Undergraduate prospectus

  • Start date: September 2017

Geography BA

This integrated geography programme combines physical and human geography as well as offering opportunities for specialisation, including a Quantitative Methods pathway. Those choosing the BA will usually have studied social science or humanities subjects at A level or equivalent, but it is possible to transfer to the BSc if your interests develop differently.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2017
UCAS code
Full-time: 3 years
Application deadline
15 January 2017
London, Bloomsbury
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. For the Geography with Quantitative Methods stream, grade A in Mathematics is also 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. For the Geography with Quantitative Methods stream, grade 6 in Mathematics at higher level is also required.

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- and Mathematics for the BA Geography with Quantitative Methods.

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

  • You will gain a broad range of practical skills enabling you to work successfully in the public and private sectors in the UK and around the world.
  • We offer a wide range of optional modules and have a particularly low staff-to-student ratio, encouraging individual choice and personal supervision.
  • We are proud of our research record which has been very highly rated in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014).
  • Resources include 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).

The Geography BA and BSc share core elements and it is your personal interests, and the options you wish to pursue, that should shape your choice. In your first year you take three core modules and five optional modules.

In year two, compulsory modules are supplemented by six optional modules chosen from a substantial pool. It is possible to focus on your selection around systematic themes such as development geography, environmental and conservation management, social geography and climate change.

Your dissertation is the main focus of year three. In addition you take further optional modules, which may include participation in exchange programmes with universities in Australia, Canada, Europe or Singapore.

Fieldwork throughout the programme can take place both in the UK and abroad, and it is possible to base your dissertation on an overseas project. Recent destinations include Australia, Belize, India, Montserrat and Papua New Guinea. Financial support for overseas fieldwork may be available through expedition funds.


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

Core or compulsory module(s)

Data Acquisition and Interpretation
Ideas in Geography
Writing and Analysis in Geography

Students entering the Quantitative Methods (QM) pathway will take Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods (1.0 credit), instead of Data Acquisition and Interpretation.

Core foundational modules

You will select 2.5 credits from a range of year one Geography modules as given below and can also select 0.5 credits from a relevant year one ancillary module outside of Geography. Students on the QM pathway will select 2.0 credits, excluding Environmental Systems and Processes.

Core or compulsory module(s)

Methods in Human Geography
The Practice of Geography

Students on the QM pathway will take Data Analysis (1.0 credit) instead of Methods in Human Geography, and two approved human geography modules with QM content to the combined value of 1.0 credit.

Core intermediary modules

Students then select 3.0 credits of intermediary modules from the specialised areas below:

Human Geography: Cultural and Historical Geography; Development Geography; Environment and Society; GIS and Geodemographics; Political Geography and Geopolitics; Urban Geography

Physical Geography: Ecological Patterns and Processes; Environmental Remote Sensing; Geomorphology; Hydroclimatology; Reconstructing Past Environments.

Students may also take Statistics for Environmental Geographers or 0.5 credits from outside Geography.

QM students select 1.5 credits, either all from human geography or including 0.5 credits from outside Geography.

Core or compulsory module(s)


QM students will also take Quantitative Analysis (1.0 credit) and two approved advanced human geography modules with QM content, to the value of 1.0 credit.

Core advanced modules

Students select up to 2.5 credits of advanced modules from the specialised areas below. Students may also attend a field class (0.5 units), undertake a study abroad term (1.5 units), or enrol for independent study (0.5 units).

Human Geography: Cultural and Historical Geography II; Development Geography II; Environment and Society II; Mining Social and Geographic Datasets; Political Geography and Geopolitics II; Urban Geography II

Physical Geography: Coastal and Estuarine Environments; Global Environmental Change; Principles and Practices of Remote Sensing; Restoration and Management of Freshwater Ecosystems; Wetland Environments.

QM students choose either one advanced module from human geography or an approved module from outside Geography.

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 independent coursework completed throughout the year, with end-of-year written examinations. In years two and three, assessment may vary - some modules combine 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: Geography BA.


Having been trained in both sciences and humanities, UCL geographers are skilled in taking different perspectives on an issue, working independently to complete a project and adapting to changing circumstances.

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 (2012-2014) of this programme include:

  • Esri UK, Geographical Information Systems Analyst
  • Darlington Hall Trust, Policy Officer
  • Department for Communities and Local Government, Social Researcher
  • Deloitte, Associate
  • Full-time student, MA in Urban Studies 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

Whilst at UCL I made use of the Volunteering Services Unit (VSU) at the Union. I volunteered on a one-off basis to organise a Christmas party at a local school. Through the VSU, I also made contact with Brook, a sexual health charity for young people, and trained to be a sexual health advisor. I did this during my second and third years at UCL and continued once I had graduated. These experiences helped me make the decision to train to become a social worker. Frances Perry - Geography BA (2012)

Alumni view

As part of the Geography BA we were encouraged to take modules in other departments. I enrolled in modules in departments that included European Social & Political Studies and the Bartlett School of Architecture. As such I gained a really useful toolkit of practical skills that I have used in my career since graduating. As part of a geography degree, field trips are a given! The trip to Berlin was a particular favourite, which involved studying everyday social interactions around the city. Thomas Broad - Geography BA (2013)

Student view

I chose to come to UCL because it was in the middle of London! My favourite module has been Cultural and Historical Geography, which involved looking into the UCL archives and choosing four objects to write a detailed essay on. I hope to become a secondary school teacher, and the UCL Careers service helped me with references for my teaching application. Hattie Godbear - Geography BA (Third Year)

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.

The Geography BA and BSc degrees follow similar paths. Although it makes no difference to the module choices open to you, most applicants base their degree choice on the A level (or equivalent) subjects they have followed: BA if they have taken arts or social science, BSc for those with sciences. It is possible to transfer if your interest develops in a different direction.

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

Page last modified on 13 January 2017 at 10:09 by UCL Student Recruitment Marketing.