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What makes Physical Geography with International Year Abroad at Worcester special?

Our Physical Geography with International Year Abroad programme provides you with an exciting opportunity to study abroad with one of our International Partners. This four-year programme has the same structure as our BSc Physical Geography course, but you will spend your third year studying Physical Geography at an English speaking university and return to Worcester for your fourth and final year.

Study abroad locations include a range of European countries, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan or the USA. You’ll be hosted by a partner university and you will be able to choose freely from across their course offerings in Physical Geography. During your year abroad, you will enjoy the diverse learning opportunities of your host institution and the cultural and travel opportunities offered by your destination.  

Spending a year living and studying in another country is a fantastic experience that will provide you with the opportunity to: 

  • Explore a new country and experience different cultures
  • Broaden your academic horizons and gain a new perspective on your studies
  • Improve your career prospects by gaining new skills and increasing your employability by preparing you for the global job market
  • Develop your social skills, make new friends and participate in sports and activities in a different environment
  • Improve your foreign language skills or learn a new language.

Visit our Study Abroad pages to find out more about where you can study and the bursaries and travel grants available to support your study abroad period.

At Worcester, Physical Geography is all about the learning experience, our smaller class sizes will not only provide you with a supportive and friendly environment, but it will also allow you to gain access to specialist equipment to enable you to develop an extensive range of field, laboratory and GIS skills to support your future career aspirations or further study. 

Overview

Overview

Key features

  • Study abroad for a year in Europe, USA, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Australia or New Zealand
  • Exciting fieldwork opportunities, including local day excursions and residential fieldwork in the UK and overseas (recent venues include Lake District, Scotland, California and the Swiss Alps).
  • Our degree programmes will provide you with the transferable skills and expertise essential for future employment.
  • Our research feeds directly into our teaching, meaning you will be taught by academics who are experts in their field and to ensure you have first-hand knowledge of recent research in areas such as river science,  natural hazards, sustainable development, climate change, glacial and mountain geomorphology.
  • You have the opportunity to take a professional placement with a wide range of organisations, such as local government, charities, schools, government agencies, wildlife trusts and environmental consultancies.
  • Small classes, allowing for intensive fieldwork, practical work and more rewarding exploration of ideas
  • State-of-of the art facilities to support your learning, including precision survey GPS, Laser Scanner, Total Stations and mapping equipment. Industry standard water quality sondes, samplers and flow meters as well as two river monitoring stations with telemetry access. Professional standard rotary and fixed wing drones, a GIS mapping suite, laboratories and student access to a range of laboratory apparatus.

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Geography at Worcester

Royal Geographical Society with IBG accredited programme

Accreditation

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-applicant-guide-cover

Applicant guide

Download the applicant guide to discover even more about studying Physical Geography BSc at the University of Worcester.

Download the guide

Case study: Constantin Back

"I experienced so much to be grateful for, and many things I will never forget. I made some amazing friends whom I'm still in contact with."

Constantin Back, University of Valencia (2019/20)

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.

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

Other information

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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Adele Rawlinson

Adele Rawlinson

‘’Choosing to study abroad was definitely the best decision I have ever made. My host university was extremely welcoming and enabled me to engage and make new friends almost straight away I feel as though studying abroad has improved my academic potential by giving me access to a new range of learning materials, study practices and has given me a chance to learn things in a new way from different lecturers. I will remember my exchange experiences forever and only wish I could do it all again!’’

Adele Rawlinson, Darwin, Australia (2019/20)

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
  • Introduction to Sustainability

Year 2

Mandatory 

  • Geographical Information Systems and Research Methods
  • The Physical Geography of Mountain Environments
  • Geography Residential Field Course

Optional 

  • Climate Change: Science and Policy
  • Meteorology and Climate
  • River Monitoring and Assessment
  • Natural Hazards
  • California Field Course: Dynamic Landscapes
  • Optional language modules

Year 3

Your third year is spent abroad at a partner university in Europe, USA, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Australia or New Zealand.

Year 4

Mandatory 

  • Dissertation in Physical Geography
  • Mountain Environments Overseas Field Course

Optional 

  • Mountain Glaciers and Landscape
  • Professional Placement for Geographers
  • Earth Observation and GIS applications
  • River Conservation and Management
  • Environmental Geology
  • Quaternary Climate and Environmental Change
  • Atmospheric Processes and Pollution
  • California Field Course: Dynamic Landscapes

Geography fieldwork

At Worcester, fieldwork is central to our approach to teaching and research in Geography.

In addition to a range of fantastic residential field courses (destinations this year include Malawi, California, Switzerland, France and Scotland), we include local and regional fieldwork in most of our modules.

Fieldwork is embedded throughout the degree, which is important because it provides frequent opportunities to apply and extend knowledge and skills in the ‘real world’. As well as being essential preparation for employment and further study, it can be hugely enjoyable.

Find out more about fieldwork opportunities

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.

During your year abroad, you will enjoy the diverse learning opportunities of your host institution, as well as the cultural and travel opportunities of your year abroad destination. You will be in regular contact with your personal academic tutors throughout the year.

Throughout 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, statistical analysis software, and other mapping and remote sensing software. You will also have access to a variety of field equipment, 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 practical based modules, students can expect up to 48 hours contact time per semester. In the final year there is normally slightly less contact time in order carry out more independent self-study. However, students will have guided supervision, with up to 48 hours contact time in taught sessions, if the module requires the use of specialist software or field/ laboratory-based activities.

