Undergraduate prospectus

  • Start date: September 2016

Geography (International Programme) BA

This is an integrated geography programme which combines physical and human geography as well as offering opportunities for specialisation. You will spend your third year abroad at an approved university. Those choosing the BA may transfer to the BSc if their interests develop in a different direction.

Key Information

Degree Programme
Geography (International Programme) BA
UCAS code
4 years
Application deadline
15 January 2016
Subject area
Total intake (by subject area)
140 (2016 entry)
Applications per place (by subject area)
7 (2014 entry)
Research Excellence Framework
81% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Entry requirements

A Levels

Geography required.
AS Levels
For UK-based students a pass in a further subject at AS level or equivalent is required.
English Language and Mathematics at grade B. 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 19 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 28 credits awarded with Distinction in the Level 3 units, the remainder of the Level 3 units awarded with Merit.

D2,D3,D3 in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects, including Geography

A1,A,A at Advanced Highers (or A1,A at Advanced Higher and AAA), including Geography at Advanced Higher.

Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Diploma Core with grade A, plus 2 GCE A-levels at grades A*A, 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

UCL offers intensive one-year foundation courses to prepare international students for a variety of degree programmes at UCL.

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

For more information see our website: UCL Undergraduate Preparatory Certificate.

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 courses and have a particularly low staff-student ratio, encouraging individual choice and personal supervision.
  • Spend your third year abroad at an approved university, such as the University of Toronto, Université Paris-Diderot, or Universitat de Barcelona.
  • 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.

Degree structure

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual courses, normally valued at 0.5 or 1.0 credits, adding up to a total of 4.0 credits for the year. Courses are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional courses 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 (International) 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 courses and five options.

In year two, compulsory courses are supplemented by your choice of six options. It is possible to focus your selection around systematic themes such as development, environmental management, social geography and climate change.

You will spend your third year abroad at an approved university. Your dissertation is the main focus of year four, and you will also take further options.

Fieldwork in the first and second years is normally UK-based, but some third-year options include field trips outside the UK, and it is possible to base your dissertation on an overseas project. Recent destinations include Australia, Belize, India, Montserrat and Papua New Guinea. Some financial support may be available through expedition funds.

Year One

Compulsory courses

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

Core foundational courses

You will select 2.5 credits from a range of year one Geography courses and other undergraduate courses:

Environmental Change
Environmental Systems and Processes
Global Geographies
Human Ecology: Geographical Perspectives
London: A Geographical Introduction

Year Two

Compulsory courses

Methods in Human Geography
The Practice of Geography

Core intermediary courses

Students then select 3.0 credits of intermediary courses 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.

In addition students may also take Statistics for Environmental Geographers or 0.5 credit units from outside of Geography.

Year Three

Year three is spent abroad on either a UCL or Erasmus exchange (1.0 credits).

Final Year

Compulsory course


Core advanced courses

Students then select up to 2.5 credits of advanced courses from the specialised areas below. In addition, students may 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; Geodemographics and Population Geography; 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

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 four, assessment may vary - some courses combine written examinations with independent projects, some are assessed solely by written examination. The dissertation carries significant weight in your final year.

Further Information

Detailed course descriptions are available on the department website: Geography (International Programme) 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.


The first cohort of students admitted to this programme will graduate in 2016. First destinations of recent graduates (2010-2013) of the Geography BA include:

  • Geographical Information Systems Analyst, Esri UK (2013)
  • Policy Officer, Darlington Hall Trust (2013)
  • Social Researcher, Department for Communities and Local Government (2013)
  • Finance Trainee, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (2012)
  • Full-time student, MA in Urban Studies at UCL (2010)

*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 2010-2013 graduating cohorts six months after graduation and, where necessary, department records.

UCL is commited to helping you get the best start after graduation. Read more about how UCL Careers, UCL Advances and other entrepreneur societies here: Careers and skills.

Fees and funding


UK & EU fee
£9,000 (2016/17)
Overseas fee
£21,320 (2016/17)


Details about financial support are available at: www.ucl.ac.uk/study/ug-finance


The Scholarships and Funding website has a comprehensive list of scholarships and funding schemes available for UCL students. These can be available for specific nationalities, regions, departments or open to all students.

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 2016


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 (International) BA and BSc degrees follow similar paths. Although it makes no difference to the course 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