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Geography BSc

UCAS code F800
Year of entry 2018
Course Length
3 years full time
Department Geography »

The interactions between humans and our physical world are fascinating, from our responses to the physical features and phenomena of our planet to the interplay between regional geographical characteristics and the cultures that call those regions home. Study Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London and you’ll enjoy a universal subject, exploring topics including social development, patterns of trade and how geographic factors interact with both one another and human goals.

This adaptable programme lets you choose from a range of optional modules to suit your preferences in years 2 and 3, from Political Geography to Global Warming to Post-Capitalist Cities. You’ll enjoy exciting fieldwork opportunities in the UK and abroad giving you the chance to bond with fellow students in a close, community-focussed department.

You’ll benefit from a renowned research culture, with the highest quality research and teaching in a supportive learning environment. You’ll acquire a broad range of skills and knowledge to take into your future career or further study and  Geography graduates enjoyi excellent employability prospects in a range of fields.

Study Geography at Royal Holloway at you’ll have access to state-of-the-art equipment, including world-class facilities for GIS, image analysis, advanced cartography and the physical and chemical analysis of soils, sediments and water. 

Pursue your passion for Geography with us and graduate in a strong position to enjoy a rewarding career.

  • Enjoy extensive fieldwork opportunities in locations currently including Andalusia, Sicily, Cyprus, Malawi, London and New York.
  • Join a department which has consistently received the highest student satisfaction results in every National Student Survey (NSS) since 2011.
  • Be part of a supportive learning environment, with small group seminars and tutorials encouraging development and cooperation.
  • Graduate with excellent employment prospects in a variety of fields.

Core modules

Year 1

Physical Geography 1 - Atmosphere, Oceans and the Geosphere

In this module you will develop and understanding of the factors that control the physical, biological and chemical forces which shape the Earth’s surface. You will look at oceanic and atmospheric processes, plate tectonics, hydrology and coastal processes, glaciation, and arid environments.

Physical Geography 2 - Biogeography, Ecology and Scales of Change

In this module you will develop an understanding the complexity of the relationship between people and environment. You will examine how and why ecosystems vary spatially and the impact of human activity, such as deforestation and agriculture, on the physical environment. You will also consider the nature of environmental change, including climatology.

Human Geography 1 - Cultures, Economies, Histories

In this module you will engage with key issues in human geography. You will consider human geography as a distinctive way to approach the world, examining key questions about globalisation, inequality, identity and the nature of place. You will look at approaches to economic, cultural and historical geography, and the development of the discipline, celebrating geographers’ active involvement in the challenges facing humanity.

Human Geography 2 - Politics, Society, Development and Environments

This module will introduce you to human geographical perspectives on political processes, societies, development and the environment. You will develop an appreciation of the importance of scale, networks and spatial patterns, and how geographers have approached the challenges of inequality at local, national and global scales.

Geographical Field and Research Training 1

In this module you will develop your practical research skills on a week-long fieldtrip to Andalusia in Southern Spain. You will spend four days, guided by staff, looking at specific local examples of physical, environmental, social, economic and cultural processes. You will then spend two days, working in small groups, conducting a short piece of original research on a topic of your choice.

Geographical Techniques 1

This module will provide you with an introduction to the methods for collecting, interpreting and presenting physical and human geographical information, in both the field and in the laboratory. You will conduct physical and human geography fieldwork in the local area, with activities including surveying and mapping, vegetation sampling and identification, soil and water analysis, interpreting past history, exploratory and inferential data analysis, questionnaire design, interviewing, and visual and textual interpretation.

Digital Geographies - Introduction to Remote Sensing and GIS

This module will provide you with an introduction to the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in physical and human geographical research, giving you practical experience in the use of ArcMap (an industry-leading GIS software package). You will look at the use of satellite remote sensing for geomorphological mapping, census classifications and boundaries, and volunteered geographic information.

Year 2

Geographical Techniques 2

In this module you will develop your skills in research design, data collection and analysis. You will learn how to handle and process advanced human or physical geography data sets, and further your ability to apply geographical information systems (GIS) techniques. You will also start to plan your dissertation, thinking about proposal design, and risk and research ethics assessments.

Geographical Field Training 2

In this module you will have the opportunity to conduct field research in Cyprus, Malawi, New York, Sicily or London, with each destination focussing on a different area of Geography. You will develop your ability to analyse and problem-solve in the field, collecting, interpreting and combining different types of geographical evidence.

Year 3

Independent Dissertation

The dissertation gives you an opportunity to undertake an individual piece of geographical research, on a topic of your choice, around 10,000 words in length. You will be allocated a member of staff as a dissertation adviser who will provide advice on research design, data collection and analysis.

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1

Only core modules taken

Year 2

Environmental Systems

Earth Surface Processes and Hazards

Environmental Change

Biogeography

Political Geography

Cities - Society, Economy and Space

Cultural Geography

Perspectives on Development

Year 3

Coastal and Wetland Management

Tropical Savannas

Mediterranean Landscapes

Conservation Biogeography

Global Warming

Wetland Environments

Managing River Environments

Glacial Environments

Digital Landscapes

Arid Africa - Climatic History

Holocene Rivers and Society

People And The Ice Age

Humans and Climate Change

Mammals in a Changing World

Volcanoes

Regeneration and Urban Policy

The Geographies Of Commodities

Post-Capitalist Cities

Geopolitics of Media and Communications

Images of Earth - from Homer to Google

Exploration, Science and Making of Geography

Geography of Museums and Collections

Geopolitics on Film

Creative Geographies

Geographies of Home

Fairtrade and Ethical Consumption

Cities and Development in the Global South

Mobilities

Challenging Development? Disasters, Conflict and Human (In)Security

Critical GIS

Cultural Imaginations of Nature

The course has a modular structure, whereby students take four course units per year. Some course units are compulsory while others are options, thereby offering flexibility and choice.

