maths: Core A-level content, with an emphasis on developing your competence and confidence at applying mathematics to problems in the physical sciences.
  • Science 1: Materials: Phases of matter (solids, liquids and gases), atomic structure and radioactivity, chemical bonds and chemical reactions, properties of solids (engineering materials, elastic properties, strength, toughness, failure and electrical properties).
  • Science 2: Mechanics: Newton's laws, forces, mass, velocity acceleration, projectiles, momentum, angular momentum, circular motion, simple harmonic motion and resonance.
  • Science 3: Heat and energy: Temperature, heat, power, ideal gases and kinetic theory.
  • Science 4: Electricity and magnetism: Light, optics and the quantum world.
  • Methods and Techniques: Core study skills and professional competences necessary for successful university level study. Reading scientific literature, research techniques, report writing skills, presentation skills, computer programming and algorithms.
  • Physical Science Laboratory: Basic experimental techniques, health and safety in the laboratory, recording data, data analysis and report writing.

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Year 1

Year 1

In the first year of the BSc proper (your second year at Leicester) you will study a broad range of physical and human geography topics in order to understand the breadth of the subject. One-day field trips around the East Midlands and a residential field course in Devon will enable you to practice your field and laboratory skills in a natural setting.


    This is the same as the BA in Geography, enabling you to switch between the two degrees at the end of your first year if you wish.

    Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

    Year 2

    Year 2

    Year 2 of the BSc course is your third year at Leicester.

    During this year you will begin to focus on the on the key areas of physical geography such as geomorphology, long-term (palaeo)environmental histories (Glacial Worlds) and biogeography. You will also attend a residential field course in the Lake District at the start of year two, which provides a field-based introduction into these topics.

    Core modules

    Option modules

    Choose four option modules from:

    Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

    Year Abroad (optional)

    Year Abroad (optional)

    If you want to, you can spend the third year of the BSc, which will be your fourth year at Leicester - away from Leicester, studying abroad at one of our partner institutions (eligibility is dependent on your academic performance in Years 1 and 2). Alternatively, you can opt to continue studying at the University and complete the final year of your degree.

    NB. A year spent abroad still incurs a tuition fee, but this is much lower than for a normal year at Leicester. See our Fees and Funding section for details.

    Studying abroad is not just for people who are interested in travelling and meeting new people. It is about acquiring life skills that are becoming increasingly significant for a wide range of jobs in our modern globalised society. Whether you go on to work in the private sector, the state sector, a non-governmental organisation or become self-employed you will find the experience invaluable. Find out more from our International Office.

    Please be aware that not all the institutions listed below may offer appropriate modules in both physical and/or human geography.

    The Department of Geography at Leicester has links with several European universities, administered through the European Erasmus scheme. If you are eligible for a loan from Student Finance you can apply for a travel grant from them.

    • For the latest information on the future of the Erasmus scheme at UK universities please see our Brexit microsite 

    We have links with the following universities:

    During your second year at Leicester you will receive appropriate language training. (You don't need to speak the language if you go to Finland or the Netherlands.)

    We also have links with some universities outside Europe. If you are receiving financial assistance from Student Finance your support will continue and you may also be eligible to apply for additional travel grants or scholarships. We have links with the following universities:

    American universities

    Canadian universities

    Australian universities

    Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

    Final Year

    Final Year

    Your fourth year (or third, if you didn't spend a year abroad) incorporates a blend of teaching and research. You will select a topic to research in your dissertation and choose from a wide range of optional modules, including field trips to the USA and Colombia.


    Choose six option modules from:

        Plus your Dissertation

        Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

        Additional Information


        Fieldwork is integral to any Geography degree. In the field you develop new skills and apply learning from the classroom to real world problems. Here at Leicester we go into the field a lot. Our field trips will be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences for both Human and Physical Geography students.

        Students on the Geography BSc have the chance to take field trips to Almeria in southeast Spain, the Amazon jungle in Southern Colombia and Death Valley in California. (Students on the Geography BA can take field trips to New York, Kenya and the Grand Canyon.)

        All field courses in your first and second year will be fully funded by the University of Leicester. Optional field courses in Year 3 do come with an additional cost although there are bursaries available.

