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Marine Geography (BSc)

Entry year


The ocean is arguably the last major frontier on Earth for exploration and discovery. As a marine geographer, you can choose to study climate change, meteorology and oceanography, through to ocean exploitation and sustainability.

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Course overview

Cardiff is the birthplace of the discipline of marine geography in the UK. This degree programme has been running since 1976 and is an extremely successful training route for employment in the marine and coastal sector or for future academic study. The degree is an exciting blend of the physical and human geography of deep sea marine and coastal environments.

A major component of this programme is hands-on fieldwork including coastal and offshore mapping of the marine environment to understand its physical and biological characteristics. This work involves using some of the most advanced and exciting technology available.

Situated in an estuary with a large tidal range and with access to a wide variety of coastal environments, Cardiff is an excellent base for both traditional fieldwork and innovative sea-time training. We operate our own research vessel, the Guiding Light, a 12-metre boat used by all undergraduates as part of our research-led teaching programme.

Aside from our current programme of local fieldwork, including the Severn Estuary and other locations along the South Wales coast, our fieldwork currently includes overseas field courses to Jersey, Malta and Spain, where aspects of physical geography (such as biodiversity, water quality and seabed mapping) are combined with applied use within human geography (such as legislation, management and science into policy).

Distinctive features

This programme involves a common first semester allowing you to experience aspects of Earth sciences and geography before finally deciding upon which honours degree course you wish to pursue.

We currently offer two overseas fieldtrips on each programme with travel and accommodation costs covered by your tuition fees.

You will be able to take part in residential field courses abroad in year two and the final year is taught by staff who are involved in national and international research projects and you can be directly involved in the research pathway, data collection, monitoring and mapping, and report writing.

Currently undergraduates also have the opportunity to apply for research-led summer placements in ecosystem research and port environmental management as well as the opportunity to have a year working with an appropriate company.

Accreditations

UCAS codeF841
Next intakeSeptember 2019
Duration3 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe School typically has approx 150 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives approx 740 applications.

Study on our incredibly well established Marine Geography course, in a city that has a huge diversity of marine habitat on its doorstep.

Entry requirements

BBB, including two sciences (from Chemistry, Physics, Biology,Geography, Geology, Mathematics, Applied Science, Environmental Studies, Archaeology, Computing, ICT, Physical Education (PE), Psychology, and Sports Science) and, where applicable, a pass in the practical element of the science A level. Please note, General Studies will not be accepted. 

Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

DDM - DMM in one of the following subjects: Applied Science, Sports and Exercise Science, Health Science, Animal Science or ICT.

30 points, including two sciences at HL ffrom Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Geography, Geology, Mathematics, Applied Science, Environmental Studies, Archaeology, Computing, ICT, Psychology, Physical Education (PE), and Sports Science

Alternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Earth & Ocean Sciences admissions criteria pages.

GCSE

Grade C or grade 4 in GCSE English Language.

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-score.

TOEFL iBT

At least 90 with minimum scores of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking.

PTE Academic

62 with a minimum of 51 in all communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

II: at least two Distinctions and two Merits.
III: at least a Pass in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.

You will require GCSE Maths at grade B or grade 6 and GCSE English Language at grade C or grade 4. 

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2019/20)

Tuition feeDeposit
£9,000None

Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Students from outside the EU (2019/20)

Tuition feeDeposit
£20,950None

Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Additional costs

Fieldwork is free although a small contribution may be needed if food is provided.

Course specific equipment

Specialist equipment for working in the field and any other equipment appropriate for your degree will be provided by the School

Accommodation

We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

Course structure

This is a three-year full-time degree. Years one and two contain compulsory modules and there are some options in year three.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2019/20 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2019.

Year one

The degree structure is very flexible. All of our Earth and ocean science degree programmes share a common first semester. This is designed to give you a sound foundation in Earth sciences and geography upon which to build. In total you will earn 120 credits for the year, through a mixture of 10-credit and 20-credit modules.

At the end of your first semester you will decide whether to continue with your original degree choice or choose another of our Earth science degrees.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Planet EarthEA120110 credits
Earth Surface ProcessesEA120220 credits
Dangerous EarthEA120310 credits
Geographical Information SystemsEA120410 credits
Marine Geography Field SkillsEA120720 credits
Chemistry of the EnvironmentEA121210 credits
Biological EnvironmentsEA121310 credits
Geographical Data AnalysisEA121410 credits
Science and Policy for GeographersEA121510 credits
Exploring the OceansEA121710 credits

Year two

In year two the modules you will take are chosen to provide a wide knowledge base and transferable skills base to make you as employable as possible in a competitive job market. In total you will earn 120 credits for the year, through a mixture of 10-credit and 20-credit modules.

Module titleModule codeCredits
BiogeochemistryEA221410 credits
Environmental PollutionEA221510 credits
Ocean Atmosphere SystemEA221620 credits
Marine EcosystemsEA221710 credits
Coastal Processes and GeomorphologyEA221810 credits
Coastal HydrographyEA222020 credits
Marine and Coastal Resource DevelopmentEA222110 credits
Marine Geography Field SkillsEA222230 credits

Year three

In your final year you choose from a range of modules to best tailor the degree to align with your future career choice, whether that be more marine or coastal or more human or physical geography.

