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Undergraduate study

Course overview

Geography involves studying the relationships between physical and human systems that shape our world.

In a rapidly changing world, geography has an important role to play in modern society.

Geography is a multidisciplinary area of study – one with huge potential to unite disparate areas of knowledge and research, and address key challenges for the earth and human society.

This course reflects the core themes of modern geography. It considers the natural processes that shape our changing environment, and the social and cultural structures that influence how our society functions. You enjoy a relevant, practical and applicable course, investigating key topics such as globalisation, sustainability, rivers and coasts, GIS and environmental management.

The course is structured around three core themes:
• natural processes and change
• human geography and sustainable futures
• biogeography and conservation.

These themes are developed through a range of human and physical geography modules, equipping you with a thorough understanding of the discipline.

This foundation degree course is ideal if you wish to study for a university degree but you don’t have the necessary Level 3 qualifications required for direct admission or you need additional preparation in the fundamental sciences underpinning geography. Apart from the foundation year, the rest of this degree is identical to the BSc (Hons) Geography and leads to the same level award.

An integrated approach to geography
We adopt an integrated and holistic approach to geography, and you study modules covering all three themes. Through this approach you investigate the grand challenges facing the world such as climate change, urban development and biodiversity conservation. You consider the interactions between natural systems and processes, and social and cultural practices. This is important because it offers diverse geographical insight into the most pressing issues of our time.

Fieldwork teaching
As well as engaging with cutting-edge debates within academic geography, you also experience a range of fieldwork environments in the UK and abroad. Our location offers excellent opportunities to explore natural and human systems, and their interactions.

You conduct fieldwork in places such as the North York Moors, Yorkshire Dales, and North East coast, areas shaped by environmental change and management. You also consider the dynamic town of Middlesbrough, which is currently undergoing rapid urban and social change. And you explore other landscapes with an overseas, residential fieldtrip in your final year. This allows you to translate your theoretical knowledge and practical skills into a new environment.

Research-led teaching
By studying geography at Teesside University you learn within a vibrant research-active environment, with staff engaged in research across human and physical geography, and connected disciplines. In your second and third years you plan and undertake a major piece of independent research through the Scientific Research Project. You have the opportunity to develop your own research interests or engage with staff research interests.


Course details

Course structure

Year 1 core modules

Biodiversity and Evolution

You study the concept of evolution and how it led to the development of biodiversity and the world we now inhabit. You discuss evolution by natural selection and our development from the common ancestor, along with the principles of taxonomy, speciation and the evolutionary tree to demonstrate relationships between species. We highlight the impact of modern molecular methods of taxonomy in the form of phylogenetics, particularly the discovery of the domain of archaea. We discuss the complex biodiversity of the microbial, plant and animal worlds and their importance in ecological balance for the earth, human kind and society in the form of conservation. Lectures and tutorial sessions provide an insight into the theoretical aspects of evolution and biodiversity, and you discuss and analyse problem-based exercises to affirm your theoretical knowledge.

Core Skills in Life Sciences

Knowledge of the degree subject is not the only thing you learn whilst at university and it’s not the only thing that potential employers are looking for after graduation. You also need to develop a range of skills applicable for a variety of career pathways These include your ability to articulate yourself clearly, confidently and effectively to different audiences; to work independently or on your own initiative demonstrating creativity and adaptability when tackling problems where you don’t have all the necessary information available; to locate information and critically assess its usefulness; and to make efficient and effective use of the latest information technology.

You also learn to assess your own performance, giving you the chance to recognise and build on your strengths, and identify and improve your weaknesses as a way to raise your aspirations. This module also introduces you to basic principles and good practice in collecting, recording and evaluating data, and using information resources and referencing. You also consider the assessment and handling of scientific errors. You review a range of basic mathematical skills and introduce statistical methods that are essential in a wide range of scientific endeavour. Emphasis is placed on using spreadsheets for data recording, presentation and statistical analysis.

