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Geography

F800 BSc (Hons) 3 years

Overview

BSc Geographer Joshua Leigh won the 2015 School of Geography photo competition with his image from fieldwork in Austria.

Do you want to learn about the processes that shape our ever-changing planet and about the interactions between the natural environment and society? Our Geography BSc programme enables you to understand how physical, chemical, biological and human agents affect the landscape over timescales from milliseconds to millennia. You can explore a diverse mix of subjects from glaciology, river science and geoecology to climate change and natural hazards, and learn about novel approaches to environmental management. You can also choose to study human geography modules on subjects including geographies of nature, development, technology and society. We will train you to undertake independent research using our state-of-the-art field and laboratory equipment, geographical information systems (GIS) and environmental modelling facilities. You will participate in UK-based fieldwork and will have the option to go on international field trips to New Zealand or the USA.*

Study abroad

You can choose to apply for a four-year version of this degree with a full year abroad. We have links with universities around the world, including Europe, North America, Australia, and Asia (specific partnerships for each programme may vary). Studying abroad is an excellent way to grow in confidence and broaden your outlook on life by experiencing another culture, while making friends and having fun. When you return to QMUL, you will have a new perspective on life for your final year and will be awarded the 'With a Year Abroad' variant in your degree title, which will help you stand out to employers. During your year abroad you only pay 15% of your tuition fees to QMUL and while you don't pay extra tuition fees at the partner institution abroad, you will need to cover the cost of your transport to your destination and your living expenses, including accommodation. Find out more about study abroad opportunities at QMUL.

Why study geography at Queen Mary?

  • Join one of the UK’s leading research universities (member of the Russell Group) and receive a globally-recognised degree
  • Explore the world with us on fieldwork in places such as Florida (USA), and the Southern Alps (New Zealand) as well as UK-based fieldwork including opportunities right here in London*
  • Analyse samples from the field and simulate environmental processes in our state-of-the-art laboratories right here on campus
  • Extend your skills and develop your CV by taking up some of our volunteering, work experience or study abroad opportunities and be supported throughout your degree with advice from dedicated geography careers staff
  • Learn from leaders in the discipline – our staff’s research publications were ranked 5th in the UK while the School was ranked 11th overall for its excellence (REF2014). They have acted as advisers too for international organisations including the BBC, CNN, World Bank, UNESCO, Department of Health, HM Treasury, Environment Agency, Natural England and more
  • Design your own project alongside our experts and develop the skills to become a researcher in your own right
  • Live in the no.1 city in the UK to be a student; no. 3 in the world based on desirability, academic standards, job prospects and affordability (QS Best Student Cities 2017).

* Compulsory fieldwork in the School of Geography is undertaken at no extra cost. Optional overseas fieldwork in the second and third year ranges from £400 to £1,400 approximately, some with additional flight costs (based on costs in the year 2016/17). Destinations can vary year-on-year, are subject to availability and are dependent on the module combinations chosen. Overseas field class modules run in alternate years. Places on some field class modules are limited. If field trip modules are oversubscribed, places will be allocated by ballot. Students participating in overseas field trips are responsible for securing their own visas, if required.

QMUL will aim to deliver your programme so that it closely matches the way in which it has been described to you by QMUL in print, online, and/or in person. However, it is important to realise that in some circumstances, we may change aspects of your programme. See our full terms and conditions at www.qmul.ac.uk/prospective/termsandconditions.

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Structure

For full details on our modules please go to the online module directory

Year 1

Compulsory modules:

  • Earth Surface Science
  • Fieldwork in Physical Geography and Environmental Science
  • Geography in the World
  • Global Worlds 
  • Ideas and Practice in Geography and Environmental Science
  • People and the Environment
  • Research Methods for Geographers and Environmental Scientists

From 2017 we are introducing the QMUL Model to all our degrees. For further information on this initiative, please contact Professor Dave Horne (Director of Taught Programmes) at d.j.horne@qmul.ac.uk.

