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Geography (Human) (BSc)

  • L700

3 years (Full-time) / n/a (Part-time) / n/a (Distance / E-Learning)

Human Geography is an exciting and innovative degree course which will provide you with a comprehensive and critical understanding of Human Geography as well as opportunities to specialise in specific areas of the discipline. The course allows students to learn about the different aspects of Human Geography in greater depth than most other geography degree programmes.

Our focus is on human geography, but we recognise that students may be interested in aspects of physical geography. The School has strong links with Cardiff School of Earth and Ocean Sciences and students may select modules from a number of physical geography related options during their studies. The Human Geography course combines theoretical and conceptual approaches to the relations between space, place and environment with detailed empirical case studies of geography in action.

Geography (Human) BSc

Destinations of our undergraduate field study visits have included Istanbul, Greece, Belfast, and will this year take our students to China.

Established in 1966, the Cardiff School of Planning and Geography is a leading international centre for teaching and research in spatial planning and human geography. We are a multi-disciplinary applied human geography and urban studies school; the premier school in the UK for spatial planning research and professionally accredited education.

What makes us special?

  • Teaching Excellence: We consistently achieve high ratings in the National Student Survey with a 95% satisfaction rate in 2011
  • Research Excellence: We ranked top in our field in the latest Research Assessment Exercise
  • Professional links and employability: Our degree programmes are accredited by professional organisation, and over 90% of our graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduating
  • Facilities: The School is based in the iconic Glamorgan Building and all of our teaching happens within the School. We have a wide range of lecture rooms, design studios, and a state-of-the-art computer laboratory.

Key Facts

UCAS Code L700
Duration 3 years
How to apply
Typical places available The School admits c90 students each year to its undergraduate degree programmes.
Typical applications received c275
Scholarships & Bursaries
Typical A-level offer  AAB-ABB
Admissions Tutors Dr Peter Mackie
Tel Number 029 2087 6223
Email address
School website

The course explores geographical ideas and practice at various spatial scales, making connections between the local, regional, national and global levels. It covers the key social, political, economic and environmental components of geography, and allows students to take specialist modules which build on their own interests and passions. A key aspect of this course lies in its emphasis on the relevance of Human Geography, particularly to policy-makers and the public. Students have the opportunity to learn how the discipline informs elected decision-makers, helps the voluntary sector and seeks to improve civil society. The course also provides students with the crucial opportunity to translate their geographical knowledge into practice by offering a work placement module in the third year. This module enables students to ease their transition between education and the ‘real world’ by providing crucial work experience beyond the University.

Students interested in aspects of physical geography are able to select from a number of optional modules, allowing them to specialise in their chosen areas.

Students taking the human geography degree will also develop and strengthen their skills in the broad range of research methods used in the discipline. These skills, along with students’ own interests, contribute to the research dissertation in the third year. With supervision from an expert active in their research area, students undertake exciting projects at both home and abroad. The quality of these dissertations often leads to student progression into postgraduate study and sometimes even publication. Innovative teaching and learning ideas, low staff:student ratios, and overseas field study visits ensure that BSc Geography (Human) students receive the highest quality learning experience.

Detailed module descriptions are available on the School website.

Year 1

The first year provides an introduction to the key dimensions of human geography, including the historical development of the discipline, key geographical ideas, environmental processes and the developing world. Through the Study Skills module, students will also develop the essential skills for studying human geography at degree level.

You will study:

  • Introduction to Human Geography
  • Introduction to Geographical Ideas
  • Introducing Research Methods
  • Study Skills
  • Environmental Geography
  • Development and Underdevelopment
  • Earth and Planetary System Science (This is an optional module and can be taken instead of Environmental Geography or Development and Underdevelopment)

Year 2

The second year builds on the foundations provided in Year 1, looking in more depth at the history of geographical thought and the economic, social, cultural and political subfields of human geography. Attention is also given to research techniques and issues, which provide an introduction to the dissertation to be completed in the third year.

Physical geography modules will be available for selection as optional modules. These are currently under development and will be confirmed before students commence their studies in 2013.

You will study:

  • Spaces of Production: Economic Geography
  • Contemporary Geographical Ideas
  • Practising Geographical Research
  • Culture, Space and Place
  • Social Geography
  • Political Geography: Place, Space and Power

Year 3

The third year explores the broader relevance of geography to policy and society in a year-long core Public Geographies module that includes a field study visit. This and the dissertation are compulsory. You will then be able to choose the remaining three modules from eight options, which include a work placement.

Physical geography modules will be available for selection as optional modules. These are currently under development and will be confirmed before students commence their studies in 2013.

You will study:

  • Research Dissertation
  • Public Geographies

Plus three option modules from:

  • Advanced Economic Geography
  • Geographies of Consumption
  • Rural Geography
  • Cities
  • Transport Planning and Travel Behaviour
  • Demography and Health
  • Housing Policies and Systems
  • Work Placement

Visit the Cardiff School of Planning and Geography website for more information about course structure, modules and credits.

Our approach is based upon a commitment to provide the highest quality teaching to our students. As far as possible, we aim to teach students in small groups because we believe that this encourages a more positive learning environment between staff and students and amongst students themselves. Typically you will study six modules per year, and will receive 15 hours of guided study per week. Teaching takes place through a variety of methods, including lectures, seminars, field study visits, studio work and workshops. Subject-based teaching is enriched by opportunities to participate in study skills training, employability workshops, and interaction with high profile speakers from academia, policy and business, who contribute to the School's Innovation and Engagement programme.

Our degrees are designed with your employability to the fore. The programmes have a strong identity, designed to build knowledge year on year, with internal coherence and strong identity, leading to the development of critical skills, academic insight and professional awareness that allows for the potential of each student to be realised.

We encourage innovation and creativity in the delivery and assessment of teaching and learning, for example the use of digital media and field study visits. You will receive skills training from presentation of critical thinking through film-based assessments. Forms of assessment will equip you for the demands of a changing workplace; from individual academic essays and policy reports for a range of stakeholders, to group presentations.

Typical A-level Offer


Geography A-level. General Studies is not accepted.

Typical WBQ Offer  Pass the Advanced Diploma and grades AA-AB at A- level.
Typical Int Bacc Offer  35-34 points
Other Applications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Please see detailed admissions and selection criteria for more information.

A list of commonly accepted alternative entry qualifications and admissions and selection criteria for this degree programme can be read here.

In 2012, 92% of the School’s graduates were either in employment or engaged in further study within six months of graduation.

Our graduates occupy key positions in national and local governments, business consultancies, sustainable energy centres, environmental agencies, housing strategy companies, construction, surveying and are active in both the public and private sectors.

For those aiming to teach Geography at Secondary level, our BSc Geography (Human) has been designed to prepare students for a Geography PGCE, providing the confidence to teach the full breadth of a geography curriculum.

Next intake: September each year

School Contact

Name: Dr Peter Mackie Admissions Tutor 

Telephone: 029 2087 6223 



School Website:

School Contact

Name: General Admissions  

Telephone: 02920 876087 



More information

School of Planning and Geography