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Environmental Geography with a Year of Study Abroad (BSc)

  • UCAS code: K32L
  • Next intake: September 2022
  • Duration: 4 years
  • Mode: Full time with year abroad

Entry Year

Why study this course

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Year abroad

Learn while you travel and experience the landscapes or coastlines, education and culture of a different country with the opportunity to complete a year studying at a university abroad.

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Industry connections

Our links with alumni, environmental regulators and local organisations provide plenty of opportunities for you to complete projects and summer placements.

location

Fieldwork opportunities

We take regular field trips in the UK and overseas to help you develop strong fieldwork skills. The cost of compulsory field trips is included in the course fees.

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High-quality facilities

You will have access to the latest in surveying and mapping equipment, labs, computing facilities, and our coastal research vessel.

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Flexible course

In most cases, you may request a transfer to the MSci degree programme or switch to another course in the same School at the end of the first year.

Are you passionate about finding solutions to the most urgent environmental threats facing our planet today? Our scientific understanding of the natural and physical environment is key to addressing issues like climate change, pollution, and land degradation.

On our Environmental Geography course, you will explore how the Earth functions and the science behind human impact on the planet over time. You will study environments across the world and the pressures they face today and in the future. You will learn about a wide range of environments, from the extreme poles to tropical coral reefs. You will use the latest technologies and develop skills in geographical mapping, research, analysis and problem-solving. 

We make the most of our location and take regular day trips to Gower, the Glamorgan Heritage Coast and the Brecon Beacons in South Wales. There will also be opportunities to go on overseas field trips, in the past we’ve been to the Netherlands and Switzerland.

On this four-year programme, you can spend one academic year studying at one of our partner universities abroad. Studying abroad is a fantastic opportunity to experience other cultures and viewpoints, learning the different styles and approaches to your subject in another country and exploring new physical environments, landscapes and coastlines. You will get the chance to make new friends and contacts from around the world. Plus, you will have the opportunity to develop a wealth of life skills and strengths that will help you to compete in an increasingly global workplace, such as adaptability, resourcefulness, and resilience.

Our Regrow Borneo project allows you to offset your flight’s carbon emissions by making an affordable donation to support our tree-planting project in the Lower Kinabatangan rainforest, Sabah, Borneo.

Subject area: Earth and environmental sciences

Subject area: Geography (physical)

Entry requirements

ABB-BBB (with 1 science subject) or BBB-BBC (with 2 science subjects). Acceptable science subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology, Maths, Physics.

Extended/International Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ/IPQ 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.

32-31 overall or 665 in 3 HL subjects (with 1 HL science subject) or 31-30 overall or 665-655 in 3 HL subjects (with 2 HL science subjects). Acceptable science subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology, Maths, Physics.

DDM-DMM in a BTEC Extended Diploma in Animal Science, Applied Science, Health Science, ICT, or Sports and Exercise Science.

Acceptance of T Levels for this programme will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Academic School. Consideration will be given to the T Level grade/subject and grades/subjects achieved at GCSE/Level 2.

Other UK qualifications may also be accepted, often in lieu of A-levels, but subject requirements must be met. If you are offering non-UK qualifications, our qualification equivalences guide should allow you to calculate what kind of offer you are likely to receive.

Please be aware that this is a general guide, and that some programmes may have more detailed or specific entry requirements which will be reflected in your offer.

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 subskill.

TOEFL iBT

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

PTE Academic

At least 62 overall with a minimum of 59 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 must have or be working towards:
- English language or Welsh language at GCSE grade C/4 or an equivalent (such as A-levels). If you require a Tier 4 visa, you must ensure your language qualification complies with UKVI requirements.
- GCSE Maths grade C/4 or equivalent qualification (subject and grade). If you are taking A-level Maths (or equivalent), GCSE Maths is not required. Core Maths may also be accepted in place of GCSE Maths.

We do not accept Critical Thinking, General Studies, Citizenship Studies, or other similar equivalent subjects.
We will accept a combination of BTEC subjects, A-levels, and other qualifications, subject to the course specific grade and subject requirements.

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course. If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Please see our admissions policies for more information about the application process.

Tuition fees

Students from the UK

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £9,000 None
Year two £9,000 None
Year three £9,000 None
Year four £9,000 None

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss national, unless you qualify for UK fee status, tuition fees will be in line with the fees charged for international students. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Students from the rest of the world (international)

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £23,450 None
Year two £23,450 None
Year three £23,450 None
Year four £23,450 None

Learn about our tuition fees

Financial support

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.

Costs for sandwich years

During a sandwich year (e.g. year in industry, placement year or year abroad) a lower fee will apply. Full details can be found on our fees pages.

