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Degree type


Course length

3 years full-time


Durham City

UCAS code


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Please note: Courses may be affected by Covid-19 and are therefore subject to change due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19. Applicants will be informed of any changes which we are required to make to course entries as a result of Covid-19.

Typical offers

Typical offers
A Level AAA/A*AB
International Baccalaureate 37/36

Course details

In the first year of Physical Geography, we introduce the range of our research specialisms and research methods, including residential fieldwork overseas (e.g. Portugal). Elective modules in the second and third years progressively lead to material at the cutting edge of research and include optional overseas fieldwork.

The majority of modules in the second and third year focus on physical geography and environmental topics. In the second and third year, you may take integrated modules (with a mixture of human and physical geography) and one module from the Geography BA (Hons) list (subject to timetable compatibility).

Year 1

Compulsory modules:

  • Physical Geography
  • Introduction to Climate Change
  • Introduction to Geographical Research (BSc) – double module including overseas residential fieldwork
  • Human Geography.

Examples of optional modules:

Choose two optional modules from:

  • Understanding Earth’s Principles
  • Planet under Pressure
  • Geographies of Crisis
  • Level One Module(s) offered by another department, subject to approval.

Year 2

In the second year, you will develop further practical and scientific research skills and, through your choice of modules, may start to specialise in a number of themes or may choose a broader approach. These include our integrated modules that span the human/physical geography interface.

Compulsory modules:

  • Scientific Research in Geography
  • Handling Geographic Information.

Examples of optional modules:

Choose three modules (the modules may vary from year to year but typical options include):

  • Climate Change: Geographical Perspectives
  • Contested Environments
  • Catchment and Fluvial Systems
  • Carbon and Biogeochemical Cycles
  • Glaciers and Glaciation
  • Reconstructing Environmental Change
  • Mountain Landscapes
  • One Level Two module from the BA list or from another department (with permission and subject to timetable compatibility).

Year 3

In the third year, you will undertake your own Research Project (the Dissertation), supervised by a member of staff. You will also choose from a selection of modules that involve material at the cutting-edge of contemporary research.

Compulsory module (40 credits):

  • Dissertation (individual Research Project based on an approved physical geography topic) – double module.

Examples of optional modules (80 credits from the following):

(the modules may vary from year to year but typical options include):

20 credits:

  • The Arctic (Norway field trip)
  • Alpine Landscapes and Processes (Switzerland field trip)
  • Iceland: Field Research in Glacial Environments (Iceland field trip)
  • Mountain Hazards (Nepal field trip)
  • Natural Hazards, Risk and Resilience
  • Oceans Past and Present
  • Remote Sensing
  • River Dynamics
  • Sea Level Change and Coastal Evolution.

10 credits:

  • Antarctic Environments
  • Catchment Modelling for Management
  • Landslides
  • Peatland Geomorphology and Management
  • Past Climates of the Low Latitudes
  • Ice Age Environments
  • Glacial Sedimentary Environments
  • Earth Surface Processes and Landscape Evolution.

Up to 20 credits from the Level 3 BA list (with permission and subject to timetable compatibility).


You may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.

Study abroad

You will have the opportunity to study abroad for a year between the second and third years of the Geography BSc (Hons). We have a growing list of exchange programmes and this can be a rewarding experience and highly valued by employers. Places are allocated on a competitive basis. Past Geography students have studied abroad at the following universities:

  • National University of Singapore
  • University of British Columbia
  • Queen's University, Canada
  • University of Otago, New Zealand.
  • University of Hong Kong
  • University of Melbourne.

A current list of approved universities can be found here.

Placement Year

You also have the opportunity to do a placement year with an organisation outside of the University between your second and third year. This additional year extends your degree making it four years in total. You may choose to do a placement which relates to a particular aspect of your studies or a role which aligns with broader career aspirations utilising skills developed during your degree. Students who are interested in doing a placement year should get in touch with the Department placement year convenor and the Faculty Placement Officer who will help guide them through the process. You don’t need to commit to a placement year prior to starting at Durham, you will make that decision during your second year. The Department, Faculty Placement Officer and Careers and Enterprise Centre support students before, during and after their placement year and students retain their student status for the year on placement.


Students on this degree learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops, practical classes, tutorials, fieldwork, group projects, student presentations, and self-directed learning, such as research, reading, and writing. All of these are informed by the interplay between theory and practice.

Seminars, tutorials, and practical classes are much smaller groups than lectures, small enough to allow one-to-one interaction with our academic staff. Practicals also allow hands-on experience of the work professional geographers undertake. The same is true of fieldwork, which at Durham is heavily subsidized and consists of engaging in geographical work in the field with members of academic staff. Students can also attend an extensive programme of research-focused seminars where staff and visiting scholars present their cutting-edge research.

This emphasis on research-led small-group and practical teaching reflects a conscious choice to enhance the quality of the learning experience rather than the number of formal sessions. The degree is designed to feature fewer formal large-group sessions and involves more research as you move from your first to your final year. In this way, the degree systematically transforms you from a consumer of knowledge in the classroom to a generator of knowledge, ready for professional or postgraduate life. Small-group teaching and one-to-one attention from the personal academic advisor is provided for all students when they enter the course and regular meetings take place throughout their degree.

Entry requirements

A level offer – AAA or A*AB including Geography or a science subject.

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma – DDD and an A level science or Geography at grade A.

IB Diploma score – 37 with 666 in higher level subjects, including one science subject or Geography.

In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:

  • If you do not satisfy our general entry requirements, the Foundation Programme offers multidisciplinary degrees to prepare you for a range of specified degree courses.
  • We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry.
  • If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take an International Foundation Year pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.

Science A levels

Applicants taking Science A levels that include a practical component will be required to take and pass this as a condition of entry. This applies only to applicants sitting A levels with an English examination board.

Alternative qualifications

International students who do not meet direct entry requirements for this degree might have the option to complete an International Foundation Year.

English language requirements

Country specific information

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £9,250 per year
EU students £24,500 per year
Island students £9,250 per year
International students £24,500 per year

The tuition fees shown for home students are for one complete academic year of full time study and are set according to the academic year of entry. Fees for subsequent years of your course may rise in line with an inflationary uplift as determined by the government.

The tuition fees shown for overseas and EU students are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities


Of those students who graduated in 2018:

  • 86% are in paid employment or further study 15 months after graduation across all our programmes

Of those in employment:

  • 88% are in a professional or managerial job
  • Average salary of £27,000.

(Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey. The survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing 15 months after graduation. Further information about the Graduate Outcomes survey can be found here

Department information


You will study some of the world’s major challenges in an internationally recognised department.

Climate change, environmental governance, landslides, natural hazards, geopolitical conflict and territorial dispute, migration, sea level rise, energy poverty, flooding, debt, austerity, urbanisation: these are just a few of the significant challenges that are confronting us today, and few departments are better placed than Durham Geography to study them. Our Department is one of the leading centres of geographical scholarship in the world.

For more information see our department pages.


  • World Top 12 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2021.
  • 2nd in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021.
  • 6th in The Guardian University Guide 2021.


For a current list of staff, please see the Geography Department pages.

Research Excellence Framework

  • Ranked joint 3rd in the UK for World-class research (REF 2014).


Our departmental facilities include a suite of well-equipped laboratories, a workshop, an extensive field equipment store and a cartographic unit, all of which are overseen and supported by a team of dedicated technical staff.

More information about our facilities and equipment.


Find out more:

Use the UCAS code below when applying:



The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) handles applications for all undergraduate courses.

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