BSc (Hons) Physical Geography

  • Studying Abroad Option Available
  • Sandwich Year Option Available
  • International Students Can Apply
  • Fieldwork


UCAS Code:F840
Course Length:3 Years Full-Time
Start Dates:September 2018
Department:Department of Geography
Location:Edge Hill University
  • Develop your knowledge and understanding of the physical environments and landscapes, as well as the physical and environmental processes, operating on the surface of the Earth;
  • Travel to a variety of fieldwork destinations in the UK and abroad;
  • Equip yourself with a wide range of fieldwork, laboratory and key skills that will enhance your employability.

If you are interested in the environment around you and want to know more about how it was formed and how it is changing then this is the degree for you. You will gain a detailed understanding of the physical environment, including geomorphology, hydrology, climatology and ecology. You will investigate environmental issues from a local to a global level, becoming familiar with the impact of human activity on the Earth’s physical systems. Laboratory, practical and field-based study are key parts of the learning process. You will also develop expertise in Geographical Information Systems and remote sensing using the latest industry standard technology.

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Department of Geography

Course in Depth

What will I study?

Year 1 provides a foundation in Physical Geography, as well as developing a range of subject-specific skills, fieldwork skills and key skills. A residential field course will also form part of your first year.

In Year 2 you will develop an in-depth understanding of particular themes in physical geography including an understanding of the Earth’s weather and climate systems, geomorphological processes and the varying nature and properties of soils. You will also enhance and further develop essential research skills in physical geography through laboratory work and local and overseas fieldwork.

In Year 3, as well as covering subjects such as the nature of environmental change and the physical causes of natural hazards, such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and landslides, you will also complete an independent research project (dissertation). You also have the option of further specialisation in remote sensing.

How will I study?

Teaching is through a combination of laboratory and workshop practical activities, lectures, dissertation supervision, directed independent study, tutorials and fieldwork. We place an emphasis on strengthening the employability potential of our graduates through a range of subject-specific, key and career management skills, as well as the development of knowledge and understanding.

Fieldwork, in the UK and abroad, is one of the most beneficial and enjoyable aspects of our degree programmes. Current fieldwork locations include Cumbria and Mallorca as well as local sites. You may also have the opportunity to participate in additional optional fieldwork visits to locations overseas.

How will I be assessed?

A range of methods display your knowledge and understanding and develop and demonstrate your competence in subject-specific and key skills. Physical Geography modules are assessed by either coursework only or a mixture of coursework and examination. Exams never count for more than 40% of the total mark for those modules that include an examination. Coursework includes practical portfolios, essays, project reports, field notebooks, individual and group oral presentations and poster presentations.

Who will be teaching me?

We have highly experienced and knowledgeable staff who take pride in the quality of their teaching. All staff are research active which means that they keep up to date with current developments in their areas of interest and pass this knowledge on. We are a friendly and approachable department where you won’t get lost in the crowd and we will respond to your needs.

A Great Study Environment

BSc (Hons) Physical GeographyThe Department of Geography’s modern and wide-ranging facilities combine with a friendly and supportive learning environment to ensure that your studies are a rich and rewarding experience.

The Geosciences building features a large lecture theatre, small group teaching rooms, physical geography and environmental science laboratories, a geology laboratory, a geo-engineering laboratory, geo-information laboratories and a large social area.


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Year 1

GEO1045 Introducing Physical Geographies (20 credits)

Introducing Physical Geographies provides an overview of physical geography which looks at basic concepts and their development. The module outlines the physical framework of the Earth’s surface and investigates the materials and processes operating there. It covers aspects of biogeography, soils, climatology and geomorphology.

GEO1046 Environmental Issues (20 credits)

Environmental Issues provides an awareness and understanding of the nature of environmental issues facing the world today. Issues such as climatic change, water quality, flooding, biodiversity loss and human vulnerability to natural hazards will be considered. Through case studies, the physical processes underlying the issues will be explained together with an evaluation of management responses.

GEO1047 Practical Skills for Geography and Environmental Science (20 credits)

Practical Skills for Geography and Environmental Science is a skills-based module, using geographical knowledge to develop a range of subject-specific skills together with general use of ICT and communication skills. The module focuses on the handling, analysis and communication of spatial and graphical data. You will be introduced to the principles, uses and practical skills of Geographical Information Systems as part of the module.

GEO1048 Introduction to Geographical and Environmental Science Research (20 credits)

Introduction to Geographical and Environmental Science Research provides an overview of the subject specific and generic skills in Geography and Environmental Science that you will require to study, research and succeed in your studies. This includes the development of research skills, cartographical skills, statistical analysis and fieldwork skills.

You will select two of the following modules. You will study a combination of either GEO1043 Introducing Human Geographies and GEO1044 Practising Human Geographies or GEO1240 Rocks, Minerals and Fossils and GEO1242 Earth History.

