Course details

Study options

Full-time: 4 years

UK/EU fee

£9,250 per year* (2020/21)

International fee

£14,045 per year (2020/21)

UCAS points

72 (September 2020 entry)

UCAS code


Course level



BSc (Hons)

Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

Course description

Map out your way to an inspiring career

Studying Geography and Environmental Hazards with a foundation year is a smart move as it broadens your horizons if you are contemplating a change of career or want to further your interests and improve your knowledge in this fascinating subject area before moving on to honours degree level studies. 

Your foundation year learning will feature geoscience, organisms and their environment, chemistry and sociology to give you a broad base of knowledge for your future studies. We also equip you with study skills in science, research methods and data handling to ensure you have the best chance of success.

A practical learning experience

We specialise in real-world learning, providing you with plenty of opportunities to translate theory into practice and see how reality might differ from the textbooks.  

Many of the modules on the BSc (Hons) Geography and Environmental Hazards with Foundation Year feature training in technical, practical and fieldwork skills. Field-based study is integrated across all years of the course and you will become familiar with innovative techniques in areas like spatial analysis.

Fieldwork to broaden your horizons

Vital for your career development, fieldwork is at the heart of this course and we offer a range of opportunities* which may include overseas study tours. Locally, you could find yourself taking regular trips to investigate the physical, cultural and human features of the area. This may include looking at energy management on industrial sites, exploring nature reserves and sites of special scientific interest, considering how people have exploited the River Trent as a resource down the centuries, and assessing the risks posed to local communities by flooding.

Further afield, you could have the chance to visit areas of active natural hazards such as volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides, floods and drought. In the past, our students have investigated the impact of extreme floods, sea-level change and coastal mass movements in Crete. They have also visited North West USA to examine the range and scale of geological hazards and their impact on human society.

One of our most illuminating study tours has seen students head to the Pacific Northwest of America to conduct a series of fieldwork-based case studies exploring earth-surface hazards, their effects on people and their management. Highlights included visiting the sites of the 1980 Mount St Helens eruption and earthquake-prone areas of downtown Seattle.

Explore our fieldwork

*Please note that our programme of fieldwork is subject to change.

First-rate facilities to support your learning

You’ll have every opportunity to develop your practical skills in realistic environments. Our facilities include a spatial data laboratory which houses one of the best map collections of any UK university. We also subscribe to the DigiMap Service so you will have full access to the digital databases of the British Geological Survey and the Ordnance Survey.

We have invested in purpose-built geotechnical and specialist computing laboratories. In addition, we provide a student research laboratory which gives you a dedicated space for conducting your independent investigations seven days a week.  

Throughout, you’ll gain experience with specialist equipment such as GPS, total stations, soil augers and field spectrometers.

Academic expertise

Cutting-edge research underpins every aspect of our teaching to keep you up to date with the latest thinking. Our lecturers include respected authors and experienced consultants who regularly work with local and international partners. They are enthusiastic, supportive and dedicated to your academic and career progress.

Current research projects embrace subjects such as volcanology, glaciology, climate change, coastal change and sustainable agriculture. Our staff have been investigating everything from rising sea levels in Ghana to paleoclimatic reconstruction in Greece.

Practitioners from a wide range of fields relating to geography and environmental hazards deliver regular guest lectures. They will share their own career experiences with you and give you insights into current developments within the profession.

Foundation Year - helping you to achieve more

Including a foundation year as part of your four-year study programme will give you a head start in your academic and professional life. The foundation year offers the chance to strengthen your skills, knowledge and confidence – with extensive support from our expert staff – before you advance to stage one of your honours degree. It could also be beneficial if you are planning a career change and want to get to grips with aspects of subjects which are new to you.

Our degrees with a foundation year are continuous, meaning that you won’t need to apply again once you have successfully completed the first year.

Joint 5thin the UK for careers after six months of graduating**Guardian University Guide 2020
an iceberg

Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC)

Specialising in securing clean environments, nature recovery, and resilience to natural hazards, we work collaboratively to safeguard our planet for future generations.

