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F800 Geography BSc Undergraduate  2019


UCAS code F800
Degree BSc
Mode of study Full Time
Duration 3 Years
Location Durham City
Typical Offers A Level
International Baccalaureate
Please also check Requirements and Admissions.
Alternative qualifications

Department(s) Website

Course Summary


In the first year of Physical Geography, we introduce the range of our research specialisms and research methods, including residential fieldwork overseas (e.g. Portugal). Elective modules in the second and third years progressively lead to material that is specialist and at the cutting edge of research and include optional overseas fieldwork. The majority of modules in the second and third year focus on physical geography and environmental topics, with others that cross the human/physical geography interface. In the second and third year, students may take one module from the Geography BA list (subject to timetable compatibility).

Year 1

Compulsory modules:

  • Physical Geography
  • Introduction to Geographical Research (BSc) – double module including overseas residential fieldwork
  • Human Geography: Space and Place in a Changing World.

Optional modules:

Choose two optional modules from:

  • Understanding Earth’s Principles
  • Environment and Society
  • Geographies of Crisis
  • Level One Module(s) offered by another department, subject to approval. 

Year 2

You develop further practical and scientific research skills and, through your choice of modules, may start to specialise in a number of themes that may continue in the third year or choose a broader approach. These include our integrated modules that span the human/physical geography interface.

Compulsory modules:

  • Scientific Research in Geography (includes compulsory residential fieldwork in the UK) – double module, and a pre-requisite for your Dissertation in the third year
  • Handling Geographic Information.

Optional modules:

Choose three modules (the modules may vary from year to year but typical options include):

  • Climate Change: Geographical Perspectives
  • Contested Environments
  • Fluvial Systems
  • Geochemistry of the Environment
  • Glaciers and Glaciation
  • Global Environmental Change
  • Mountain Landscapes
  • One Level Two module from the BA list or from another department (with permission and subject to timetable compatibility). 

Year 3

In the third year, students will undertake their own Research Project (the Dissertation), supervised by a member of staff alongside a selection of modules that involve material at the cutting-edge of contemporary research.

Compulsory module (40 credits):

  • Dissertation (individual Research Project based on an approved physical geography topic) – double module.

Optional modules (80 credits from the following):

(the modules may vary from year to year but typical options include):

20 credits:

  • Alpine Landscapes and Processes (Switzerland field trip)
  • Field Research in Glacial Environments (Iceland field trip)
  • Ice Age Environments
  • Mountain Hazards (Nepal field trip)
  • Natural Hazards, Risk and Resilience
  • Oceans Past and Present
  • Remote Sensing
  • River Dynamics
  • Sea Level Change and Coastal Evolution
  • The Arctic (Norway field trip)

10 credits:

  • Antarctic Environments
  • Geochemical Applications
  • Integrated Catchment Modelling
  • Landslides
  • Peatland Geomorphology
  • Water: Resource and Well-Being
  • Up to 20 credits from the Level 3 BA list (with permission and subject to timetable compatibility).

We review course structures and core content (in light of e.g. external and student feedback) every year, and will publish finalised core requirements for 2019 entry from September 2018.

Study Abroad

You will have the opportunity to study abroad for a year between the second and third years of the Durham programme where we have exchange programmes and this can be a rewarding experience that is highly valued by employers. The latest information is as follows and places are allocated on a competitive basis:

University Partner links:

  • National University of Singapore
  • University of British Columbia
  • Queen's University, Canada
  • University of Otago, New Zealand
  • University of Hong Kong
  • University of Melbourne

Course Detail

To find out more about the modules available to students studying at Durham University please click here.

Please note: Current modules are indicative. Information for future academic years may change, for example, due to developments in the relevant academic field, or in light of student feedback.

Course Learning and Teaching

Students on this programme learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops, practical classes, tutorials, fieldwork, group projects, student presentations, and self-directed learning, such as research, reading, and writing. All of these are informed by the interplay between theory and practice: bringing the real world together with the scholarly world.

Seminars, tutorials, and practical classes are much smaller groups than lectures, small enough to allow one-on-one interaction with our academic staff. Practical’s also allow hands-on experience of the work professional geographers undertake. The same is true of fieldwork, which at Durham is heavily subsidized (academic year 2016-17), and consists of engaging in geographical work in the field with members of academic staff.

Students can also attend an extensive programme of research-focused seminars where staff and visiting scholars present their cutting-edge research.