Additional costs

The fieldwork costs for your core modules are included but you will need to contribute towards food if it is provided during the trip. You will need to pay for any optional fieldwork modules. The cost of these trips will be capped at an amount determined by the school.

You will pay 15% of the usual Cardiff University fees during your year of study abroad. You will also need to pay for your living costs while abroad, which may include health insurance costs. Further additional costs include travel and visa application fees. Financial support is available. Under the present system, students remain eligible for Student Finance for overseas placements. The Global Opportunities Centre also currently provides a bursary to assist with some of the costs associated with an overseas placement.  Full details will be confirmed when you are considering your year of study abroad options.

Course specific equipment

You will need suitable clothing including warm weather, wind and storm-proof jackets and walking boots. The school will provide all health and safety equipment as well as specialised field equipment.

Accommodation

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

Living costs

We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.

Course structure

This is a four-year full-time degree. In your first year you will study core modules and get a strong foundation in environmental geography. In year two and four there are core and optional modules so you have some flexibility to choose to the areas that you’re interested in.   Year three is spent studying at a partner institution in another country.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2022/23 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2022.

Year one

Year two

Year three: Sandwich year

Module titleModule codeCredits
Year of Study AbroadEA3300120 credits
Year of Study AbroadEA3300120 credits

Year four

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 testing water quality of a river
Environmental Geography students testing a lake in Wales for its water quality.

Learning and assessment

We are a friendly and informal school and you will be taught by world-leading experts involved in cutting-edge international research.

Our teaching approach is a mix of theory and practical and includes: lectures, laboratory work, fieldwork, tutorials, workshops and seminars. You will also be encouraged to learn independently and within groups throughout the course, developing a wide range of skills which will be essential for your future employment including project management and organisational skills as well as developing your competence in applying information technology and using state-of-the-art field techniques and equipment.

How you will be taught during your year of study abroad will depend on the host institution.  All our overseas partners are of at least a comparable standard to Cardiff University and the partnership goes through a rigorous approval process.  You will look in detail at teaching methods in your host institution and discuss these with the School Director of International as part of your application process and Study Abroad learning agreement.

How will I be supported?

At the start of the course you will be allocated a Personal Tutor who you will meet with regularly for tutorials. Tutorials are fortnightly in the first year and then monthly in year two and four. Your Personal Tutor can offer advice on academic and personal matters. In year you will also be allocated a supervisor for your dissertation project.

Academic support for the year of study abroad will be provided to you during your second year by the Director of International for the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and planning advice by colleagues at the Global Opportunities Centre. Advice regarding choice of university, aims of the year, academic regulations and module choice will be given by the Director of International, who will be available to discuss ideas, concerns and issues with you..

The School Director of International works closely with the Global Opportunities Centre to support you  in applying to the host university, provide advice on finances, visas and all the practical arrangements involved in studying abroad. Global Opportunities  will organise a pre-departure session and provide you with a pre-departure pack which will includes an informative guide. Members of staff from the Global Opportunities Centre will happily answer any questions you may have.

The School Director of International will meet with you to review and agree your courses abroad as part of signing off your Study Abroad Learning Agreement.  This will give you the opportunity to review the teaching, learning outcomes and assessment methods at the partner university and we will ensure these are appropriate for you as a Cardiff University student. If there are assessment methods that are new to you, we will support you in being prepared for this.

A requirement of the Year of Study Abroad module is that you complete an online reflective journal and meet to discuss this monthly with your Personal Tutor.  This provides a structured and required monthly meeting with your Cardiff University Personal Tutor to allow you to review your study progress and for any concerns or needs to be raised and addressed. You can also contact your Personal Tutor or the Director of International as and when needed.  You will have access to the full Cardiff University online resources and Student Support Services while abroad.  The comprehensive support services of the Students’ Union are also available to you throughout. 

The School Director of International will work with you and with their contact at the Partner Institution to resolve any issues with the partner Institution itself, drawing on support from Global Opportunities where there are University-wide partnerships, as appropriate.

All partner universities are of similar standing to the Cardiff School Earth and Environmental Sciences, and have mechanisms for academic and pastoral support, so you will be additionally supported through the academic and pastoral care arrangements of your host university.

Facilities

We have a Learning Central website where you can access videos, images, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, links to further reading, electronic exercises and discussion circles. Where possible, lectures will be recorded so you can watch and study in your own time.

The Learning Central website also has a ‘Personal Development Planning’ module that supports you in regularly assessing your progress and meeting your development needs.