Earth Sciences

You are introduced to the concepts of the earth as a system and develops the skills used to investigate environmental issues. It begins by considering, rocks and minerals, the fundamental building blocks of the planet. Using this knowledge the internal physical and chemical structure of the planet can be defined, from which deep earth structure and processes can be deduced. This includes the theory of plate tectonics, which in 50 years has revolutionized our understanding of the development of the planet, its atmosphere and the evolution of life.

Complex interactions between the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and lithosphere are at the heart of current environmental issues, such as climate change, which will influence the immediate future of every aspect of life and commerce, perhaps even including survival of the species. Lectures, seminars, classroom problems and practical work are used to develop observational and data recording skills, culminating in a field-based activity to acquire data relating to a real-world environmental problem. The module is intended for those who have little or no previous experience of earth science and/or geoscience to enable them to appreciate environmental science in the context of the earth as a dynamic spatial system which evolves with time and human intervention.

Human Geography and Globalisation

You are introduced to the spatial relationships between human geography and globalisation. You approahc the concept of globalisation through three key aspects of human geography – cultural, political and social – equipping you with key theoretical, conceptual and empirical understanding of pertinent issues.

A creative mapping assessment allows you to explore the presence of and connections between cultural, political and social geographies of the Tees Valley whilst providing you with the opportunity to identify how these connect to globalised aspects of the world.

Interpreting Environments

You are introduced to key approaches to geographical enquiry, covering key concepts in spatial thinking, and quantitative and qualitative methods of enquiry. Through lectures and hands-on practical activities, the module outlines how we understand and visualise the world around us, from simple hand-drawn maps to an introduction to Geographical Information Systems.

You then explore different ways in which geographers interpret the world, through both quantitative approaches, such as questionnaires, and qualitative approaches, such as interviews and participatory research. You also gain hands on experience in these techniques, learning to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses and what each technique can tell us.

Physical Geography and Geology Fieldwork

You are introduced to the concept of fieldwork in physical geography, and develops skills used to plan fieldwork, collect data, and describe and understand what they have done. You develop your understanding of the linkage between global themes and local processes, by exploring how understanding the spatial and temporal nature of physical processes at the local scale can inform our understanding of our environment at different scales. Fieldwork is focused on the landscapes and environments of the north of England, an area replete with opportunities to study past and present landscape evolution.


Year 2 core modules

Cities and Sustainable Futures

You investigate the relationships between urban space and sustainable futures. You do this through approaching the cities through three key aspects of sustainability – environmental, social and economic – equipping you with key theoretical, conceptual and empirical understanding of pertinent urban issues.

You apply your knowledge and understanding through critical engagement with policy documents and debates. You learn through a combination of lectures, seminars and workshops. Sessions will be interactive and dynamic, using technology to engage in key aspects of cities and sustainable futures.

Earth Observation and Geographical Information Systems

You are introduced to spatial thinking, and geospatial analysis and remote sensing using Geographical Information Systems (GIS). You use computer-based practical exercises to guide you through the fundamentals of thinking about spatial problems, collecting relevant spatial data, and undertaking spatial analysis to explore and explain the spatial problems and phenomena which are fundamental to geographical analysis.

You also learn how to use industry standard approaches and software packages, including opensource packages, for managing, processing, analysing, and presenting data for different purposes and audiences.

Ecology and Biodiversity

This module is for students interested in ecology and how complex interactions shape the distribution and abundance patterns of species in the natural environment. You examine the ecology of populations and communities, and how the integration of powerful new molecular biology technologies can inform the study of ecology and ecological interactions. You explore the underlying theories used to explain the observed spatial and temporal patterns of diversity observed and the measurements which can be used to quantify diversity. These topics are aligned to current issues, enabling you to appreciate the environmental, ethical and socio-economic concerns raised by ecological studies. Field trips give you the opportunity to sample natural environments and interpret ecological data, such as diversity indices, based on these sites.

