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School of Environment, Education and Development

Student in The Atrium at The University of Manchester
BA Geography

Study a course tailored to you at the university ranked fourth in the UK for Geography (Guardian University Guide).

BA Geography

Year of entry: 2018

Overview

Degree awarded
BA
Duration
3 years
Typical A-level offer
AAB
Typical International Baccalaureate offer

35 points overall (6,6,5 at Higher Level)

Full entry requirements

Number of places/applicants

190/1200 (across all Geography courses)

How to apply
Apply through UCAS .

Course description

Manchester is the ideal place to study Geography. The world's first industrial city and a vibrant twenty-first century metropolis set between three National Parks, Manchester and its environment are an important resource for field teaching in all three years of your degree.

Geography has been taught at The University of Manchester for more than 125 years. We have a vibrant community of students and academic staff, with a wide range of teaching and research interests and an impressive international research reputation.

We give you maximum choice to tailor your degree by choosing the course units that best suit your interests and preferred assessment methods. You can truly showcase your skills and abilities by selecting course units from both:

  • Physical geography, the study of the natural processes of the earth, and the preferred discipline for students predominately interested in ecology, hydrology, palaeo environments, geoarchaeology, glaciology, climatology and geomorphology.
  • Human geography, the study of human behaviour and impact on the earth, and the preferred discipline for students predominately interested in economic, cultural, political, urban and historical geography.

Whether you select BA Geography or BSc Geography, you can study a mixture of both physical and human geography modules. Both are covered in the first year, and you can swap from the BA to the BSc or vice-versa if you find your interests take you in a new direction.

Fees

Tuition fees for home/EU students commencing their studies in September 2018 will be £9,250. Future inflationary increases may also be applied to each subsequent year of your course, subject to government regulations on fee increases. Tuition fees for international students will be £18,000 per annum. For general information please see the undergraduate finance pages.

Contact details

Academic department
School of Environment, Education and Development
Contact name
Ms. Nicola Allard
Telephone
+44 (0)161 275 2804
Facsimile
+44 (0)161 275 0421
Email
Academic department overview
See: The School .

Compare this course

Entry requirements

A-level

  • AAB (General Studies usually excluded from standard offer)

Please note that two AS-levels are not accepted in place of one A-Level and we do not require a pass in the Science Practical Assessment.

Duration of A-level study

The University welcomes applications from applicants who have either sat their examinations early or have followed an accelerated curriculum and spent three years studying A-levels where the examinations have been taken over two years.

If you have studied an advanced curriculum where the examinations are spread over three years, consideration for an offer will be at the discretion of our subject admissions tutor.

Unit grade information

We welcome the provision of unit grade information which, like all other available information, will inform the consideration of your application. 

However, unit grades will not normally form part of offer conditions.

GCSE

  • English Language (minimum Grade C, or Grade 4 in the newly reformed GCSEs in England)
  • Mathematics (minimum Grade C, or Grade 4 in the newly reformed GCSEs in England)

Please note that we do not accept applied GCSE Mathematics courses.

International Baccalaureate

35 points overall (6,6,5 at Higher Level)

Irish Leaving Certificate

  • H1, H1, H1, H2

Scottish requirements

We normally require either:

  • five Scottish Highers at grades AAABC/AABBB
  • two Advanced Highers at grades BB, plus two Highers at grades AA.

English Language and Mathematics not taken at Higher/Advanced Higher must have been achieved at SCQF level 5 (minimum National 5 grade C / Intermediate 2 grade C / Standard Grade Credit level grade 3).

Welsh Baccalaureate

The University welcomes and recognises the value of the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate and usually requires two A-Levels or equivalent to be included within this.

We require minimum grade A from the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate.

European Baccalaureate

Acceptable on its own or in combination with other qualifications.

Applications from students studying for this qualification are welcome and all such applicants will be considered on an individual basis.

AQA Baccalaureate

  • AQA Baccalaureate with Distinction

Other international entry requirements

The University of Manchester has a rich academic heritage and is one of the world's leading research-intensive universities. It also has a long history of welcoming international students and seeks to continue this tradition by admitting excellent students from across the world.

Details of country-specific entry requirements are available from the University website .

