Undergraduate prospectus 2022


Geography BA

This integrated geography programme combines physical and human geography initially and then offers increasing opportunities for specialisation. Those choosing the BA will usually have studied social science or humanities subjects at A level or equivalent, but may transfer to the BSc if their interests develop in this direction or (at the start of the first year) to the BA Geography with Social Data Science pathway if they have the right grades including A level Maths.

Key Information

Programme starts

September 2022
UCAS code
Full-time: 3 years
Application deadline
26 January 2022
London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A Levels

No specific subjects. At least two A level subjects should be taken from UCL's list of preferred A level subjects.
English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 5.

Contextual offer

BCC (more about contextual offers)
No specific subjects. At least two A level subjects should be taken from UCL's list of preferred A level subjects.
English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 5.

IB Diploma

A total of 18 points in three higher level subjects, with no score below 5.

Contextual offer

34 (more about contextual offers)
A total of 16 points in three higher level subjects, 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 33 credits at Distinction and 12 credits at Merit, all from Level 3 units.

D3,D3,D3 in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects.

AAA at Advanced Highers (or AA at Advanced Higher and AAA at Higher).

Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A levels at grades AAA.

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 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: 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

  • At UCL Geography our teaching and research engages with the most pressing environmental and social problems of the day. Learning how to understand and respond to these challenges is more than an intellectual or practical exercise - it involves acting as global citizens too.

  • Our core modules will train you how to think and write like a geographer, to design and conduct research, and provide other practical and project management skills. This training helps our students find work in the UK and around the world. We hope it's fun, too!

  • We offer a wide range of modules and BA Geography students can take any of these, including physical geography courses, if they meet the prerequisites. Our low staff-to-student ratio (Guardian University Guide 2021) encourages individual choice and personal supervision.

  • Departmental resources include specialist GIS and satellite image analysis facilities; laboratories; a reference map collection; two common rooms; and a dedicated reading room. UCL supports this with first-class library facilities and other study resources.

Degree structure

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual modules, normally valued at 15 or 30 credits, adding up to a total of 120 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 30-credit module is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

The Geography BA and BSc share core elements at the start, providing you with a strong geographical foundation on which to build. In year one you take five compulsory modules - two on Thinking Geographically and two on Geography in the Field, plus Understanding Our Planet. You can then take three optional modules from the four we offer, or you can take two of those and one module from outside the Department.

In year two, one or two compulsory modules are supplemented by six or seven optional modules selected from a substantial pool, including field classes. We put a lot of emphasis on research design this year. You may begin to focus on topics such as development geography, environmental geography, urban geography, GIS and climate change. Students may take one module outside the Department.

Your dissertation is the main focus of year three, working with an academic supervisor to develop an original piece of research on a topic of your choice. In addition you take further optional modules, including one from outside Geography if you like. Students may also participate in a term-long exchange programme with universities outside the UK, which replaces that term's UCL modules.

Fieldwork can take place in both the UK and abroad throughout the programme, and it is also possible to base your dissertation on an overseas project.

Upon successful completion of 360 credits, you will be awarded a BA (Hons) in Geography.


Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.

Compulsory module(s)

Thinking Geographically I & II
Geography in the Field I & II
Understanding Our Planet

Core foundational modules

You will select modules equivalent to 45 credits from a range including:

Global Events
Space and Society
Environmental Change
Human Ecology

Or you may take one 15 credit module taught outside of Geography instead of one of these modules if you wish.

Compulsory module(s)

The Practice of Geography

Optional modules

Students who take Methods in Human Geography will then select six modules from the specialised areas below, or one from outside the department.

Students who do not wish to take Methods in Human Geography must take at least four Physical Geography modules, plus four Geography modules, or three Geography modules and one module from outside the Department.

Human Geography: Cultural and Historical Geography; Development Geography; Environment and Society; Economic Geography; GIS and Geodemographics; Political Geography and Geopolitics; Urban Geography; Economic Geography I; Human Geography Fieldclass.

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

Compulsory module(s)


Core advanced modules

You must take five other modules (two if you spend a term abroad). One can be outside the Department. Modules change from year to year but in 2020-21 we taught:

Human Geography: Fieldclass; Urban Political Ecology; Economic Geography II; Global Urbanism; Geopolitical Events; Geography, Culture & Materiality; Postcolonial Geographies of African Development; Migration & Transnationalism; Mining Social & Geographic Datasets; Geographies of Infrastructure; Digital Geographies; Governing Human Uses of Protected Areas; Cartography & Data Visualisation.

