Faculty of Science and Engineering

Physical Geography

UndergraduateBSc (Hons) Available in Clearing

Year of entry:
UCAS code: F840

What you'll study

Develop expertise in the physical and biological processes that control the environment. You'll have the opportunity to conduct your own research in sites from Iceland to Malawi.

Besides the three-year option, there are more specialised versions of this course.

  • You could study abroad for a year
  • A foundation year boosts your skills and knowledge if you don't quite meet our academic entry requirements

First year

All modules are subject to availability and this list may change at any time.

The course consists of 120 credits per year. Most modules are 20 credits, meaning you’ll study six modules each year. Some longer modules, such as a dissertation, are worth more (e.g. 40 credits). In these cases, you’ll study fewer modules - but the number of credits will always add up to 120.

Core modules

Core and compulsory modules are fundamental to achieving the learning outcomes for your course and must be studied.

  • Worlds of Connection and Difference

    This module will introduce you to key perspectives in contemporary human geography. It uses the themes of 'difference' and 'connection' to explore a wide range of examples and case studies of how geographical thinking allows us to describe and interpret human geographical phenomena.

  • Introduction to Environmental Science

    As well as providing an introduction to fundamental principles of environmental systems and the interconnectedness of humankind with the environment, this module introduces key practical skills needed in Environmental Science.

  • Exploring Worlds Around Us

    This module is all about how to be a Geographer, a Geologist, or an Environmental Scientist. You’ll find out about many different ways of studying the world around us by exploring a specific field trip location (in 2018 we’ll be going to Shropshire).

  • Global Issues

  • Global Challenge or Language

Our Physical Geography programme has a strong focus on the physical and biological processes that control the state of the natural environment. This allows you to develop great depth and breadth in your expertise in dealing with practical issues in geographical science. Hull is well placed to explore the geographical diversity of its region with areas from the North Sea Coast to the North York Moors all within easy reach.

Second year

All modules are subject to availability and this list may change at any time.

The course consists of 120 credits per year. Most modules are 20 credits, meaning you’ll study six modules each year. Some longer modules, such as a dissertation, are worth more (e.g. 40 credits). In these cases, you’ll study fewer modules - but the number of credits will always add up to 120.

Second and final year modules build on those studied in the first year, allowing you to develop a greater depth of knowledge in more specialist topics. You can choose from three physical geography pathways – hazards, Earth surface dynamics and environmental change – that offer a tailored and specialised programme of study towards a specific career or research goals.

Core modules

Core and compulsory modules are fundamental to achieving the learning outcomes for your course and must be studied.

  • Environmental Change

    Investigate how the environment, especially climate, has and will change in the past, present and future. This module uses a combination of lectures and practical activities to introduce you to key concepts in environmental change and develop key skills such as laboratory methods.

  • Geohazards

  • Catchment to Coast

    Look at earth surface processes from the source in upland area to the sink in coastal environments. Through lectures, fieldwork and laboratory experiments, you will lean about how sediments are eroded, transported and deposited through a catchment.

  • Frontiers in Physical Geography

    Explore how new physical geography knowledge is acquired, through project work, studying the history and philosophy of our subject, and through researching a topic of your choice and developing a plan for the final year dissertation. This module gives you the tools needed to be a Physical Geographer and make an original contribution to our knowledge of the world, not just learn about things other people found out.

  • Field course modules (various)

  • Anthropocene or Language

Final year

All modules are subject to availability and this list may change at any time.

The course consists of 120 credits per year. Most modules are 20 credits, meaning you’ll study six modules each year. Some longer modules, such as a dissertation, are worth more (e.g. 40 credits). In these cases, you’ll study fewer modules - but the number of credits will always add up to 120.

An important part of the final year is the dissertation – a piece of individual work on a topic of your choice carried out under the guidance of a supervisor. You can also spend one semester of the final year gaining real-world experience and boosting your employability by undertaking a placement with an external organisation.