Geotechnology and Earth Catastrophes

This module provides you with an introduction to the engineering characteristics of geological material and the formation of rocks and soils. It provides a basic understanding of the use of rocks and soils in construction.

You also explore the fundamental nature of the catastrophic processes that have shaped the earth and the environment we live in and the materials, such as the soils and rocks that we use.

We look at cosmology and global catastrophes, the origin of the universe, dynamic earth and structure, life on earth and extinction, meteorite impacts, internal and external earth processes, plate tectonics, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and atmospheric circulation.

We explore common rock types, mode of formation and identification, the role of ground investigation in the measurement of geotechnical parameters and landslides and related phenomena.

We use lectures, involving practical demonstrations, to outline the concepts and techniques augmented with class discussions of case studies. You use tutorials and assignments to gain skills in applying the techniques to designs. During the tutorial sessions we can give additional help to direct your further study.

At the end of the module you will have a working knowledge of soil and rocks how they are formed and how they impact on the stability of buildings. You will understand how earth processes affect civilisations.

River and Coasts

You are introduced to fluvial and coastal processes, and the management of these dynamic environments. You are guided through understanding fluvial and coastal environments, developing your understanding of how landscape and local-scale processes can allow us to understand how environments behave and how they will change in the future.

You also explore historic and emerging approaches to environmental management, exploring our changing understanding of the interaction between people and physical environments. Lectures are supported where possible by contributions from visiting practitioners in different fields of management, as well as field-based visits where possible to explore local examples of the role of management in fluvial and coastal environments.

Science Research Methods and Proposal

You will take this module if you are studying a science degree and complete a hypothesis-driven research project at Level 6 of your degree studies. It is delivered though lectures, tutorials and workshops.

You develop a proposal for your research project, which includes an explanation of the project targeted at both a specialist audience and the general public, and details of experimental design and statistical analysis to be employed. The proposal considers academic beneficiaries and economic, environmental and societal impacts. Project costs are estimated on the basis of a full economic costing model. In addition, the proposal is supported by a targeted CV.

A short lecture series at the start of the academic year provides you with an introduction to the module and advice on completing the research proposal documentation, followed by a series of assessment centre-style workshops and tasks which help assign you to a specific research project area and supervisor. These tasks familiarise you with the type of activities you might face during the application, interview and selection procedures.

You must produce a research proposal for your individual project. You are supported by a series of meetings with your supervisor to provide feedback on your progress.

For the proposal to be considered you must acquire ethical clearance from the School Research Ethics Committee. Once you are allocated a project you join discipline-based tutorials with other students. Each discipline operates tutorial sessions, which are used to provide academic guidance and support for completing ethical clearance documentation and the proposal. A series of research methodology-based workshops introduce you to various experimental designs and statistical techniques relevant to your discipline. These sessions also demonstrate how you can use software such as Minitab, SPSS and Excel to present and analyse datasets. These workshops help you decide on the design and analysis of the data associated with your project.

The module is assessed by you successfully acquiring ethical clearance (pass/fail) and submitting a completed research project proposal and supporting CV (100%).


Year 3 optional placement year

Final-year core modules

Advanced Geoinformatics

You are introduced to the concept of GIScience, expanding simple understanding of the use of Geographical Information Systems to ask questions about how and why we do geospatial analysis, and how this impacts on the results of our analyses.

Using computer-based practicals, you learn advanced skills in geospatial analysis, including the use of spatial statistics, handling complex datasets using databases, and the automation of complex analysis using different tools, for example the Python programming language. You also learn skills in geovisualisation, including cartographic design, web mapping, and the use of 3D visualisation.

Biogeography and Conservation

This module is ideal for you if you’re interested in the biogeographical distribution of species and how this information can inform conservation practices.