Pearson BTEC qualifications

  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma - We consider the National Extended Diploma for entry provided it is in a subject relevant to the chosen course.  Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full National Extended Diploma with grades DDD.
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma - We consider the National Diploma for entry provided it is in a subject relevant to your chosen course. Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full National Diploma with grades DD plus an additional level 3 qualification such as an A Level at grade B.
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Foundation Diploma - We consider the National Foundation Diploma for entry provided it is in a subject relevant to the chosen course.  Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full National Foundation Diploma with grades DD plus additional level 3 qualifications such as A Levels at grade AB.
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate - We consider the National Extended Certificate for entry provided it is in a subject relevant to the chosen course.  Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full National Extended Certificate with grade D plus additional Level 3 qualifications such as A Levels at grades AB. If you require further clarification about the acceptability of this qualification please contact the Academic School(s) you plan to apply to.

OCR Cambridge Technical qualifications

  • Cambridge Level 3 Technical Extended Diploma (CTEC) - We consider the Technical Extended Diploma for entry provided it is in a subject relevant to the chosen course. Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full Technical Extended Diploma with grades DDD.
  • Cambridge Level 3 Technical Diploma (CTEC) - We consider the Technical Diploma for entry provided it is in a subject relevant to the chosen course.  Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full Technical Diploma with grades DD plus an additional level 3 qualification such as an A Level at grade B.
  • Cambridge Level 3 Technical Foundation Diploma (CTEC) - We consider the Technical Foundation Diploma for entry provided it is in a subject relevant to the chosen course.  Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full Technical Foundation Diploma with grades DD plus additional level 3 qualifications such as A Level at grade AB. 
  • Cambridge Level 3 Technical Extended Certificate (CTEC) - We consider the Technical Extended Certificate for entry provided it is in a subject relevant to the chosen course.  Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full Technical Extended Certificate with grade D plus additional Level 3 qualifications such as A Levels at grades AB. 

Access to HE Diploma

Overall, 60 credits are required with 45 at Level 3. A minimum of 39 credits should be with a distinction grade, with all remaining Level 3 credits at merit grade.

You must have GCSE in English and Maths at grade C or 4.

Advanced Placement tests

The University welcomes applicants with the Advanced Placement (AP) qualification. Such applications will be considered on an individual basis.

Cambridge Pre-U

We consider applicants offering Pre-U Principal Subjects, or a mix of Pre-U and A-Level subjects, provided a minimum of three distinct subjects overall is taken.

Candidates taking Pre-U principal subjects in conjunction with A-Levels are expected to achieve a combination of D3, D3, M2 in the Pre-U, and AAB at A-Level in three distinct subjects.

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

The University recognises the benefits of the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) and the opportunities it provides for applicants to develop independent study and research skills.  We strongly encourage you to provide information about the EPQ in your personal statement and at interview.

For this programme, as well as the regular conditions of offer, we will be able to make an alternative offer to applicants, in the event that they are taking an EPQ along with their A-Levels.  

The usual offer is AAB; the alternative offer is ABB and A in EPQ.

Home-schooled applicants

If you have followed a non-standard educational route and have been, for example, educated at home, your application will be considered against the standard entry criteria of the course.

You will be required to demonstrate that you meet the academic entry requirements as specified for the course.

We will also require a reference which should be written by somebody who knows you well enough, in an official capacity, to write about you and your suitability for higher education. For further information, please see  UCAS reference guidelines .

Non-standard educational routes

Return-to-learn students are those who have had a substantial period away from any formal learning. Often such learners have pursued careers or raised a family. The University understands that students come from many different backgrounds, with varying qualifications, careers and skills, but they often bring to their studies a high degree of motivation and experience.

The University recognises that standard selection measures and procedures may not enable these learners to demonstrate fully their suitability for their chosen course. Where appropriate, admissions officers will seek and consider alternative evidence in order to give such learners equivalent consideration.

Where they deem this alternative evidence meets entry criteria fully, the learner will not be required to meet the standard academic entry requirements.

English language

If your first language or language of instruction isn't English, you may be asked to provide evidence of fluency in English by achieving:

  • IELTS - 6.5 overall, 6.5 in writing, no sub-section below 6.0.
  • TOEFL iBT - Overall score of 90, with a minimum score of 22 in writing and 20 in the other subsections.
  • Pearson PTE -  Overall score of 62, with a minimum score of 62 in writing and 55 in the other subsections.
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) or Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) - Overall score of 176 or above, with 176 in writing and no sub-section below 169 (or Grade C if test taken before January 2015).

English language test validity

Your English language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Please be aware that some English language test results are only valid for two years.

Application and selection

How to apply

Apply through UCAS .

Policy for applicants who resit their qualifications

The University will consider applicants who have re-sat individual course units.

If you have re-sat your final examinations we will consider your application, but may require further information in order to make an informed academic judgement on your application.

Re-applications

If you applied in the previous year and your application was not successful, you may apply again. Your application will be considered against the standard course entry criteria for that year of entry. 

In your new application, you should demonstrate how your application has improved. We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen course.

