Geography (Human) and Planning (BSc)

The BSc Geography (Human) and Planning offers a unique opportunity to study a combination of Human Geography and Planning at degree level, building on the combined expertise of geography and planning academics based in the School.

This course, which is accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (dependent upon the modules selected), provides you with a broad-based spatial education that combines the problem-solving approaches of planning with the topical insights of geography.

As well as forging strong links between the geography and planning disciplines, the BSc Geography (Human) and Planning course has been specifically designed to provide you with key employability skills that will support you in an increasingly competitive labour market. You will gain an understanding of global, national and local processes of change, key environmental, social, cultural, political and economic trends and the role that planning plays in shaping their effects on different places.

The course examines the changing nature of spaces and places, the relationship between society and space, and the roles of the state. Placing local and national issues in a global context, the course covers topics which range from environmental change in the UK, and economic and social change in Wales, to regional and international development.

The course combines an appreciation of transnational spatial change with detailed case study work, through field study visits, away days and projects. It fosters an understanding of the main geographical trends in the world today, along with the analytical skills needed to study spatial change. At the same time, students are expected to link the insights derived from the geography modules to the more specific concerns of urban and regional planning.

Field study visits are a key aspect of our Geography (Human) and Planning programme.  Previous destinations include Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Tanzania.

Distinctive features

The distinctive features of the course include:

  • a condensed but comprehensive coverage of both Human Geography and Planning
  • the opportunity to study in a School consistently highly rated for its research excellence
  • the involvement of internationally reputed research staff who are active in both scholarly and practitioner/policy networks
  • close links with planning institutions, especially in Wales
  • access to a laboratory with high-quality printing facilities, GIS (Geographic Information System) and Edina digimap mapping facilities
  • excellent library and access to online journals and databases
  • a field study visit option (currently a choice of destination between Hong Kong, Tanzania, Los Angeles and New York) to explore issues in a real world case study, and deploy skills acquired through the degree into practice
  • the facility to undertake assessments in the Welsh language if preferred.

The course offers a wide range of modules giving a broad perspective of fields, from economics and GIS, to statistics, environmental law and cultural geography. The field trips have helped broaden my horizons.

Jamie Trybus, Geography (Human) and Planning

Key facts

Next intakeSeptember 2017
Duration3 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe School admits c180 students each year to its undergraduate degree programmes.
Typical A level offerAAA-AAB, including Geography. General Studies is not accepted.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerWelsh Bacc: Pass Advanced Diploma with A in the core, plus AA-AB at A-level, including Geography.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer38-36 points, including Higher Level Geography at grade 6 or above.
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Specific admissions and selection criteria for this degree programme can be found online. Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course
Admissions tutor(s)

This is a three-year full-time degree. Year one modules are compulsory. Years two and three contain compulsory and optional modules. You will need to earn 120 credits a year. Modules are usually worth 20 credits, although some are worth 10 and the final-year dissertation is worth 30 credits.

There are four core modules on the RTPI-accredited route with a choice of seven optional.  For the non-accredited route there are two core and a choice of 11 optional.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2017/18 academic year. The final modules will be published by July 2017.

Year one

Year one gives an introduction to the core areas of geography and planning. You will cover issues such as the nature of geographical thinking, globalisation, the core elements of planning and the developing world. You will also develop the essential skills for accessing and processing information.

Although you need to earn 120 credits, year one is an introductory year and the modules do not count towards the grade of your final degree.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Society, Diversity and PlanningCP012020 credits
Places and PlansCP012120 credits
CitiesCP014120 credits
The CountrysideCP014620 credits
Environment and Society: Living With Environmental ChangeCP014720 credits

Year two

The second year builds on year one, looking in more depth at the history of geographical thought, the economic and cultural sub-fields of geography, the core practical disciplines of planning, and planning’s application to a range of contemporary issues.

A stream on geographical research provides a review of research techniques and issues, and also acts as an introduction to the dissertation to be completed in the third year.

The Citizen Geographies module includes the possibility of a work placement.

Year three

Year three pulls together the modules on planning and on geography in a combined Geography and Planning module. You also work towards your research dissertation, under the guidance of a specialist academic supervisor.

