Undergraduate prospectus 2020


Geography BSc

This is an integrated geography programme which combines physical and human geography as well as offering opportunities for specialisation. Those choosing the BSc will usually have studied some science at A level or equivalent, but it is possible to transfer to the BA if your interests develop differently.

Key Information

Programme starts

September 2019
UCAS code
Full-time: 3 years
Application deadline
15 January 2019
London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A Levels

Geography grade A required.
English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 5. For UK-based students, a grade C or 5 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-requirements

Contextual offer

ABB (more about contextual offers)
Geography grade A required.

IB Diploma

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

Contextual offer

34 (more about contextual offers)
A total of 16 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 23 credits awarded with Distinction in the Level 3 units, the remainder of the Level 3 units awarded with Merit.

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

AAA at Advanced Highers (or AA at Advanced Higher and AAA 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, 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 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 and project management skills, making you attractive to both the public and private sectors in the UK and around the world.

  • We offer an exceptionally wide range of optional modules and have a particularly low staff-student ratio (Guardian University Guide 2018), encouraging individual choice and personal supervision.

  • We are proud of our research record which has been consistently high. You will therefore be working with thinkers at the cutting edge of developments in their fields.

  • Our physical geography resources include specialist computing facilities for geographical information and satellite image analysis and world-class science laboratories enabling soil, water and microscopic analysis.

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 and it is your personal interests, and the options you wish to pursue, that should shape your choice. In your first year you take two core modules and four optional modules, one of which can be outside the department.

In year two, one compulsory module is supplemented by 3.5 credits of optional modules, including field research-based courses, chosen from a substantial pool. At this point it is possible to begin focusing on topics such as environmental and conservation management, remote sensing, geomorphology and climate change.

Your dissertation is the main focus of year three. In this, you'll work with a relevant academic to develop an original piece of research on a topic of your choice. 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 expeditions may be available through expedition funds.


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

Core or compulsory module(s)

Thinking Geographically
Geography in the Field

Core foundational modules

You will select modules equivalent to 2.0 credits from a range including:

Global Events
Space and Society
The Earth
Environmental Change
Human Ecology

You may take one 0.5 credit module taught outside of Geography if you wish.

Core or compulsory module(s)

The Practice of Geography

Core intermediary modules

You then select 3.5 credits of intermediary modules from the specialised areas below. To qualify for the BSc, 2.5 of these credits must be in Physical Geography.

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

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

You may also substitute an ancillary module from outside the department, allowing you (as in your first year) to continue developing particular language skills or start to become more specialised.

Core or compulsory module(s)


Core advanced modules

You will take 2.5 credits of advanced modules from the below. You may also attend a field class (0.5 credits), study abroad for a term (1.5 credits), or enrol on the independent study module involving close collaboration with one academic (0.5 credits).

Human Geography: Geographies of Infrastructure; Urban Political Ecology; Global Urbanism; Geopolitical Events; Geography, Culture and Materiality; Postcolonial Geographies of African Development; Mining Social and Geographical Datasets; Gendered Geographies; Advanced Environment and Society.

Physical Geography: Coastal Geohazards; Global Environmental Change; Principles and Practices of Remote Sensing; Managing Freshwaters in the 21st Century; Palaeoclimatology.

Water and Development is an option that spans human and physical geography. You can also take Professional Geography or take a module outside the department.

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.

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


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

UCL geographers have a particularly good track record of securing employment after graduation (Guardian University Guide 2018). This may be partly because of 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. Their expertise is valuable for environmental and physical planning, surveying, government, industry and the financial sector.

UCL is commited 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
The opportunity to study at a leading global university in the heart of such a vibrant and energetic city cannot be underestimated. Whilst studying I was a committee member of both UCL Boat Club and the Raise and Give (RAG) society. Both of these positions gave me experience and confidence entering my professional career. I undertook an APMP project management module in my final year which has been of great use. Thomas Curtress - Geography BSc 2012
Alumni view
At UCL I co-founded UCLU Green Economy Society, with the aim of providing a forum for student debate and practical ideas on matters pertaining to low-carbon markets, technology and society. This experience taught me a range of soft skills that I use in my job today. I am a member of the UCL BME Alumni group and have attended several Geography career talks to give guidance to UCL undergraduates. Jasbir Singh Basi - Geography BSc 2012
Alumni view
At UCL I went on two field trips abroad: to Mallorca in my second year and Greece in my third year. These were real opportunities to engage with lecturers and researchers on a different level, and contextualise what you were learning in a lecture theatre. These field trips have assisted in my career, providing the experience of working on a team project from start to finish, and the presentation, communication and teamwork skills I developed have proved invaluable in the work place. Hugo Watkins - Geography BSc 2014

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2019/20 academic year. The UK/EU 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 2019/20 entrants for each year of study on the programme, unless otherwise indicated below.

UK/EU students
£9,250 (2019/20)
Overseas students
£24,090 (2019/20)

Full details of UCL's tuition fees, tuition fee policy and potential increases to fees can be found on the UCL Students website.

Additional costs

Field courses in the second and third years are partly funded by the department, and partly self-funded by those students who choose to take them. The department does, however, provide bursaries for those students who are in receipt of a UCL bursary and who wish to undertake these courses. Further details are available on our 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

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.

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 2019


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 short tour of UCL, a chance to talk with representatives of all our different research groups, and introductory masterclasses run by key members 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.