If you are applying for a place for the same year of entry through UCAS Extra, you should provide additional evidence of your suitability for the course.

If you are applying through Clearing, you are required to meet the clearing requirements.

In both UCAS Extra and Clearing, the places will be subject to availability.

Course details

Course description

Manchester is the ideal place to study Geography. The world's first industrial city and a vibrant twenty-first century metropolis set between three National Parks, Manchester and its environment are an important resource for field teaching in all three years of your degree.

Geography has been taught at The University of Manchester for more than 125 years. We have a vibrant community of students and academic staff, with a wide range of teaching and research interests and an impressive international research reputation.

We give you maximum choice to tailor your degree by choosing the course units that best suit your interests and preferred assessment methods. You can truly showcase your skills and abilities by selecting course units from both:

  • Physical geography, the study of the natural processes of the earth, and the preferred discipline for students predominately interested in ecology, hydrology, palaeo environments, geoarchaeology, glaciology, climatology and geomorphology.
  • Human geography, the study of human behaviour and impact on the earth, and the preferred discipline for students predominately interested in economic, cultural, political, urban and historical geography.

Whether you select BA Geography or BSc Geography, you can study a mixture of both physical and human geography modules. Both are covered in the first year, and you can swap from the BA to the BSc or vice-versa if you find your interests take you in a new direction.

Special features

Manchester is a vibrant, student-friendly city surrounded by three spectacular national parks, so you'll get plenty of opportunities to get out of the classroom on fieldwork.

Pre-course field trip

As far as we know, we are the only university in the UK to run a pre-course field trip for its new geography students. It takes place in Keswick, the Lake District, over three days in the week before Welcome Week in September.

The residential trip is a great opportunity to get to know your fellow students and future tutors. As the trip has been running for almost 50 years, it's become a bit of a tradition among Manchester geographers. Our students tell us that the friends they make on this field trip stay with them throughout the course and beyond.

Other field trips
  • First year  - You'll undertake fieldwork in Manchester. 
  • Second year  - You'll travel overseas for fieldwork as well as undertake local area trips related to course units. Potential destinations include Crete, Cuba, Donegal, New York, Iceland, Amsterdam, Morocco, the Pyrenees, the Czech Republic and Hong Kong.
  • Third year  - Most units include fieldwork, such as trips to coastal areas in the North West of England.

Additional course information

Manchester University Geographical Society (MUGS)

MUGS is a society run by geography students for geography students.

MUGS is your point of contact for anything from places to hang out in Manchester, to the location of your first lecture, tutorial or seminar. It organises many cheap social events throughout the year where students mix with other year groups - invaluable when it comes choosing your course units for the next semester.

The society offers a large range of discount wristbands and VIP entry during socials, which makes being a member truly worthwhile. The highlight of the social calendar is without doubt the end of year ball, or GloBall as it has been named.

On the academic side, there are guest lecturers, seminars and debates throughout the year; a great source of knowledge when it comes to essay writing or exam preparation.

Teaching and learning

Our teaching and learning strategy is designed to provide you with a stimulating and challenging set of experiences that will help you to develop a wide range of intellectual, subject-specific and transferable skills whilst studying a dynamic and broad-ranging subject.

We develop your ability to think critically, analytically and creatively. You learn about contemporary issues and problems, to which much of our research relates, in ways that help you discuss and develop your own views on current societal and environmental debates.

In developing an understanding of these issues and problems, you acquire a set of subject-specific skills, associated with, for example, geographical representation (Geographical Information Systems, Remote Sensing, Visualisation) and field and laboratory analyses.

Coursework and assessment

Our assessment strategy is devised to present you with the opportunity to demonstrate the full range of your abilities and skills, and promote in-depth learning and understanding.

There is, therefore, a mix of assessment types in all three years that reflect the variety of abilities and skills that you develop and acquire as you proceed through your course, including:

  • a dissertation
  • essays
  • individual and team projects
  • coursework
  • posters
  • presentations
  • practicals
  • field notebooks
  • unseen written examination papers (essay answers and multiple choice).

The mix of assessment types is to help you in a number of ways:

  • Some of them are to allow fuller coverage of, and feedback on, knowledge and understanding.
  • Some are devised to allow rapid feedback.
  • Others are to promote the development of argument (eg tutorial and course work essays or the skills of teamwork)
  • Some test the extent to which you can carry out work independently, such as coursework essays and the dissertation. 

Second-year work currently contributes 25% of the course, with third-year contributing 75%.