Biogeography, with its focus on the distribution of species at a range of scales, provides an important theoretical framework within which ecosystem services, and the increasing impact of human activity on global biodiversity and ecosystem functions, can be evaluated.

You explore the contribution of habitat destruction and fragmentation and invasive species to biodiversity losses. You examine underlying principles in biogeography, including the historical development of the discipline, and investigates how these principles can inform effective conservation practices targeted at preventing biodiversity losses. You explore how endangered species are characterised, the selection and design of conservation areas, and the legal and policy frameworks in place to support conservation efforts.

Environmental Resource Management

You critically evaluate international agreement-derived sustainability models. In particular, eco-efficiency and ecological models, and their underpinnings of key thrusts, such as industrial symbiosis and sustainable product development. These will be analysed at the local, national and international level. The module will consider in detail the importance of energy policies and energy technologies and their implications in climate change. Specifically, the roles of renewable energies, such as wind, wave, solar, biomass and biofuels will be evaluated. The potentially important role the hydrogen economy could play in satisfying future energy requirements, taking cognisance of the pivotal role of carbon dioxide sequestration and storage, will be discussed.

Science Research Project

You bring together a range of practical and academic skills, developed in previous years of study, to interrogate a particular aspect of your field of study. You specialise in a particular area of science, supported by an appointed research supervisor who will act as a mentor and guide you through the development and completion of your research project.

You are required to present a poster and abstract at the School’s annual Poster Day event, which is attended by academics of the School, external examiners, and professionals from the region. The poster contributes to your final project mark. Throughout the project you are expected to maintain systematic and reliable records of your research which are reviewed on a regular basis by your supervisor and assessed at the end of the project. You submit your research in the style of a paper which could be submitted to an appropriate scientific journal related to your discipline.


and one optional module

International Fieldwork

You undertake an overseas residential field course including field-based research design and implementation, and analysis and presentation of field-based data. You develop professionalism and employability skills relevant to pertinent contemporary geographical, geological, environmental and ecological issues.

The use of team work for problem-based and self-directed learning is central to this module. Appropriate context is fundamental to this. You gain an expertise in problem solving together with key skills such as interpersonal interactions, time management, budget management and research presentation.

Sustainability Project

You develop professionalism and employability skills relevant to pertinent environmental challenges. The use of team work for problem-based and self-directed learning is central to this module. Appropriate context is fundamental to this. You gain an expertise in problem solving, together with key skills such as interpersonal interactions, time management, budget management and research presentation.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

You learn through a range of teaching and learning methods including:

  • lectures

  • tutorials

  • seminars and workshops (including oral presentations and poster sessions)

  • laboratory work

  • computer laboratory-based sessions

  • group projects

  • research projects.

  • Each programme and module is supported by a specific virtual learning environment (VLE) site.

    How you are assessed

    You may be assessed through:

    • formal exams including 'unseen' exams

    • laboratory and/or fieldwork skills and reports

    • computer-based assessments

    • problem-solving exercises

    • data interpretation exercises

    • critical analysis of case studies

    • oral presentations and technical interviews

    • essays, literature surveys, evaluations and summaries

    • collaborative project work

    • preparation and display of posters

    • planning, conduct and reporting of project work

    You will be provided with an assessment schedule providing details of the submission deadlines for summative assessments.

    Our Disability Services team provide an inclusive and empowering learning environment and have specialist staff to support disabled students access any additional tailored resources needed. If you have a specific learning difficulty, mental health condition, autism, sensory impairment, chronic health condition or any other disability please contact a Disability Services as early as possible.
    Find out more about our disability services

    Find out more about financial support
    Find out more about our course related costs


Entry requirements

Entry requirements

We are committed to widening participation and encourage all students with the potential to succeed, regardless of their background, to apply to study with us. We operate a flexible admissions policy taking into consideration individual circumstances, including personal achievements, relevant experience, personal qualities, as well as qualifications and grades.

Year 1 entry 

96-112 UCAS tariff points.

