Undergraduate

BSc Physical Geography

Explore the dynamic and complex natural processes that shape the world through lectures, research and field trips.

Key information

Study mode

Full-time

Course length

3 years

Entry requirements

120 points

A Level grades: BBB

UCAS code

F840

Choose an option

Start date

Course overview

Our Physical Geography course focuses on the physical processes that govern the state of the natural environment.

We prioritise learning outside the classroom with core field trips – think locations such as Almeria and Tenerife. The cost of all core field trips during your first two years is included in your fees. There are further optional final year field trips to international destinations, such as Iceland.

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.

Six reasons to study Physical Geography at Hull

  1. Core field trips included in your fees
  2. 93% rating for overall student satisfaction*
  3. Accredited by the Royal Geographical Society
  4. Ranked third in the UK for research impact
  5. 92% graduate employability rating
  6. Develop career-ready skills such as GIS

What you'll study

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.

First year modules

This programme offers a wide variety of specialised modules, providing you with an in-depth insight into the important issues affecting the world around us.

Our BSc and BA programmes share a core first year, providing a grounding in geography. First year modules introduce you to key concepts and themes in human and physical geography, providing the building blocks for more specialised modules later in the programme.

  • Compulsory

    Global Environments

    Learn about how our planet works, exploring tectonics and the earth's structure, the atmosphere and oceans, and the distribution of life across the planet's surface. 

    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 case studies. 

    Exploring Worlds Around Us

    You’ll find out about many different ways of studying the world around us by exploring a specific field trip location.

    Landscapes of the World

    This module introduces you to different landforms and landscapes found across the globe: from mountains and glaciers to rainforests, coastal and marine environments and deserts.

    Interpreting Environments

    This module introduces you to some key tools we use to interpret the environments around us, such as computer mapping and data analysis. 

    Development and Change

    Our changing world faces many challenges, especially in developing countries. Learn how geographers approach development, inequality, sustainability and governance.

Second year modules

The second and final years allow you to specialise in Physical Geography. You will choose modules from three academic pathways: hazards, Earth surface dynamics, and environmental change.

  • Core

    Frontiers in Physical Geography

    This module gives you the tools needed to be a physical geographer and make an original contribution to our knowledge of the world.

  • Compulsory

    Environmental Change

    Investigate how the environment, especially the climate, changes in the past, present and future through a combination of lectures and practical activities. 

    Geohazards

    Explore what constitutes a geohazard, and the specifics of a range of natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, flooding, and climate-related hazards.​

    Catchment to Coast

    Look at Earth surface processes from the source in upland areas to the sink in coastal environments. You'll learn about sediments are eroded, transported and deposited.

    Field Studies (Physical Geography)

    Visit field locations including Tenerife and Almeria, as well as UK destinations, where you'll design and conduct your own research projects. 

  • Choose one

    Living in the Anthropocene

    You'll consider profound questions about the scale of the impact of human activities on our planet and the prospects for sustainable global environmental stewardship. 

    Green Planet

    You'll be introduced to the fascinating world of photosynthetic organisms, from single celled marine algae to the giant trees of the tropical rain forests. Practical classes will teach you ways of investigating plants and algae in the lab and in the field.

Year abroad modules

You will spend Year 3 studying abroad at a university of your choice. During this year, you will follow a programme of study that will be agreed between yourself and the department prior to your departure. You will take all assessments set by the host university while you are overseas, for which marks will be awarded and a final transcript released.

Final year modules

The final year allows you to specialise further in the areas of physical geography that you are most interested in.

You will have the chance to spend one semester gaining real-world experience working on a project with an outside organisation from the private, public or non-profit sectors.

  • Core

    Dissertation

    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

    Quaternary: Two Million Years of Change

    ​This module will take you on a journey through the current Ice Age, which spans the last 2.6 million years. 

    Adapting to Climate Change

    Investigate climate change, its impact on us and our adaptions to it, as well as 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 natural flood management practices.

    Professional Consultancy Project

    Work with an external host organisation on a research project designed to be useful to them, while being supervised by university tutors. 

    Teaching Project

    This module provides you with real world teaching experience and allows you to conduct a project with a school into an aspect of teaching and learning in your subject. 

    Geotechnologies A: Advanced GIS

    Develop your geospatial analysis and modelling skills with GIS. This will provide you with key expertise when you enter the geographic job market.

    Conservation in a Changing World

    The natural world is being hugely affected by human activity. You'll explore how nature is responding and will respond to future changes. 

    Volcanoes and their Hazards

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

    Advanced Sedimentary Environments

    This module combines classroom, field and lab techniques from geology, geography and ecology to improve your understanding of sedimentary systems.

    Renewable and Geo-Energies

    This module introduces you to a range of renewable and geo-energy systems and gives the environmental context and drivers for renewable energy development. 

