grand prismatic geyser with bison passing by

Physical Geography and Geology BSc

3-4 years

This degree is for you if you have a broad interest in Earth Science and the environment, and you want to study at the boundary of physical geography and geology.

Physical Geography and Geology BSc, 3-4 years

This degree is for you if you have a broad interest in Earth Science and the environment, and you want to study at the boundary of physical geography and geology.

Start date:

2024
2025

Course information

UCAS code F8F6

Institute code L34

Taught by School of Geography, Geology and the Environment

The Uni Guide logo

97% of students in work or further study six months after graduating (The Uni Guide 2023)

Course description

Course description

This course provides guides you through the functioning of planet Earth, from the distant past to the present. In this degree, carefully selected complementary modules from Physical Geography and Geology are structured to provide students with an understanding of Earth System functioning across a range of space-time scales. This includes knowledge of modern landscape processes, how insights from the modern world allow us to interpret the rock record (and vice-versa), and how the fossil record allows us to understand the patterns of life on Earth today. You will also investigate key contemporary processes and the challenges facing society today by studying topics like climate change, desertification, pollution and water quality. Studying both the past and present will enable you to reflect upon and tackle many of the environmental challenges facing the planet.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

  • A-levels: ABB-BBB preferably including at least two from: Geology, Maths, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Use of Maths, Computer Science, Environmental Science, or Geography. We also consider one-science profiles with Geology, Maths, Biology, Chemistry or Physics. 
  • EPQ with A-levels: BBB + EPQ at grade B. A-level subjects preferably including at least two from: Geology, Maths, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Use of Maths, Computer Science, Environmental Science, or Geography. We also consider one-science profiles with Geology, Maths, Biology, Chemistry or Physics. 
  • GCSE: Grade C/4 in English Language and Maths.
  • Access to HE Diploma: Pass science diploma with a minimum of 45 credits at level 3, 30 of which must be at Distinction. To include Physics, Chemistry and Maths Level 3 credits.
  • International Baccalaureate: Pass Diploma with 30 points, including grade 5 in two science subjects at HL. Must include a minimum of grade 4 in SL Maths or 3 at HL if 4/C not held at GCSE. Must include a minimum of grade 4 in English A or 5 in English B if minimum of grade 4/C not held in English Language at GCSE.
  • BTEC Nationals: Pass Diploma with DDD (Science Related). Please contact School regarding eligibility.
  • T Levels: Distinction in Science (with an Occupational Specialism in Laboratory technician).

Other official national and international qualifications considered from across the world. You can review some of the qualifications we accept on our countries page and English Language equivalencies.

If your qualification or country is not listed, please contact us for more information, including the name and result of the qualification you have studied.

Contextual offers

The University of Leicester is committed to providing equitable opportunities for all applicants from all backgrounds. We make contextual offers to support students who may be impacted by the area they live in, their personal circumstances or who have completed one of our progression programmes. These offers are usually one or two grades lower than the standard entry requirements. To qualify for a contextual offer, you must apply for an eligible course and meet specific criteria – check if you’re eligible.

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.

Applicants are not normally interviewed. If you receive an offer you will be invited to visit the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment.

English Language Requirements

IELTS 6.5 or equivalent. 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

Fees and funding

UK Students

Starting in 2025

Tuition fees for 2025/26 are yet to be confirmed. As an indication of what you might pay, the fees for students who started in 2024/25 were:

  • £9,250 in your first year. Tuition fees are subject to government regulations and may change in future years
  • Year Abroad: your fee will be £1,385 for that year
  • Year in Industry: your fee will be £1,850 for that year

Find out more about scholarships and funding.

Additional costs

There is an additional cost to students as a contribution towards core fieldwork modules in years one and two. In year one this is a maximum of £100. In year two this is a maximum of £250. These are the total contributions for the academic year, regardless of the number of fieldcourses (i.e. they are not the costs or contributions per fieldcourse)

International Students

Starting in 2025

Tuition fees for 2025/26 are yet to be confirmed. As an indication of what you might pay, the fees for students who started in 2024/25 were:

  • £24,500 per year
  • Year Abroad: £6,125 which is 25% of the full-time tuition fee
  • Year in Industry: £3,675 which is 15% of the full-time tuition fee

If you are resident outside the UK and the Republic of Ireland, you will need to pay a deposit of £3,000 to secure your place. This will be subtracted from your total tuition fee.

From 2022 onwards, EU nationals will pay the International fee. If you are an EU national with settled or pre-settled status under the EU settlement scheme, you may qualify for the UK fee (subject to criteria).

Find out more about scholarships and funding.

Additional costs

There is an additional cost to students as a contribution towards core fieldwork modules in years one and two. In year one this is a maximum of £100. In year two this is a maximum of £250. These are the total contributions for the academic year, regardless of the number of fieldcourses (i.e. they are not the costs or contributions per fieldcourse)

Careers and employability

Careers and employability

Geographers and Geologists are highly competitive in the job market as their degrees furnish them with a range of highly sought-after skills. As well as studying topics that consider all of the major global challenges of the 21st century, our graduates are equipped with a range of subject specific and transferable skills (e.g. teamwork, communication, resilience, planning, problem solving).