Physical Geography: Fieldclass; Mitigation & Adaptation to Environmental Change; Coastal Geohazards; Global Environmental Change; Principles & Practices of Remote Sensing; Managing Freshwaters in the 21st Century; Palaeoclimatology.

Mixed: Water & Development in Africa
Human or physical: Independent Study.

Your learning

Your timetable will include lectures, regular seminars, tutorials, practical classes (including laboratory and computing work) and fieldwork. In the first year there are tutorials every week, closely linked to the Thinking Geographically modules. As you progress, the focus shifts to independent and critical learning, with student-led discussions and presentations becoming more important.

In the first year students will attend a week-long fieldclass (currently in Catalonia) and undertake fieldwork in London, as part of our compulsory Geography in the Field modules. There are two second-year and three third-year fieldclasses, which are counted as optional modules. The destinations of these field classes are subject to change but have been in Europe in recent years.

We do not offer placements as part of the programme.

Each student will engage in 1200 learning hours every year. Of this a first year will spend about 12% of their time in lectures, 4% in seminars or practicals, 3% on the field class and 2% in tutorials. The remainder will be spent in independent study, revision, etc. In subsequent years these figures may vary with student choice, as taking an optional fieldclass will increase the number of contact hours. However estimates for this breakdown in the second and third year are 13% lectures, 3% seminars or practicals, and less than 1% tutorals. A fieldclass makes up about 3% of the year's learning hours.


First-year assessment combines independent coursework completed throughout the year with end-of-year written examinations. In years two and three, assessment varies - some modules combine written examinations with independent projects, while others are assessed entirely by independent projects or by written examination. Project work ranges from essays to blog posts. Your dissertation carries significant weight in your final year.

Detailed module descriptions are available on the department website: Geography BA.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.


Having developed skills from both the sciences and the humanities, UCL geographers are particularly adept at taking different perspectives on an issue or problem and at synthesizing materials and approaches. These skills make our graduates very attractive to employers.

UCL geographers have a particularly good track record of securing employment after graduation (Guardian University Guide 2021).This reflects the broad training they receive as well as the significant project management skills they develop by undertaking their supported dissertation research.

 Our geographers embark on many careers from teaching and research to commerce, planning and administration. The latest figures show the six most popular sectors for our graduates are: finance; policy and government; retail; publishing; hospitality and tourism; IT and technology.

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
Applying to UCL is one of the most valuable decisions I've made and choosing to study geography has reaped countless benefits. The staff and students are incredibly passionate about our discipline, which covers topics ranging from geopolitics and development studies, to environmental systems and urban landscapes. Anaka Nair - Geography BA Second Year

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2021/22 academic year. The UK fees shown are for the first year of the programme at UCL only. Fees for future years may be subject to an inflationary increase. The Overseas fees shown are the fees that will be charged to 2021/22 entrants for each year of study on the programme, unless otherwise indicated below. Fees for the 2022/23 academic year will be advertised as soon as they are available.

UK students
£9,250 (2021/22)
Overseas students
£28,500 (2021/22)

Full details of UCL's tuition fees, tuition fee policy and potential increases to fees can be found on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

This programme includes one compulsory field trip in the first year, two optional trips in the second year and three optional trips in the final year. We believe all of our students should be able to learn in the field, so UCL Geography covers all accommodation and flight costs for the 1st year fieldtrip to Catalonia, as well as most of the food costs. We also currently make a significant contribution to the costs of second- and third-year fieldtrips, covering flights/some train travel and accommodation. The exact cost of each fieldtrip will depend on the location and prevailing exchange rates, but it is estimated that students would need to contribute between £50 and £200 per fieldtrip, depending on the destination. This estimate is based on the costs incurred by students on these trips in 2019. Note you would be spending money on food anyway! Further details are available on our website.

A guide including rough estimates for these and other living expenses is included on the UCL Fees and funding pages. If you are concerned by potential additional costs for books, equipment, etc., please get in touch with the relevant departmental contact (details given on this page).


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

Funding opportunities relevant to the department may appear in this section when they are available. Please check carefully or confirm with the programme contact to ensure they apply to this degree programme.

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. We want curious, enthusiastic students! We realise not everyone can undertake international fieldwork or join geographical societies, and you may not be taking Geography as an A level/IB subject, so we are just as interested in your reading and participation in other forms of geographical work.

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: 26 January 2022


Most students are invited to attend an open day once they have been made an offer. Our open days - in Bloomsbury or online - include talks from staff, question and answer sessions lead by our current students, and introductory masterclasses run by key members of staff. In Bloomsbury we also offer a short tour of UCL and a chance to meet and talk with representatives of all our different research groups.

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.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

Page last modified on 21 October 2021