Course content for year 1

Compulsory course units in both human and physical geography will provide you with a basic knowledge of key subject areas, and establish basic principles, concepts and skills upon which your second and third-year course units build. Core units cover three themes:

  • Human Geography - Changing political, economic, environmental, social and cultural geographies.
  • Physical Geography - Climate and earth surface systems, including pollution and resource exploitation.
  • Researching Manchester - Research skills used in human and physical geography to explore the local and global significance of Manchester.

Beside the compulsory modules, you may then choose to take a further two units in geography or take 'free choice' subjects outside of Geography.

In addition to lectures, you will have tutorials, undertake skills-based activities and complete team projects.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Key Ideas in Geography GEOG10191 10 Mandatory
Introducing Human Geographies 1 GEOG10251 10 Mandatory
Researching Manchester GEOG10292 10 Mandatory
Environmental Processes and Change: The Global System GEOG10401 10 Mandatory
Dynamic Earth GEOG10422 10 Mandatory
Introducing Human Geographies 2 GEOG10432 10 Mandatory
Tutorials and Book Review GEOG12011 10 Mandatory
Tutorials and Profile of a Research Geographer GEOG12012 10 Mandatory
Geographies of Globalisation GEOG10101 10 Optional
Environmental Pollution GEOG10161 10 Optional
Environment, Society and Space GEOG10172 10 Optional
River Catchment Science & Management GEOG10712 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 12 course units for year 1

Course content for year 2

In year two, lectures develop the themes established in the first year but introduce you to wider aspects of the subject. Throughout the year, you will:

  • expand on themes from the first year whilst pursuing your preferred subjects through optional units
  • develop transferable and professional skills critical for your future employability
  • undertake practical training in real-world geographical skills such as environmental monitoring, data archives, ethnography and statistics.

Lecture course units consist of two sessions every week, divided into a two-hour and a one-hour session. One of these sessions will take the form of small group learning in order to allow you to discuss and develop your ideas and skills.

In semester one, you undertake a course unit to support your future employability, jointly run with the Careers Service. The Geography Employability Programme will give you practice in:

  • teamwork
  • report-writing
  • researching
  • oral presentations
  • role playing
  • negotiation
  • preparing a CV and dissertation proposal.

In semester two, through tutorials, practical classes and lecture sessions, you will begin work towards your dissertation, which is handed in during your third year.

During the second year, you may also choose four optional modules. You can choose all of your modules within Geography, or you may decide to continue with a free choice element - either continuing your first-year area, or choosing a new subject for study.

In order to make the most of the unsurpassed range of courses that a University as large as Manchester is able to offer, you are able to choose up to two free choice subjects including the Manchester Leadership Programme.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Research Design and Overseas Fieldcourses GEOG20072 20 Mandatory
Skills for Geographers GEOG20621 20 Mandatory
Economic Geography: Understanding the economy. creating economic spaces GEOG20101 20 Optional
Economic Geography: Understanding the economy. creating economic spaces GEOG20102 20 Optional
Development and Inequality GEOG20121 20 Optional
Development and Inequality GEOG20122 20 Optional
Green Planet: Plant Ecology and Global Change GEOG20291 20 Optional
Environmental Change and the Human Past GEOG20302 20 Optional
Glaciers GEOG20351 20 Optional
Glaciers GEOG20352 20 Optional
Remote Sensing in Action: Mapping and monitoring land cover changes GEOG20381 20 Optional
Remote Sensing in Action: Mapping and monitoring land cover changes GEOG20382 20 Optional
Rivers GEOG20401 20 Optional
Rivers GEOG20402 20 Optional
Spatial Thinking with GIS: Constructing and exploring virtual worlds GEOG20501 20 Optional
Spatial Thinking with GIS: Constructing and exploring virtual worlds GEOG20502 20 Optional
Transport Geographies GEOG20541 20 Optional
Transport Geographies GEOG20542 20 Optional
North American Cities - Change and Continuity in the Metropolis GEOG20551 20 Optional
North American Cities - Change and Continuity in the Metropolis GEOG20552 20 Optional
Creative Geographies GEOG21311 20 Optional
Moral Geographies GEOG21331 20 Optional
Sustainable Consumption and Production in the Global South GEOG21402 20 Optional
Everyday Geographies: Social and Cultural Concepts and Methods GEOG21421 20 Optional
Everyday Geographies: Social and Cultural Concepts and Methods GEOG21422 20 Optional
Quaternary Climates and Landscapes GEOG21431 20 Optional
Moral Geographies GEOG21432 20 Optional
City Planet: Challenges in theory and practice GEOG21891 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 28 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

In your third year, lecture modules will consist of two sessions each week, divided into a two-hour and a one-hour session. For each course unit, one of these sessions will take the form of small group learning in order to allow you to discuss and develop your ideas and skills. Throughout the year, you will:

  • learn from leaders in their field as Manchester's world-class academics teach their areas of specific expertise
  • enjoy a large number of options, meaning you will often be taught in small classes, making for a truly world-class learning environment
  • study lecture-based course units that encourage active participation and often include a practical element.

