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

If you want a strong platform for success on our BSc (Hons) Geography, why not consider taking a foundation year first? It could be the start of a journey which opens up a whole world of career opportunities.

You can also take Geography as a Joint Honours subject.

*Accreditation from the Institution of Environmental Sciences applies to the four-year BSc (Hons) Geography with Foundation Year course only.

Institute of Environmental Sciences Accreditation Logo


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.

Why you should study Geography at the University of Derby

Map out your way to an inspiring career

Studying Geography with a foundation year 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.

Fieldwork to engage and inspire you

Our aim is to arouse your curiosity about the Earth and the human societies that inhabit it. And, because reality can differ from the text books, we give you every opportunity to apply theory to practice via fieldwork in the UK and overseas. You’ll gain vital hands-on experience which sheds new light on what you have covered in class.

Derby is superbly located for the aspiring geographer. You can explore a vast range of interesting locations in the vicinity, such as nature reserves, sites of special scientific interest, ancient woodlands, quarries and solar farms. Our students have undertaken practical sessions and field-based learning in settings as diverse as East Midlands Airport, Skegness, Nottingham and the Peak District National Park.

Residential field courses are offered as an integral part of your studies. You could find yourself conducting investigations in places ranging from the Lincolnshire coast to the Mediterranean or Morocco. Any fieldwork associated with compulsory modules is included in your course fee.

Explore our fieldwork


A stimulating study environment

Our modern and sophisticated learning facilities are the perfect setting for you to gain practical and technical skills.

In our spatial data laboratory, you’ll discover one of the best map collections of any UK university, while our geotechnical, sedimentology and specialist computing laboratories give you the chance to experiment, analyse and explore. You can also make the most of our student research laboratory where you will have a dedicated space to conduct your independent investigations seven days a week.

We provide all the high-tech resources you need to test and analyse specimens like vegetation, soil, water and rock samples. Throughout you’ll get to grips with industry-standard equipment such as GNSS, total stations, soil augers and field spectrometers. We also subscribe to the Digimap Service so you have full access to the digital databases of the British Geological Survey and the Ordnance Survey.

Enrich your learning

There are exciting opportunities for overseas study and work placements. Such experiences will help you stand out as a forward-thinking, ambitious and resourceful geographer.

Through our optional vocational module, you could go on a work placement in a graduate level role or undertake a relevant voluntary project. This will help you gain additional skills, from communication to project management, to set you apart in the eyes of employers. You could also apply to spend time studying in the USA or Canada, broadening your knowledge of geography.

Joint 5thin the UK for careers after six months of graduating**Guardian University Guide 2020
Lauren Moore on Geography fieldwork

Geography: putting theory into practice

Even a short work placement can provide invaluable experience, as our Geography student Lauren Moore discovered when she spent a week with Envireau Water.

Find out about Lauren's work placementFind out about Lauren's work placement

Professional recognition to open doors for you

Our four year BSc (Hons) Geography with Foundation Year course is one of only a handful of Geography degrees in the country to be accredited by The Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES), lending real professional credibility to your qualification and giving you the edge in the global graduate job market.

IES approval underlines how our course is mapped against the skills that employers are seeking. It also gives you an assurance that you will be studying high-quality modules focusing on the international challenges that face our society in the 21st century. In addition, you will have preferential access to internship and placement opportunities with the Institution.

As part of the accreditation process, the IES praised us for providing students with a powerful mix of laboratory and field skills, plus excellent career development opportunities.

The endorsement means that you can join the IES with Student Member status for free. Upon graduation, you will then have the opportunity to become an Associate Member, giving extra impetus to your career plans.

Teaching inspired by important research

By studying Geography at Derby, you’ll become part of a lively scientific community. Our geography lecturers are active researchers, authors and/or consultants undertaking important projects worldwide.

We will also introduce you to practitioners from a wide range of geography-related fields who deliver guest lectures and share inspirational insights from their own careers. We play a leading role in the Derbyshire Branch of the Geographical Association too.

One of the advantages of our degree is that it is informed by influential research so you can keep abreast of what’s new and next in the world of geography. Our current research projects span subjects such as the impacts of climate change, paleo climatic reconstruction in Greece, argan tree conservation and restoration in Morocco, use of biogas in less economically developed countries, rising sea levels in Ghana, and the implications of food allergies. 

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

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 
  • Intellectual and Applied Skills for Geographers - This zero credit module is done alongside other Stage 1 modules to support you in transitioning from an FE teaching environment to a HE learning environment and developing the skills crucial for your academic studies at University and beyond
  • Cartography and Mapping - This module considers fundamental ideas about maps and map making which are intended to equip you with the skills required to both interpret and create maps
  • 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 
  • 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

Optional modules:

  • 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 innovations
  • Glacial Environments (1) - This module examines the nature of surface processes operating in cold environments and their role in landform development
  • 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 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

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 
  • Environment, Landscape and Place (2) - This module explores the interaction between society and environment in the context of issues of environmental management

Optional modules:

  • 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
  • Climate Change: Adaptation and Mitigation Perspectives - This module aims to develop a sound understanding of the nature and causes of climate change
  • Global Food Security and Food Futures - The overall aim of this module is to explore theoretical arguments and analysis of food security
  • 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 
  • Terrain Evaluation (1) - This module investigates the theory and practice of terrain evaluation with particular reference to engineering construction
  • 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
  • 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

(1) These modules involve UK fieldwork
(2) These modules involve overseas residential fieldwork

Please note that if you study abroad in stage two, your modules will differ from those outlined above.

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

Each single module is worth 200 hours of student study. Compulsory class based contact time (lectures, seminars and practicals) is typically three hours per week for each module. On top of this, many modules have compulsory fieldwork elements (e.g. half day, day and/or residential field courses) that all students are expected to engage with. There are optional tutorial classes for modules and any 1-2-1s arranged with lecturers or your personal tutor regarding your studies. 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 (including Derby, Nottingham and the Peak District).

We currently have three residential field courses. In stage one there is a weekend residential field course to the Lincolnshire coast. In stage two there is a week-long field course to the Mediterranean, and in stage three there is a week-long field course to Morocco.

Work placements

An optional vocational work placement module is available by negotiation in stage 3.


Our course is very practical and gives you the hands-on experience that you need to prepare you for your career. We have invested in our facilities to ensure that you learn in realistic environments. You will also use industry-standard equipment and software so you can be confident that you will gain valuable experience. Take a look at our facilities.

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.

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


Among the major benefits of this degree is the chance to select from an extensive range of optional modules. It means you can tailor your studies to your strengths and chosen career path – whether your interest lies in sustainable energy or population geography, climate change or food security, environmental management or GIS.

Our graduates have progressed to a wide variety of roles in agronomy, environmental consulting, data analysis, rail planning, water quality analysis, teaching, GIS and conservation.

Because the BSc (Hons) Geography equips you with highly transferable skills and knowledge, you could also consider a career in commerce, public services, research and industry. Some of our graduates are now enjoying success as surveyors, land managers, business analysts, transport officers and civil servants.

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

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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