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What makes Physical Geography at Worcester special?

This fascinating branch of Geography studies the patterns and processes in the natural environment, from the atmosphere to the biosphere. With a strong emphasis on fieldwork, you will have every opportunity to immerse yourself in a range of different environments, whether walking in the footsteps of Darwin in Glen Roy, or mapping out a Swiss valley.

Overview

Overview

Key features

  • Outstanding student satisfaction in 2018 National Student Survey
  • Fieldwork learning opportunities included in almost every module - from day trips to residential fieldwork in the UK and overseas (Alps, North America)
  • State-of-the-art facilities to support your learning, including drones, a helikite, 2 river monitoring stations, and a virtual mapping suite
  • Small classes, allowing for intensive fieldwork and more rewarding exploration of ideas
  • Highly practical assessments, matching our teaching style - coursework can be up to 92% and include consultancy projects, writing a field guide, and making a vlog
  • Opportunities to study abroad in your second year - locations include Australia, Spain, USA, New Zealand
  • Undertake a work placement in your final year
  • Strong links with national employers such as the Environment Agency, Natural England and the Wildlife Trusts
THE Awards 2019 - Shortlisted - University of the Year

Shortlisted for University of the Year

The University of Worcester has been shortlisted in six categories of the prestigious Times Higher Education Awards 2019, including University of the Year.

Read the full story
Royal Geography Society with IBG - Accredited programme

This programme has been accredited by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). Accredited degree programmes contain a solid academic foundation in geographical knowledge and skills, and prepare graduates to address the needs of the world beyond higher education.

The accreditation criteria require evidence that graduates from accredited programmes meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including subject knowledge, technical ability and transferable skills.

"The staff have been fantastic in supporting me and helping me to acquire the knowledge and confidence I have now, and put together an engaging and inspiring course."

Joshua Chambers, BSc (Hons) Physical Geography graduate.

Physical Geography BSc with Study Abroad

We are currently developing a new four-year course with the same basic structure as our Physical Geography BSc but you will spend your third year studying geography and other subjects at an English-speaking university abroad. After benefiting from this extended international experience, you will return to Worcester for your final year with a wide range of additional study and life skills. This programme is currently subject to approval. If you would like to register your interest in this new course, which may be available from September 2020, please email your name to study@worc.ac.uk

Visit our Study Abroad page for more information.

Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

104-120
UCAS tariff points

Entry requirements

104-120 UCAS Tariff points

The University will consider each application on its individual merits and will recognise a range of qualifications not currently included in the Tariff, including pre-2002 qualifications such as GNVQ.

Other information

If your qualifications are not listed, please contact the Admissions Office for advice on 01905 855111 or email admissions@worc.ac.uk for advice.

Further information about the UCAS Tariff can be obtained from the UCAS website.

If you are an international student who does not have the relevant entry requirements for direct entry onto this course, our pathway courses at University of Worcester International College could be the right option for you and enable you to still graduate with this degree. To find out more visit the Science and Health & Social Science pathways page.

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Our open days are the perfect way to find out.

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Course content

What will you study?

Our courses are informed by research and current developments in the discipline and feedback from students, external examiners and employers. Modules do therefore change periodically in the interests of keeping the course relevant and reflecting best practice. The most up-to-date information will be available to you once you have accepted a place and registered for the course. If there are insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this might not be offered, but we will advise you as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative. 

Year 1

Mandatory

  • Geographical Investigations
  • Dynamic Earth
  • Risk and Resilience and Sustainability

 

Optional

  • Introduction to River Science
  • Climate Change: People, Politics and Action
  • Optional language modules

Year 2

Mandatory

  • Geography Field Course
  • Researching Geography
  • Mountain Environments, Landscapes and Hazards

Optional

  • Geographical Information Systems
  • Meteorology and Climate
  • River Monitoring and Assessment
  • Natural Hazards
  • Soils and the Environment
  • Optional language modules

Year 3

Mandatory

  • Independent Study in Physical Geography
  • Mountain Environments Field Course

Optional

  • Work Placement
  • Geographical Information Systems
  • Applied Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing
  • River Conservation and Management
  • Environmental Geology
  • Mountain Glaciers and Landscape
  • Ice Age Environments
  • Atmospheric Processes and Pollution

In your first year you will explore the fundamentals of this exciting and dynamic subject, learning the subject knowledge and practical skills essential for more advanced study. Modules at this level allow you to find out about the fascinating and internationally recognised research and consultancy activities undertaken by staff.