Year 2

Compulsory modules:

  • Advanced Environmental Research Skills
  • Environmental Research Methods
  • Research Design

Optional modules include:

  • Alpine Environments: Physical Processes in the NZ Southern Alps*
  • Cultural Geographies
  • Economic Geographies
  • Ecosystem Science
  • Geographies of Biomedicine
  • Geomorphology
  • Geospatial Science
  • Ice Age Britain
  • Society and Space
  • Spaces of Uneven Development
  • The Anthropocene 

Year 3

Compulsory module:

  • Independent Geographical Study

Optional modules include:

  • Alpine Environments: Physical Processes in the NZ Southern Alps*
  • Cold Environments
  • Contemporary India: Politics, Society and Economy
  • Environmental Hazards
  • Geo-ecology and Geo-ecosystems
  • Geographies of Democracy
  • Geographies of Health and Place
  • Geography, Technology and Society
  • Geopolitics post-9/11: War, Security, Economy
  • Globalisation and Regional Development
  • Integrated Catchment Management
  • Progress in Physical Geography and Environmental Science 
  • Quaternary Palaeoenvironments
  • Readings in Geography: Contemporary India; Geographies of Democracy or Geography, Technology and Society
  • Science and Politics of Climate Change

*Field class module

* Compulsory fieldwork in the School of Geography is undertaken at no extra cost. Optional overseas fieldwork in the second and third year ranges from £400 to £1,400 approximately, some with additional flight costs (based on costs in the year 2016/17). Destinations can vary year-on-year, are subject to availability and are dependent on the module combinations chosen. Overseas field class modules run in alternate years. Places on some field class modules are limited. If field trip modules are oversubscribed, places will be allocated by ballot. Students participating in overseas field trips are responsible for securing their own visas, if required.

QMUL will aim to deliver your programme so that it closely matches the way in which it has been described to you by QMUL in print, online, and/or in person. However, it is important to realise that in some circumstances, we may change aspects of your programme. See our full terms and conditions at www.qmul.ac.uk/prospective/termsandconditions.

Ask us a question

Entry requirements

General Admission Entry Requirements can be found below.

2018 Entry requirements

A-LevelGrades ABB - BBB at A-Level. We will typically ask for grades ABB. This must include A-Level Geography. If applying without A-Level Geography, your application will be considered where there is an appropriate alternative academic subject. Excludes General Studies.
IBInternational Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum of 32 - 30 points overall, including 6,5,5 - 5,5,5 from three Higher Level subjects. We will typically ask for 32 points overall, including 6,5,5 from three Higher Level subjects. This must include Geography at Higher Level.
BTEC See our detailed subject and grade requirements
Access HEWe consider applications from students with the Access to Higher Education Diploma. The minimum academic requirement is to achieve 60 credits overall, with 45 credits at Level 3, of which 15 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher. Applications are considered on a case by case basis. Due to the high volume of applications, we do not make offers of study purely on the basis of meeting grade requirements.
GCSEMinimum five GCSE passes including English and Maths at grade C or 4.
EPQAlternative offers may be made to applicants taking the Extended Project Qualification.
Contextualised admissions We consider every application on its individual merits and will take into consideration your individual educational experiences and context. More information on how academic schools and programmes use this information as part of the admissions process, can be found on our contextualised admissions pages.

General Admissions Entry Requirements

English Language Proficiency

All applicants to QMUL must show they meet a minimum academic English language standard for admission and to be successful on the course, to the indicated levels for the area of study. See our guidance on English Language requirements for all degree programmes.

Vocational and Other Qualifications

The College accepts a wide range of qualifications such as Access and Foundation programmes, vocational awards, Irish Leaving Certificate, Scottish Highers and other Baccalaureates. You are advised to contact the Admissions team (admissions@qmul.ac.uk) before making an application so that we can give individual advice.

Admission is based on academic merit and on the proven ability of the applicant to achieve success on their chosen programme of study. Every application to Queen Mary is considered on its individual merits with personal statement and reference taken into consideration.

Combined Qualifications

If you are taking a combination of qualifications at Level 3, we will consider your academic profile and may make offers on a case-by-case basis. You are advised to contact the Admissions team (admissions@qmul.ac.uk) before making an application so that we can give individual advice.

Advanced Entry

Subject to the policy of the programme, it may be possible for students to join undergraduate degree programmes at the beginning of the second year of a three or four year degree programme or, sometimes, the beginning of the third year of a four year programme. Please note, not all schools will consider advanced entry. You are advised to contact the Admissions team (admissions@qmul.ac.uk) before making an application for individual advice.

If you are applying for advanced entry on the basis of a post A-Level qualification, such as the BTEC HND, you should apply via UCAS in the usual way. If you wish to transfer your degree studies from another UK higher education institution, you will be considered on the basis of your original A-Level or equivalent qualifications, current syllabus, academic references and results.

We typically expect you to have achieved a 2.1 standard on your current programme and have already met the standard equivalent first year entry requirements. Applications must be submitted via UCAS.

