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An integrated study of the Earth's places, societies, environments and landscapes, including vocational and transferable skills in IT.


Study Geography at Ulster University in the United Kingdom.

Geography is the study of the Earth as the home of people. It concerns the disposition and interaction of people, resources and natural events, and places emphasis on cultural and social perspectives. It also explores the nature, scale and processes affecting physical features on the surface of the Earth, and the human element in global events.

A Geography degree provides a multi-disciplinary foundation in these areas and provides access to a wide range of careers.

Geography is the study of the Earth as the home of people. It concerns the disposition and interaction of people, resources and natural events, and places emphasis on cultural and social perspectives. It also explores the nature, scale and processes affecting physical features on the surface of the Earth, and the human element in global events.

A Geography degree provides a multi-disciplinary foundation in these areas and provides access to a wide range of careers.

The courses are accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES) for the purpose of eligibility to apply for associate membership.

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About this course

In this section


Geography is an integrated study of the Earth’s places, societies, environments and landscapes. So if you are interested in learning about the world in which we live and about pressing issues that affect us such as climate change, environmental hazards, conflict and social inequality, and sustainable development, then a geography degree is for you. The discipline of geography is unique because it is the only university degree that bridges the social sciences and humanities (human geography) with the natural sciences (physical geography) in a coherent way. It remains one of the most popular degrees to study at university and students enjoy the programme because of the insights they gain about the world around them. Because geography provides an ideal framework for relating other fields of knowledge, students trained as geographers can contribute substantially to the applied management of the Earth’s resources and its environments. At the University of Ulster we have designed programmes which cover the main elements of geographical analysis. The advanced training that you will receive in geography is designed to enhance your employment skills once you graduate.

Associate awards

Diploma in Professional Practice DPP

Diploma in International Academic Studies DIAS

Find out more about placement awards


Three years (four years with DPP/DIAS option).
On campus five days a week, contact time average 16 hours per week, 34 hours per week average independent study including academic assessment.

Start dates

  • September 2017
How to apply


Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

In this section

Year one

EGM Skills Toolbox

Year: 1

This module is designed to introduce level 4 students of environmental science and geography to a range of practical skills related to investigative work in these areas of science. This encompasses data gathering (particularly related to mapping, questionnaires, interview techniques, and focus groups), data summary and analysis, and the use of software packages for data display and analysis (Excel and SPSS). The module also provides study and writing skills, data presentation, report writing, and the use of information resources.

Society, Environment and Sustainability

Year: 1

This module introduces some of the main theories, ideas and issues associated with the study of sustainability, spatial inequality and the attendant development process and policy issues. It adopts a scalar approach and examines many of the different developmental issues operating at the global, through the international, national, regional, local, and right down to the individual levels. The module focuses upon patterns of disparity and development in the less developed world, in western Europe, and the island of Ireland.

The Lithosphere

Year: 1

This module is an introduction to general geological and geomorphological processes and concepts. Students will learn about the structure of our planet, learn to identify rocks and minerals, read maps and interpret geologic and geomorphological processes and features in the field.

Key Concepts in Human Geography

Year: 1

This module explores the key theories underpinning both human and physical geography. Using a range of case studies and examples we work through some of the most contested debates and issues dominating modern geographical thought as well as revisiting the genesis of current geographical ideas.

The Biosphere

Year: 1

The biosphere provides an overview of the constituent parts of the living component of the planet, beginning at the level of the individual organism. Starting with an introduction to the history of life on earth and several general concepts, this material will move into the diversity of form in plant divisions and animal phyla in light of taxonomic classification, systematics and phylogeny. These concepts will be outlined with reference to specific case studies and the current state of scientific literature on the subject. These concepts will be demonstrated through a series of practical exercises which will give an appreciation of the diversity of external and internal anatomical form of a range of different organisms and their approaches to life.

Environmental Systems

Year: 1

This module is designed to introduce students to the theory of environmental systems and provide an understanding of systems behaviour using various environmental systems as examples. The theoretical component of the module will be provided by lectures, which will cover a contemporary thinking into concepts of environmental systems and the practical part of the module will consist of a laboratory exercises.

