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Undergraduate prospectus 2021

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Geography BSc

This is an integrated geography programme which combines physical and human geography as well as offering opportunities for specialisation, including a BA Geography with Social Data Science pathway. 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.

Covid-19 programme updates

Due to COVID-19, there may have been updates to this programme for the 2020 academic year. Where there has been an update, these are indicated with a red alert and a link which will provide further information.

Key Information

Programme starts

September 2020
UCAS code
Duration
Full-time: 3 years
Application deadline
15 January 2020
Location
London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A Levels

Grades
AAA
Subjects
Geography grade A required.
GCSEs
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-reqs

Contextual offer

Grades
ABB (more about contextual offers)
Subjects
Geography grade A required.
GCSEs
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-reqs

IB Diploma

Points
38
Subjects
A total of 18 points in three higher level subjects including grade 6 in Geography, with no score below 5.

Contextual offer

Points
34 (more about contextual offers)
Subjects
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. Please note, where subject specific requirements are stipulated at A level we may review your Access to HE syllabus to ensure you meet the subject specific requirements prior to a final decision being communicated.

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 2019), encouraging individual choice and personal supervision.

  • We are proud of our research record. 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 three compulsory modules and four optional modules, one of which can be outside the department.

In year two, compulsory modules are supplemented by six or seven optional modules, including field research based courses, selected 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. You will work 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 participate in a term-long exchange programme 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.

Modules

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

Core or 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.

Core or compulsory module(s)

The Practice of Geography

Core intermediary modules

Students who take Methods in Human Geography will then select 90 credits of intermediary modules from the specialised areas below, which can include one outside the department.

Students who do not wish to take Methods in Human Geography must take 45 credits of Physical Geography and 60 credits of optional modules, which can include one 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.

Core or compulsory module(s)

Dissertation

Core advanced modules

You take 75 credits of advanced modules from the below. You may also attend a field class (15 credits), study abroad for a term (45 credits), or enrol on the independent study module involving close collaboration with one academic (15 credits).

Human Geography: Urban Political Ecology; Economic Geography II; 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.


Covid-19 module updates
Due to COVID-19, there may be updates to the modules for your chosen programme of study this year. Some modules may not be available or may need to be moved to a later term or year of study. These updates are relevant for 2020-21 academic year only.  The full list of modules will be available in the module catalogue from late August.  From the first week of September, you will be invited to complete module selection from Portico, our student record system. There may need to be additional updates or changes to modules during the academic year to allow for new guidance from the UK Government and Public Health England. Your department shall keep you updated of these changes as they become available

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.

Covid-19 field trip updates
Due to COVID-19 updates, there may need to be changes to planned field trips for this programme. This will depend on travel restrictions, social distancing measures, and the availability of the relevant venues. Your department will keep you updated if field trips are able to occur and/or any alternative options available. 
Covid-19 contact hours on campus
In Term One, while campus will be open, all the learning activity for the core content of your modules will take place online – including lectures, tutorials, seminars and assessments. By “core content” we mean everything you need to learn to complete the module successfully. In addition to these online contact hours, we will be offering some face-to-face educational activities for students on campus, and we will provide alternative online activities for those students unable to join us on campus. These activities, which will include contact with academic staff, will be relevant to your programme of study may include seminars, academic and employability skills workshops, small-group or individual tutorials, lab and practice-based teaching. UK Government safety guidelines will limit the amount of ‘in person’ activity we can offer and while it will vary from programme to programme, is likely to be no more than 1-2 hours per week. This will vary across departments, particularly if your programme includes laboratory/practical/studio/workshop sessions. You will be updated with more specific details as they are available and your timetable will indicate which sessions will be on campus and which will be available online.
Communicating further Covid-19 mitigation plans
We are continuing to follow UK Government guidance, as well as the expertise of our researchers, including specialists in health, education, human behaviour and infection prevention, to make sure UCL is as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. If it becomes necessary to make further changes to your programme as a result of new guidance/regulations, UCL and your department will communicate these as soon as this becomes clear. We will keep you up-to-date with our plans throughout term one, so you have the information you need to be able to take decisions that are right for your circumstances. Please ensure that you keep in touch with your department by regularly checking your UCL emails, Moodle courses, the Coronavirus FAQs for Students page and any UCL online groups or social media you follow.

Assessment

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. Your dissertation carries significant weight in your final year.

Covid-19 assessment updates
There may be changes to the format of assessments for modules in this programme due to COVID-19. These will be summarised for each module on the module catalogue from 17 August 2020.   If any changes to assessments need to be made during the academic year due to updates in government guidance, these will be communicated to you as soon as possible from your department.    

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

Careers

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 2019). 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
After graduating I kept in contact with some members of academic staff who continued to provide advice and support once I had left UCL. Thanks to one of these contacts, I found out about a PhD studentship that was ideally suited to me and my research interests – I was successful and am due to start in February 2016. My time at UCL provided me with some wonderful memories, a brilliant group of friends, as well as the knowledge and enthusiasm to strive for a career in countryside conservation. Laura George - Geography BSc 2009

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2020/21 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 2020/21 entrants for each year of study on the programme, unless otherwise indicated below.

UK/EU students
£9,250 (2020/21)
Overseas students
£25,780 (2020/21)

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

UCL Geography covers all accommodation and travel costs for the 1st year fieldtrip to Catalonia, and currently makes a significant contribution to the costs of second and third year fieldtrips. The exact cost of each fieldtrip will vary. Bursaries will also be available. Further details are available on our website.

Funding

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 2020



Selection

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.


Page last modified on 22 June 2020