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F800 Geography BSc Undergraduate  2018


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
Telephone +44 (0)191 334 1883

Course Summary


In first year Physical Geography we introduce the range of our research specialisms and research methods, including residential fieldwork in Portugal. Elective modules in the second and third years progressively lead to material that is specialist and at the cutting edge of research. 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 residential fieldwork in Portugal
  • 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 third year or choose a broader approach. These include modules that cross 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 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, 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 fieldtrip)
  • Field Research in Glacial Environments (Iceland fieldtrip)
  • Ice Age Environments
  • Mountain Hazards (Nepal fieldtrip)
  • Natural Hazards, Risk and Resilience
  • Oceans Past and Present
  • Remote Sensing
  • River Dynamics
  • Sea Level Change and Coastal Evolution
  • The Arctic (Norway fieldtrip)

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).

Study Abroad


You will have the opportunity to study abroad during the second year where we have exchange programmes and this can be a rewarding experience that is highly valued by employers. The latest information is as follows:

University Partner links:

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

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 a professor or lecturer. Practicals also allow hands-on experience of the work professional geographers perform. The same is true of fieldwork, which at Durham is 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 quantity of formal sessions. The degree programme is designed to feature fewer formal sessions and more independent research as students move from their first to their final year.

Small-group teaching and one-on-one attention from the personal academic advisor (provided for all students when they enter the programme) are part of the learning experience throughout, but by the final year classroom time gives way, to some extent, to independent research, including a capstone dissertation—supported by one-on-one supervision—that makes up a third of final year credits. 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.

Admissions Process

Subject requirements, level and grade

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

  • We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study
  • One science subject is required at A-level or equivalent 
  • 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 and MSci is AAA or equivalent. The Department does occasionally make offers that are less than AAA
  • Typical IB score 37 to include 666 in higher level subjects. Higher level subject requirements apply, see above
  • 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
  • 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
  • We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry.

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 £18,300.00 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 2016

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

Of those in employment

  • 92% are in graduate level employment
  • Median salary £25,593

(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.

Climate change, environmental governance, landslides, natural hazards, geopolitical conflict and territorial dispute, migration, sea level rise, energy poverty, flooding, debt, austerity, an urban century: 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 health and wellbeing. We endeavour to enthuse and stimulate you from the seminar room to the field site, 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.

  • Students on the BSc programme registered an overall satisfaction rate of 97% in the National Student Survey 2015 (4th highest among Russell Group Universities).
  • Students on the BA programme registered an overall satisfaction rate of 93% in the National Student Survey 2015 (equal 5th highest among Russell Group Universities).
  • 1st in The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2015.
  • 2nd in The Complete University Guide 2016.
  • 5th in the world in the individual subject tables in the QS World University Rankings® 2015–16.
  • Durham Geography is among the top 4 Departments in the UK for employment prospects (The Telegraph 2015).


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.