This emphasis on research-led small-group and practical teaching reflects a conscious choice to enhance the quality of the learning experience rather than the number of formal sessions. The degree programme is designed to feature fewer formal large-group sessions and involves more research as students move from their first to their final year. In this way, the degree programme systematically transforms the student from a consumer of knowledge in the classroom to a generator of knowledge, ready for professional or postgraduate life. Small-group teaching and one-on-one attention from the personal academic advisor is provided for all students when they enter the programme and regular meetings take place throughout their degree, 

Admissions Process

Subject requirements, level and grade

In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:

  • We welcome applications from applicants holding alternative qualifications that are equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study
  • Please contact us for more information or at
  • For entry to the BSc we require one science subject at A level or equivalent and recommend a second science subject. Note that Geography is accepted as a science subject
  • We do not include General Studies or Critical Thinking as part of our offer
  • The standard offer for entry on to the BSc is AAA or equivalent. The Department does occasionally make offers that are less than AAA
  • Typical IB score of 37 to include 666 in higher level subjects
  • If you do not satisfy our general entry requirements, the Foundation Centre offers multidisciplinary degrees to prepare you for a range of specified degree courses
  • Please consult the University website for required evidence of English language proficiency
  • We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry
  • If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take an International Foundation Year pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.

Science A levels

Applicants taking Science A levels that include a practical component will be required to take and pass this as a condition of entry. This applies only to applicants sitting A levels with an English examination board.

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

Information relevant to your country

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £9,250.00 per year
Home Student £9,250.00 per year
Island Student £9,250.00 per year
International non-EU Student £19,250.00 per year

Note: Fees are subject to review and change in-line with inflation.

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding 

Career Opportunities


Durham Geography graduates are the second most employable in the UK, according to the 2015 Times Graduate Prospects Score.

Of those students that left in 2017

  • 89% of Geography graduates secured employment or went on to further study within six months of graduating

Of those in employment

  • 90% are in graduate level employment
  • Median salary £25,000

(Source: Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey of 2015/16 graduates. The DLHE survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing six months after graduation. Full definitions for the DLHE Record can be found

The careers our graduates choose are incredibly diverse - some directly leading on from the Geography degree including property and surveying, environmental consultancy, conservation, town planning, market research, development work, logistics, youth and community work, education, energy, utilities and tourism. A significant number progress into careers with no direct link to Geography, but capitalising on the relevance of the many transferable skills that we teach, including banking, law, PR, consultancy, insurance, IT, health and social work and media. Examples of high profile recent employers include Civil Service, Deloitte, Rolls Royce, RBS, London Wildlife Trust, NHS, National Audit Office, Merlin, Thomson, Grant Thornton and Haycock.

A significant number of our graduates continue to academic Masters or PhD study. Others pursue professional postgraduate programmes in areas that are closely related to Geography (e.g. environmental science, real estate management, town planning, GIS) and non-related fields (law, finance, teaching, HR, marketing).

Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

Pre-application open days are the best way to discover all you need to know about Durham University. With representatives from all relevant academic and support service departments, and opportunities to explore college options, the open days provide our prospective undergraduates with the full experience of Durham University.

Please see the following page for further details and information on how to book a place:

Discover Durham Tours

Discover Durham tours offer a brief introduction to the University. The tour begins at one of our undergraduate colleges, where you will receive an introductory talk from a member of college staff, followed by a tour of the college by current students.

Overseas Visit Schedule

Department Information



You will study some of the world’s major challenges in an internationally recognised department.

Climate change, environmental governance, landslides, natural hazards, geopolitical conflict and territorial dispute, migration, sea level rise, energy poverty, flooding, debt, austerity, urbanisation: these are just a few of the significant challenges that are confronting us today, and few departments are better placed than Durham Geography to study them. Our Department is one of the leading centres of geographical scholarship in the world.

Drawing on a breadth of internationally recognised expertise, we deliver degree programmes that enable you to study human activity and the physical environment as well as the interactions between them. We teach and research across the discipline – from Antarctica to Bangladesh, from spatial theory to flood modelling, and from GIS to urbanisation and sustainable development. We endeavour to enthuse and stimulate you from the seminar room to the fieldsite, stretching you to realise your
intellectual potential.

Our aim is to sustain a world-class research, teaching and learning environment with high-quality laboratories and IT facilities in a supportive and collegiate atmosphere. As a result of this, our graduates are eminently employable.


  • 91% & 95% of BSc and BA students respectively were satisfied with the teaching on their course - National Student
    Survey 2017 (sector average 88% (BSc) and 87% (BA)).
  • In the top 10 for five consecutive years in the QS World University Rankings® by Subject (2017).
  • 2nd in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018.
  • 3rd in The Complete University Guide 2018.
  • 3rd in The Guardian University Guide 2018.


For a current list of staff, please see the Geography Department web pages.


The Department is opposite the main Bill Bryson Library, conveniently situated between the older colleges in the vicinity of the Cathedral and the newer colleges on the gentle wooded slopes to the south. We are housed in our own building, which contains large lecture theatres, smaller teaching rooms, and is very well-equipped with computing facilities for remote sensing, data analysis and graphic display. There are also excellent facilities for satellite and automated cartography, and world-class laboratories for sediment analysis and palaeo-environmental studies. Indeed, all our laboratories have recently been refurbished with state-of-the-art equipment. In addition to the above, our meteorological observatory has one of the longest data sets in Britain.