Core modules

Core and compulsory modules are fundamental to achieving the learning outcomes for your course and must be studied.

  • Geography Dissertation

    The dissertation is the 'capstone' of your degree programme. You will make an original contribution to research by designing, carrying out and writing up your own project on a topic you choose, supported by your dissertation supervisor.

Optional modules

Optional modules let you tailor the course to your interests. Please note, the availability of optional modules can vary each trimester.

  • Quaternary: 2 million years of change

  • Adapting to Climate Change

    Investigate climate change, the impacts of climate change hazards on humans, human adaptations to climate change and future climate change scenarios. This module uses a combination of lectures, PC practicals and seminars.

  • Rivers and their Management

    Discover exciting and innovative ways of thinking and practising river management for both flooding and geomorphic impact - including the latest practices of natural flood management (NFM). This module will introduce you to key approaches to river management through a combination of lectures, student-led presentations and a final report.

  • Professional Consultancy Project

    Work with an external 'host' organisation on a research project which is designed to be useful to them, while being supervised by university tutors. You'll manage the relationship with the 'host' and design and conduct a suitable project.

  • Teaching Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences

  • Advancing Research in Physical Geography

  • Geotechnologies A: Advanced GIS

  • Conservation in a Changing World

    We live in uncertain times, and predicting future trends in many environmental factors is difficult, but we do know that many aspects of the natural world are being significantly affected by human activity. In this module, you will explore how the natural world is responding and will respond to future changes, and how conservation science, practice and policy is being used to protect and enhance that world.

  • Volcanoes and their Hazards

    Explore the key themes and current research-led understanding of volcanological processes and hazards, volcanic monitoring, and the management of volcanic crises around the world.

  • Advanced Sedimentary Environments

    How do sedimentary environments - from the mudflats of the Humber to the Cambrian sea floor - really work? This module combines classroom, field and lab techniques from geology, geography and ecology to improve your understanding of sedimentary systems.

  • Renewable and Geo-Energies

  • Environmental Problems and Society (UK Field Trip)

  • Geotechnologies B: Environmental Modelling

  • Geographies of Oppression and Resistance

    Explore how geographical approaches provide insights into the role played by oppression and resistance in the creation of social worlds. You'll cover topics such as neoliberalism and the ‘War on Terror’, totalitarianism, institutions of oppression, the civil rights movement, empire and decolonisation, suffrage campaigns and climate change protests.

"You can choose your own path, and that was what I was into."

Karl Collitt Watch Video

More about this course

Our Physical Geography course focuses on the physical and biological processes that govern the state of the natural environment. Hull's well placed for exploring geographical diversity – with areas from the North Sea coast to the North York Moors all within reach.

  • 92% of our geography students are in work or further study six months after graduating (UK domicile full-time first degree leavers; Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey for the academic year 2016/17, published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency 2018).
  • There is a strong emphasis on field trips to international locations, such as Morocco, Iceland and Malawi, as well as East Yorkshire.
  • All core field trips are free of charge. During your final year, there are further optional field trips to international destinations or in the UK.
  • We were ranked third in the UK for research impact (REF 2014). So you'll be learning from respected experts who combine their research with teaching on our courses.
  • Our geography courses are accredited by the Royal Geographical Society.

Practical work is at the heart of this degree. As well as studying the theory of environmental variability, you'll gain extensive hands-on training in analytical techniques in the laboratory and in the field. Our choice of modules covers everything from geomorphology, biogeography and soils to hydrology, sedimentology and environmental change.

Teaching and learning

Throughout your degree, you’re expected to study for 1,200 hours per year. That’s based on 200 hours per 20 credit module. And it includes scheduled hours, time spent on placement and independent study. How this time’s divided among each of these varies each year and depends on the course and modules you study.

Scheduled hours typically include lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops, and supervised laboratory and studio sessions. The types of scheduled lessons you’ll have depend on the course you study.