Typical class contact time is structured around:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Interactive workshops
  • Practical sessions
  • Group activities
  • Fieldwork

Independent self-study

In addition to the 12-16 hours of contact time, you are expected to undertake around 24 hours of personal self-study per week.  Typically, this will involve completing online activities, reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library and online, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for examinations.

Independent learning is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities, including the Lakeside Campus outdoor facilities, 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

  • 1 Essay
  • 1 Portfolio/Logbook
  • 2 Practical reports
  • 2 Presentations
  • 2 Written Assignments

Year 2

  • 2 Essays
  • 1 Exam
  • 1 Individual or Group Presentations
  • 1 Practical Investigation
  • 4 Practical Reports
  • 1 Research Proposal
  • 1 Written Assignment

Year 4

  • 1 Other (Dissertation)
  • 1 Practical Assessment
  • 1 Practical Investigation
  • 1 Practical Report
  • 1 Project
  • 2 Written Assignments

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 for BSc Physical Geography that includes BSc Physical Geography with International Year Abroad.

Meet the team

Prof-Ian-Maddock4

Professor Ian Maddock

Professor Ian Maddock joined Worcester in 1993 and has teaching and research interests in River Science, Hydromorphology and the use of drones or Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for high resolution surveys and to assess environmental change.

Ian's University learning and teaching experience includes being a tutor for BSc Geography, BSc Physical Geography and BSc Environmental Science degrees and the newly created BSc Environmental Management and Sustainability degree. He also led the development of and is course leader for the MRes in River Science. He teaches on a range of modules including generic modules (e.g. Environmental Investigations, Dynamic Earth, Geographical Investigations) and subject specific modules (e.g. River Conservation and Management, River Monitoring and Assessment, The Physical Geography of Mountain Environments, the Mountain Environments Field Course).

FleurWebsite photo

Dr Fleur Visser

From Fleur's undergraduate degree in Physical Geography at the University of Amsterdam she gained strong field-based research skills, which she used to produce a sediment budget for tropical sugarcane land during my PhD project at the Australian National University and CSIRO Townsville. A subsequent opportunity to study soil erosion in a different way, using hyperspectral image data, sparked her interest in the use of Earth Observation (EO) image analysis for mapping and monitoring of the world around us.

Fleur's ongoing research investigates the possibilities for using very high and ultra-high resolution imagery (e.g. collected from drones) to detect and map submerged aquatic vegetation and algae in shallow river systems. Fleur uses Object-based image analysis (OBIA) and Structure from Motion (SfM) photogrammetry techniques, which makes it possible to remotely study river environments that until recently were beyond the reach of EO technology.

dr-des-mcdougall

Dr Des McDougall

Des is a physical geographer with interests in glaciers and glaciation, mountain geomorphology, and Quaternary environmental change.

He enjoys teaching and has particular interests in learning technologies, fieldwork, and virtual reality. An example of the work he has done in this area is his VR Glaciers and Glaciated Landscapes resource, which is used by a growing number of schools, colleges and universities around the world. 

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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.

rebecca-collins

Rebecca Collins

Becky Collins is an Associate Lecturer and a postgraduate researcher focussing on river science, geomorphology and GIS.After several years spent working for the Environment Agency as a Flood and Coastal Risk Management Advisor, she brings her industry experience and knowledge to her teaching to help equip students with the skills needed for a rewarding career in the environment sector.

dr-matthew-smith

Dr Matthew Smith

Matt has experience of teaching undergraduate and post-graduate students both in the UK and abroad (e.g. Austria and Poland). Matt is an active researcher, and is best known for his work as an aerobiologist studying temporal and spatial variations in airborne allergenic pollen and fungal spores. Other research interests include climate change impacts with particular focus on allergy and health, environmental change in relation to the distribution of allergenic plants, and phenology. He has co-authored more than 70 peer reviewed scientific journal articles and five book chapters, and currently works as an editor for three journals.

See the Geography team

Watch the Geography team introduce themselves in a series of short videos.
Careers

Where could it take you?

The 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, climate change development officers, data managers, community service managers), conservation, working with the wildlife trusts or Civil Service, research and teaching. Alternatively, you may wish to continue to postgraduate study and other professional qualifications. Many of our students choose a career in teaching and go on to further study on one of our PGCE courses in Geography here at the University of Worcester.

Physical 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.

You'll have many opportunities to extend your experience and enhance your CV by carrying out voluntary work or by taking the Professional Practice module in your 4th year of study. We 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 dissertation 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.

Geography Graduate Careers Booklet cover

Geography Graduate Career Profiles

Read this collection of graduate career profiles to find out where a University of Worcester Geography degree could take you.

Download the booklet

Alps field course

Our students travel to the Alps to experience mountain environments on one of our field trips.
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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 2021/22 is £9,250 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

International students

The standard tuition fee for full-time international students registering in the academic year 2021/22 is £13,100 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 2021/22 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.

The costs of travel and accommodation on all mandatory taught field courses will be covered in by the University. The majority of field courses are either self-catered or half-board and students may be expected to purchase meals.

You will need to pay for any optional field courses you take.

You may also need to purchase your own outdoor clothing suitable for some field courses.

Your Third Year Abroad tuition fee will cost you 15% of that year’s tuition fee. For example, if the yearly tuition fee is £9,250, you will only pay £1388 for the full year of tuition.

Accommodation

Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience. Our halls of residence are home to friendly student communities, making them great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our range of student halls. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Traditional Hall' at £108 per week to 'En-suite Extra' at £184 per week (2021/22 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page.

How to apply

How do you apply?

Applying through UCAS

Physical Geography BSc (Hons) with International Year Abroad – F805

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

F805

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