Undergraduate prospectus

  • Start date: September 2017

Environmental Geography BSc

The Environmental Geography BSc is aimed at students with a strong commitment to physical geography. The degree aims to develop this interest through modules examining the dynamics of environmental processes and their measurement, modelling and management.

Key information

UCAS code
3 years
Application deadline
15 January 2017
Applications per place
4 (2015 entry)*
Total intake
130 (2017 entry)*
* Figures relate to Geography subject area

Entry requirements

A levels

Geography grade A required.
English Language and Mathematics at grade C. For UK-based students, a grade C or equivalent in a foreign language (other than Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew or Latin) is required. UCL provides opportunities to meet the foreign language requirement following enrolment, further details at: www.ucl.ac.uk/ug-reqs

IB Diploma

A total of 17-18 points in three higher level subjects including grade 6 in Geography, with no score below 5.

UK applicants qualifications

For entry requirements with other UK qualifications accepted by UCL, choose your qualification from the list below:

Equivalent qualification

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme

Pass in Access to HE Diploma, with a minimum of 18-23 credits awarded with Distinction in the Level 3 units, the remainder of the Level 3 units awarded with Merit.

D3,D3,D3 - D3,D3,M1 in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects, including Geography grade D3

AAA-AAB at Advanced Highers (or AA at Advanced Higher and AAA at Higher - AA at Advanced Higher and BBB at Higher), including Geography grade A at Advanced Higher.

Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A-Levels at grades AAA-AAB, including Geography.

International applications

In addition to A level and International Baccalaureate, UCL considers a wide range of international qualifications for entry to its undergraduate degree programmes.

Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates

The Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPCs) are intensive one-year foundation courses for international students of high academic potential who are aiming to gain access to undergraduate degree programmes at UCL and other top UK universities.

Typical UPC students will be high achievers in a 12-year school system which does not meet the standard required for direct entry to UCL.

For more information see: www.ucl.ac.uk/upc.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency. Information about the evidence required, acceptable qualifications and test providers can be found on our English language requirements page.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.

Degree benefits

  • Environmental Geography students have the opportunity to choose from a wide range of modules including some offered in other disciplines such as anthropology, archaeology, biology, Earth sciences or geomatic engineering.
  • We maintain a good staff-student ratio with a focus on small-group tutorials and an office hours system in which all staff are available weekly to see students individually.
  • We are proud of our research record which has been very highly rated in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014).
  • Our resources include: computer clusters, together with specialist facilities for geographical information and satellite image analysis; science laboratories; a reference map collection; a dedicated reading room and first-class library facilities.

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Geography.

  • 81% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.

Degree structure

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual modules, normally valued at 0.5 or 1.0 credits, adding up to a total of 4.0 credits for the year. Modules are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional modules varies from programme to programme and year to year. A 1.0 credit is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

Students take the same core elements of training in research methods as for the Geography degrees, but with an emphasis on physical geography. First-year modules introduce the operation of environmental systems and the interaction between people and their environment.

Year two builds upon these foundations by detailed examination of the geomorphological, hydrological and ecological processes operating in the physical environment. Instruction in the field, laboratory and analytical techniques employed in the monitoring and modelling of environmental processes is also provided.

The final year includes a physical geography dissertation. Whilst at least 1.5 module credits in the second year and at least 1.0 module credit in the third year must concentrate on Environmental Geography, the remainder may be chosen from a wide range of Geography courses, and from modules in related disciplines. Final-year modules are more specialised, reflecting the research interests of academic staff within the department.


An indicative guide to the structure of this programme, year by year.

Core or compulsory module(s)

Data Acquisition and Interpretation
Environmental Change
Environmental Systems and Processes
Ideas in Geography
Writing and Analysis in Geography

Optional modules

You will select 1.5 credits from a wide range of first-year Geography optional modules and other undergraduate optional module which may include up to two 0.5 credit units outside of Geography.