What really sets this course apart from others is its practical, hands-on emphasis. As a Physical Geography student at Worcester, you will enjoy a generous fieldwork programme, laboratory work, virtual field courses, computer practicals and a friendly and supportive learning environment. These activities will help you to understand subject knowledge and develop a wide range of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers. This approach, repeatedly praised by external experts, is complemented by an assessment strategy that focuses on coursework rather than formal examinations.

Alps Field Course

Our students travel to the Alps to experience mountain environments.
Teaching and assessment

How will you be taught?

We enable you to develop the independent learning capabilities that will equip you for lifelong learning and future employment, as well as academic achievement.

A mixture of independent study, teaching and academic support through the personal academic tutoring system enables you to reflect on progress and build up a profile of skills, achievements and experiences that will enable you to flourish and be successful.

Teaching

All modules within the BSc Physical Geography programme aim to encourage learners to engage in discussion of key issues and application of key concepts. Students are taught through a combination of fieldwork, seminars, presentations, tutorials, laboratory work, project work, and online activities.

In addition, meetings with personal academic tutors are scheduled on at least 4 occasions in the first year, and three occasions in the second and third year of the course. You have an opportunity to meet with your personal academic tutor on more occasions if you wish. A key aim of the academic tutorial programme is to provide you with support for your academic studies.

In the second semester in the second year of your course, you have an option to study abroad for a semester at a university either in Europe or in an international location. Previous students have studies abroad for one semester at an American, Canadian, Australian and Spanish university. Other destinations are also available.

During your course, you will have access to a wide range of specialist resources, including a fully equipped GIS Mapping and Visualization Suite, which provides access to high-end computers, industry standard GIS (ArcGIS), statistical analysis software, and other mapping and remote sensing software.

You will also have access to a variety of field equipment, including a Teledyne StreamPro Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler, a 2D Flow Tracker, Valeport Electromagnetic current meters for measuring velocity, and YSI multi-parameter water quality probes. In addition, the Geography department has laboratories for teaching and research, and industry-standard design software to prepare you for future employment.

Contact time

In a typical week, you will have approximately 12-16 contact hours of teaching. The exact contact hours will depend on the optional modules selected. In the final year, you will normally have slightly less contact time in order carry out more independent study. The type of teaching activities varies per module, but an example of teaching activities for a first year module for one semester are:

  • 20 hours of (large group) lectures
  • 8 hours of interactive workshops
  • 8 hours of computer practicals
  • 4 hours of supervised laboratory practical
  • 4 hours of fieldwork activities
  • 4 hours of seminars

Independent self-study

In addition to the 12-16 hours of contact time, you are expected to undertake approximately 21-25 hours of personal self-study per week respectively. Typically, this will involve visiting the library and carrying out recommended reading, planning and writing assignments, and undertaking group work.

Independent learning is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities, including the Hive and library resources, the virtual learning environment, and extensive electronic learning resources.

Teaching staff

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. The team includes professors in human and physical geography, senior academics with industry experience, demonstrators and technicians. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader.

Teaching is informed by the research and consultancy, and a very high percentage (85+%) of course lecturers have a higher education teaching qualification or are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy. You can learn more about the staff by visiting our staff profiles.

Assessment

The course provides opportunities to test understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or 'formative' assignments. Each module has one or more formal or 'summative' assessments, which are graded and count towards the overall module grade.

Assessment methods include written examinations and a range of coursework assessments such as essays, written assignments (including consultancy reports and planning statements), journals, practical investigations, practical reports, portfolios, individual and groups presentations, posters, and a final year independent studies project.

The precise assessment requirements for an individual student in an academic year will vary according to the mandatory and optional modules taken. You will not be expected to complete all assignments list below (i.e. the exact pattern of assignments depends on your optional modules); however, a typical formal summative assessment pattern for each year of the course is:

Year 1
2 essays
1 written assignment
2 practical investigations
1 individual or group presentation
1 formal examination of 2 hours duration
3 practical reports

Year 2
4 essays
1 written assignment
1 individual or group presentations
3 practical reports
1 research proposal

Year 3
2 essays
2 practical assessments
1 written assignment
1 practical investigation
2 individual or group presentations
3 projects
3 practical reports
1 independent study of approximately 10,000 words

Feedback

You will receive feedback on practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback on examination performance is available upon request from the module leader. Feedback is intended to support learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with personal academic tutors and module tutors as appropriate.

