Physical Geography BSc, 3-4 years

Start date:

2019

From climatic changes and natural hazards to shifting tectonic plates, our planet is constantly reshaping itself. By studying the science behind physical geography, you can better tackle the challenges that lie ahead.

Typical offer
ABB
UCAS code
F840
Department
Geography

Admissions enquiries
+44 (0)116 252 5281
seadmissions@le.ac.uk

Course enquiries
+44 (0)116 252 3822/3823
geogadmin@le.ac.uk

Department of Geography website

Course description

Course description

At the interface of the human and the physical environments, geography is an integrative discipline that fosters a broad perspective on the problems of today’s world and equips you with a variety of transferable and employable skills. The School of Geography, Geology and the Environment at the University of Leicester is a stimulating, supportive and friendly place in which to study contemporary geography.

Our degrees allow you to specialise in physical geography or human geography – or to combine topics that bridge the science/social science interface. Throughout your degree there will be an emphasis on gaining practical skills and putting them to use in a critical manner. You will receive all of the training needed to carry out independent research in a range of contexts.

If you choose to study for the BSc in Physical Geography you will focus exclusively on the scientific aspects of geography. You will be taught current theories about the origin and formation of the Earth, Earth surface processes, biogeographic patterns, climatic change and the physical science of climate change. You will also gain skills in remote sensing and geographical information science. Practical work is at the core of this degree and you will learn to plan and carry out research and to analyse and interpret scientific data.

This degree involves no human geography.

If you like the sound of this degree but don't want to ignore human geography, you should consider the Geography BSc.

What's the difference?

The BA and BSc in Geography each cover both Human Geography (social science; people and places) and Physical Geography (natural science; Earth and environment).

  • The Geography BA concentrates more on Human, with a bit of Physical
  • The Geography BSc concentrates more on Physical, with a bit of Human

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

  • A/AS-levels: ABB. Two AS-levels considered in place of one A-level. Geography not essential.
  • EPQ with A-levels: BBB + EPQ at grade B.
  • GCSE: Grade C/4 in English Language and Maths.
  • Access to HE Diploma: Pass relevant diploma with a minimum of 45 credits at level 3, 30 of which must be at Distinction.
  • BTEC Nationals: Pass Diploma with DDM.
  • International Baccalaureate: Pass Diploma with 30 points with a minimum of 16 points at HL. Minimum of 3 in HL Maths, or 4 in SL Maths, or 5 in Maths Studies required if Grade C/4 not held at GCSE. Minimum of 4 in English Language required if grade C/4 not held at GCSE.

Other national and international qualifications considered.

If you do not meet the entry requirements for this course, you can apply for the International Foundation Year run by our dedicated International Study Centre. The ISC provides academic and English language support to help you progress to your chosen undergraduate degree at the University of Leicester.

Second year entry may be possible with suitable qualifications.

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 department.

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

Fees and funding

UK and EU Students

Starting in 2019

  • £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 £1,250 for that year
  • Year in Industry: your fee will be 15% of the full-time tuition fee that applies in that year

Find out more about scholarships and funding.

Additional costs

If you choose the field trip to California as one of your third year option modules, the cost is expected to be about £1,400.

If you choose the field trip to the Amazon as one of your third year option modules, the cost is expected to be about £2,000.

International Students

Starting in 2019

  • £17,390 per year
  • Year Abroad: £4,347.50, which is 25% of the full-time tuition fee
  • Year in Industry: £2,608.50, which is 15% of the full-time tuition fee

Find out more about scholarships and funding.

Additional costs

If you choose the field trip to California as one of your third year option modules, the cost is expected to be about £1,400.

If you choose the field trip to the Amazon as one of your third year option modules, the cost is expected to be about £2,000.

Careers and employability

Careers and employability

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.

The 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.

Related courses

Related courses

Course structure

Year 1

Year 1

You will start by gaining a broad understanding of the theories and practices of physical geography including fundamentals of lab work and understanding geographical data. A residential field course in Devon will enable you to practice your field and lab skills in a natural setting. Please note that numbers of Geographers taking some supplementary subjects may be subject to a cap in numbers.

Core modules

Option modules

Choose two option modules from Geology, Informatics (Computer Science), Economics and Modern Languages (French, Spanish and Italian). The precise selection of these modules is still to be confirmed.

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

During this year you will begin to focus on the on the key areas of physical geography such as geomorphology, long-term 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. Please note that numbers of Geographers taking some supplementary subjects may be subject to a cap in numbers.

Core modules

Option modules

Choose four option modules from:

Plus a range of modules in Geology, Chemistry, Biology and Modern Languages. The precise selection of these modules is still to be confirmed.

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 your third year studying abroad at one of our partner institutions or working in an industrial placement (eligibility is dependent on your academic performance in Years 1 and 2). Alternatively, you can opt to continue studying at the University and complete your degree in three years.

NB. A year spent abroad or on an industrial placement 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.

Year Abroad

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.

Modules

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.

Why Leicester?

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

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.

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.

Geography at Leicester

As part of his course, Michael used industry-standard GIS and remote-sensing applications.

Teaching and learning

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.

Fieldwork

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.

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.

If you study on the Geography BSc or Physical Geography BSc, your field trips can include:

Almeria (Year 2)

Examine the striking arid landscapes of South East Spain, investigating the distinctive geomorphology and ecology of this unique area.

The Amazon (Year 3, optional)

Spend two weeks in southern Colombia studying the spectacular tropical vegetation of the region as well as animal biogeography and aquatic ecosystems.

Death Valley (Year 3, optional)

Spend ten days in the Mojave Desert (near Las Vegas). You will stay in a desert research station and spend the trip studying a range of landforms and landscapes characteristic of this remarkable arid landscape, including weathering processes, desert rivers, sand-dunes, salt lakes and - in Death Valley - some of the world’s most impressive alluvial fans.

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.

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 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.

Major/Minor degrees

Major/Minor degrees enable you to create your own degree. You can study a core area in depth (your major subject), while also exploring an additional area (your minor subject). Why not complement your Major with a subject that you enjoyed before, or which has vocational elements that can boost your career prospects? Alternatively, you may want to try something completely new that you’ve always been interested in, like a language.

More about Major/Minor degrees

Apply now

Course Qualification Duration UCAS Code Availability
Course Physical Geography Qualification BSc Duration 3 years full-time UCAS Code F840 Availability Apply Now
Course Physical Geography with Year Abroad Qualification BSc Duration 4 years full-time UCAS Code F840 Availability Apply Now
Course Physical Geography with a Year in Industry Qualification BSc Duration 4 years full-time UCAS Code F840 Availability Apply Now