Learn more about our research Learn more about our research

The perfect environment on your doorstep

You’ll be studying in a location remarkable for its geographical landmarks and heritage. We’re just a stone’s throw away from the Peak District National Park, with its gritstone escarpments, limestone dales and flourishing tourism industry. Nearby is the Derwent Valley Mills UNESCO World Heritage Site, cradle of the Industrial Revolution which shaped our world today.  

We make the most of this outdoor classroom on our doorstep, with many excursions to help you read and interpret the landscape, investigate geomorphological concepts and undertake GPS data collection.

What you will study

You'll study modules such as:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Study Skills in Science
  • Research Methods in Data Handling
  • Foundations in Geoscience
  • Organisms and their Environment
  • Principles of Chemistry or Fundamentals of Human Behaviour
  • Sociology

If you already have level 2 English and Maths, you will not be required to take English and Maths core modules.

  • Introduction to Human Geography - The module examines urbanization and offers an insight into the conflicts behind decisions affecting land use and the allocation of resources in urban and rural settings
  • Physical Geography of the Anthropocene - The aim of this module is to provide you with an understanding of the structure, function, and characteristics of the Earth’s physical environment and its links with the human realm
  • Geographical Methods (1) - Supported by UK residential fieldwork, this module introduces basic methods of field survey, mapping and data collection, analysis and reporting to underpin geographical studies
  • Global Environmental Issues (1) - This module will introduce the current environmental issues that provide the greatest challenges to today’s global society
  • Geography and Geographers - The module aims to provide an appreciation of a range of theories and approaches in the discipline of Geography
  • Environmental Hazards and Disasters - This module introduces natural environmental hazards and disasters in a global geographical and geological context, and looks at each of the major hazards affecting Earth’s surface, people and society
  • Intellectual and Applied Skills for Geographers 
  • Career Preparation for Geographers - The purpose of this module is to help you enhance your graduate employability and prepare you for a professional career as a geography graduate
  • Mediterranean Environments (2) - This module examines how contemporary geographical processes are expressed within specific spaces, places and landscapes of a specific Mediterranean location
  • Research Methods in Geography - Focusing on both quantitative and qualitative data analysis, this module evaluates data types and sources in human and physical geography
  • Water: Resource and Hazard (1) - This module aims to develop a holistic, interdisciplinary understanding of water through a rigorous examination of both geographical as well as a geological analysis
  • Preparing for the Independent Study in Geoscience - This module aims to prepare students for their Independent study. Independent study often includes fieldwork which normally starts at the end of the second year
  • Applied Environmental Hazards Workshop

Optional Modules:

  • Introduction to Remote Sensing and GIS - This module provides a basic understanding of the theories and principles underpinning both satellite remote sensing and GIS and their application
  • Sustainable Energy Resources (1) - This module will review the current sources of conventional and renewable fuels used for energy production in the UK and globally
  • Social and Cultural Landscapes - The module aims to introduce students to, and develop their understanding of, the core concerns of contemporary social and cultural geography: its substantive concerns, theoretical perspectives, and methodological innovation
  • Sustainable Cities - This module will introduce current discussions of sustainable cities highlighting the challenges and opportunities of the rapidly urbanisation taking place all across the world
  • Glacial Environments (1) - This module examines the nature of surface processes operating in cold environments and their role in landform development
  • Study Abroad Module - This is a block credit module primarily for Geography and Geology single honours students who undertake 1 semester of overseas study as part of their degree programme

This course offers an ‘Industrial Placement Year’ giving you the opportunity to enhance your practical skills by putting theory into practice, network in your industry and stand-out in the graduate job market. The placement year takes place in your third year, once completed, you would return to University to complete your final year of studies.

