Physical Geography BSc, 3-4 years

Start date:

2020
2021

Course information

Typical offer ABB

UK/EU fee £9,250

UCAS code F840

Institute code L34

Taught by Geography

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

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

Geography website

On this degree, you'll investigate some of the most pressing global and environmental challenges of our time. You'll explore climate change using evidence from the past to consider implications for the future, tropical rainforests, drylands and deserts.

Course description

Course description

This degree is perfect for you if you want to specialise in physical geography, taking options in Biological Sciences and Geology to compliment your interest in the scientific aspects of geography. Our degree includes modules that investigate the physical science of climate change, landscape processes, river dynamics, biogeography and dryland environments. We will take you to Devon, the Lake District and Almeria in Spain with further opportunities for optional fieldwork in the Californian drylands and Amazon rainforest. Throughout your degree you will gain skills in remote sensing, geographical information science and various statistical and data presentation methods.

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.

Download a prospectus (PDF, 6MB)

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. 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:

  • International Foundation Year – Engineering and Technology run by the Global Study Centre. This course is for international students whose academic and/or English results fall just below those required for direct entry to year one of the degree.
  • Geography with Foundation Year BSc run by the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment. This course is for all students whose academic and/or English results fall just below those required for direct entry to year one of the degree.

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 School.

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 2021

The University of Leicester has made the decision to keep fees for EU students at the same level as UK student fees for this year, despite this no longer being a UK Government requirement.

  • £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 2021

Tuition fees for 2021/22 are yet to be confirmed. As an indication of what you might pay, the fees for students who started in 2020/21 were:

  • £18,175 per year
  • Year Abroad: £4,543.75, which is 25% of the full-time tuition fee
  • Year in Industry: £2,726.25, 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

Our degrees are designed to broaden your horizon and to help you acquire the skills sought by employers. Leicester geographers are highly competitive in the job market because of our research-based approach to teaching and learning, which fosters your analytical capabilities, creativity and confidence.

We have dedicated careers support in the School to help you realise your career goals. During term time you will also receive information about careers fairs, job opportunities and career development courses, and other practical information to help you on your way.

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

We also organise dedicated Geography Careers Events. Recent speakers represented 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.

The School 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.

Career Development Service


Get career-ready at Leicester with guidance from our award-winning Career Development 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

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

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:

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 key areas of physical geography such as geomorphology, climate change, river dynamics 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. Later in the year, you will go on an overseas field trip to Almeria. Please note that numbers of Geographers taking some supplementary subjects may be subject to a cap in numbers.

Core modules

Option modules

Choose five 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 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. Please see the list of institutions with which we have links, for where you could go on a year abroad. Find out more from our Global Opportunities team.

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.

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.

Modules

Choose two option modules from:

Then choose four 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.

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?

Job prospects are excellent: 97% of our Geography students are employed (or studying for a Masters degree) six months after graduating. (DLHE)

Fieldwork is integral to any Geography degree. 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.

Reading list

See the types of texts you might read, over the summer, to get a feel for the course and arrive prepared and ready to go.

View a reading list for Geography degrees

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.

Mojave Desert and 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. 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 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