Year two

The Atmosphere

Year: 2

This module is designed to allow students to gain a good understanding of weather phenomena, atmospheric circulation and our climate. In addition, impact of human activity such as pollution and climate change on the atmospheric conditions and circulations will be explored.

Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems

Year: 2

This module offers students the opportunity to study the principles and applications of terrestrial and underwater remote sensing, and develop links between remote sensing and GIS. Students are expected to become familiar with theoretical foundations and to demonstrate technical principles through a series of software-based practical exercises and projects.

Enterprise, Business and Employability

Year: 2

Through a variety of teaching methods this module provides students with a range of environmental, geographical and generic employment-orientated skills and practices to help them enhance their employability potential and to integrate more effectively into the workplace. Students will gain an understanding of the various professional and career opportunities in the marketplace for Geography and Environmental Science students and have the opportunity to experience the full job application and selection process.

Environment, Politics and Development

Year: 2

This module investigates the links between environment, human action and associated development through the exploration of environmental change, the causes, impacts consequences of environmental issues and by considering the concept of sustainable development and how conflict emerges in society.

Environmental Planning

Year: 2

Continued development of regions and the expansion in the use of the environment and its resources requires planning and management of often complex and diverse issues and stakeholders. This module examines the relationship between society, planning and environment and explores a range of decision making approaches and the wider social implications of these. It considers the concepts and requirements of environmental impact assessment and outlines the methodology of planning an EIA.

Research Methods and Field School (Geography)

Year: 2

This two-part module introduces students to research design in geography and to the theory and practice of geographic fieldwork. Part one is lecture based and covers qualitative and quantitative research methods, risk assessment, research ethics and research project planning. Part two is a residential field-course which explores these methods and issues at first hand. The module serves as preparation for EGM519 Geography Dissertation, which students take in their final year.

Freshwater Systems

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module provides a general introduction to the physical, chemical and biological processes occurring in freshwater, including water balance processes, their management and relevance to society.

Ecology and Biogeography

Year: 2

This module is optional

Ecology is a broad discipline involving biology, chemistry and physics of the environment, geography and human impacts. Concepts of ecology, including the interactions between individuals and populations, and the structure and resilience of communities and ecosystems, will be examined with reference to specific case studies and in the context of the biosphere as a whole. A range of different ecosystems will be studied in terrestrial, freshwater, marine and microbial environments, from which case studies will be drawn. These case studies will include the key production processes in each ecosystem, in addition to model organisms at a range of trophic levels and relevant publications detailing the current state of knowledge for each system. The role of applied ecology, in relation to conservation and environmental management will also be emphasised.

Coastal & Marine Processes

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module is designed to introduce students to the interaction between coastal and marine processes and forms, and how these relate to the human use of the coastal zone and the deep sea. It examines various parameters within the coastal zone, shallow and deep water, and outlines the basic fundamentals of coastal and marine processes. Current state-of-the-art techniques used in modern coastal and marine research are described. Use is also made of the www to add supplementary material to that given in lectures.

Year three

Industrial placement - Diploma in Professional Practice (DPP)

Year: 3

This module is optional

An industrial placement is an optional element of the Environmental Science, Geography, and Marine Science Honours Degree Programmes, and it provides a wide range of opportunities for students to experience work in many different fields of the broad subject areas. Students benefit by completing a placement period and improving their knowledge, understanding and practical abilities as well as enhancing their employment prospects.

Diploma in Intern'l Academic Stds (learning in a foreign language)

Year: 3

This module is optional

This module is a requirement of the Diploma in International Academic Studies and is mandatory for those students of Environmental Science, Marine Science and Geography studying in a European or International University or teaching in a foreign language. It is not available to any other students. Students on this programme are required to achieve at least 50 ECTS while abroad and contribute to seminars and a blog concerning their experience while at the host University.

Diploma in International Academic Studies (Learning in English)

Year: 3

This module is optional

This module is a requirement of the Diploma in International Academic Studies and is mandatory for those students of Environmental Science, Marine Science and Geography studying in a European or International University or teaching in English. It is not available to any other students. Students on this programme are required to achieve at least 50 ECTS while abroad and contribute to seminars and a blog concerning their experience while at the host University.