GEO1043 Introducing Human Geographies (20 credits)

Introducing Human Geographies provides a broad introduction to the study of human geography, identifying and exploring key inter-relationships, namely between people, places and environments. The module outlines conceptual and theoretical approaches to the study of human geography. Attention focuses on the role of time, space and scale in human geography. In addition, the module introduces students to current debates, concerns and issues within the discipline.

GEO1044 Practising Human Geographies (20 credits)

Practising Human Geographies focuses on the broad theme of ‘human geography in action’. The module will introduce you to the research process in human geography and the idea of ‘practising’ human geography. You will be guided through the research process, using local fieldwork activities to gain experience of practising and evaluating the effectiveness of a range of qualitative research methods. In addition, key themes and case studies in cultural, urban and environmental geography will be used to exemplify different ways in which human geography can be researched.

GEO1240 Rocks, Minerals and Fossils (20 credits)

Rocks, Minerals and Fossils enables you to appreciate the origin, composition, dynamics and history of the Earth as a planet. The module will show plate tectonics as a unifying concept in the geological sciences, illustrating the composition and formation of major mineral and rock groups and equipping you with the skills and knowledge required to describe, identify and classify marine and terrestrial fossils.

GEO1242 Earth History (20 credits)

Earth History enables you to appreciate geological time. In particular, the module will look at the evolution of the Earth from both a global perspective as well as the development of the British Isles. You will examine the beginning of the solar system and the theories behind the origin of the Earth and the Moon. The early conditions of Earth’s history will also be examined by considering the early continental crust, the likely nature of plate tectonics and the origin of the atmosphere and hydrosphere. The rise of modern style plate tectonics, the origin of life and the rise of atmospheric oxygen will be introduced alongside changes in the oceans and evolution of the Earth’s climate. Major episodes such as “Snowball and Greenhouse Earth” along with asteroid impacts, mass extinctions and super-massive volcanic eruptions will be outlined.

Language modules, delivered at the Edge Hill Language Centre, are available to study as an integral part of this degree. A single Language module can be studied instead of either GEO1044 Practising Human Geographies or GEO1242 Earth History.

Year 2

GEO2071 Research Methods for Physical Geography and Environmental Science (20 credits)

Research Methods for Physical Geography and Environmental Science uses investigative research processes to enhance and develop your knowledge and understanding of essential research methods in physical geographical and environmental science.

GEO2073 Environmental Research in Practice (20 credits)

Environmental Research in Practice uses investigative research processes to enhance and develop essential field research methods in physical geography and environmental science. You will learn how to design a research project proposal using appropriate quantitative and qualitative methods, carry out and report upon effective field investigations in an overseas setting, and identify the significance of the appropriate ethical, health and safety, and environmental issues in related fieldwork.

GEO2079 Biogeography (20 credits)

Biogeography examines spatial and temporal patterns of living organisms over the Earth’s surface and highlights the fundamental processes and causal factors which determine these patterns, examining contributions to these processes by human and physical phenomena. Key themes such as the history and development of ecological communities through time, human impacts on the biosphere and biodiversity run through the whole module.

GEO2080 Digital Geographies (20 credits)

Digital Geographies develops your knowledge and skills in remote sensing and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) which are widely used in a variety of fields including planning, health studies, environmental investigations and resource management. The module focuses on remote sensing analysis and interpretation of aerial and satellite imagery, which has transformed the manner in which geographers and geoscientists view the Earth. You will explore how remote sensing and GIS have greatly improved our understanding of atmospheric, oceanic and landform processes, helped to sustain environmental management and enabled a better understanding of the interaction of humans with the natural world. The module also extensively covers the use of Geographical Information Systems as one of the most important tool to process and analyse geographical data.

You will select two of the following modules:

GEO2075 Geomorphology (20 credits)

Geomorphology introduces you to the study of geomorphological processes and the landforms they produce in a range of Earth surface environments. The module will outline important concepts for understanding the relationships between processes and landforms. You will study the linkages between landforms and processes in a selection of Earth surface environments such as coastal, fluvial, desert and glacial. You will also be introduced to the identification of landforms and the observation of processes through work in the field and laboratory.

GEO2077 Weather, Climate and Soils (20 credits)

Weather, Climate and Soils provides you with a detailed understanding of the climate system and the soil system. The module covers a range of atmospheric processes through to the development of weather systems, with a specific focus on mid-latitude weather. The varying nature and properties of soils, and the soil processes which give rise to soil formation and development are then considered. You will receive practical training in the analysis and interpretation of meteorological data as well as being guided in the methods used in the field and laboratory analysis of soils.