Non-UK students

European and International Applicants

Our students come from over 162 countries and we accept a wide range of European and International Qualifications for entry, in addition to A-Levels, the International Baccalaureate and BTEC qualifications. Please see our International Admissions webpages for further details of our academic requirements, and information regarding how we assess the equivalence of your qualification.

Applicants will typically be expected to be taking academic subjects relevant to the programme of study. You are advised to review the A-Level and IB requirements for an indication of these subjects. If you are at all unclear, the Admissions team (admissions@qmul.ac.uk) is happy to advise you further.

Further Information

For any other enquiries directly relating to our entry requirements, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office directly.
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 5511
Email: admissions@qmul.ac.uk

See our information and guidance on how to apply.

Learning and teaching

Our modules are delivered through a range of different teaching and learning methods. On average, you can expect to spend between 8-12 hours per week in a combination of lectures, seminars/workshops and practical classes. Class sizes range from large introductory lectures in the first year (50-200 students) to smaller lectures (20-80 students) in the second and third years, with plenty of opportunities for group work and discussion.

You will also take part in regular tutorials (small groups sessions of up to 10 students with a member of academic staff) where you will receive further advice and guidance on getting to grips with readings and course material and developing your study skills. These take place weekly in the first year and fortnightly in the second year. In the final year these are replaced with one-to-one meetings with your tutor as you prepare for your independent research project and plan your future career.

Many of the modules also include fieldwork components (in the UK and abroad) where you can spend time in the field with members of staff, putting your research skills into practice and real world experience. 

Independent Study

For every hour spent in classes you will be expected to complete a further 4-6 hours of independent study. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; producing written work; completing projects; and revising for examinations.

The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study sessions you attend, along with your reading lists and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability.

Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area.  This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.

Assessment

Most of our modules are assessed through a combination of coursework and examination. Coursework takes a variety of forms, including extended essays, short reports, posters, oral presentations and group work. You will also participate in problem-based learning (PBL), where you work in small, collaborative groups with guidance from the lecturer or seminar leader.

Coursework is submitted throughout the academic year. Exams are held in May and June. Most students must complete a final-year Independent Geographical Study or Project in Environmental Science of 10,000 words based upon an original study of their choice.

Fees and finance

Tuition fees for Home and EU students

2017 entry
Full-time £9,250

Tuition fees for International students

2017 entry
Full-time £14,500

You can either take out a Tuition Fee Loan (see Funding section below) to pay your fees or, if you are paying them yourself, you can pay in instalments.

Tuition fees for a year abroad or placement year on a full time undergraduate course will be a proportion of the full fee for the year in which you commence your time abroad or placement.

For information on field trip and other course related costs which are not included in your tuition fee, please contact the relevant Department/School.

See more general information about fees.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 7676
email: fees@qmul.ac.uk

Funding

Queen Mary has a substantial package of scholarships and bursaries which will benefit around 50 per cent of our undergraduate student body.

Scholarships and Bursaries available at Queen Mary for Home/EU Students

There are a number of scholarships and bursaries available each year for home students. Visit our Bursaries and Scholarships page for more information.

Visit our Advice and Counselling website for more information about financial support.

Scholarships available at Queen Mary for International Students

There are a number of Scholarships available each year for International Students including bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas.

Find out more about international scholarships.

Some International students may also be eligible for a fee reduction.

Loans and Grants available to help with tuition fees and living costs

Student Finance England administers all grant and loans for your studies if you normally live in England.

If you live in WalesScotland or Northern Ireland you have an equivalent Student Finance department for your region.

Through Student Finance England, you can apply for (figures relate to programmes starting from September 2016):

  • A Tuition Fee Loan of up to £9,000 to pay all or part of your fees
  • A Maintenance Loan of up to £10,702 to help pay your living costs like rent, food and travel
  • Extra grants if you have a disability or you have children or an adult dependant
  • You might get a grant to cover some travel expenses if you normally live in England but study away from home. If you’re a medical or dental student you might also qualify for help with the costs of attending clinical placements in the UK.

Visit Student Finance Information to find out more about:

  • How to apply for student finance
  • What eligibility rules apply, including if you already have a degree or previous higher education study
  • What the income thresholds are and how much you might personally get for each element of Student Finance
  • What to do if you have problems getting your Student Finance

Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary

We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.

Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:

  • Additional sources of funding
  • Planning your budget and cutting costs
  • Part-time and vacation work
  • Money for lone parents

For more information visit the Advice and Counselling service website, or call +44 (0)20 7882 8717.