Placement hours typically include time spent on a work placement, studying abroad, or field trips.

Independent study is the time outside your scheduled timetable, where you’ll be expected to study independently. This typically involves coursework, assignments, reading, preparing presentations and exam revision.

Assessment
Written
Practical
Coursework

First year

25%

75%

Second year

8%

13%

79%

Final year

17%

13%

70%


Written assessment typically includes exams and multiple choice tests.

Practical is an assessment of your skills and competencies. This could include presentations, school experience, work experience or laboratory work.

Coursework typically includes essays, written assignments, dissertations, research projects or producing a portfolio of your work.

Our teaching staff

Where you'll study

The location below may not be the exact location of all modules on your timetable. The buildings you'll be taught in can vary each year and depend on the modules you study.

Hull Campus

Click to view directions on Google Maps

What do our students do on their field trips? Find out with our up-close-and-personal video filmed in Spain with our second-year students.

Watch the Almeria video

Fieldwork is a vital part of your studies whether its within the UK or to destinations like Morocco, Iceland, Malawi, Germany and Italy.

Find out more

Study under experts. Our geography and environmental studies research was ranked third in the UK for its impact in the most recent national assessment.

Find out more

Our geography and geology courses are accredited by the Royal Geographical Society and the Geological Society of London.

What we can do to make our cities greener

Find out

Entry requirements

During Clearing we look at all of your qualifications and experience, not just your academic grades – you're more than just letters on a page!

Some courses do still have requirements such as previous study in your subject area, or specific GCSE grades. Others have additional requirements such as an interview or a satisfactory DBS check.

Please call us now on 01482 462238 to find out if we have a course that’s suitable for you.

International students

If you require a Tier 4 student visa to study or if your first language is not English you will be required to provide acceptable evidence of your English language proficiency level.

This course requires academic IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in each skill. For other English language proficiency qualifications acceptable by this University, please click here.

If your English currently does not reach the University's required standard for this programme, you may be interested in one of our English language courses.

Visit your country page to find out more about our entry requirements.

Fees and funding

  • Home/EU: £9,250 per year*
  • International: £16,000 per year*

*The amount you pay may increase each year, in line with inflation - but capped to the Retail Price Index (RPI).

UK and EU students can take out a tuition fee loan to cover the cost of their course, and UK students can take out a maintenance loan of up to £8,700 to cover living costs.

Substantial discounts are available for International students.  

More information on fees can be found in the Money section of the website.

Additional costs

Your tuition fees will cover most costs associated with your programme (including registration, tuition, supervision, assessment and examination).

There are some extra costs that you might have to pay, or choose to pay, depending on your programme of study and the decisions you make. The list below has some examples, and any extra costs will vary.

  • Books (you’ll have access to books from your module reading lists in the library, but you may want to buy your own copies
  • Optional field trips
  • Study abroad (including travel costs, accommodation, visas, immunisation)
  • Placement costs (including travel costs and accommodation)
  • Student visas (international students)
  • Laptop (you’ll have access to laptops and PC’s on campus, but you may want to buy your own)
  • Printing and photocopying
  • Professional-body membership
  • Graduation (gown hire and photography)

Remember, you’ll still need to take into account your living costs. This could include accommodation, travel and food – to name just a few. 

Future prospects

You will learn a range of transferable skills in research, data analysis and communication combined with an in-depth knowledge of a number of academic themes.

Recent graduates have gone on to work for a diverse range of employers, including: Associated British Ports (ABP), Green Energy, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Middlesbrough Football Club, British Army, Lake District Estates, KPMG – as well as in local and national government, print and broadcast media, and the University of Hull.

Others have continued with postgraduate studies, for example MA, MSc and PhD degrees, a PGCE teaching certificate and a variety of professional qualifications.

All of our students take part in personal development planning, using our online software to record their developing skills and knowledge.