We aim to provide you with feedback on formal course work assessments within 20 working days of hand-in.

Programme specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification document.

professor-ian-maddock

Professor Ian Maddock

Professor Ian Maddock joined Worcester in 1993 and has teaching and research interests in River Science, Hydromorphology, Hydroecology / Ecohydrology, Ecohydraulics, River Restoration and Aquatic Habitat Measurement, Mapping and Modelling. Ian developed and is the leader of the University’s River Science Research Group.

Ian has international experience conducting research in Australia, Ireland and the USA. He has flown the University's drones for research in the UK, Chile and Slovenia.

dr-fleur-visser

Dr Fleur Visser

Fleur studied Physical Geography at the University of Amsterdam and since then has studied and worked in Belgium, Australia and the UK.

In a current research project she is investigating the possibilities of applying remote sensing techniques for detecting and mapping submerged aquatic vegetation and algae in shallow river systems, mostly UK chalk streams.

dr-cheryl-jones

Dr Cheryl Jones

As well as teaching a variety of modules on the Geography BSc (Hons) course and supervising PhD students, Dr Cheryl Jones also has a number of other roles within University of Worcester - as a KTI Fellow; Award leader in Physical Geography; Enterprise co-ordinator; and Examinations Officer.

River Science and Monitoring

Not only can they study abroad, our Geography students have access to amazing fieldwork locations across Worcestershire.
Careers

Where could it take you?

This course will prepare you for a range of interesting and diverse careers, including environmental consultancy, geographical information systems (GIS) management, local government and planning (e.g. town and country planning, regeneration managers, tourism officers, climate change development officers, data managers, community service managers), conservation, working with the wildlife Trust or Civil Service, research and teaching. Alternatively you may wish to continue to postgraduate study and other professional qualifications.

Geography graduates have a good track record in gaining employment in a wide range of professions and organisations, as a result of the broad range of skills developed through hands-on learning activities centred on the analysis of real world issues and processes.

There are many opportunities to extend one's experience and enhance one's CV by carrying out voluntary work. Staff members in the Institute have links with several local government (such as local authority planning departments) organisations and other environmental and conservation agencies and can help organise voluntary work (which can feed into Independent Studies projects in the final year of study). Numerous undergraduates have volunteered to assist in the collection of River Science field data in recent years and have gained experience in using our state of the art river monitoring equipment. This has helped some of them gain employment after graduation in the water industry, with environmental consultancies and the Environment Agency.

Cover of the 2020 University of Worcester prospectus

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Costs

How much will it cost?

Full-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fee for full-time UK and EU students registering in the academic year 2020/21 is £9,250 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

International students

The standard tuition fee for full-time international (non-EU) students registering in the academic year 2020/21 is £12,700 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Part-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fees for part-time UK and EU students registering on this course in the academic year 2020/21 are £1,156 per 15-credit module, £1,542 per 20 credit module, £2,313 per 30-credit module, £3,083 per 40-credit module, £3,469 per 45-credit module and £4,625 per 60 credit module.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Additional costs

Every course has day-to-day costs for basic books, stationery, printing and photocopying. The amounts vary between courses.

If your course offers a placement opportunity, you may need to pay for a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check.

Accommodation

Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience, and our welcoming student communities are great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our halls of residence. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Traditional Hall' at £105 per week to 'En-suite Extra' at £169 per week (2020/21 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page.

How to apply

How do you apply?

Applying through UCAS

Single Honours:
Physical Geography BSc (Hons) - F800 BSc/PG

Joint Honours:
Ecology and Physical Geography - CF18

UCAS is the central organisation through which applications are processed for entry onto full-time undergraduate courses in Higher Education in the UK.

Read our How to apply pages for more information on applying and to find out what happens to your application.

UCAS Code

F800

Get in touch

If you have any questions, please get in touch. We're here to help you every step of the way.

Dr Cheryl Jones

Head of Geography & Archaeology