Key statistics

  • 97% of graduates in work or further study after 15 months
  • Average salary 10 years after graduation is £40,100
  • More than 50 companies are actively involved with Geology at Leicester, from funding major research projects to work experience opportunities.
  • Recent employers include: Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water, Aon, National Library of Scotland, KPMG, NHS, Cabinet Office, Department of Work and Pensions, HSBC, Network Rail, The British Museum, BP, Rio Tinto, British Gypsum, RSK, Jacobs, Hydrock, Zeiss, The Civil Service, Capita, The Government of South Australia, Isle of Man Government.

Supported by the University’s Careers and Employability Service, employability is embedded in all of our curricula from year one:

  • The Leicester Award for Employability personal development programme is embedded in core year one and year two modules, providing students with opportunities to reflect on their motivations, personality traits, transferable skills, and future career goals
  • All students have lifetime access to and support from our award-winning Careers and Employability Service.
  • We have a dedicated School Careers Tutor who works with the Careers and Employability Service to support careers fairs, disseminate job opportunities and career development courses, and to provide practical information.
  • We run a School-wide annual careers day; recent speakers have included the Civil Service, Selfridges & Co, Hatch Regeneris, the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, the Environment Agency, Ordnance Survey and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.
  • All of our degrees allow include a four year “with a Year in Industry” option, where the third year of the degree is spent on a work placement.

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

Case studies

Small profile picture of Megan

Megan Hudson (BSc Geography) is now a General Manager at Fenland SOIL; a farmer-led, multistakeholder research organisation that aims to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from lowland agriculture. Her work involves a wide range of activities, spanning finance and marketing, meeting and day to day work with growers and stakeholders, through to working on research projects with universities and organisations like Natural England.

Small profile picture of MominMomin Ashraf (BA Geography) is a member of the GIS intelligence team at the Satellite Applications Catapult in Didcot. His work is focused on international development and humanitarian aid. He uses satellite and spatial data to monitor issues such as water security, internally displaced people and conflict zones. His skills and interests in GIS allowed him to work in a range of industries during his year in industry, and it was his GIS, Remote Sensing and Information Visualisation courses that provided the key skills shaping his career (skills in critical industry-standards such as QGIS, ArcGIS, Tableau, SQL, Python).

Small profile picture of TaraTara Ahmad (BA Human Geography) joined the Lidl UK Graduate Programme. Tara had a particular interest in economic geography and during her BA Human Geography degree she particularly enjoyed the Economy Society and Space module, which focuses on the commoditisation of foodstuffs.  During her second and final years she was a course representative and a co-chair of the student-staff committee. This meant lots of scope to present, collaborate and share her work, providing the confidence to move forward into her future career.

Careers and Employability Service

Get career-ready at Leicester with guidance from our award-winning Careers and Employability Service. We're here to give you a lifetime offer of support, even after graduation. Our team of specialist careers advisers and mentors will help you every step of the way. From supporting you with CVs and interviews, to volunteering opportunities and placements, we’re here to help you reach your professional goals.

Related courses

Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development Goals

We are committed to providing skills and knowledge to help prepare you tackle global challenges. We have mapped our undergraduate degrees for learning which aligns to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

This degree includes learning which relates to the following UN Sustainable Development Goals:

Find out more about the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Testimonial

"It has been an amazing and enriching experience studying Geography at the University of Leicester. I have been able to broaden my knowledge and curiosity into specific areas of Geography, such as paleogeography, ecology and geomorphology. This has been due to excellent learning opportunities, alongside practical lab and fieldwork, including an overseas field trip to Almeria, Spain. There is a close-knit and pleasant atmosphere in the School, enhanced by the willingness of the staff to offer their support and their contagious passion for their subject areas, reflected in their eagerness to share their past and current research with students throughout the course."

Charlotte – Geography BSc student, 2024

Course structure

Year 1

Year 1

Your first year provides foundational knowledge for the Earth Sciences and Physical Geography, considering the origin, structure and composition of Earth, the operation of plate tectonics and the processes controlling our weather and climate. We also introduce you to a wide range of teaching approaches (practicals, computer labs, tutorials, workshops, lectures) and develop key practical skills (e.g. Geological Maps and Structures). The residential fieldtrip to Arran brings your learning into practice in the field.

Modules

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

The second year develops key research and analytical skills, while further developing subject-specific knowledge. You will study the operation of contemporary Earth surface processes as well the sedimentary rock record and the fossil record. This core content is designed to provide a sufficient breadth of material to allow specialisation as you move into your final year. The residential trip to Almeria, Spain, provides field experience of contemporary landscape processes and the region’s geological record, as well as building important skills in project design and teamwork.

Core modules

* Qualifying mark of 40% in dissertation proposal is required for progression into year 3.

Option modules

Choose one option module 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 or in Industry (optional)

Year Abroad or in Industry (optional)

If you want to, you can spend the third year of the BSc studying abroad at one of our partner institutions or working in an industrial placement. Alternatively, you can opt to continue studying at the University and complete your degree in three years.