        Teaching and Assessment

        You will be taught through a mixture of lectures, tutorials, seminars, practicals and fieldwork. All lecture material is available online through our virtual learning environment Blackboard. Contact time typically averages about 10-11 hours per week. Residential field trips are run by academic staff throughout the degree and provide extended periods of small group teaching in field contexts.

        Your work will be assessed through a mixture of essays, scientific reports, learning diaries, oral and poster presentations, mock journal articles and of course your final year individual dissertation project. Coursework is mainly undertaken on an individual basis. However, a number of modules (especially field-based modules) involve assessed group project work.

        Independent learning

        When not attending lectures, seminars or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. To help with your independent learning, you can access the Library and our social study spaces in halls of residence.

        Overall workload

        Typical workload hours for Geography courses in 2016/17:

        Year 1: 34% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity

        • Teaching, learning and assessment: 408 hours
        • Independent learning: 792 hours

        Year 2: 22% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity

        • Teaching, learning and assessment: 264 hours
        • Independent learning: 936 hours

        Year 3: 23% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity

        • Teaching, learning and assessment: 276 hours
        • Independent learning: 924 hours
        Final year: 17% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity
        • Teaching, learning and assessment: 204 hours
        • Independent learning: 996 hours

        While your actual contact hours may depend on the option modules you select, the above information gives an indication of how much time you will need to allocate to different activities for each year of your course.

        Academic support

        Our Student Learning Development Team provides help in the following areas:

        • study and exam skills
        • academic writing
        • presentations
        • dissertations
        • numerical data skills
        • referencing sources

        Our AccessAbility Centre offers support and practical help for students with dyslexia or other specific learning difficulties, including physical, mental health or mobility difficulties, deafness, or visual impairment.

        Teaching staff

        You will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. PhD research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader. Our teaching is informed by the research we do. You can learn more about our staff by visiting our staff profiles.

        Research Stories

        Entry Requirements

        • A-levels: BBB or points equivalent from your best three A-levels (non-traditional science A-levels considered). You must have taken Maths or Physics at AS-level or hold GCSEs grade A/A* in Maths and Physics.
        • BTEC Diploma: DDM in a science related subject – typically Engineering or a Physical Science discipline.
        • International Baccalaureate: Pass diploma with 28 points minimum.
        • Access to HE courses in Science and Engineering: Pass Diploma with a minimum of 45 credits at level 3, 24 of which must be at Distinction. 

        We welcome applicants with other qualifications. Please contact to find out more.

        NB. This course is only open to applicants from the UK and other EU countries. Applicants outside the EU can apply for our International Foundation Year.

        Selection Process

        When considering your application, we will look for evidence that you will be able to fulfil the objectives of the course and achieve the standards required. We will take into account a range of factors including previous exam results.

        English Language Requirements

        IELTS 6.5 or equivalent, with at least 6.0 in each component score. If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. If you do not yet meet our requirements, our English Language Teaching Unit (ELTU) offers a range of courses to help you to improve your English to the necessary standard.

        International Qualifications

        Find your country in this list to check equivalent qualifications, scholarships and additional requirements.

        Countries list

        Fees and Funding

        • Starting in 2018

          • £9,250 in your first year. After 2018/19, the tuition fee you pay may increase annually in line with inflation and is subject to government regulations.
          • Year Abroad: your fee will be £1,250 for that year.

          Find out more about scholarships and funding.


        • Please note this course is not available to international (non-EU) students.

        Career Opportunities

        We have dedicated careers support in the Department to help you find a job. During term time you will also receive email digests containing information about career fairs, jobs opportunities, career development courses and other practical information to help you on your way to employability.

        Another second year module, 'Geography in Education' provides placements in local secondary schools. Working closely with teachers you will develop skills and experience beneficial to a career in teaching.

        The Department has well-established links with many businesses and Government departments, including Natural England, the European Space Agency, the Home Office, BP Exploration, and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.


        Our Career Development Service is here to support you, with advice on interviews, CVs, work experience, volunteering and more. From Freshers’ Week to Graduation and beyond, they are here to help you reach your professional goals.

        Course Qualification Duration UCAS Code Availability
        Geography with Foundation Year BSc 4 years full-time F899 Apply Now
        Geography with Foundation Year with Year Abroad BSc 5 years full-time F899 Apply Now
        Geography with Foundation Year
        4 years full-time
        UCAS Code
        Geography with Foundation Year with Year Abroad
        5 years full-time
        UCAS Code

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