Year four

Geography and Environmental Sciences Dissertation

Year: 4

This module involves the completion of an individual research project conducted on an Environmental Science topic of students? own choice in conjunction with help from an academic member of staff (supervisor).

Advanced Geographic Information Systems

Year: 4

The module offers students the opportunity to study a variety of spatial and statistical techniques relevant to the GI Industry. Techniques from GIS, remote sensing and landscape metrics are applied to the measurement and monitoring of spatial patterns and processes. A number of software programs are available, especially ArcGIS 10.1. Practical experience will be gained using Global Positioning Systems.

Research and Professional Skills

Year: 4

Through a variety of teaching methods this module provides students with a clear focus on professional career opportunities and assists them in enhancing their environmental and geographically specific employability skills. Particular emphasis is given to the translation of the specific research skills of project planning, critical literature review and methodological and analytical techniques that they employed in the dissertation project. Students will gain an understanding of the various sources of postgraduate study and professional job opportunities available to Geography and Environmental Science graduates and will provided with the opportunity to experience a full job application, interview and selection process.

Seafloor Mapping

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module outlines the theory behind the acquisition, processing, spatial-integration and interpretation of marine data, concentrating on marine acoustics. Geological, geotechnical, archaeological and biological case studies are used to explore the applications of acoustics to marine sciences. Use is made of world-wide-web for accessing extant and recently acquired digital marine data sets. This strategy reflects the increasing exploitation of the world-wide-web by marine scientists and Government Agencies to catalogue and distribute digital data.

Environmental Change

Year: 4

This module is optional

The module examines temporal and spatial signatures of environmental change with the aim of developing an understanding of landscape evolution at Quaternary to historical timescales. A range of proxy evidence (sedimentary and biological) is used to explore the links within the ice-atmosphere-ocean system in global context.

Applied Water Science and Toxicology

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module applies theory and techniques relevant to current issues in water pollution, toxicology and management.

Environmental Challenges and Management

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module uses real life case studies to examine how landscapes may be managed and conserved. Examples are drawn from across a range of contexts and challenge the students to consider the complexity of decision making in environmental management. It is available to final year students in Environmental Science and Geography.

Conflict Geographies

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module examines the complex nature of conflict. It looks at a number of core related issues within the conflict arena including identity and society while contextualising the process of conflict resolution within a Development framework.

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

In this section

A level

Offers in grade range CCD to BCC to include Grade C or above in Geography.

Applicants may satisfy the requirement for the third A level grade by substituting a combination of alternative qualifications to the same standard as defined by UCAS.


Overall award profile in range MMM (minimum 13 merits) to DMM (minimum 7 distinctions). Only Geography-based BTECs acceptable.

Irish Leaving Certificate

Offer in range B2B2C1C3C3 to B2B2C1C1C1 to include Geography.

Applicants must also have Higher Level English and Mathematics Grade D or above or Ordinary Level English and Mathematics Grade C or above.

International Baccalaureate

Overall International Baccalaureate profile minimum 24 points to include 12 at higher level to include Geography.

Access to Higher Education (HE)

Pass Certificate in Foundation Studies/Access course with overall average in range 60 to 65% including 60 - 65% in all level 3 modules.

e.g. an offer based on 260 Ucas TP will ask for overall average of 65%.

Currently under review with UCAS for 2017 entry. Please refer to the Equivalence of Qualifications for indicative requirement.


You must satisfy the General Entrance Requirements for admission to a first degree course and hold GCSE passes in English Language and Mathematics at Grade C or above (or equivalent).

