The University of Southampton
Geography and Environment

F800 BSc Geography (3 years)

BSc Geography at Southampton is designed for students interested in the physical and natural science aspects of geography. You’ll have the opportunity to study a range of environments and practise a variety of monitoring and research techniques.

Introducing your degree

Our BSc Geography degree will show you the landforms and processes on our Earth’s surface in a whole new light. On this course you will study the natural and physical science aspects of geography, including gaining a better understanding of climate change, both in the past and how it might influence our world in the future, you will discover how to read a landscape and the processes that help to shape it.

You'll gain an appreciation of our changing world as viewed from space and how to use Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to interrogate and analyse spatial data.

The overseas field course is an important milestone in developing your skills as a researcher, giving you the opportunity to study the landscape in more detail. Further optional overseas field courses allow you to hone these skills in the unique environments that alpine and tropical locations offer.

Your future employability is a key priority for us throughout your studies. From public policy to environmental consultancy, from teaching to financial services; most industries require the analytical and research skills that our graduates will be proficient in.

Collecting data in the field


What is this? (More Information) This information is based on historical data and may have been aggregated. Find out more.

Programme Structure

View the programme specification document for this course

Key Facts

In the 2017 National Student Survey, of our BSc Geography students:

  • 98% agreed that they have been able to contact staff when they needed to
  • 96% agreed that they have had the right opportunities to provide feedback on their course
World top 50 Geography and Environment department (QS World Rankings 2016)
Ranked 13th in The Guardian university league tables 2016
Flexible, interdisciplinary programmes with research projects in year three
Exciting fieldwork opportunities in Europe and South East Asia allow you to apply your knowledge in the field
Outstanding academic team and world-class facilities
International exchange opportunities in Europe, Canada, Singapore and Australia

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

A Levels:
GCE A-levelOur A-level entry requirements for 2017/18 intake are 3 A-levels achieved at grades AAB or 3 A-levels achieved at grades ABB and a grade A in the Extended Project Qualification. All applicants must have A-level Geography.
International Baccalaureate34 points overall with 17 at Higher Level (Geography must be offered at Higher Level)
Alternative Qualifications

We welcome applications from candidates offering qualifications other than A and AS-levels (including BTEC, European Baccalaureate, Irish Leaving Certificate and Scottish Highers). You will be expected to attain an equivalent standard to an A-level applicant. These will be considered on an individual basis.

International applications

Each international application will be assessed on a case by case basis.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.

English Language Requirement

All applicants must have GCSE Grade C or above in English language. If English is not your first language you will be required to pass an approved English test. We normally ask for an overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.

Use of Contextual Data

The University of Southampton is committed to widening participation and ensuring that all students with the potential to succeed, regardless of their background, are encouraged to apply to study with us. The additional information gained through contextual data supports our admissions teams to recognise a student’s potential to succeed in the context of their background and experience. Students identified in this way will be given additional consideration and not be rejected solely on the basis of their predicted (or actual) grades.

Please see our contextual admissions pages for more information.

Selection process:

We welcome applications from candidates who demonstrate the potential and commitment to study geography at degree level. All applications should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

Once received, your application will be given careful consideration by our admissions staff and assessed against our selection criteria. In making decisions on applications, we read all sections of your UCAS form. Your personal statement should be a high-quality piece of writing that outlines your interests in geography, your extra-curricular pursuits and what makes you distinctive as a person.

For any admissions enquiries please contact the Admissions Administrator on +44 (0) 23 8059 23760 , or email:

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.


Typical course content

Eight modules are taken each year, four in each semester. There are both compulsory and optional modules available.

Year 1

Year one provides a broad academic foundation in both human and physical geography. The acquisition of statistical and computing skills also forms an important element in the early part of the degree. You will attend an in-depth non-residential field course within Britain, looking at both physical and human geography topics.