Year Abroad

We’ll make sure you have everything you need for your future career: not just by awarding you a high quality degree, but also by helping you to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence you need to make your mark in the world as a Citizen of Change. One way you can do this is by opting to take a Year Abroad between Years 2 and 3 of your degree.

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 a career in the private, public or third sector - or plough your own furrow as an entrepreneur – you will find the experience invaluable.

For more information, including a list of destinations, please visit our Study Abroad website.

Please note

  • A year spent abroad still incurs a tuition fee, but this is much lower than for a normal year at Leicester. See the Fees and Funding tab of this page for details.
  • You may be eligible for a travel grant from Student Finance England.
  • Places are offered on a competitive basis, and eligibility is dependent on your academic performance in Years 1 and 2.
  • Language courses, at beginners or advanced level, are available through our Languages at Leicester scheme.

Year in Industry

A Year in Industry gives you the opportunity to stand out from the crowd when it comes to applying for graduate jobs with work experience incorporated into your programme of study. If this is for you, in Year 2 you will take a module in which we prepare you for that year in work and support you with your search for a placement in an industry or organisation relevant to your career aspirations. After your Year in Industry you will return to University for your final year of study.

A year in industry still incurs a tuition fee, but this is much lower than for a normal year at Leicester. See the Fees and Funding tab of this page for details.

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 final year incorporates a blend of teaching and independent research. You will select a topic to research in your dissertation and choose from a wide range of optional modules.

Core modules

  • Dissertation (Joint Degree)

Option modules

Choose two option modules from:

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.

Fieldwork

Fieldwork

Fieldwork is integral to any Geography degree. In the field you'll develop new skills and apply learning from the classroom to real-world problems. At Leicester, we go into the field a lot - your field trips will be some of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences of your time here.

students on a geography field tripstudents on a geography field trip

Our field trips run during each year of study. In Year 1, you’ll get an introduction to residential fieldwork in a UK setting, connecting knowledge gained in classes with the study of a variety of landscapes.

In your second year your field training will focus on the development of skills that prepare you for independent research and your final year dissertation project. Recent locations have included Vancouver and Almeria.

Our Year 3 optional field courses represent an opportunity to develop advanced field skills. They are a chance to experience some of the world’s most remarkable environments such as the Amazon Rain Forest and Death Valley in California.

students on a geography field tripstudents on a geography field trip

And you’ll be pleased to know our staff are involved in field-based research worldwide, ensuring that our teaching draws on active field experience.

Fieldwork locations may vary and are subject to availability.

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.

Why Leicester?

Geography and Environmental Science field work highlights

Job prospects for graduates of the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment are excellent: 97% of our Geography students and 95% of our Geology students are employed (or studying for a Masters degree) six months after graduating. (DLHE)

Fieldwork is integral to all of our degrees. Our field trips will take you to some of the world's most remarkable environments, such as the Amazon Rain Forest and Death Valley in California.

Our School operates an Open Door policy, meaning you can access support when you need it.

You will definitely want to join the Students' Union's Geography Society which offers a great mix of academic support and social events. Leicester GeogSoc is affiliated to EGEA, a massive European network providing great opportunities for exchanges and professional development.

Teaching and learning

You will be taught through a mixture of lectures, tutorials, seminars, laboratory and computer practicals and fieldwork. All lecture material is available online through our virtual learning environment Blackboard. Contact time typically averages about 11-13 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 personal tutor will provide you with individually tailored academic support throughout your degree.

Fieldwork

Fieldwork is an important part of a Geoscience degree. In the field, you will develop new skills and apply learning from the classroom to real world problems. The course includes fieldwork to the Isle of Arran in Year 1, and the UK (Lake District) and Spain (Almeria) in Year 2. In the first year you will receive basic training in geological field skills, while in Year 2 you will explore the arid landscapes of southeast Spain, investigating the distinctive geomorphology and ecology of this unique area. A residential trip to the Lake District at the start of year 2 provides an introduction to second year Physical Geography material (Catchment Systems).

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 practical activities, worksheets, 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. This time also includes time meeting staff, such as your personal tutor, which you can arrange via regular staff office hours. To help with your independent learning, you can access the Library and our social study spaces in halls of residence.

Your contact hours will depend on the option modules you select. You can see details of the contact hours on individual module pages.

Academic support

Our Centre for Academic Achievement 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

This is a research-led degree. You will be taught by an internationally recognised experts in their fields, whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. Our third year specialism modules map closely to staff’s current research and to our cutting edge facilities where you will get hands on experience. 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.

Apply now

Course Qualification Duration UCAS Code Availability
Course Physical Geography and Geology Qualification BSc Duration 3 years UCAS Code F8F6 Availability How to apply
Course Physical Geography and Geology with Year Abroad Qualification BSc Duration 4 years UCAS Code F8F6 Availability How to apply
Course Physical Geography and Geology with Year in Industry Qualification BSc Duration 4 years UCAS Code F8F6 Availability How to apply
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