Why study this course
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.
Our links with alumni, environmental regulators and local organisations provide plenty of opportunities for you to complete projects and summer placements.
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.
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.
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:
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 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.
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.
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.
Other qualifications from inside the UK
DDM-DMM in a BTEC Extended Diploma in Animal Science, Applied Science, Engineering, 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.
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.
Fees for home status
|Year three (sandwich year)
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 three (sandwich year)
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.
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 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.
We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.
We're based in one of the UK's most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.
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 2024/2025 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2024.
In your first year, you will study core modules designed to give you a strong foundation in Earth sciences and geography. Topics include oceans, climate, earth processes and global environments. You will develop essential geographical skills like map and chart work, GIS and basic geographical data analysis.
All of the degrees in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences study the same first semester. After semester one you can decide whether you want to continue with your original choice or switch to one of the other degrees (e.g. Marine or Physical Geography).
You earn 120 credits for the year with each core module worth 20 credits.
|World of Dynamic Environments
|Exploring Planet Earth
|GIS, Maps and Analytical Skills
|Geography Field Skills
|Understanding the Living Planet
|Fundamentals of Geographical Science
In your second year, you will build on the knowledge from year one and start exploring more advanced concepts like biogeochemistry, marine ecology and the ocean-atmosphere system. You will gain skills and experience in sampling, data collection and analysis ready for your research dissertation in year three.
We will go on a residential field course to a coastal national park within Wales (either Pembrokeshire or Snowdonia) where you will learn key field skills including mapping and surveying techniques.
In the summer between year two and three, you will do five weeks of independent research to prepare for your dissertation in year three. In the past students have looked at issues relating to soil and water quality and trends in climate.
You earn 120 credits for the year. This is made up of 40 and 20 credit core modules and a choice of 20 credit optional modules.
|Geographical Data Analysis, Field and Professional Skills
|Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Science
|Geographical Perspectives on Environment and Society
Year three: Sandwich year
In your final year, you will have more freedom to shape your degree and choose modules that fit with your career ambitions. You will also develop essential professional skills and knowledge that all employers are looking for.
You earn 120 credits for the year. The core modules include your dissertation and investigating extreme environments from a biochemical perspective. For your optional modules you can choose to do a further residential field course and study a range of specialist subjects like Marine Environmental Systems or Global Climate Change.
We will go on an overseas residential field course to a coastal location in Europe where you will develop your skills in environmental monitoring and surveying. In the past we’ve been to the Netherlands and Switzerland.
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
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.
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.
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.
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).
How will I be assessed?
We will be assessing your level of knowledge and understanding in each module through a combination of assignments, presentations, fieldwork, examinations and a dissertation. You will receive written and oral feedback on your coursework and there are opportunities for informal feedback throughout the course.
You will complete a wide range of assessments, from traditional essays, data interpretation exercises and posters on topical themes to more interactive assignment experiences including group presentations, technical reports and briefing papers. These different assessments are designed to give you professional assessment experience and help you prepare for employment.
NOTE: The University welcomes applications from students with disabilities and we endeavour to offer reasonable alternative assessment methods wherever possible. We have an Alternative Fieldwork Policy which is adopted in cases where a student cannot attend a scheduled, taught field course, or part(s) thereof, because of disability or extenuating circumstances.
How you will be assessed during your year of study abroad will depend on the host institution. All our overseas partners are of at least comparable standard to Cardiff University and the partnership goes through a rigorous approval process. The marks gained from all your credits at your host institution will be reviewed by the Chair of the Exam Board and the Director of International in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences. The marks are collated and converted into one equivalent Cardiff University mark for the 120 credit Year of study abroad module. This will be calculated using the University mark conversion tool. This mark will count 10% weighting in the calculation of your degree average. You will discuss the grade conversion methodology with the Director of International to ensure you understand it thoroughly before you sign your Year of Study Abroad learning agreement, as you will not be able to challenge it at a later date.
You will be required to complete a reflective journal during your Year of Study Abroad and to discuss this monthly with your Personal Tutor. This is to ensure you meet the study abroad learning objectives of evaluating your own experience, noting the challenges and benefits of your year abroad and comparing and contrasting the study of your subject in your host institution with that in Cardiff University. There will be no mark for this work and it will not count towards your module or degree outcome. Discussing your reflective journal with your Personal Tutor every month will also ensure that you remain connected to Cardiff University and supported by the School, and will allow you the opportunity to raise any concerns or needs within a required activity.
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
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
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
Careers and placements
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.
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.
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.
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.