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Environmental Geography (BSc)

Entry year


Environmental Geographers tackle global environmental problems that arise from human interactions with the planet.

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Environmental Geography students in the Swiss Alps

Course overview

Environmental geography is the study of the interaction between humans and the natural environment. Using their distinctive skills set, environmental geographers are able to explain how Earth functions as a system, one with a long history, an ever-changing present and a future affected by our actions.

The skills and understanding of environmental geographers make them uniquely placed to solve complex and wide-ranging environmental problems that arise in the landscape. This three-year BSc degree will help you to develop these skills and perspectives by providing opportunities for conducting fieldwork in a range of exciting environments and for conducting cutting-edge research with leading scientists in environmental geography.

Distinctive features

Experience all aspects of Earth Sciences and Geography in the first term before deciding which degree you wish to pursue.

Two overseas fieldtrips with travel and accommodation paid for by the School, as well as plenty of fieldwork in South Wales and the UK.

Spend approximately 50 days on fieldwork during this programme.

South Wales is a fascinating area in which to explore environmental geography with a huge range of natural environments and a wealth of practical study opportunities.

A major summer project between years two and three actively encourages you to devise and design your own independent research.

UCAS codeK32H
Next intakeSeptember 2020
Duration3 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe School typically has approx 150 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives approx 740 applications.

Hone your fieldwork skills by exploring the natural environments of South Wales and Europe with us.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements shown are for students starting in 2019. Entry requirements for 2020 will be available in August 2019.

ABB - BBB including one of the following STEM subjects: Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Geology, Biology, Geography, Computer Science, Environmental Science OR BBB - BBC including two of the following STEM subjects: Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Geology, Biology, Geography, Computer Science, Environmental Science. Please note that General Studies are not accepted for entry.

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 BTEC Applied Science, Sports & Exercise Science, Health Science, Animal Science, or ICT.

34-32 points or 665 in Higher Level subjects to include one STEM Science subject (Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Geology, Biology, Geography, Computer Science, Environmental Science) OR 32-30 points or 655 in Higher Level subjects to include two STEM Science subjects (Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Geology, Biology, Geography, Computer Science, Environmental Science).

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

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 Grade B/5 and GCSE English Language Grade C/4. 

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2020/21)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Students from outside the EU (2020/21)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Additional costs

Fieldwork is free but you may be asked to make a small contribution if food is provided.

Course specific equipment

On our fieldtrips we go out in all weathers and sometimes access rough terrain. You will need to bring warm clothing, all-over waterproofs and proper walking boots (with ankle supports and strong, grippy soles). We will provide you with specialist equipment for working in the field, such as high-visibility jackets, hard hats and compasses.

Accommodation

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

Course structure

We are currently working with our students to update and improve the content of this course. The information shown below reflects the current curriculum and is likely to change. The review of the course is expected to be completed by August 2020 and this page will be updated by end of October 2020 to reflect the changes.

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 2020/21 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2020.

Year one

Our programme 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 on which we can build your knowledge in environmental geography. 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.

You will be given the framework for explaining the functioning of the Earth system, including the controls on global climate. You will also learn about anthropogenic issues such as pollution, including its causes, assessment, monitoring and clean-up.

You will study the basics of Earth science necessary for your degree as well as an introduction to maps, topological work and geomorphology.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Planet EarthEA120110 credits
Earth Surface ProcessesEA120220 credits
Dangerous EarthEA120310 credits
Geographical Information SystemsEA120410 credits
Environmental Geography Field SkillsEA120620 credits
Chemistry of the EnvironmentEA121210 credits
Biological EnvironmentsEA121310 credits
Geographical Data AnalysisEA121410 credits
Science and Policy for GeographersEA121510 credits
Fundamentals of Environmental GeographyEA121610 credits

Year two

In year two, our modules are designed to provide a wide knowledge base and transferable skills base which will 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.

You will study a wide variety of modules that include basic terrestrial and marine ecology, soils, biogeochemistry and landscape evolution. There is an emphasis on skills in sampling, data collection and analysis. Much of this is field-based.

Other important training includes the use of Geographical Information Systems and the planning, execution and reporting of project work. Local fieldwork in the spring will bring many of these skills together in preparation for your main degree project.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Environmental Field SkillsEA221120 credits
Pedology and GeoecologyEA221210 credits
Process GeomorphologyEA221310 credits
BiogeochemistryEA221410 credits
Environmental PollutionEA221510 credits
Ocean Atmosphere SystemEA221620 credits
Marine EcosystemsEA221710 credits
Coastal Processes and GeomorphologyEA221810 credits
Water in the EnvironmentEA221920 credits

Year three

In the final year, you will complete and present your project work. Apart from a couple of compulsory modules, you will be free to choose a variety of optional modules following your own interests and aspirations within environmental geography.

