Physical Geography BSc (Hons) (with Foundation Year)
UCAS Code: FF18|Duration: 4 years|Full Time|Hope Park
UCAS Campus Code: L46
Work placement opportunities|International students can apply|Study Abroad opportunities
About the course
The physical environment has received increasing interest in recent years. Examples include the impact of natural disasters, effects of global environmental change and the direct environmental impact of human activity throughout the world. Physical Geography gives a holistic view of the Earth system (including its evolution and the interactions of its key components); evaluates a variety of earth surface processes that modify and shape landscape; and, considers the role of human activity in shaping/modifying the physical landscape.
This degree embraces an integrated approach to the investigation of the physical world through the study of environmental geoscience, geology, geomorphology, ecology, biodiversity, sustainability and environmental change. This is important for an understanding of modern environmental processes and the long-term evolution of landscape and landforms. It also informs an understanding of the complex, and often conflicting relationships, between the natural environment and human actions.
An enthusiastic and friendly team of geographers and environmentalists with wide research interests teach on the Physical Geography course at Hope. You will find that Liverpool is a great setting to study Physical Geography due to having surroundings that include stunning upland and coastal landscapes.
A Placement Year option is available for this course. Undertaking a placement year as part of your degree programme offers you the opportunity to gain valuable work experience alongside your studies.
Teaching on this degree is structured into lectures, where all students are taught together, seminars of smaller groups of around 20-25 students, and tutorials which typically have no more than 10 students. There are also a number of fieldtrips each year, as well as the opportunity to have a one-to-one meeting with your tutor each week.
In your first year there are approximately 12 teaching hours each week, which reduces to approximately 10 teaching hours in your second and third years. On top of teaching hours, you are also expected to spend a number of hours studying independently each week, as well as group study to prepare for any group assessments you may have.
Assessment and feedback
Throughout your three years of study, you will be assessed in a number of ways, including written exams, coursework (consisting of both essays and reports), portfolios, a literature review, academic posters, and presentations. In your final year you will also complete a dissertation.
You will be given written feedback on your assessments, and you will have the opportunity to discuss this with your tutor in more detail.
The Foundation Year is a great opportunity if you have the ability and enthusiasm to study for a degree, but do not yet have the qualifications required to enter directly onto our degree programmes. A significant part of the Foundation Year focuses upon core skills such as academic writing at HE level, becoming an independent learner, structuring academic work, critical thinking, time management and note taking.
Successful completion of the Foundation Year will enable you to progress into the first year (Level C) of your chosen honours degree. Further details can be found here.
World Regions: Understanding the World
You will investigate selected world regions and explore themes and topics at a range of scales (global to local) including, for example, the environment (physical and human); globalisation and development; geopolitics; human processes (social, cultural, economic); and tourism dimensions.
Hazards, Risk and Society
You will investigate various dimensions of vulnerability and resilience in relation to the risks associated with natural hazards. These will be explored particularly from a social and cultural perspective and will consider aspects such as impacts on, for example, society; communities; culture; heritage; urban environments; tourism destinations; and tourists.
Exploring Geography and Tourism
You will investigate a range of themes and topics, for example, interpreting and representing the world/place/space; understanding natural and human processes (including tourism) and their interactions; sustainable development and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (consideration of geographical and tourism contexts); and data analysis (including statistics and spatial data analysis).
The Dynamic Earth
An introduction to key concepts in geoscience/geology; the geological history of the Earth, and the geological processes in landscape development.
Applied Environmental Geoscience
You will investigate applied aspects of environmental geoscience (including anthropogenic dimensions) such as environmental change, environmental resources and environmental resource management.
An introduction to the formation and significance of selected Earth materials eg. minerals, rocks, fossils, and sediments/soils and their practical study.
Laboratory- and field-based Practical Investigations
Introduction to, for example, mapping, cartography, statistics, and Geographical Information Systems (GIS).
Laboratory- and field-based Environmental Investigations
Fieldwork (residential and/or non-residential)
Earth Surface Processes
An exploration of geomorphological and biogeographical processes and their contribution to landscape development.
An exploration of a range of qualitative and quantitative research methods, which considers data collection and data analysis.
Environmental Policy, Planning and Management
An exploration of, for example, legislation; policy; planning; environmental impacts and management.
An exploration of applied dimensions of environmental geoscience through landscape assessment (eg. Landscape Character Assessment).
