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Guide to studying Geography & Environmental Science

Geography & Environmental Science gives you the opportunity to study the world’s people and environments, giving you an insight into different landscapes, economies and cultures.

World's largest and most beautiful Rice Terraces


  1. What's Geography & Environmental Science?

  2. Why study Geography & Environmental Science?

  3. What jobs can you get as a Geography & Environmental Science graduate?

  4. What do graduates do and earn?
  5. What qualifications do you need?

  6. What degrees can you study?

  7. How will you be assessed?

  8. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

What's Geography & Environmental Science?

Geography is the study of the Earth's landscapes, people, places and environments.

There are two primary disciplines in geographical study: human geography, which is why and how people live in certain places; and physical geography, which looks at the natural features of the Earth's surface.

Similar courses for Geography & Environmental Sciences include: 

  • Human & Social Geography
  • Physical Geographical Sciences
  • Science of Aquatic & Terrestrial Environments

Why study Geography & Environmental Science?

Whether it's the ability to grow crops, capability to stock-pile water or power to pre-empt natural disasters, the study of our environment and geography of the planet plays a vital role. We can look at patterns and predict potential hazards, which helps us implement precautions to avoid such results.

By studying the geography of a country, you can start to understand why certain cultures farm certain foods, or why a particular set of people design their houses in a particular way. You're exposed to a world of drastically different situations, so you get to learn about the rich tapestry of human life.

Teaching during a Geography & Environmental Science degree is often through experience-based learning. This involves practical work on a regular basis, which helps balance out the reading-load expected of a university student, giving you a diverse learning experience.

The subject area relies on good teamwork skills. Many projects are group-based, which is a key facet to hold when working in the outside world. Data analysis skills are developed through years of observing results, which will enhance your ability to identify, comment on and use sets of data effectively.

You're also likely to get the chance to study abroad. Time outside the UK can be invaluable for many students, as it offers a vibrant first-hand experience of a new climate.

Valleys and mountains. Geography concept

What jobs can you get as a Geography & Environmental Science graduate?

A lot of Geography courses have strong graduate prospects where there are many applicable and relevant job options.

Particular job areas include cartographer, surveyor, planner and developer, teacher, town planner, international aid worker, landscape architect and market researcher.

Several professional organisations offer specialised positions for Geography graduates, such as Amey.

What do graduates do and earn?

In the infographic below, the first table shows what graduates of Geography & Environmental Science have gone on to do in the months after their graduation.

The second table shows the average salaries of undergraduate Geography & Environmental Science students entering employment. The three skill levels – high, medium and low – reflect the UK's Standard Occupational Classification's major groups 1–3, 4–6 and 7–9 respectively.

Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18

What qualifications do you need? 

For Geography courses, most universities will ask for an A Level (or equivalent) in Geography.

For Environmental Studies, you might need to have studied two out of the following: Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Geology, Mathematics, Physics and Psychology.

Grades and other requirements vary between institutions. Always confirm for the particular university/course you're interested in.

What degrees can you study?

  • BA Geography (Social Sciences)
  • BSc Geography (Natural Sciences)
  • BA Physical Geography
  • BA Human and Social Geography

How will you be assessed?

Assessment is through a combination of examinations and coursework. A lot of departments are imaginative in their techniques, with podcasting, oral presentations and posters also used in assessments.

Contact time is often low, where one-to-one work with tutors in the case of dissertations and individual projects is common practice.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Examples of taught MAs and research degrees at postgraduate level include a straight MA or MSc in Geography as well as master's courses in Life & Environmental Sciences, Ecology, Meteorology and Climatology, Aquatic Science, Climate Change and Sustainability, and Land Management.

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