  • Applied Professional Practice
  • Contemporary Issues in Professional Practice
  • Independent Studies for Geoscience - This module is a continuation of the process of Personal Development Planning (PDP) initiated in level 4 and 5, to develop an advanced skill-set which will enhance the graduateness and employability of students
  • Climate Change: Adaptation and Mitigation Perspectives - This module aims to develop a sound understanding of the nature and causes of climate change
  • Applied Environmental Hazards

Optional modules:

  • Terrain Evaluation (1) - This module investigates the theory and practice of terrain evaluation with particular reference to engineering construction
  • Environmental Management: Critical Perspectives (1) - This module will consider the role that environmental management plays in the reduction of waste and in the effective management of natural resources
  • Global Food Security and Food Futures - The overall aim of this module is to explore theoretical arguments and analysis of food security
  • Vocational Module (Work Placement or Volunteering) - This module provides an opportunity for students to obtain and undertake a placement with a company, voluntary body, the University of Derby or a public establishment
  • Applied GIS (1) - This module provides an appropriate portfolio of subject knowledge and applied skills typically required for an introductory position in the field of GIS or for going on to specialist postgraduate study in GIS
  • Migration and Displacement (1) - This module aims to define the theories and concepts of migration worldwide and explore contemporary geographical approaches to understanding migration and integration processes and their history, interaction, challenges, and prospects

(1) Module includes fieldwork
(2) Module includes residential fieldwork
(3) Module includes residential overseas fieldwork

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

University of Derby student drinking coffee

How you will learn

You will learn through a combination of compulsory class based contact time (lectures, seminars and practicals), fieldwork (e.g. half day, day and/or residential field courses) and optional tutorial classes. The remainder of the time is spent undertaking directed reading, making notes and undertaking assignments.

Field based learning

Fieldwork is an important part of our programme - all fieldwork is associated with particular modules and most of it involves half or full day trips to locations around the region.

How you're assessed

We use a diverse range of assessment methods, including essays, reports, field and laboratory notebooks, portfolios, posters, infographics oral presentations, vivas, and written exams (seen and unseen). You may be assessed individually or as part of a group. We’ve mapped our assessments against key graduate skillsets that employers require.

Geography fieldwork

Field based study plays a key role in our Geography degrees, enabling you to gain hands-on experience through a combination of residential and day trips across the UK and abroad.

Explore our fieldworkExplore our fieldwork

Entry requirements

September 2020 typical entry requirements

RequirementWhat we're looking for
UCAS points72 (up to 16 from AS-levels)
Specific requirements at A-levelN/A
Specific requirements at GCSE

GCSE Maths and English are preferred, however if you don't have these qualifications you will be able to undertake Maths and English at L2 as part of your course of study.

IELTS6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)
Interview / AuditionN/A

Alternative entry qualifications:

We usually consider an A-level in General Studies as a supplementary qualification. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions.

Our entry requirements for this course should be read together with the University's general entry requirements, which details subjects we accept, alternative qualifications and what we're looking for at Derby.

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees


£9,250 per year*



£14,045 per year


* The fees stated above are for the 2019/20 academic year; fees for 2020/21 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. We will update this information as soon as it is available.

Further information about our fees and support you may be entitled to.

Additional costs and optional extras

How to apply

UK/EU students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for EU students post-Brexit

International students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for international applicants applying for an undergraduate degree


Bringing a new dimension to our portfolio, the BSc (Hons) Geography and Environmental Hazards with Foundation Year paves the way to many challenging and rewarding career opportunities worldwide. There are now a growing number of roles which involve planning for, mitigating and managing natural hazards as well as helping to reduce the impact of climate change, pollution and population pressure.

However, this degree also equips you with invaluable transferable skills and the vision and self-reliance that can be used across many areas of employment. By the time you graduate, you’ll have developed a full range of professional skills, theoretical knowledge and practical experience to impress prospective employers from any organisation where environmental awareness and broad scientific knowledge are valued.

Our graduates have gone on to secure diverse roles in areas such as agronomy, environmental consulting, data analysis, water quality analysis, conservation, surveying, transport planning and teaching.

You could also consider taking your expertise to the next level by studying for a masters degree such as our MSc Environmental Assessment and Control. In an exciting new development, we are also launching an interdisciplinary MSc in Intelligence, Security and Disaster Management in September 2018. This specialist MSc will be particularly beneficial for anyone keen to pursue a career in the field of environmental hazards.

Programme leader

Oliver Tomlinson

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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† Additional information about your studies

Course starts September 2019

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

Included in your fees

Mandatory costs not included in your fees

Optional costs not included in your fees

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.

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