GEO2081 Work Based Learning for Geography, Environmental and Geological Science (20 credits)

Work Based Learning for Geography, Environmental and Geological Science provides you with a professional setting in which you can apply the knowledge and skills acquired in lectures, workshops and practical classes, while simultaneously extending and refining your knowledge and skills, over and above the experiences provided through the mechanisms of fieldwork and dissertation work.

If you studied a Language module in Year 1, you may wish to study a further Language module in Year 2. This would form an integral part of your degree in place of one of the optional modules above.

Year 3

GEO3075 Rivers and Coasts (20 credits)

Rivers and Coasts immerses you in the advanced study of fluvial and coastal landscapes. The module draws on geomorphological, environmental and management issues in rivers and coastlines in the UK and around the world, with particular emphasis on fluvial/coastal processes and resources. The impact of management strategies and climate change on fluvial and coastal landscapes will also be explored. The module considers key theories on fluvial and coastal geomorphology, examines recent papers in each topic area and explores some of the techniques and instrumentation in modern research. A number of examples will be drawn from research in the North West of England and other areas of the UK.

GEO3077 Wetlands (20 credits)

Wetlands explores the largest terrestrial carbon store; wetlands. The module studies the flora and fauna that have adapted to and formed these environments. You will examine the sensitivity of these environments to climate change and analyse the historic, current and future management strategies required to preserve these ecosystems.

GEO3081 Dissertation in Physical Geography (40 credits)

Dissertation in Physical Geography enables you to develop and apply a range of research and transferable skills in the planning, execution and reporting of an individual research project on a relevant topic in physical geography of your choice. The module provides you with the opportunity to demonstrate the ability to work independently and effectively, meeting deadlines and producing a professional product, in consultation with a supervisor.

You will select two of the following modules:

GEO3071 Natural Hazards (20 credits)

Natural Hazards identifies the nature of geohazards and the relationships between hazards and risk to people. The module investigates the distribution, causes and management of a range of major geohazards. It will enable you to demonstrate your ability to research and evaluate information on geohazards both on an individual basis and in a group scenario.

GEO3073 Environmental Change (20 credits)

Environmental Change develops your knowledge and understanding of the nature of environmental change from the last glacial period to the recent past. You will examine the evidence for change, consider potential causes, and analyse the spatial and temporal responses.  The module explores the major changes of the Late Glacial, Holocene and recent periods and examines the relative contibutions of forcing factors, such as climatic variability and anthropogenic activity. In addition, the module critically considers the techniques and methodologies used in the reconstrcution of environmental change.

GEO3079 Remote Sensing (20 credits)

Remote Sensing facilitates advanced learning in remote sensing, covering the theory behind the acquisition, interrogation and application of Earth observation imagery and the practice of image analysis. Module content will include remote sensing basics – the remote sensing process, the nature of imagery and image processing procedures, as well as the application of remote sensing to different environmental and social issues. These include deforestation, agricultural production and urban growth.

If you studied Language modules in Years 1 and 2, you may wish to study a further Language module in Year 3. This would form an integral part of your degree in place of one of the optional modules above.

Optional modules provide an element of choice within the programme curriculum. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by timetabling requirements.


Timetables for your first week are normally available at the end of August prior to enrolment in September. You can expect to receive your timetable for the rest of the academic year during your first week. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week. Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities.


Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of our published course information, however our programmes are subject to ongoing review and development. Changing circumstances may necessitate alteration to, or the cancellation of, courses.

Changes may be necessary to comply with the requirements of accrediting bodies, revisions to subject benchmarks statements, to keep courses updated and contemporary, or as a result of student feedback. We reserve the right to make variations if we consider such action to be necessary or in the best interests of students.

Entry Criteria

Entry Requirements

120 UCAS Tariff points, normally to include Geography, Geology, Environmental Science or a related subject, plus GCSE Mathematics at Grade C or Grade 4 or above (or equivalent).

Example Offers

Some typical examples of how you can achieve 120 UCAS Tariff points are detailed below.

  • A Levels – BBB;
  • BTEC Extended Diploma (or combination of BTEC QCF qualifications) – Distinction, Distinction, Merit (DDM);
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma – 45 credits at Level 3, for example 24 credits at Distinction and 21 credits at Merit. The required total can be attained from various credit combinations.

Please note, the above examples may differ from actual offers made. A combination of A Level and BTEC awards may also be accepted.

As long as you have a minimum of two A Levels (or equivalent), there is no maximum number of qualifications that we will accept UCAS points from. This includes additional qualifications such as the Welsh Baccalaureate and Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), AS Levels that haven’t been continued to A Level, and General Studies AS or A Level awards.

For further information on how you can meet the entry requirements, including details of alternative qualifications, please visit

EU students can get country-specific information about the University’s entry requirements and equivalent national qualifications at

International students should visit for information on the entry criteria for overseas applicants.