You can also choose specialist final-year modules, although these will vary from year to year and there are sometimes restrictions in availability due to lack of demand, oversubscription, timetable clashes or the need for you to have taken certain other modules first.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Marine Geography Field CourseEA321020 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Marine Geography DissertationEA310530 credits
Environmental Management, Science and PolicyEA311010 credits
Integrated Coastal ManagementEA311410 credits
Water ResourcesEA311710 credits
GeomicrobiologyEA313210 credits
Environmental LawEA313410 credits
Coral Reef SystemsEA314510 credits
GlaciologyEA314610 credits
PaleoclimateEA314710 credits
Marine Geography Placement ProjectEA314930 credits
Marine MicrofossilsEA322710 credits
Marine Conservation ScienceEA323310 credits
Marine GeomaticsEA323520 credits
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.
Identification of zooplankton in water samples on Samos
Identification of zooplankton in water samples on the Greek island of Samos.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

The School of Earth and Ocean Sciences has an excellent tradition of teaching, delivered by lecturers who are experts in their field. In addition the School is able to maintain a friendly and informal approach brought about by staff-student interactions during fieldwork.

The modular course structure enables the School to offer an exciting and relevant spectrum of vocational degree courses. These cover a wide range of modern geosciences from traditional geology to the more industry-focused exploration and resource geology through to the equally applied environmental geoscience and water-borne marine geography.

The first semester is common to all degree schemes and you then confirm your chosen course in January of your first year. This offers you a chance to sample university teaching styles before committing to a particular degree or pathway.

Teaching in the School is conducted by a variety of methods:

  • formal lectures
  • laboratory practicals
  • IT practicals
  • fieldwork – on land and for Marine Geography students on the sea in the School’s own research vessel.

Formal lectures and practical classes have an emphasis on students taking ownership of their own learning programme and ‘learning how to learn’.

Fieldwork is a vital format for understanding the Earth sciences and all students go on at least one residential field trip each academic year as well as numerous specialist day trips.

Year 1

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

33%

Guided independent study

67%

Placements

0%

Year 2

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

32%

Guided independent study

68%

Placements

0%

Year 3

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

37%

Guided independent study

63%

Placements

0%

How will I be supported?

All students are assigned a personal tutor who will hold timetabled tutorials: fortnightly in year one and monthly during other years. Your tutor will be a specialist in your degree course and will advise you on both academic and pastoral matters.

You will have a nominated supervisor for your major final year project.

You will have access through the Learning Central website to relevant multimedia material, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises and discussion circles. Opportunities for you to reflect on your abilities and performance are available through the Learning Central ‘Personal Development Planning’ module.

Where facilities exist your lectures will be videoed for you to further study in your own time.

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.

Feedback

You will receive written feedback for written coursework assignments and oral feedback for assessed presentations.

How will I be assessed?

Modules will be assessed to test knowledge and understanding through:

  • practical assignments
  • essay assignments
  • fieldwork
  • oral presentations
  • dissertation
  • formal examinations.

NOTE: The University welcomes applications from students with disabilities and we may be able to offer alternative assessment methods.

Assessment methods (2017/18 data)

Year 1

Written exams

53%

Practical exams

6%

Coursework

41%

Year 2

Written exams

37%

Practical exams

2%

Coursework

62%

Year 3

Written exams

40%

Practical exams

5%

Coursework

56%

What skills will I practise and develop?

Knowledge & Understanding:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • a systematic knowledge of the processes and interrelationships involved in ocean, atmosphere, marine physical geographical and environmental systems
  • a systematic knowledge of interactions between the human and Earth systems.
  • an understanding of resources, associated risks and impacts, and the governance and management of marine and coastal environments.

Intellectual Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • an appreciation of the limitations, logistics and safety aspects of gathering data in the marine environment.
  • An ability to collect, collate, process and interpret a wide variety of data and information associated with marine and coastal environments.
  • an ability to interpret a wide variety of data in terms of an overview of marine processes and/or management techniques.

Professional Practical Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • a systematic knowledge of the means of acquisition, handling and presentation of information including remote sensed data and the use of Geographical Information Systems
  • ability to execute field and offshore surveys

Transferable/Key Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • communication ideas, principles and theories effectively by oral and written means
  • the ability to work effectively as a team or an individual
  • effective time management and organisational skills
Marine Geography students carrying out survey work during field course in Jersey
Marine Geography students carrying out survey work during field course in Jersey.

Careers and placements

Career prospects

Based on responses from the 2016-17 Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey 90% of Earth and ocean science graduates were in employment or engaged in further study within six months of graduation, with others taking time out to travel.

Graduates are typically employed in marine conservation, hydrographic surveying, marine environmental consultancy, waste management, marine research, the water industry, and oceanographic surveying.

Employers include local government plus companies and organisations such as the Environment Agency, Titan Environmental Surveys and Osiris Projects.

Jobs

  • Hydrographic Surveyor
  • Marine Conservation Offficer
  • Marine Enviornmental Consultant
  • Port Authority Officer

Placements

Yes

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Next Undergraduate Open Day

Spring 2020

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International

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How to apply