Assessment is by a mixture of coursework and end-of-year examination in varying proportions, depending on the course units you choose to take. In the final year you will complete a 10,000 word dissertation on a topic of your choice, which you will research and write with individual guidance from your tutor. The first year is foundational and marks do not count towards your final degree. The second year and final year marks do count, with more importance being given to the final year marks in order to reward progress and achievement.

You will be taught through a combination of lectures and small seminar groups, tutorials and practical workshops. The department has a substantial and varied programme of field training and laboratory work, giving you the opportunity  to apply your skills and knowledge in a practical setting. Private study and preparation are essential parts of every course, and you will have access to many online resources including the University’s comprehensive e-learning facility, Moodle – which provides a wide range of supporting materials.

We use a range of assessment models to suit different learning styles, from fieldwork exercises and reports, individual and group presentations to coursework essays and examinations.  In your final year you will have the opportunity to write a research-led dissertation.

Study time

Proportions of study time will vary depending on modules taken, but typically:

Year 1

You will spend 17% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 83% in guided independent study.

Year 2

You will spend 21% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 79% in guided independent study.

Year 3

You will spend 13% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 87% in guided independent study.

Assessment

Proportions of assessment types will vary depending on modules taken, but typically:

Year 1

Written exams account for 50% of the total assessment for this year of study, and 50% will be assessed through coursework.

Year 2

Written exams account for 38% of the total assessment for this year of study, and 62% will be assessed through coursework.

Year 3

Written exams account for 38% of the total assessment for this year of study, and 62% will be assessed through coursework.

Typical offers

Typical offers
A-levels

AAB-ABB
How we assess your application:  predicted grades lower than our typical offers are considered.  Read more about what we look for here.

  • Where an applicant is taking the EPQ alongside A-levels, the EPQ will be taken into consideration and result in lower A-level grades being required.

  • Socio-economic factors which may have impacted an applicant’s education will be taken into consideration and alternative offers may be made to these applicants. 

Required/preferred subjects

Preferred: Geography

At least five GCSEs at grade A*-C or 9 - 4 including English and Mathematics

Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate

6,5,5 at Higher Level with a minimum of 32 points overall.

BTEC Extended Diploma

Distinction*, Distinction*, Distinction in a related subject.

BTEC National Extended Diploma

Distinction, Distinction in a related subject plus one A-level grade B.

BTEC National Extended Certificate

Distinction plus A-levels grade BB.

Welsh Baccalaureate

Requirements are as for A-levels where one non-subject-specified A-level can be replaced by the same grade in the Welsh Baccalaureate - Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate.

Scottish Advanced Highers

AAB-ABB

Scottish Highers

AAABB

Irish Leaving Certificate

H2,H2,H3,H3,H3 at Higher Level.

Access to Higher Education Diploma

Pass in a relevant with at least 24 Level 3 Credits at Distinction and the remaining Level 3 credits at Merit. 

Please note that the Access to Higher Education Diploma will only be acceptable if the applicant has had a considerable break from education. 

Other UK qualifications

Please select your UK qualification from the drop-down list below



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International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below

English language
requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall with 7.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in all other subscores. For equivalencies please see here.

For more information about entry requirements for your country please visit our International pages. For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, we offer an International Foundation Year, run by Study Group at the Royal Holloway International Study Centre. Upon successful completion, students can progress on to selected undergraduate degree programmes at Royal Holloway, University of London.

The Department of Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London is ranked among the top UK Geography departments for employability. Our graduates are in demand in a range of sectors, from environmental conservation to NGOs, media relations and the Civil Service. Our dynamic research culture also means you'll be in a great position to progress to further postgraduate study.

Excellent industry links provide students with opportunities for graduate placements and work experience, helping you take the first steps in your future career. Recent alumni have progressed to careers in wildlife conservation, coastal management and the media, among other fields.

  • Graduate from a Geography department ranked among the UK’s top for employability.
  • 90% of Royal Holloway graduates in work or further education within six months of graduating.
  • Excellent industry links provide the opportunity for graduate placements and work experience. 

Home and EU students tuition fee per year*: £9,250

International students tuition fee per year**: £17,500

Other essential costs***: £750 to £2000 (All students studying for this degree will have the opportunity in their first year to go abroad for no additional cost. In years 2 and 3 students may chose to participate in fieldwork abroad that would incur additional costs. However, it is possible to complete the degree programme with no addditional fieldwork costs.)

How do I pay for it?  Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

*Tuition fees for UK and EU nationals starting a degree in the academic year 2017/18 will be £9,250 for that year, and is shown for reference purposes only. The tuition fee for UK and EU undergraduates starting their degrees in 2018 is controlled by Government regulations, and details are not yet known. The UK Government has also announced that EU students starting an undergraduate degree in 2018/19 will pay the same level of fee as a UK student for the duration of their degree.

**Fees for international students may increase year-on-year in line with the rate of inflation. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see fees and funding and our  terms & conditions.

***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

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