BSc Physical Geography with Education

The information on this page relates to September 2016 entry. For 2017 information, including grade requirements, please check our prospectus.

In choosing to study this Physical Geography with Education Degree at Aberystwyth University you will be taught in one of the largest and longest-standing, Geography departments in the UK. The Physical Geography with Education degree course offers an interactive, varied and exciting course structure that combines theory, field studies and laboratory-based studies. You will be taught by world-class staff who will help you to develop your understanding of the physical processes shaping the earth, from sea to rivers, glaciers to volcanoes, including landscapes from the arid to the arctic. You will be given the option to travel on an international field trip in your second year of study. Aberystwyth is an area rich in natural beauty - as a student here you can't go far without catching glimpses of the sea, beautiful beaches, mountains or rivers.


This specialist BSc in Physical Geography with Education has been created for you to study the forces that shape the natural world, with the vocational benefit of understanding the latest theory and best practice of teaching in the twenty-first century.

This science-focused course has a major/minor degree course structure, meaning that you will spend two-thirds of your time examining the natural forces which shape and reshape a variety of terrains, and one-third on the processes and tactics for teaching and learning. This course is perfect for aspiring teachers, tutors and lecturers with a particular interest in geography.

You will find the study of Physical Geography with Education to be a highly complementary and stimulating experience with a strong vocational outcome. You can further pursue your interests by selecting from a range of optional modules, including Earth Surface Environments; The Dynamic Earth; Reading the Ice Age Record; Psychology of Learning and Thinking; Bilingual Education; Children's Rights; and Working with Play.

This course is delivered by our internationally-renowned Department of Geography and Earth Sciences (IGES) and supported by the School of Education and Lifelong Learning. IGES is one of the largest Geography communities in the UK and the fascinating coastal, fluvial and biological geography around Aberystwyth is an ideal setting in which to get out and conduct regular fieldwork – especially if you choose the residential Geography Fieldwork module, in which you will look at the forces at work within the environment first-hand.

This major/minor degree in Physical Geography with Education will be of great use to you in a range of graduate jobs, particularly in schools and colleges. Not only will you be thoroughly equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to apply for teacher training at primary or secondary level, you will also possess a high level of subject expertise in geography.

For jobs outside the classroom, your abilities in fluent communication, data handling and the formation of compelling arguments will prove to be huge assets in any graduate workplace.

The university has a proud tradition of research excellence, as demonstrated in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014) assessment. It placed the university in the top 50 institutions for research power and intensity. It submitted 77% of eligible staff and 95% of the university's research was of an internationally recognised standard.

The 2015 National Student Satisfaction results show high levels of satisfaction in both Human and Social Geography and Physical Geography and Environmental Science courses, with 91% of students satisfied with the quality of the teaching. Overall satisfaction was above UK national averages for the subject.

96% of our Geography and Earth Science graduates were in employment or further study 6 months after graduating, 11 percentage points higher than the previous year and 3 percentage points higher than the UK subject average (DLHE 2014).

The 2015 National Student Satisfaction results show a significant improvement in the overall satisfaction of our students with their course; a rise of 9 percentage points to an overall satisfaction rate of 90% (3 percentage points above UK average).

93% of our 2014 Education graduates were in employment or further study 6 months after graduating - 3 percentage points higher than the previous year (DLHE 2014). This reflects our investment in innovative and strategic student-focused employability initiatives which encompass all our academic Institutes and which we firmly believe are likely to improve our employability ratings still further.

Our Staff

Department of Geography and Earth Science: lecturers are all qualified to PhD level or working towards a PhD.

Undergraduate lecturers in the School of Education and Lifelong Learning are either qualified to PhD standard or are experienced practitioners in their field. All teaching staff currently possess, or are working towards, a recognised teaching qualification.

Course Content

Welsh medium modules available

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.

Year 1 Core (20 Credits) The following modules are core.

Semester 1

Key Concepts And Skills For Geographers GG13000

Semester 2

Key Concepts And Skills For Geographers GG13020

Year 1 Options You must take both ED modules or the equivalent AD module(s) from the following list

Semester 1

Polisiau A Materion Mewn Addysg AD10120

Policies And Issues In Education ED10120

Semester 2

Datblygiad Plant AD19220

Child Development ED10220

Year 1 Options Core (10 credits). Welsh medium (DA) and English medium (GG) modules. Welsh speaking students are encouraged to take DA11900/10 instead of GG11900/10.

Semester 1

Tiwtorial Daearyddiaeth Lefel 1 DA11900

Level 1 Geography Tutorial GG11900

Semester 2

Tiwtorial Daearyddiaeth Lefel 1 DA11910

Level 1 Geography Tutorial GG11910

Year 1 Options Core (30 credits) Students must take 30 credits from the list below. DA10610 and GG10610 cannot be taken together.