Graduate Employment

In an increasingly globalised world, the skills and knowledge of environmental scientists and geographers make our graduates more employable than ever. In fact, 93 per cent of full-time, UK-domiciled QMUL geography and environmental science graduates were in work or further study six months after graduation (DLHE 2015).

How we support you

The QMUL Careers and Enterprise team is on hand to support you throughout your degree. There’s lots of opportunities to build your CV while you’re at Queen Mary, including:

  • taking part in workshops and events such as career tutorials, careers assignments, networking events, and one-to-one careers consultant CV help
  • attending some of the 120+ employer-led events each year from seminars to large fairs
  • getting advice if you’re interested in running your own commercial or social enterprise
  • building your experience by taking a placement from our award-winning QProjects work experience scheme, from internships to part-time work, full-time jobs to volunteering.

For more information visit: careers.qmul.ac.uk

What our graduates do

Whether taking transferable skills into diverse careers from business to health or using subject knowledge to inform environmental policy or scientific analysis, our graduates have gone on to a range of careers. 

Organisations employing our recent graduates include: 

  • ARUP Hong Kong
  • Edmunds Nuttall (now BAM Nuttall)
  • Jacobs
  • UK Power Networks
  • Reading Agricultural Consultants
  • Transport for London
  • UK Cabinet Office
  • Thomson Reuters
  • Rochester Grammar School
  • Goldman Sachs
  • CRISIS
  • Citizens UK

A sample of our recent graduates' roles include: Engineering Geologist, Graduate Geomorphologist, Project Manager, Environmental Engineer, Graduate Transport Planner, Policy Adviser, Head of Strategy, Business Analyst. 

 

Profiles

Katharine Parker, class of 2016

Katherine Parker

"I really enjoyed the diversity of the course content. You can be undertaking a field walk and touring the streets of Victorian London in the morning and then learning about how climate has changed over the past 6 million years in the afternoon. You get the opportunity to add an extra dimension to what you learn in lectures through field and laboratory work which provides you with the chance to contribute to current research being carried out by experienced and passionate academics.

"Laboratory work was something that I had not experienced before coming to QMUL. It's really handy to have our own laboratory facilities that are geared up to carrying out a range of geographical research. Learning to use a range of lab equipment not only enhanced my knowledge through being able to try the techniques that I had read about, but also widened my horizons when it came to picking a dissertation topic - it meant that I could confidently use the laboratory equipment independently for my own research.

"My degree from QMUL has provided me with a lot of interchangeable skills. I have been able to develop coding and GIS skills which are extremely useful. The career service and tutorials have helped me with interview techniques and writing a personal statement which has ultimately led to the next step in achieving my dream of becoming a Secondary School geography teacher."

Rosemary Cargill, class of 2016, currently MSc student at QMUL

Rosemary Cargill, BSc Geography, class of 2016, Queen Mary University of London

"There was such a friendly atmosphere on campus and within the department itself when I visited on open day. The staff and students who took the tours had a real energy and enthusiasm which made QMUL my top choice. Queen Mary is also blessed to be in such a fantastic location with history, culture, diversity and the rest of London on its doorstep.

"During my degree, I've undertaken placements with Thames 21 to assist me in my research project as well as summer placements here at QMUL. By going out and seeing what’s out there, you may discover something you’ve never even considered before. Now I know what paths I can explore, what skills and knowledge I need and have got new experience to help me get where I want to be.

"I would like to work within environmental management and sustainability. Unfortunately the pollution and litter problems that plague our cities will not improve quickly so to work in the sector that mitigates these issues would be extremely rewarding and satisfying. My time at university so far has given me the confidence and knowledge I would need to instigate these changes and hopefully I can make a difference."

Ben Chandler, class of 2013, currently PhD student at QMUL

Ben Chandler, BSc Geography, class of 2013, Queen Mary University of London

"The support, teaching, facilities and resources I had at Queen Mary really set me on my way for what I hope will be a future career in academia. My degree provided the theoretical background necessary to undertake my MSc research, which examined glacier-climate interactions at an outlet glacier in Iceland, as well as the foundation for my current PhD research.

"With my interests in glacial landforms, mapping of ‘hummocky’ moraine around the Pass of Drumochter in the Central Grampian Highlands was particularly memorable, even in the infamous Scottish horizontal rain! The fieldwork formed part of the first year module Fieldwork in Physical Geography and Environmental Science, and it must have left a lasting impression as I chose to do my PhD at QMUL on the glacial history of the adjacent area.

"If you are passionate about geography and want to study in a School renowned for its teaching and research excellence, then you should definitely apply to study at Queen Mary!"

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