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Durham University


L702 Geography BA Undergraduate  2021


Please note: 2020-21 courses may be affected by Covid-19 and are therefore subject to change due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19. Summaries of course-specific changes resulting from the impact of Covid-19 will be provided to applicants during August 2020.

For the latest information on our plans for teaching in academic year 2020/21 in light of Covid-19, please see

UCAS code L702
Degree BA
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
Contextual Offers You may be eligible for an offer which is one or two grades lower than our standard entry requirements. Find out more.
More information Still have questions?
Department(s) Website

Course Summary


In the first year of Human Geography we introduce the range of our research specialisms and research methods, including fieldwork. The majority of modules in the second and third year focus on human geography’s sub-disciplines and social science methods. The second and third year elective modules progressively lead to material that is at the cutting-edge of research and include optional overseas fieldwork. In the second and third year, you may take integrated modules (with a mixture of human and physical geography) and one module from the Geography BSc list (subject to timetable compatibility).

Year 1

Compulsory modules:

  • Human Geography
  • Introduction to Geographical Research (BA)
  • Physical Geography.

Optional modules:

Choose two optional modules from:

  • Geographies of Crisis
  • Planet under Pressure
  • Understanding Earth’s Principles
  • Module(s) offered by another department, subject to approval.

Year 2

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

Compulsory modules:

  • Social Research in Geography (includes compulsory residential fieldwork in the UK)
  • Theory and Concepts in Contemporary Human Geography.

These form the required foundation for your Dissertation in the third year.

Optional modules:

Choose three modules (the modules may vary from year to year but this is typical of the range):

  • Climate Change: Geographical Perspectives
  • Contested Environments
  • Economic Geography
  • Geographies of Development
  • Political Geography
  • Social and Cultural Geography
  • Urban Geography
  • One module from the Level 2 BSc list or from another department (with permission and subject to timetable compatibility).

Year 3

In the third year, you will undertake your own Research Project (the Dissertation), supervised by a member of staff. You will also choose from 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 human 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:

  • Berlin: Culture, Politics and Contestation (field trip)
  • Cape Town: Geographies of Energy Transition (field trip)
  • Territory and Geopolitics (Jerusalem field trip)
  • The Arctic (Norway field trip)
  • Chicago: Sites of Global Change (field trip)
  • Geographies of Difference
  • Natural Hazards, Risk and Resilience
  • Philosophy and Geography
  • Feminist Geographies.

10 credits:

  • Antarctic Environments
  • Global Environmental Politics
  • Europe: Geographies of Integration & Disintegration
  • Urban Governance
  • Geographies of Life and Living
  • Critical Resource Geographies
  • Unfreedom in Labour Relations
  • Geographies of Money and Finance
  • Neoliberal Life
  • Understanding Land Conflicts.

 Up to 20 credits from the Level 3 BSc list (with permission and subject to timetable compatibility).

Study Abroad

You will have the opportunity to study abroad for a year between the second and third years of the Geography BA (Hons) degree. We have a growing list of exchange programmes and this can be a rewarding experience and highly valued by employers. Places are allocated on a competitive basis. Past geography students have studied abroad at the following universities:

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

A current list of approved universities can be found here

Placement Year

You also have the opportunity to do a placement year with an organisation outside of the University between your second and third year. This additional year extends your degree making it four years in total. You may choose to do a placement which relates to a particular aspect of your studies or a role which aligns with broader career aspirations utilising skills developed during your degree. Students who are interested in doing a placement year should get in touch with the Department placement year convenor and the Faculty Placement Officer who will help guide them through the process. You don’t need to commit to a placement year prior to starting at Durham, you will make that decision during your second year. The Department, Faculty Placement Officer and Careers and Enterprise Centre support students before, during and after their placement year and students retain their student status for the year on placement. 

Placement Year

You may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.

Course Learning and Teaching

Students on this degree 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.

Seminars, tutorials, and practical classes are small enough to allow one-on-one interaction with our academic staff. Practicals also allow hands-on experience of the work professional geographers undertake. The same is true of fieldwork, which at Durham is heavily subsidised and consists of engaging in geographical work in the field with members of academic staff. You 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 is designed to feature fewer formal large-group sessions and involves more research as you move from your first to your final year. In this way, the degree systematically transforms you 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 course and regular meetings take place throughout their degree.

Admissions Process

Subject requirements, level and grade

A level offer – A*AA

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma – D*DD

IB Diploma score – 38 with 666 in higher level subjects.

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.
  • If you do not satisfy our general entry requirements, the Foundation Programme offers multidisciplinary degrees to prepare you for a range of specified degree courses.
  • 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.

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 £23,500.00 per year
Home Student £9,250.00 per year
Island Student £9,250.00 per year
International non-EU Student £23,500.00 per year

The tuition fees shown for home and EU students are for one complete academic year of full time study and are set according to the academic year of entry. Fees for subsequent years of your course may rise in line with an inflationary uplift as determined by the government.

The tuition fees shown for overseas students are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

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 2017 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 2016/17 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 here:

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.



  • World Top 10 for eight consecutive years in the QS World University Subject Rankings.
  • 3rd in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020.
  • 3rd in The Guardian University Guide 2020.
  • 2nd in The Complete University Guide 2020.


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.


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