    Advanced Field Study

    This is an opportunity to expand on your field work experience gained during Year 2, in a destination such as Iceland, Hong Kong, Malawi and the Swiss Alps.

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

How you'll study

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.

Overall workload

240 hours

Scheduled study Scheduled hours typically include lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops, and supervised laboratory and studio sessions.

960 hours

Independent study Independent study is the time outside your scheduled timetable, where you’ll be expected to study independently.

Indicative assessment proportions

25%
75%
  • Examination

    Written assessment typically includes exams and multiple choice tests.

  • Coursework

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

Overall workload

204 hours

Scheduled study Scheduled hours typically include lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops, and supervised laboratory and studio sessions.

792 hours

Independent study Independent study is the time outside your scheduled timetable, where you’ll be expected to study independently.

204 hours

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

Indicative assessment proportions

8%
13%
79%
  • Examination

    Written assessment typically includes exams and multiple choice tests.

  • Practical

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

  • Coursework

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

Overall workload

1,200 hours

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

Indicative assessment proportions

100%
  • Coursework

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

Overall workload

144 hours

Scheduled study Scheduled hours typically include lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops, and supervised laboratory and studio sessions.

1,056 hours

Independent study Independent study is the time outside your scheduled timetable, where you’ll be expected to study independently.

Indicative assessment proportions

Rhianna Phillips Geography

"It felt like home. Everyone was so friendly and helpful, Hull was somewhere I needed to study."

Entry requirements

Points can be from any qualifications on the UCAS tariff, but must include at least 80 points from

  • A levels
  • BTEC Subsidiary Diploma, Diploma or Extended Diploma
  • OCR Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma, Diploma or Extended Diploma
  • CACHE Diploma or Extended Diploma
  • Irish Leaving Certificate
  • Scottish Highers
  • Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma
  • or a combination of appropriate Level 3 qualifications 

Alternative qualifications 

  • IB Diploma: 30 points.
  • Access to HE Diploma: Pass with 23 credits at merit.

We welcome applicants with a range of qualifications from the UK and worldwide which may not exactly match the combinations shown above. Please contact the University’s Admissions Service for individual guidance.

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. See other English language proficiency qualifications accepted by this University.

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.

Our teaching staff

  • Dr Briony McDonagh
    Lecturer in Human Geography/ Director of Admissions for Geography and Geology
    Dr David Milan
    Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography/ Employability Officer/ Programme Director BSc Geography, BSc Physical Geography, MSc Renewable Energy
    Dr Graham Ferrier
    Reader in Earth Observation Science and Head of the Department of Geography, Geology and Environmental Science
  • Dr Jane Bunting
    Reader in Geography
    Dr Jonathan Dean
    Lecturer in Physical Geography / Deputy Director of Admissions (Physical Geography)
    Dr Julia McCarroll
    Teaching Fellow
  • Dr Lewis Holloway
    Reader in Human Geography and Chair of the Faculty of Science and Engineering Ethics Committee
    Liam Herringshaw
    Lecturer in Geology / Deputy Director of Admissions (Geology / Geography)
    Dr Rebecca Williams
    Lecturer/ Geology Subject Group Head
  • Dr Ruth Slatter
    Lecturer in Human Geography, Human Geography Programme Director and Geography & Geology Schools’ Liaison Officer
    Dr Stuart McLelland
    Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography

Click and drag

Take a tour of the facilities

Take a 360-degree look at our flume lab where you'll explore some of the natural processes that shape our world.

Fees and funding

Home / EU

£9,250 per year*

International

£17,200 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.

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. 

Scholarships

If you achieve

112 UCAS tariff points or above

from 3 A levels or equivalent, you could receive

£1,200 to £2,000

Find out more

An affordable city for students

From bills, to meals, to pints – you’ll find that your money goes a lot further in Hull.

Your future prospects

  • Environmental consultant
  • Town planner
  • Conservation officer
  • Teacher
  • Hydrographer

Studying geography will give you a desirable range of transferable skills in research, data analysis and communication.

Recent graduates have gone on to work for a diverse range of employers, including the British Army, Middlesbrough FC, KPMG, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Associated British Ports and Green Energy.

Open Day at University of Hull

Ready to apply?

You can apply for this course through UCAS. As well as providing your academic qualifications, you’ll be able to showcase your skills, qualities and passion for the subject.

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This. Is. Hull.

A place where we stand up to kings, do deals with the world and take a wrecking ball to the slave trade. A place where culture stands out and the phone boxes are a different colour. A place where we're free-thinking, independent and proud of it.

*Overall satisfaction score for this subject (National Student Survey 2019, HEIs)

†Geography and environmental science subject area in the Research Excellence Framework, 2014

‡Percentage of students in work or further study within six months of graduating: UK domicile full-time first degree leavers; Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey for the academic year 2016/17, published by HESA 2018