Year 2

Year two BA and BSc students take core modules in either human or physical geography respectively. Beyond this core, there is a wide range of other options to choose from within Geography and also in allied disciplines - such as geology, oceanography, demography, sociology and politics - as well as in subjects which relate in different ways, such as modern languages.

Year 3

For Year three a broad range of advanced options are available in the third year. These are based on the research interests of academic staff, and effectively bring you to the frontier of current knowledge in geography. So whether you are fascinated by fluvial processes, palaeoecology, urban geography or health care provision - to give just a few examples - you will acquire a sense of the cutting-edge issues and debates. In addition, there are overseas field trips for physical geography (eg Switzerland) and human geography (eg Berlin).

A major part of all our degree programmes is the research project. This involves personal fieldwork or documentary research, in the UK or abroad, on a topic you develop in consultation with a member of staff who provides ongoing supervision. Preliminary work and data collection is undertaken in the second year and the project report is submitted around February of your final year.

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

NameYear of entryMode of studyUK/EUInternationalChannel Islands
BSc Geography2018Full-time£9,250£20,320£9,250
View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

EquipmentApproved Calculators: Candidates may use calculators in the examination room only as specified by the University and as permitted by the rubric of individual examination papers. The University approved model is Casio FX-570 This may be purchased from any source and no longer needs to carry the University logo.
StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationary items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
EquipmentField Equipment and Materials: A number of essential items will be provided to you e.g. compass-clinometer, steel tape measure, safety helmet, hi-vis jacket. If items provided are lost replacements can be purchased. However, you will need provide yourselves with a notebook, ruler, pencils (including coloured), eraser, calculator. These can be purchased from any source.
EquipmentLaboratory Equipment and Materials: Microscopes and associated laboratory equipment will be provided.
EquipmentIT - Software Licences: Software licenses are available on campus computers, students may choose to purchase additional personal copies for use on their own computers.
EquipmentIT - Hardware: Computer suites are available on campus and iPads and laptops will be available for field courses, but students may wish to purchase their own personal laptop to undertake work at home.
ClothingLab Coats: Lab coats will be provided for compulsory laboratory work.
ClothingProtective Clothing: Hard hats and hi-viz jackets will be provided when required. Students will need to purchase suitable footwear and suncream from any source.
ClothingField course Clothing: You will need to wear suitable clothing when attending field courses, e.g. waterproofs, walking boots, sunhats. You can purchase these from any source.
Printing and copyingIn the majority of cases, coursework such as essays; projects; dissertations is likely to be submitted on line. However, there are some items where it is not possible to submit on line and students will be asked to provide a printed copy. A list of the University printing costs can be found here:
FieldworkIn addition to the compulsory overseas field courses that are held in the second year of your programme, and for which the department covers all costs, we also currently offers three optional residential field courses in overseas locations in the final year of your degree programmes. Since these are optional courses, students are asked to contribute the costs of subsistence, travel (including entry visas where relevant) and accommodation incurred during these trips (though the department covers your travel insurance), as well as any associated immunisation and vaccination costs. It is difficult to estimate the precise costs of these trips in advance of departure, for example because there may be substantial variations in exchange rates, fuel duties, and because the costs of accommodation and subsistence on some courses also depend on the numbers of students attending the course. Nevertheless, below we offer some guidance on the costs associated with each of the three optional field classes: 1) GEOG3011 – Arolla field course. The costs incurred on this 10 day trip, scheduled in August-September each year are associated with travel, accommodation and subsistence. Students make their own way to Arolla (and must cover the cost of flights, trains or car share/petrol) and stay as a group in a chalet to minimise accommodation/subsistence costs. These accommodation and subsistence costs vary with exchange rates and number of students attending but in the past have been between £400 and £600 per student. 2) GEOG30XX- Water, Environment and Development (Cambodia field course). The costs incurred on this 10 day trip, which will be scheduled in January 2017, are associated with the costs of travel to and from Cambodia, visas, accommodation and subsistence in country. Flights are relatively expensive, but in-country expenses are very cheap. It is anticipated that the total cost of the trip will be less than £1400. 3) GEOG3003 – Advanced Human Geography (Field Course) - Costs vary each year in relation to student numbers, exchange rates, the teaching schedule for the week, and so on. But in 2014-15, students were charged £150 each for accommodation and related costs. On top of these costs, students are expected to arrange their own transport to Berlin (flight and transfers), their own travel in Berlin (public transport), and their own lunch and dinner in Berlin (for six days).
OtherOptional Visits (e.g. museums, galleries): Some modules may include optional field visits. You will normally be expected to cover the cost of travel and admission, unless otherwise specified in the module profile.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Career Opportunities