Core or compulsory module(s)

Methods in Physical Geography
The Practice of Geography

Optional modules

You will select 3.0 credits from a wide range of physical geography optional modules and other undergraduate optional modules, which may include one 0.5 credit unit outside of Geography. Physical geography options may include:

Ecological Patterns and Processes
Environmental Remote Sensing
GIS and Geodemographics
Reconstructing Past Environments
Statistics for Environmental Geographers

Core or compulsory module(s)


Optional modules

You will select 2.5 credits from a wide range of third-year Geography optional modules and other undergraduate optional modules, which may include one 0.5 creidt unit outside of Geography. Physical geography options may include:

Coastal and Estuarine Environments
Environmental Management: Critical Perspectives
Global Environmental Change
Overseas Fieldclass: Greece
Past Global Environmental Change
Principles and Practice of Remote Sensing
Restoration and Management of Freshwater Ecosystems
Water and Development in Africa

Your learning

Your timetable will include lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical classes and fieldwork. As you progress, the focus shifts to independent and critical learning, with student-led discussions and presentations becoming more important.


First-year assessment combines coursework completed throughout the year with end-of-year written examinations. In the second and final years, assessment may vary, some modules combining written examinations with independent projects, some assessed solely by written examination. Your dissertation carries significant weight in your final year.

Further Information

Detailed course descriptions are available on the department website: Environmental Geography BSc.


UCL geographers are skilled in taking different perspectives on an issue, working independently to complete a project and adapting to changing circumstances.

Environmental geographers embark on many diverse careers: from teaching and research to commerce, planning and administration. Their expertise is valuable for environmental and physical planning, surveying and employment in government, industry and the financial sector.


First career destinations of recent graduates (2011-2014) of this programme include:

  • Software Engineer Technician, CDS Distribution
  • Head of Geography, St Gabriel's College
  • Researcher, Sherov Institute of Oceanology
  • Full-time student, MSc in Environmental Mapping at UCL

*Data taken from the 'Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education' survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012-2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

UCL is committed to helping you get the best start after graduation. Read more about how UCL Careers and UCL Innovation and Enterprise can help you find employment or learn about entrepreneurship.

Alumni view

In addition to my undergraduate degree, I also stayed on at UCL for my Master's. I've gained many links within different environmental organisations through guest speakers and attending conferences internal and external to UCL. Emily Smith - Environmental Geography BSc (2012)

Alumni view

I chose to study geography at UCL because I wanted to experience quality teaching and learning in a diverse, dynamic city with a rich geographical story. Geography at UCL provided great flexibility in terms of the study choices I could make. I was attracted by the fact that I could shape my own degree around my own interests. I felt that a degree programme at UCL would allow me to take control of my own learning so that I could follow my interests. I definitely made the right choice! Craig Adams - Environmental Geography BSc (2012)

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2017/18 academic year and are for the first year of the programme at UCL only.

UK/EU students
£9,250 (2017/18)
Overseas students
£23,710 (2017/18)

The UK/EU fee quoted above may be subject to increase for the 2018/19 academic year and for each year of study thereafter and UCL reserves the right to increase its fees in line with UK government policy (including on an annual basis for each year of study during a programme). Fees for overseas students may be subject to an annual increase in subsequent years of study by up to 5%.

Please see the full details of UCL's fees and possible changes on the UCL Current Students website


Various funding options are available, including student loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students whose household income falls below a certain level may also be eligible for a non-repayable bursary or for certain scholarships. Please see the Fees and funding pages for more details.

Departmental scholarships

The Scholarships and Funding website lists scholarships and funding schemes available to UCL students. These may be open to all students, or restricted to specific nationalities, regions or academic department.

Application and next steps

Your application

In the selection process we aim for there to be two-way communication so both you and the department can make the right choices. In addition to looking at your qualifications we will also be examining your personal statement for evidence of your interest in and enthusiasm for geography and for proficiency in key skills.

How to apply

Application for admission should be made through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Applicants currently at school or college will be provided with advice on the process; however, applicants who have left school or who are based outside the United Kingdom may obtain information directly from UCAS.

Application deadline: 15 January 2017


Most students are invited to attend an open day once they have been made an offer based on their predicted or actual A level (or equivalent) performance and their potential and aspirations. Our open days include student-led seminars, a tour of UCL and a tutorial with a member of staff.

We are happy to consider applications for deferred entry, especially where interesting and productive plans are being made for the 'gap' year.

For further information on UCL's selection process see: Selection of students

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