You will then be able to choose the remaining modules from a range of options, which include one among a number of field study visits (FSVs) to various destinations. The options and FSVs are designed to enable you to specialise in particular topical areas and develop your own pathway through the degree.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

Our approach is based upon a commitment to provide the highest quality teaching. As far as possible, we aim to teach in small groups because we believe this encourages a more positive learning environment between staff and students and among students themselves. Typically you will study six modules per year and will receive 15 hours of guided study per week.

We offer a supportive learning environment, where you are enabled to acquire a range of skills and a wealth of specialist knowledge. Our courses foster intellectual skills, such as critical thinking, close analysis, evaluating evidence, constructing arguments, using theory and the effective deployment of language in writing and in debate. We also help you gain experience in team working, independent research and time management.

How will I be supported?

As well as having regular feedback from your personal tutor in each course, you will have a reading week each semester for guided study and a chance to catch up on assessed work, reading and revision. These weeks are also used by staff to visit students on their year abroad.

You will have access through the Learning Central website to relevant multimedia material, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises and discussion circles.

The University offers a range of services including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres.


We’ll provide you with frequent feedback on your work. This comes in a variety of formats including oral feedback during tutorials, personalised feedback on written work, feedback lectures, generic written feedback and feedback on tutorial performance

Coursework will be marked by your module tutor and your tutor will give you written feedback on your work. You will also have a feedback class after each assessment. Students will be given general feedback in relation to examinations following the May/June examination period and you will be able to discuss your overall performance with your personal tutor as part of the monitored student self-assessment scheme.

How will I be assessed?

A range of assessment methods are used, including essays, examinations, presentations, portfolios and creative assignments.

We encourage innovation and creativity in the delivery and assessment of teaching and learning, for example the use of digital media and field study visits. You will receive skills training from presentation of critical thinking through film-based assessments.

Essays and examinations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing your capacities to gather, organise, evaluate and deploy relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments. Dedicated essay workshops and individual advice enable you to produce your best work, and written feedback on essays feeds forward into future work, enabling you to develop your strengths and address any weaker areas.

The final-year research project provides you with the opportunity to investigate a specific topic of interest to you in depth and to acquire detailed knowledge about a particular field of study, to use your initiative in the collection and presentation of material and present a clear, cogent argument and draw appropriate conclusions.

What skills will I practise and develop?

You will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both those which are discipline specific and more generic ‘employability skills’.

These include:

  • communicating ideas, principles and theories effectively by oral and written means
  • work effectively in a team and as an individual
  • using the internet, databases, spreadsheets, word processing and graphic packages
  • effective time management and organisational skills
  • a commitment to lifelong learning through engaging in the process of personal development planning and ownership of your own learning
  • problem solving, reliability, loyalty, social conduct, tact, attitude to learning and research, leadership, resilience, decision-making and reasoning.

In 2014, 100% of our graduates were in employment or further study within six months of graduating. Moreover, 80% of those in employment were in professional or managerial jobs.

Our graduates occupy key positions in national and local governments, business consultancies, sustainable energy centres, environmental agencies, housing strategy companies, construction, surveying and are active in both the public and private sectors.

There are numerous exciting and varied career opportunities for planning students. These include careers in planning, surveying, design and development, as well as fields such as transport, economic development and urban regeneration.

In particular, opportunities exist to practise in local planning authorities, central government, neighbourhood planning organisations, transport organisations, private planning consultancies, private developers and environmental organisations in the United Kingdom, mainland Europe and even further afield.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2017/18)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Students from outside the EU (2017/18)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Additional costs

Field study visits are included in your fees in year one and year two, but you will be required to subsidise trips in year three.

In year two, one field trip to a European city is included in your fees.  In year three, the global cities field study visits are subsidised by 66%. Students have previously contributed around £400 to the costs.

You should expect to cover the costs of local travel and subsistence on all field study visits.

A work placement module is offered in year two.

In the School of Geography and Planning we place a great emphasis on practical learning. To this end there are field study visits available in each year of the undergraduate course.

In year one, these field study visits are local to the Cardiff city region. In year two, you can opt to enjoy a residential field study visit to a European city. In your final year, you can opt for a field study visit to a global city location. Please see the ‘additional costs’ section for more information.

Key Information Sets (KIS) make it easy for prospective students to compare information about full or part time undergraduate courses, and are available on the Unistats website.