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Human Geography and Planning with a Professional Placement Year (Accredited) (BSc)

Entry year

Why study this course


Enhance your skills

Develop your technical and practical skills with software including GIS (Geographic Information System) & Edina digimap mapping.


Professionally recognised

Accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)


Field-based studies

Field visits and field study modules to apply learning to real-world contexts and develop practical skills.


Define the future

Gain the knowledge and motivation to tackle global challenges, transforming our world and improving where and how we live.


Placement year

Gain industry experience in your area of choice; develop the skills, and connections to accelerate your career.

Recognised by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) as a spatial qualification, this programme combines the problem-solving approaches of planning with the topical insights of geography, equipping you with the skills, knowledge and confidence needed to tackle the challenges affecting how and where we live. 

The programme fosters an understanding of the main geographical trends in the world today, along with the analytical skills needed to study spatial change. You will examine the changing nature of spaces and places, the relationship between society and space, and the role of the state. Placing local and national issues in a global context, the programme covers topics from environmental change in the UK, and economic and social change in Wales, to regional and international development. 

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. Detailed case study work through field study visits, away days and projects will give you an appreciation of transnational spatial change. 

Recognising how competitive the job market is for graduates, the programme has been specifically designed to provide you with the key employability skills to help kickstart your career and make your mark in your chosen field. The salaried professional placement year builds on this and provides you with the opportunity to put the knowledge and skills you acquire during the first two years of the programme into practice. It is also a way of building your professional profile and network. 

Fieldwork and experiential learning are key facets in the development of undergraduate knowledge and skills within the disciplines of Geography and Planning. This programme provides a range of opportunities for students to develop this knowledge and skill set, including in-module 1 or 1/2-day field visits; group data collection and analysis assessments; and dedicated Year 2 and Final Year field study modules. 

This degree carries partial (spatial) RTPI accreditation. For full RTPI accreditation, once you have completed your spatial-accredited undergraduate degree, you need to complete a RTPI specialist-accredited Master’s degree. 


Subject area: Geography (human) and planning

  • academic-schoolSchool of Geography and Planning
  • icon-chatGet in touch
  • Telephone+44 (0)29 2087 4022
  • MarkerKing Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3WA

Entry requirements

We accept a combination of A-levels and other qualifications, as well as equivalent international qualifications subject to entry requirements. Typical offers are as follows:

A level


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

Our grade range covers our standard offer and contextual offer. We carefully consider the circumstances in which you've been studying (your contextual data) upon application.

  • Eligible students will be given an offer at the lower end of the advertised grade range.
  • Where there is no grade range advertised and/or where there are selection processes in place (like an interview) you may receive additional points in the selection process or be guaranteed interview/consideration.

Learn about eligible courses and how contextual data is applied.

International Baccalaureate

32-31 overall or 665 in 3 HL subjects. 

Baccalaureate Wales

From September 2023, there will be a new qualification called the Advanced Skills Baccalaureate Wales (level 3). This qualification will replace the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate (Welsh Baccalaureate). The qualification will continue to be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

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 Student 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.


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.


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

PTE Academic

At least 69 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 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.

Other qualifications from inside the UK


DDM in a BTEC Extended Diploma in any subject.

T level

M in T Level Design, surveying and planning for construction.

Qualifications from outside the UK

See our qualification equivalences guide

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

Tuition fees for 2024 entry

Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.

Learn how we decide your fee status

Fees for home status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £9,000 None
Year two £9,250 None
Year three (sandwich year) £1,850 None
Year four £9,250 None

The University reserves the right to increase tuition fees in the second and subsequent years of a course as permitted by law or Welsh Government policy. Where applicable we will notify you of any change in tuition fee by the end of June in the academic year before the one in which the fee will increase.

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2024/25 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Fees for island status

Learn more about the undergraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Fees for overseas status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £22,950 None
Year two £22,950 None
Year three (sandwich year) £4,590 None
Year four £22,950 None

Learn more 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 School does not cover subsistence costs related to the placement year (rent, food, travel, etc.).  Further, as noted the placement itself may be paid or unpaid.   

The year 2 residential field study experience is fully subsidised. 

The final year field study visits are currently subsidised (approximately two thirds of the cost) by the School, but you will be responsible for the remaining costs. 

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


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 containing compulsory and optional modules.. Year three is spent working in professional practice. You will need to earn 120 credits a year. Modules are usually worth 20 credits with the final-year dissertation is worth 40 credits. 

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2024/2025 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2024.

Year one

You will be introduced to the core areas of geography and planning, covering issues such as the nature of geographical thinking and globalisation alongside the core elements of planning. You will also develop the essential skills for accessing and processing information which will underpin the rest of your academic journey.

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.

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.

You are introduced to plans, policies and development management, environmental planning, planning and its operation in market contexts, the operation of local government, spatial analysis, research skills and the essential components of planning law, as well as geographical ideas and sustainable development.