Geospatial Data Analysis and GIS
An exploration of geospatial data analysis/GIS that includes practical applications.
Developing an in-depth and critical understanding of the value, importance and urgency of protecting species and their habitats from key threats including extinction.
‘Experiential Learning Block’
An applied project based study block that can be undertaken as one of several formats e.g. fieldwork based (residential and/or non-residential); problem-based task; work placement related; or a block of work-based learning.
Fieldwork (residential and/or non-residential)
Earth’s Dynamic Environments
Advanced investigations of geomorphological processes and change in a specific area of physical geography (e.g. glacial or coastal environments).
History, Development of Current Practice of Geography
A consideration and critical evaluation of the history and development of geography will be followed by detailed explorations of the current practice of geography. Associated advanced seminars will involve staff leading discussions on their research interests and expertise.
A consideration and evaluation of themes and debates surrounding the human-environment nexus, for example, sustainability; sustainable development; environmental resource management; climate change; and the Anthropocene.
A consideration and evaluation of environmental change throughout Earth history. A key focus will be on environmental change in the Quaternary.
Current Research and Practice in Ecology and Conservation
An exploration of the current knowledge, research and practice in ecology and/or conservation, for example, current research in conservation biology, terrestrial coastal ecology and palaeoecology.
You will undertake fieldwork internationally. Past countries have included Malta. Following a brief introduction to the international fieldwork destination, this will comprise the design and execution of individual project-based fieldwork involving data collection relating to a negotiated topic of relevance to the destination.
Honours Project (dissertation)
There may be some flexibility for mature students offering non-tariff qualifications and students meeting particular widening participation criteria.
A Geography degree can open the door to a wide range of careers including local authority planning, environmental assessment, urban regeneration, conservation, sustainable development, tourism planning, renewable energy, and housing association management. With the increasing demands of legislation and global environmental policy, there are growing employment opportunities in environmental management and consultancy. A more specialised Geography degree offers opportunities to focus on specific careers that involve the natural environment and will equip you with the practical, numerical and computational skills that are valued by many employers.
A degree in Geography opens the door to a wide range of 'general' graduate careers such as graduate recruitment schemes in business, management, finance, the police service and the armed forces.
Many of our graduates go on to train to be teachers of Geography. Others go on to further study at Masters or Doctorate level. Studying a geographical subject means you will look at a wide range of different topics and learn a broad range of skills that you can take with you into the workplace. You will develop skills in problem-solving, data analysis, report-writing, developing arguments, working both independently and as part of a group, and interpreting data.
Work Placement Opportunities
In your final year, your Honours Project can be completed through a work placement. This placement enables you to gain relevant geographical work experience so that you can apply your environmental and geographical knowledge and experiences into a work setting. Please note that you must organise this work placement yourself.
The Service and Leadership Award is offered as an extra-curricular programme involving service-based experiences, development of leadership potential and equipping you for a career in a rapidly changing world. It enhances your degree, it is something which is complimentary but different and which has a distinct ‘value-added’ component. Find out more on our Service and Leadership Award page.
As part of your degree, you can choose to spend either a semester or a full year of study at one of our partner universities as part of our Study Abroad programme. Find out more on our Study Abroad page.
The tuition fees for the 2024/25 academic year are £9,250 for full-time undergraduate courses.
If you are a student from the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, your tuition fees will also be £9,250.
The University reserves the right to increase Home and EU Undergraduate and PGCE tuition fees in line with any inflationary or other increase authorised by the Secretary of State for future years of study.
As well as your tuition fees, you need to consider the costs associated with compulsory and optional residential and other fieldwork trips. Cost depends on the nature of the fieldwork or location, but we estimate you will need around £400. You also need to budget for key textbooks (£200) and around £100 for fieldwork equipment such as boots and a waterproof coat.
If once you graduate you wish to become a member of the Royal Geographical Society, there is a registration fee and an annual fee thereafter - full details of costs can be found on the RGS website.
You will also need to consider the cost of your accommodation each year whilst you study at university. Visit our accommodation pages for further details about our Halls of Residence.
We have a range of scholarships to help with the cost of your studies. Visit our scholarships page to find out more.
International tuition fees
The International Tuition fees for 2024/25 are £12,500.
Visit our International fees page for more information.
With Foundation year, this degree is only available to study as a Single Honours course.