Statistics for employability consistently show that geography graduates are highly employable, working across a wide range of sectors and roles.
More than 80 universities offer over 1,400 geography-related degrees. You can apply to up to five courses through UCAS. In making your choice, there are many factors you need to take into account. At a time when it is not possible to visit universities in person, there are still plenty of ways you can explore your options and make informed decisions.
The guidance below on choosing a geography course may help you make your choice
Once you have decided what factors are most important to you, use our Directory of University Geography Courses to find out all the information you need
Compare courses and universities using key information sets and other degree comparison tools
If you are an international student, find out why you should study in the UK
You should think about all these questions before looking at geography courses – this will help you to find the course that is right for you:
What aspects of geography do you want to study (e.g. human/physical)?
The content of degrees which have the title ‘Geography’ may vary widely between universities
Most geography degrees, whether designated BSc (Bachelor of Science) or BA (Bachelor of Arts), offer combinations of individual human, physical and environmental geography courses in each year of study.
Usually you can plan, with your adviser, course choices that suit your special interests and career plans as they develop over time.
Some students choose to specialise in either human geography or physical geography, while others may wish to retain a broader combination of the two.
It is also worth searching for geography courses under related words such as Environment, Sustainability or Development.
Do you want to study a combined / joint honours course? (geography and another subject). A number of institutions offer Joint Honours - this means geography combined with another subject.
Do the modules offered reflect your interests? What options are there to specialise in the second and third year?
How many taught classes per week are there, compared with independent learning?
What are the fieldwork opportunities?
How are the courses assessed? What methods will be used to assess your work?:
Degrees in geography are assessed both through coursework and examinations
This ratio will vary between university and it is important to consider this in choosing your course
Most courses will have a 3rd year individual project or dissertation. This is usually a piece of extensive research and extended writing on a topic chosen by you, which counts towards your final mark
How big is the department? How often will you see your personal tutor?
What are the entrance requirements?
What is the reputation of the course, and of the university?
Is it a campus, is it in a large city? In a certain part of the country?
How expensive will it be? What are the likely opportunities for part-time work? To live at home?
What about specific social activities?
Once you have considered these questions, you should be in a position to start choosing courses.
To help you decide, you might find it useful to make a list of all the universities that have a course that you are interested in,. You can also limit this to a particular region of the country or distance from home (the UCAS website allows you to search for a full-time course by region).
Once you have narrowed down the list, you now reach the point where your need to look in more detail at the specific courses you have chosen.
It is useful to look at the course structure, looking at 2nd and 3rd year options in particular, as well as the research focus of the department.
Contact each of the universities on your short list to get a copy of their prospectus, as well as looking at their websites.
Remember to attend an open day, or virtual open day.
If, as many students do, you anticipate earning some money through part-time or casual work, you may also be interested in the size of the local job market and what opportunities are available.
Open days provide the best opportunity to talk directly to people studying at a university. Attending open days will help you select your five choices.
Even if you are not able to physically visit a university, you can still explore your options. Most universities are now offering virtual open days online, allowing you to see what is on offer and ask questions. Why not also check out the UCAS list of online virtual university tours?
Exploring a university's social media and YouTube channels will also help you to find out more. Many geography departments have their own YouTube channels (such as the University of Hull, University of Edinburgh, Ulster University and Cardiff University), where you can find subject-specific content. Use our Directory of University Geography Courses to find all universities offering geography across the UK.
Before you go on an open day, or virtual open day, it is very useful to prepare some questions. Take a look at the university website and prospectus, and make a note of anything they don’t tell you, particularly things you need to know to make a decision.
Open days can be run by a range of people, so group your questions into categories. You may come into contact with students or lecturers on your course, or those studying other subjects who can talk about other aspects of university life.
There are also a number of online tools that can be used to compare universities. A large amount of information is available so you should decide what factors are most important to you. Remember that numbers don't always provide the complete picture about a university. The best way to get a feel for a university and course is to go to an open day, or virtual open day, and experience life there for yourself.
These online tools include:
Detailed infomation and statistics about universities in the UK (just search for geography). Job destinations and results from the National Student Survey are all included.
A comprehensive guide to every course and university in the UK, as well as advice on university life and careers.
Search and compare university courses in the UK, request prospectuses, check dates of open days, access advice on university life and read course-specific reviews from thousands of current students.
Subject-specific information about teaching and research.
The university finder tool on LinkedIn is based on the real careers of millions of LinkedIn members.
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