Employability is embedded into modules from the first year onwards and right from the first lecture. We explain the degree skills which are taught throughout the modules and offer a number of optional employability modules.

Exchange programmes give you the chance to gain relevant work experience to help form your future plans. With many employers now expecting extracurricular or voluntary experience, this can prove vital.

Our graduates are always in demand for jobs directly related to geography such as environmental management and consultancy, urban and rural planning, GIS and economic development work. They also work in a diverse range of fields beyond the discipline such as engineering, financial and management.

Learning & Assessment

Teaching Methods
We employ a wide range of teaching methods, including lectures, seminars and supervisions, practical and fieldwork.

Lectures are used as an effective method of passing on knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject and, through directed reading lists, act as a springboard for individual study. Class sizes range from around 200 for the largest first year units to about 40 for some specialist third year options. In classes of all sizes, there are opportunities for interaction, debate and discussion.

Seminars and supervisions - two forms of small group teaching - provide a forum in which you can discuss and explore key geographical issues and debates. They run alongside lectures and are an important context for the development of confidence, written and verbal communication.

As befits ongoing developments in geography, the acquisition of statistical, laboratory and computational skills is an important component of our undergraduate courses. Computer practicals enable you to develop skills in data analysis, quantitative modelling and geographic information systems (GIS). Laboratory work introduces you to practical analytical skills.

Fieldwork enables you to explore ideas covered in the classroom in a real-world context. There are opportunities in each year of the degree programmes. In the first year, students are required to attend a non-residential fieldcourse within the UK, examining geographical issues and gaining experience in a range of analytical techniques. These fieldcourses are usually based on the Isle of Wight or in the New Forest. Students are again required to attend a non-residential fieldcourse, held overseas, in the second year of their degree programmes. These fieldcourses focus on providing training in research methods. Recent destinations for these fieldcourses include Amsterdam and Paris (BA students) and Tenerife and Northern Spain (BSc students). In the third year, students may select optional modules of advanced fieldwork, again based in overseas locations such as Berlin (BA) and Arolla in the Swiss Alps (BSc). Details of the funding basis for fieldwork are available. 

Methods of Assessment
Geography units are assessed in variety of ways, with the typical balance being 35 per cent coursework and 65 per cent examination. There is variation, however, with some fieldwork based units assessed 100 per cent on the basis of coursework for instance. The different types of work you will complete during your time at Southampton include:

  • essays and reports
  • oral presentations
  • practical exercises
  • fieldwork reports
  • websites and research posters
  • unseen written examinations

All students receive feedback on assessed work, thus facilitating your development and learning. Individuals who have specific learning differences, such as dyslexia, are able to access additional support in completing their work.

Breakdown of study time and assessment

Proportion of time spent in scheduled learning, teaching and independent study
Learning, teaching and assessment stage123
Scheduled learning & teaching study23%25%18%
Independent study77%75%82%
Placement study0%0%0%
Proportion of assessment by method
Learning, teaching and assessment stage123
Written exam assessment51%39%19%
Practical exam assessment13%15%10%
Coursework assessment36%46%71%

Study Locations

Arolla, Switzerland

Arolla fieldwork

The Year 3 field option offers research in Arolla, SwitzerlandFind out more

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