The University of Southampton
Geography and Environment

F8F7 BSc Physical Geography with Oceanography 2016 entry (3 yrs)

This degree allows you to study physical geography in depth and you can select modules from one of several oceanography pathways depending on your area of interest. Geography will form about two thirds of your study and oceanography a third.

Book your placeVisit us at an Open Day on 3 or 4 September 2016

Introducing your degree

Our BSc Physical Geography with Oceanography degree takes students on a journey of understanding from the land to the sea. Pathways in physical oceanography, sediments, chemistry or biology allow you to tailor your degree to your oceanographic interests, complimenting your physical geography degree and exposing you to topics that straddle conventional disciplinary boundaries.

The overseas field course is an important milestone in developing your skills as a researcher, giving you the opportunity to study the landscape in more detail. Further optional overseas field courses allow you to hone these skills in the unique environments that alpine and tropical locations offer. A degree course that teaches you how to read landscapes, predict storm surges and dangerous tsunamis, it could see you travelling the world, saving homes or advising large corporations on their environmental procedures. Graduates go on to work in areas including hydrology and water resources, coastal engineering, environmental resource management, scientists at government agencies and conservation bodies, GIS and environmental consultants.


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Programme Structure

View the programme specification document for this course

Key Facts

Flexible, interdisciplinary programmes with research projects in year three

Exchange opportunities around the world including Europe, Canada, Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong

Opportunities to specialise and undertake exciting work in the field

Spend-per-student is rated 9 out of 10 (Guardian university subject league tables 2015)

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

A Levels:
GCE A-levelOur A-level entry requirement for the 2016/17 intake is within the range AAB–ABB, with one of these A levels in Geography. Our offer will also incorporate recognition of the Extended Project Qualification.  
International Baccalaureate34–32 points, with 17–16 at higher level
Scottish Highers:


European Baccalaureate:


BTEC and Access:

Applications considered on individual merit

English Language Requirement

All applicants must have GCSE Grade C or above in English language. If English is not your first language you will be required to pass an approved English test. We normally ask for an overall IELTS score of 6.5.

Use of Contextual Data

The University of Southampton is committed to widening participation and ensuring that all students with the potential to succeed, regardless of their background, are encouraged to apply to study with us. The additional information gained through contextual data supports our admissions teams to recognise a student’s potential to succeed in the context of their background and experience. Students identified in this way will be given additional consideration and not be rejected solely on the basis of their predicted (or actual) grades.

Please see our contextual admissions pages for more information.

Selection process:

We welcome applications from candidates who demonstrate the potential and commitment to study Geography at degree level. All applications should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), via their website ( You can also telephone UCAS on +44 (0)870 1122211. Details of application deadlines are available on the UCAS website.

Once received, your application will be given careful consideration by our admissions staff and assessed against our selections criteria. In making decisions on applications, we read all sections of your UCAS form. Your personal statement should be a high-quality piece of writing that outlines your interests in geography, your extra-curricular pursuits and something of what makes you distinctive as a person.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.


Typical course content

Geography is a subject that engages directly with important contemporary concerns – issues such as globalisation, climate change, environmental management and cultural transformation – while allowing you to acquire a range of skills that are highly valued in the marketplace. You will engage with cutting-edge debates during your studies, developing a thorough understanding of the processes that are shaping the future of our planet.

Innovation modules outside of your subject area

Our Curriculum Innovation Programme offers you the chance to take optional modules outside of your chosen subject area. This allows you to personalise your education, to develop new skills and knowledge for your future. Modules range from "Living and working on the web" to "Business skills for employability".

View the Curriculum Innovation modules for this course

Learn a language

Some of our courses also give you the option of taking a language module, which can count towards your degree. These modules cover ten languages and range from absolute beginner to near-native speaker level.

View the language modules on offer for this course

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

Course fees for 2016/17 full-time UK and EU undergraduate students are typically £9,000 per year. Tuition fees for international students differ between each course. Most part-time courses cost 50% of the full-time fee.