Please note that for purposes of entry to this course the Level 2 Essential / Key Skill in Application of Number is NOT regarded as an acceptable alternative to GCSE Maths.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Additional Entry Requirements

Applicants may also meet the course entry requirements with combinations of the different qualifications to the same standard as defined by UCAS (provided subject requirements as noted above are met). Examples of acceptable combinations include:

2 A Levels and BTEC Subsidiary Diploma

OCR National Diploma and BTEC Subsidiary Diploma

2 A Levels and Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma

A Level and BTEC National Diploma

For further information regarding combination offer requirements, please contact Faculty Office staff on T: +44 (0) 28 7012 4159 or E:

Teaching and learning assessment

Knowledge and understanding are required through lectures, practical sessions, directed reading, case study work, fieldwork, seminars, tutorials, and primary and secondary data evaluation techniques. Modules are assessed by a combination of coursework and examinations or by coursework only. The assessment methods used in individual modules are specified in the module handbooks. Each module adopts its own assessment strategy and may include one or more of the following: essays; literature reviews; seminar oral presentations; seminar write-ups; class tests; research projects/dissertations and examinations.

Exemptions and transferability

Most students enter Year 1. However, if you can provide evidence of previous relevant study, you may be considered for entry to later years.

Careers & opportunities

In this section

Career options

Employers are particularly impressed by the flexibility of graduates in Geography. The subject encourages cross-disciplinary thinking, good communication and team-building skills, and a knowledge base that has wide application. As such, careers for Geography graduates are quite diverse. The flexible skills acquired during a Geography degree means there are many career opportunities in both the public and private sectors of the economy. Our Geography programme is recognised as an essential precursor for students seeking admission to PGCE (teacher training) courses in both the UK and RoI and the traditional fields of teaching have attracted many of our graduates throughout the years. Other career opportunities include working for Aid Agencies, Government and Diplomatic Services, Voluntary Organisations, Consultancies, Ordnance Survey, Town Planning, Travel Industries and Marketing, Estate Management, Rural Development Agencies, National Trust, Town and Transport Planning, Site Management, Population Census and Social Planning. After qualifying, about half of our graduates embark on postgraduate training in areas such as Town Planning, Tourism, Computing, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Remote Sensing, Business Management and Export Marketing. Increasingly, our students are furthering their career prospects by undertaking a postgraduate course once their Geography degree is completed. Because Geography bridges the social sciences, humanities and natural sciences, Geography graduates have much more scope to take up places on postgraduate courses offered in these areas.

Work placement / study abroad

If you choose the DPP/DIAS option the third year is spent undertaking study in a European (DIAS) or USA (BEI) university, or work in industry (DPP).

Academic profile

The School of Geography and Environmental Sciences is one of the largest of its kind in Britain and Ireland, with over 350 full-time undergraduate students, 250 postgraduate students and 36 academic, technical and administrative staff. Particular strengths in the School are the development of interdisciplinary taught and research programmes that integrate the environmental, earth and marine sciences with human geography and the use of spatial analysis to investigate relationships between the environment and society. Teaching in the School was rated as 'excellent' in the most recent Teaching Quality Assessment Exercise conducted by the Higher Education and Funding Council, and has consistently been included as one of the top ten of its kind in the UK in independent league tables published by national newspapers. We were also recently commended by the Quality Assurance Agency's Institutional Audit for the quality of our teaching and management of the learning experience.


Applications for full time undergraduate courses are made through UCAS

How to apply

Start dates

  • September 2017

Fees and funding

In this section

Fees (per year)

Important notice - fees information Tuition fees shown are for last years entry. Fees are correct at the time of publishing and may be subject to an annual increase. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study. Read our Tuition Fees Payment Policy

Northern Ireland & EU:
England, Scotland & Wales:

Additional mandatory costs

Students will be expected to make contributions to the cost of residential fieldwork. Residential fieldwork takes place in all years of the programme. These costs associated with these trips may vary from year to year depending on destinations but across the three years may total approximately £400.

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel and normal living are a part of university life. 

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them in the online prospectus. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.

We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.

There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course. 

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees. 

Please contact the course team for more information.


Faculty Office
T: +44 (0) 28 7012 4159

Course Director: Dr Sara McDowell
T: +44 (0) 28 7012 3399


"Geography students who have developed GIS, and project management experience have made excellent progress". (Land and Property Services)

"It is clear that graduate employees have benefitted during their course from the opportunity to apply and enhance skills while on industrial placement". (NIEA)