Support services

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

Diversity

We aim to create an inclusive, supportive and welcoming environment that respects the dignity of staff and students of all ages, ethnicities, disabilities, family structures, genders, nationalities, sexual orientations, races, religious or other beliefs, and socio-economic backgrounds. Read about our commitment to the Athena SWAN principles and our Bronze status (https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/earth-envrionmental-sciences/about-us/equality-diversity-and-inclusivity).    

What skills will I practise and develop?

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme describe what you will be able to do as a result of your study at Cardiff University. They will help you to understand what is expected of you. 

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme can be found below:

Knowledge & Understanding:

On successful completion of the entire Programme students will be able to demonstrate the following:

  • A systematic understanding of spatial and temporal processes relating to a range of environments, including a broad critical comprehension of the inter-relationships between environmental, chemical and physical systems at a range of scales
  • A broad understanding of environmental  resources and associated global challenges, including approaches to the governance of these
  • A systematic understanding of the multi-disciplinary nature of Environmental Geography, including its content, methods and philosophy, and an associated practical understanding of the need for integration of knowledge from cognate sciences, including those related to Earth System, ocean, atmospheric, physical and environmental sciences

Intellectual Skills:

On successful completion of the entire Programme students will be able to demonstrate the following :

  • Debate, interpret and explain the causes, scales and impacts of contemporary and future environmental issues whilst critically applying relevant ideas, concepts and methods
  • Collect, collate, synthesise and critically evaluate a wide variety of environmental data and information, drawing from relevant approaches in cognate areas of environmental science
  • Evaluate current research in selected aspects of environmental science, demonstrating an appreciation of the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of associated scientific understanding
  • Work across disciplines to link knowledge and experience from allied sciences to understand a range of environments including their relationship with society

Professional Practical Skills:

On successful completion of the entire Programme students will be able to demonstrate the following:

  • Critically analyse and interpret a range of different types of data related to the environment as part of research processes to investigate a range of topical environmental issues and theoretical concepts
  • Plan, design and execute research related to the environment, critically using a range of qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection and analysis in field, offshore, laboratory and desk-based studies
  • Understand and apply methods used to acquire geospatial data and represent such data in appropriate cartographic and graphic formats using appropriate platforms, including GIS
  • Address research problems involving the integration and analysis of diverse and often incomplete and uncertain data using appropriate qualitative and quantitative methodologies and approaches
  • Demonstrate practical skills and competence in information technology, geographical information systems, cartographic, statistical and other analytical techniques
  • Undertake effective project management and organisational skills through independent working and team work
  • Understand and the practical limitations, logistics, safety and ethical aspects of data gathering in various environments, and apply this understanding, as appropriate to applied research

Transferable/Key Skills:

On successful completion of the entire Programme students will be able to demonstrate the following:

  • The flexibility, resilience, open-mindedness and ability to approach a subject from different perspectives, that can be gained in the year of study abroad.
  • Effective communication of knowledge, ideas and arguments in a variety of formats using oral, written, and visual media to both specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • An ability to work competently individually or as part of a team in both problem-setting and problem-solving within a range of applied research environments where decision-making is complex and multi-disciplinary
  • An ability to undertake independent study and personal scholarship, fostered through enhanced personal responsibility, initiative and self-learning experiences
  • An understanding of the skills and competencies needed to secure employment and support ongoing professional development, and be able to apply this to self-reflect, assess and articulate individual employability skills and needs
Student working on a mapping exercise
Student completing a mapping exercise on Caerphilly Mountain.

Careers and placements

Career prospects

With the planet under increasing pressure from climate change, over-exploitation and pollution, the knowledge and skills of an environmental geographer are in demand. An environmental geographer will play an important role in a greener, low carbon future, using their understanding of the Earth to find sustainable solutions to the challenges we face in the future.

You can choose to work in a variety of different industries and roles including conservation and environmental management, as an environmental consultant or a geospatial analyst. You will also have essential employable skills that sectors like insurance, finance, education and planning are looking for.

Some of our past students have gone on to work at the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales, local government, environmental consultancies and environmental charities.

95% of the School's first-degree graduates were in employment and/or further study, due to start a new job or course, or doing other activities such as travelling, 15 months after the end of their course (Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18).

Contains HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2020. The Higher Education Statistics Agency cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data.

Placements

Yes.  The opportunity to undertake a study placement in year three at a partner institution in another country.  In recent years, study has been available at universities in the USA, Canada, Australia, Sweden and the Netherlands.

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 field trips. In the past we have explored the impacts of past glaciations on the environment of Snowdonia National Park, visited a modern glaciated landscape in the Alps, and investigated hydrology and river systems in the south of France.

All of the travel and accommodation on our field trips 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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HESA data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2020. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18, published by HESA in June 2020.