View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

EquipmentApproved Calculators: Candidates may use calculators in the examination room only as specified by the University and as permitted by the rubric of individual examination papers. The University approved model is Casio FX-570 This may be purchased from any source and no longer needs to carry the University logo.
StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationary items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
EquipmentField Equipment and Materials: A number of essential items will be provided to you e.g.: compass-clinometer, steel tape measure, safety helmet, hi-vis jacket. If items provided are lost replacements can be purchased. However, you will need provide yourselves with a notebook, ruler, pencils (including coloured), eraser, calculator. These can be purchased from any source.
EquipmentLaboratory Equipment and Materials: Microscopes and associated laboratory equipment will be provided.
EquipmentIT - Software: Software licenses are available on campus computers. Students may choose to purchase additional personal copies for use on their own computers.
EquipmentIT - Hardware: Computer suites are available on campus and iPads and laptops will be available for field courses, but students may wish to purchase their own personal laptop to undertake work at home.
ClothingLab Coats: Lab coats will be provided for compulsory laboratory work.
ClothingProtective Clothing: Hard hat; safety boots; hi-viz vest/jackets: Hard hats and hi-viz jackets will be provided when required. Students will need to purchase suitable footwear and suncream from any source.
ClothingField course clothing: You will need to wear suitable clothing when attending field courses, e.g. waterproofs, walking boots, sunhats. You can purchase these from any source.
Printing and copyingIn the majority of cases, coursework such as essays; projects; dissertations is likely to be submitted on line. However, there are some items where it is not possible to submit on line and students will be asked to provide a printed copy. A list of the University printing costs can be found here:
FieldworkIn addition to the compulsory overseas field courses that are held in the second year of your programme, and for which the department covers all costs, we also currently offers three optional residential field courses in overseas locations in the final year of your degree programmes. Since these are optional courses, students are asked to contribute the costs of subsistence, travel (including entry visas where relevant) and accommodation incurred during these trips (though the department covers your travel insurance), as well as any associated immunisation and vaccination costs. It is difficult to estimate the precise costs of these trips in advance of departure, for example because there may be substantial variations in exchange rates, fuel duties, and because the costs of accommodation and subsistence on some courses also depend on the numbers of students attending the course. Nevertheless, below we offer some guidance on the costs associated with each of the three optional field classes: 1) GEOG3011 – Arolla field course. The costs incurred on this 10 day trip, scheduled in August-September each year are associated with travel, accommodation and subsistence. Students make their own way to Arolla (and must cover the cost of flights, trains or car share/petrol) and stay as a group in a chalet to minimise accommodation/subsistence costs. These accommodation and subsistence costs vary with exchange rates and number of students attending but in the past have been between £400 and £600 per student. 2) GEOG30XX- Water, Environment and Development (Cambodia field course). The costs incurred on this 10 day trip, which will be scheduled in January 2017, are associated with the costs of travel to and from Cambodia, visas, accommodation and subsistence in country. Flights are relatively expensive, but in-country expenses are very cheap. It is anticipated that the total cost of the trip will be less than £1400. 3) GEOG3003 – Advanced Human Geography (Field Course) - Costs vary each year in relation to student numbers, exchange rates, the teaching schedule for the week, and so on. But in 2014-15, students were charged £150 each for accommodation and related costs. On top of these costs, students are expected to arrange their own transport to Berlin (flight and transfers), their own travel in Berlin (public transport), and their own lunch and dinner in Berlin (for six days).
OtherOptional Visits (e.g. museums, galleries): Some modules may include optional field visits. You will normally be expected to cover the cost of travel and admission, unless otherwise specified in the module profile.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Career Opportunities

Employability is embedded into modules from the first year onwards and right from the first lecture. We explain the degree skills which are taught throughout the modules and offer a number of optional employability modules.

Exchange programmes provide an international dimension to your degree and will broaden your academic experience whilst enabling you to develop invaluable personal and foreign language skills.

Geography and Oceanography graduates are in demand for jobs related to their degree including hydrology and water resources, coastal engineering, environmental resource management, scientists at government agencies and conservation bodies, GIS and environmental consultancy. They also have a strong employment record in fields such as financial services, marketing, local government, public policy, the civil service and the education sector. In addition, some graduates choose to remain in academia to study for Masters and PhD degrees which can lead to employment as research fellows and lecturers.

Learning & Assessment

Teaching Methods
We employ a wide range of teaching methods, including lectures, seminars and supervisions, practical and fieldwork.

Lectures are used as an effective method of passing on knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject and, through directed reading lists, act as a springboard for individual study. Class sizes range from around 200 for the largest first year units to about 40 for some specialist third year options. In classes of all sizes, there are opportunities for interaction, debate and discussion.

Seminars and supervisions - two forms of small group teaching - provide a forum in which you can discuss and explore key geographical issues and debates. They run alongside lectures and are an important context for the development of confidence, written and verbal communication.

As befits ongoing developments in geography, the acquisition of statistical, laboratory and computational skills is an important component of our undergraduate courses. Computer practicals enable you to develop skills in data analysis, quantitative modelling and Geographic Information Systems. Laboratory work introduces you to practical analytical skills.

Fieldwork then enables you to explore ideas covered in the classroom in a real-world context. There are opportunities in each year of the degree programmes. In the first year, students are required to attend a residential fieldcourse within the UK, examining geographical issues and gaining experience in a range of analytical techniques. These fieldcourses are usually based on the Isle of Wight or in the New Forest. Students are again required to attend a residential fieldcourses, held overseas, in the second year of their degree programmes. These fieldcourses focus on providing a training in research methods. Recent destinations for these fieldcourses include Amsterdam and Paris (BA students) and Tenerife and Northern Spain (BSc students). In the third year, students may select optional modules of advanced fieldwork, again based in overseas locations such as Berlin (BA) and Arolla in the Swiss Alps (BSc). Details of the funding basis for fieldwork are available.

Learning Resources
There are seven libraries across the University and you will automatically be a member of all of them. The Hartley Library, located on the Highfield Campus, has recently had a £10 million refurbishment, significantly enhancing it as a quality space for learning and personal study. With more than 1.6 million volumes, including an extensive stock of geographical materials and academic journals (in both print and on-line formats), the support for geographical study is excellent.

Our laboratories are well equipped for research in environmental processes and modelling, Quaternary palaeoecology, Geographical Information Systems and remote sensing. Student work in human geography is supported by access to recording and transcribing technologies, plus use of quantitative and qualitative analysis software. There is also access to the latest information technology and online learning resources via 1,500 PCs around the University sites, campuses and halls of residence. Most course materials are now available online.

Methods of Assessment
Geography units are assessed in variety of ways, with the typical balance being 35% coursework and 65% examination. There is variation, however, with some fieldwork based units assessed 100% on the basis of coursework for instance. The different types of work you will complete during your time at Southampton include:

essays and reports
oral presentations
practical exercises
fieldwork reports
websites and research posters
unseen written examinations

All students receive feedback on assessed work, thus facilitating your development and learning. Individuals who have specific learning differences, such as dyslexia, are able to access additional support in completing their work.

Study Locations

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