Recognition of Prior Learning

Edge Hill University recognises learning gained elsewhere, whether through academic credit and qualifications acquired from other relevant courses of study or through recognition of an individual’s professional and employment experience (also referred to as ‘experiential learning’).

Previous learning that is recognised in this way may be used towards meeting the entry requirements for a programme and/or for exemption from part of a programme. It is your responsibility to make a claim for recognition of prior learning. For guidance, please consult the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning Policy and contact the faculty in which you are interested in studying.

Career Prospects

What are my career prospects?

A geography degree is recognised by employers for the extensive range of transferable skills that graduates have including IT and communication skills, project management, report writing, statistical analysis, group work and oral presentation skills. These skills are of great value to them, and to you in your career.

Physical Geography graduates are suited to careers in industry, environmental management, environmental monitoring and consultancy, remote sensing, mineral resources, landscape engineering or environmental education, postgraduate study, teaching (further training required) and research.

How can I enhance my employability?

It is useful to consider, even before you apply, how you will spend your time while studying and make the most of your university experience.

Optional, additional activities may be available on this degree which could help to prepare you for a stimulating and rewarding career. These include:

  • Sandwich Years – you may have the opportunity to apply to complete a sandwich year placement, usually as the third year of a four year degree, and gain highly relevant work experience;
  • Erasmus+ and Study Abroad – you may have the opportunity to apply to spend time studying or working abroad, usually as the third year of a four year degree, enabling you to immerse yourself in a different culture;
  • Language Learning – you may be able to select language modules, delivered at the Edge Hill Language Centre, as an integral part of your degree (for which you will gain academic credits). Alternatively, it may be possible to participate in Language Steps classes as additional study.

Please note, the availability of these additional activities cannot be guaranteed for all students. Depending on availability and the number of students wanting to participate, there may be a competitive application process for sandwich year placements or studying abroad opportunities or you may be required to secure a relevant placement yourself.


Tuition Fees

If you are a prospective UK or EU student who will be joining this undergraduate degree in academic year 2018/19, tuition fees are still to be announced by the Government. You are advised to check this page regularly and once the position has been confirmed we will update this information.

Tuition fees for international students enrolling on the programme in academic year 2018/19 are £11,800 per annum.

The University may administer a small inflationary rise in tuition fees, in line with Government policy, in subsequent academic years as you progress through the course.

Financial Support

Financial support arrangements for eligible UK and EU students joining this programme in academic year 2018/19 are still to be announced by the Government. You are advised to check this page regularly and once the position has been confirmed we will update this information.

Financial support information for international students can be found at


ScholarshipsEdge Hill University offers a range of scholarships with a competitive application process for prospective full-time undergraduate students. These scholarships aren’t linked to academic success and celebrate determination, talent and achievement beyond your coursework, for instance in creativity, enterprise, ICT, performance, sport or volunteering.

Additional scholarships, which you may qualify to receive, reward outstanding grades and are available to eligible UK and EU students.

To find out more about scholarships, to assess your eligibility, and to meet some of our dedicated scholarship winners, visit


How to Apply

Apply online through UCAS at

Visit to find out more about the application process.

Should you accept an offer of a place to study with us and formally enrol as a student, you will be subject to the provisions of the regulations, rules, codes, conditions and policies which apply to our students. These are available at

Visit Us

If you are considering applying to study at Edge Hill University, the best way to gain an insight into student life is to discover our stunning campus for yourself by attending an open day. You can view dates and book your place at

Alternatively, if you are unable to attend an open day, you can find out more about all of our events for prospective students, including monthly campus tours, at

Request a Prospectus

If you would like to explore our full range of degrees before you apply, you can order an undergraduate prospectus at

Get in Touch

If you have any questions about this programme or what it’s like to study at Edge Hill University, please contact:

International students should visit or email with any queries about overseas study.

  • Book an Open Day
  • Request a Prospectus
  • Enquire Online
  • Live Chat

Course Changes

Expand All This page outlines any material changes to course content, programme structure, assessment methods, entry criteria, and modes of study or delivery, implemented since 1st September 2015.

23rd January 2017 - New Module Added

GEO2081 Work Based Learning for Geography, Environmental and Geological Science (20 credits) added as an optional module in Year 2.

9th June 2016 - New Module Added

A Language module is now available as a Year 3 option, providing Language modules were studied in Years 1 and 2.

10th May 2016 - Change of Modules

Although the broad themes of the programme remain largely the same, all previous modules have been replaced with a suite of new modules. This new programme structure is being implemented from September 2016 entry.

There is also now the option of selecting a Language module in French, Spanish or Mandarin as an integral part of this degree in Year 1. A Language module is also available as a Year 2 option, providing a Language module was studied in Year 1.