Typical Level 3 qualifications include:

  • A levels (grades BBC)
  • BTEC Extended Diploma (grade DMM)
  • Access to HE Diploma (with 30 Level 3 credits from science units awarded at merit or higher)

You must have studied at least one relevant subject at Level 3. Eligible subjects include:

  • geography
  • geology
  • environmental science
  • applied science
  • chemistry
  • biology
  • physics
  • mathematics

Alternative equivalent UK and international qualifications and subjects are also considered. If you are not eligible for Year 1 entry, we also offer this course with an integrated foundation year.

English language and mathematics requirement
Normally, evidence of English language and mathematical skills equivalent to at least GCSE grade 4 will be required. We consider a wide range of English and maths qualifications alternative to GCSEs. Please contact our admissions staff for advice.

Direct entry to later years
If you have previously studied a relevant subject at a higher level (e.g. HNC, HND or one or more years of a degree at another institution) we can consider you for direct entry to Year 2 or Final Year of this course. Please provide us with a complete detailed transcript of your previous studies with your application to help us determine your eligibility for advanced entry.

You may be invited to attend an interview to help us reach an offer decision. Your interview session is designed to help you by giving you the opportunity to showcase your individual strengths and qualities that define your potential to succeed on your chosen course. You may receive a more flexible offer following a good interview performance.

It is important to us that you reach an informed decision on where to study so we make every effort to provide you with information, guidance and advice to help you make the right choice. During your visit you will have the opportunity to learn more about your course, see our excellent facilities, meet staff and students, and learn more about studying at Teesside University. We receive very positive feedback from visiting students and we are confident you will find your visit a useful experience too.

Alternative progression routes
If you are not eligible to join this course directly then we may be able to help you prepare for admission by studying appropriate pre-degree Summer University modules.
Please contact us to discuss the alternative progression routes available to you.

Non-EU international students
Non-EU international students who need a student visa to study in the UK should check our web pages on UKVI-compliant English language requirements. The University also provides pre-sessional English language courses if you do not meet the minimum English language requirement.

For additional information please see our entry requirements

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country

You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL



Career opportunities

This course prepares you for many different careers including:

  • environmental management and policy
  • landscape assessment and management
  • teaching
  • tourism and heritage management
  • town and transport planning.

Work placement

A work placement officer and the University's careers service are available to help you with applying for a placement. Advice is also available on job hunting and networking.

By taking a work placement year you gain experience favoured by graduate recruiters and develop your technical skillset. You also gain the transferable skills required in any professional environment, including communication, negotiation, teamwork, leadership, organisation, confidence, self-reliance, problem-solving, being able to work under pressure and commercial awareness.

An increasing number of employers view a placement as a year-long interview and, as a result, placements are increasingly becoming an essential part of an organisation's pre-selection strategy in their graduate recruitment process.

Potential benefits from completing a work placement year include:

  • improved job prospects
  • enhanced employment skills and improved career progression opportunities
  • a higher starting salary than your full-time counterparts
  • a better degree classification
  • a richer CV
  • a year's salary before completing your degree
  • experience of workplace culture
  • the opportunity to design and base your final-year project within a working environment.


Information for international applicants


International applicants - find out what qualifications you need by selecting your country below.

Select your country:


Useful information

Visit our international pages for useful information for non-UK students and applicants.

Talk to us

Talk to an international student adviser



Entry to 2020/21 academic year

Fee for UK/EU applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£13,000 a year

More details about our fees for international applicants

What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 3 years (or 4 with a work placement)
  • UCAS code: F800 BSc/Geog
  • Semester dates
  • Typical offer: 96-112 tariff points

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS



2020 entry

Fee for UK/EU applicants
£4,500 (120 credits)

More details about our fees

  • Length: 6 years if entering Year 1; 4 years if entering Year 2
  • Enrolment date: September
  • Semester dates

Apply online (part-time)


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