As in previous years, the final year consists of a mixture of taught knowledge and skills. In this final part of your degree, the emphasis is on synthesis, bringing together the separate strands, skills and interests to encourage a more holistic understanding of the subject.

Please note that the optional final-year modules we provide will vary from year to year and that 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
Environmental Geography DissertationEA320430 credits
Global GeomorphologyEA322610 credits
Environmental Case Studies EA323210 credits
Environmental Geography FieldcourseEA324020 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Environmental LawEA322210 credits
Evolutionary Geoecology EA322510 credits
Marine MicrofossilsEA322710 credits
GlaciologyEA322810 credits
PalaeoclimateEA322910 credits
Environmental Management Science and PolicyEA323010 credits
Integrated Coastal ManagementEA323110 credits
Marine Conservation ScienceEA323310 credits
GeomicrobiologyEA323410 credits
Coral Reef SystemsEA323610 credits
Principles of HydrogeologyEA324110 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.
Students tecting water quality of a river
Environmental Geography students testing a lake in Wales for its water quality.

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 the traditional geology approach 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 programmes 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.

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. Currently Environmental Geography students take part in residential trips to:

  • Snowdonia National Park in year one to study the impacts of glaciations on the modern environment
  • the Netherlands in year two to study water management and coastal defences
  • the Alps, in the final year to further our understanding of geomorphology, hazards, soils, water, sustainability, climate and biomes

Students undertake a major summer project between years two and three, which involves independent research to develop knowledge and understanding of the physical, biological, and chemical controls on the environment.

The School offers a number of different potential projects from which you can choose, but students are actively encouraged to devise and design their own projects. Students often choose or devise projects that relate to the environment close to their homes, but some choose projects that take them abroad to the Mediterranean, Africa or the USA.

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.

What skills will I practise and develop?

Knowledge & Understanding:

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

  • systematic understanding of the multi-disciplinary nature of Environmental Geography and the need for integration of knowledge from cognate sciences
  • use knowledge and scientific, evidence-based methods in data analysis, interpretation and presentation
  •  

Intellectual Skills:

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

  • knowledge and understanding, subject to a limited degree of student choice, on all aspects of Earth system science

Professional Practical Skills:

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

  • show practical field skills covering a range of environments and circumstances and be able to place these in a spatial and temporal context
  • show practical skills in information technology and geographical information system applications, fieldwork, data collection techniques and project management

Transferable/Key Skills:

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

  • collect, evaluate, synthesise and interpret qualitative and quantitative data in a variety of problem-solving situations

 

Student working on a mapping exercise
Student completing a mapping exercise on Caerphilly Mountain.

Careers and placements

Career prospects

This programme can prepare you for a wide range of careers. Environmental geographers can explain climate change to policymakers, measure pollution and its effects on ecosystems, and understand and communicate environmental risks.

92% of our graduates were in employment or further study within six months of graduation according to the latest data, with others taking time out to travel.

Typical jobs for graduates include engineering geologist, environmental consultant, hydrogeologist, geotechnical engineer, exploration geologist, hydrographic surveyor and scientific diver.

Employers included local government plus companies and organisations such as the Environment Agency, BAM Construct UK, Airbus and Wales and West Utilities.

Jobs

  • Environmental Advisor
  • Software Analyst
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Pollution Monitor

Placements

No

Fieldwork

Our location in South Wales is perfect for studying environmental geography, as we have easy access to a huge range of natural environments, with mountains to the north and the Severn tidal estuary in the south. Naturally, we will spend some time studying these varied landscapes and training you in essential fieldwork skills, such as map-reading, landscape identification and the use of a compass.

We also take our students on several residential fieldtrips. We currently explore the impacts of past glaciations on the environment of Snowdonia National Park, visit a modern glaciated landscape in the Alps, and investigate hydrology and river systems in the south of France.

All of the travel and accommodation on our fieldtrips is paid for by the School. We will only ask you for a small contribution towards food and drink for each trip.

Students on fieldwork in the Swiss Alps
Environmental Geography students on residential fieldwork in the Swiss Alps.
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