Every course unit is assessed in part by a final examination and in part by a piece of coursework. The normal weighting is 67% examination and 33% coursework; although a limited number of practically-oriented modules are 100% coursework.

You will also complete your dissertation, drawing together the different strands of the degree course and studying a subject that really interests you. You will conceive, plan, execute and write up a major independent and novel piece of research. Supervision is provided by staff from the sub-discipline of geography most appropriate to your chosen topic. You will also have the support of a small tutorial group of your peers who are working on similar topics.

Course units for year 3

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Dissertation GEOG30000 40 Mandatory
Borders and Security GEOG30031 20 Optional
Borders and Security in a Mobile World GEOG30032 20 Optional
Mediterranean Quaternary Landscapes GEOG30131 20 Optional
Geographies of Food and Farming GEOG30161 20 Optional
Climate Change and carbon Cycling GEOG30181 20 Optional
Climate Change and carbon Cycling GEOG30182 20 Optional
Energy, Society and Space GEOG30201 20 Optional
Peatlands Under Pressure GEOG30231 20 Optional
Peatlands Under Pressure GEOG30232 20 Optional
Geography of Life GEOG30352 20 Optional
Islands: Playful Human Geographies? GEOG30502 20 Optional
Dryland Environments: Past, Present and Future GEOG30531 20 Optional
Understanding GIS GEOG30552 20 Optional
European Cities GEOG30652 20 Optional
Governing Urban Transformation GEOG30802 20 Optional
Asian Workers and the Labour of Globalisation GEOG31071 20 Optional
Space, Nature and Social Power GEOG31211 20 Optional
Space, Nature and Social Power GEOG31212 20 Optional
Coastal Processes: Sea Level Change and Marine Hazards GEOG31952 20 Optional
Understanding the Himalayan Landscape GEOG36661 20 Optional
Principles, Perspectives and Practice MGDI31101 20 Optional
Environment and development MGDI31212 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 23 course units for year 3

What our students say

'The Geography department at Manchester is fantastic, as it has many lecturers who specialise in a broad number of fields.  This allows you a greater choice of subjects and to tailor your degree to what really interests you. The lecturers are approachable and friendly and this creates a good, relaxed working environment.'

(Second-year student, BA Geography)

Facilities

  • Main teaching laboratory  - Most practical sessions take place in this laboratory.
  • Analytical laboratory - For the analysis of a wide range of soil, sediment and water properties.
  • Microscopy laboratory - Three high-range, research-quality microscopes with image-capture facilities and 50 teaching microscopes with phase-contrast capability.
  • Sediments and project laboratories - For sample preparation, including ovens, furnaces and ball mills.
  • Specialist software - You can learn professional skills such as coding and programing specialist, industry-standard, software such as image processing, GIS, GPS and cartographic representation.
  • Library resources - The University's Main Library is the largest university library system in the UK apart from the copyright libraries and has a number of different working spaces. It is home to the University Map Collection, which comprises about 100,000 map sheets of every part of the world. We also have our very own Kantorowich Library, which contains many of the teaching and learning materials that you will need, from books and journals to DVDs and past dissertations.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service:

Careers

Career opportunities

Geography graduates have particularly great employment prospects - and a degree from The University of Manchester will open doors to a wide range of careers. In fact, we are one of the most targeted universities by the UK's top 100 graduate employers (The Graduate Market in 2017, High Flyers).

Our dedicated Geography employability programme will ensure you leave us as a highly employable individual, by developing your expertise in teamwork, communication, research, data analysis, problem solving and time management.

You will also gain subject-specific skills such as geographical representation, microscopy and field and laboratory analyses; invaluable skills if you choose to pursue a career directly related to your degree.

While at Manchester, you'll benefit from the attention of an academic member of staff who will focus on enhancing your employability through the curriculum, volunteering and internships.

Our graduates have pursued successful careers in areas including:

  • business development
  • consulting
  • education
  • environmental sciences
  • finance
  • human resources
  • marketing
  • media and communications
  • planning
  • project management
  • research.

Our graduates are employed by organisations including:

  • Accenture
  • HSBC
  • Manchester City Council
  • Network Rail
  • PwC
  • Sky
  • the BBC
  • the Environment Agency.