In year two, you are supported with guidance and advice on the option to undertake a placement year as part of your degree, which is usually undertaken in the third year.

You can also choose to participate in an optional and subsidised field study visit.

Year three: Sandwich year

The placement year will give you valuable practical experience in professional practice and allow you to begin building your profile and network.

It is a period of supervised office training with an employing organisation which is prepared to deliver a diverse experience and a structured programme of work.

We will help you to secure a paid or unpaid placement, subject to availability. You can also explore opportunities with a wider range of employers if you have a specialist interest in a specific form of experience. Placements are offered by a variety of different employers in the private and public sectors, as well as in the third sector such as charitable trusts and campaigning organisations.

Year four

Your final year explores the broader relevance of geography to policy and society. Through the compulsory dissertation module, you will conduct your own research and produce an extended report. You will then mobilise the insights to explore how geographical knowledge can be used to change society.

A broad selection of option modules allows you to further specialise in your chosen area of Human Geography and Planning. You can also choose to participate in an optional and part-subsidised overseas field study visit.

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.

Learning and assessment

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 12 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 programmes 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, you will have a reading week each semester for guided study and a chance to catch up on assessed work, reading and revision. 

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 support services (including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres) will all be available to you. 


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 

You will receive written feedback on your coursework and will be given general feedback in relation to examinations following the May/June examination period. You will be able to discuss your overall performance with your personal tutor. 

How will I be assessed?

A range of assessment methods are used, including essays, examinations, presentations, report-writing and creative assignments such as videos and posters. 

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. 

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 (dissertation) 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?

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 Programme you will be able to:

  • Explain the historical, philosophical and contemporary components of human geography
  • Appraise a practical issue or problem for investigation, study or research, devising and implementing a strategy for collecting, assessing, analysing and presenting relevant data and information.
  • Explain and analyse the nature of the planning system in managing change in the built and natural environment with reference to the planning policies of government and local government, and other institutions
  • Synthesise, compare and assess evidence to evaluate planning applications and other related applications, and/or the production of planning strategies, policies and plans
  • Choose and demonstrate practical project-based, design and financial appraisal skills from an urban design perspective.
  • Evaluate the principles and processes of design for creating high quality places and enhancing the public realm for the benefit of all in society

Intellectual Skills:

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

  • Synthesise, analyse and critically review scholarly work
  • Compose a convincing argument
  • Demonstrate and explain respect for equality of opportunity, social and cultural diversity, and the sustainable use of natural and human resources
  • Summarise, explain and apply the ethics of professional practice by relating the Royal Town Planning Institute’s Code of Professional Conduct to their own practical experience and continuing professional development
  • Summarise, explain and apply key principles for the protection of personal health and safety at work and the health and safety of others.

Professional Practical Skills:

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

  • Presentation skills

Design and demonstrate a self-critical approach to becoming a reflective practitioner, in relation to current planning practices as well as the personal skills and knowledge that need further development

Transferable/Key Skills:

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

  • Perform effective communication skills
  • Demonstrate critical thinking and writing skills
  • Perform team-working skills by responding appropriately to colleagues’ requests and making clear one’s own demands on colleagues
  • Effective self-management by setting and adhering to work priorities, making effective use of time and identifying opportunities for input from colleagues, other professionals and/or stakeholders

Careers and placements

Career prospects

We are committed to helping you achieve your professional ambitions, providing you with the skills, curiosity and confidence to make your mark in your chosen field.

There are numerous exciting and varied career opportunities open to graduates of this degree programme, and many occupy key positions in a range of public, private and third sector organisations. These include national and local governments, business consultancies, sustainable energy centres, environmental agencies, housing strategy companies, construction, and surveying.

Specific planning career pathways include surveying, design and development, as well as fields such as transport, economic development and urban regeneration. You could practise in local planning authorities, local and national government, neighbourhood planning organisations, transport organisations, private planning consultancies, private developers and environmental organisations in the United Kingdom, mainland Europe and internationally.


This degree is a four-year option with a placement year in the third year. The placement may be paid or unpaid. You won’t need to make a final decision on whether or not you want to explore this option until year two. 

Each academic year also offers a subsidised field study visit which allows you to research and investigate a live issue/case study, on location. 

In year one, these field study visits are local to the Cardiff city region. In year two and your final year, you can opt for a residential field study visit. These often encompass UK and overseas destinations. Please see the ‘additional costs’ section for more information. 


This degree is a four-year option with a placement year in the third year. The placement may be paid or unpaid. You won’t need to make a final decision on whether or not you want to explore this option until year two.

Each academic year also offers a subsidised field study visit which allows you to research and investigate a live issue/case study, on location.

In year one, these field study visits are local to the Cardiff city region. In year two and your final year, you can opt for a residential field study visit. These often encompass UK and overseas destinations. Please see the additional costs section for more information.

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Data from Discover Uni is not yet available for this course.

HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. 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 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.