Semester 1

Amgylcheddau Wyneb Y Ddaear DA10610

The Atmosphere And The Water Cycle EA12210

Earth Surface Environments GG10610

Semester 2

Global Ecology And Soil Systems GG10410

Global Environmental Issues GG12710

Year 1 Options (20 credits) Students must choose up to 20 credits from the list below, or from appropriate modules offered elsewhere in DGES or in the university. DA10110 and GG14410, DA10210 and GG10210 cannot be taken together.

Semester 1

Cefn Gwlad A'r Ddinas DA10210

Planet Earth EA11510

Rocks And Minerals EA11600

The Dynamic Earth EA11710

The City And Country: Processes Of Conflict And Change GG10210

Place, Culture And Society GG14410

Semester 2

Pobl A Lle DA10110

Amgylchedd Cymru DA10810

Methodoleg Maes Amgylcheddol DA10910

Byw Gyda Risg DA12810

Rocks And Minerals EA11610

The Earth In Space And Time EA11810

Climate Change: Impacts, Perceptions, Adaptations GG10810

Power, Place And Development GG14210

Year 2 Core (40 Credits) The following modules are core.

Semester 1

Reconstructing Past Environments GG20310

Analysis And Presentation Of Geographical Data GG21700

Glacial Processes And Landforms GG23910

Semester 2

Environmental Management EA20110

Analysis And Presentation Of Geographical Data GG21710

Year 2 Options CORE MODULES (20 CREDITS). You must take either the ED or the AD module

Semester 1

Seicoleg Dysgu A Meddwl AD20120

Psychology Of Learning And Thinking ED20120

Year 2 Options Core (40 credits). Welsh medium (DA) and English medium (GG) modules. Welsh speaking students are encouraged to take DA22100/10 instead of GG22100/10, DA22420 instead of GG22420 and DA22510 instead of GG22610.

Semester 1

Tiwtorial Daearyddiaeth Lefel 2 DA22100

Geomorffoleg Afonol DA22510

Level 2 Geography Tutorial GG22100

Catchment Systems GG22610

Semester 2

Tiwtorial Daearyddiaeth Lefel 2 DA22110

Gwaith Maes Daearyddiaeth DA22420

Level 2 Geography Tutorial GG22110

Geography Fieldwork GG22420

Year 2 Options OPTIONAL MODULES (20 CREDITS). You must also choose another 20 credits from the following list:

Semester 1

Llythrennedd Mewn Plant Ifanc AD20220

Literacy In Young Children ED20220

Cultural Diversity In Education ED20420

Working With Children ED20600

Discourses Language And Education ED22420

Semester 2

Dulliau Ymchwil AD20320

Research Methods ED20320

Bilingual Education ED20520

Working With Children ED20620

Making Sense Of The Curriculum ED20820

Final Year Options CORE MODULES (20 CREDITS). You must take either the ED or the AD module

Semester 1

Gwerthuso Ac Adlewyrchu Ar Sgiliau Dysgu Yn Gritigol AD30120

Critically Reflecting And Evaluating Learning And Skills ED30120

Final Year Options Core (20 credits). Welsh speaking students are encouraged to take DA34200/20 instead of GG34200/20.

Semester 1

Prosiect Daearyddiaeth Anrhydedd Cyfun/prif Bwnc DA34200

Geography Joint Honours/major Project GG34200

Semester 2

Prosiect Daearyddiaeth Anrhydedd Cyfun/prif Bwnc DA34220

Geography Joint Honours/major Project GG34220

Final Year Options OPTIONAL MODULES (20 CREDITS). You can choose 20 credits from this list:

Semester 1

Datblygiad Mathemategol Yn Y Blynyddoedd Cynnar AD30320

Mathematical Development In The Early Years ED30320

Health And Education ED30500

Semester 2

Special Educational Needs ED30420

Health And Education ED30520

Children's Rights ED30620

Communicating Science: The Scientists, The Media And The Public ED33020

Final Year Options (60 credits) Students must take 60 credits from the list below.

Semester 1

Adnoddau Dwr A Hydroleg Bydol DA31620

Environmental Geochemistry EA30120

Oceanography And Marine Geology EA30520

River Systems And Global Environmental Change GG30420

Earth Observation From Satellites And Aircraft GG32020

Geographical Information Systems GG32820

Palaeoenvironmental Change Beyond The Ice Sheets GG33120

Palaeoglaciology GG33920

Semester 2

Volcanic Activity: Hazards And Environmental Change EA30420

Engineering Geology EA32620

Welsh Mineral Resources: Origins, Exploitation And Planning EA34120

Process Glaciology GG30320

People, Climate And Environment: A Palaeoenvironmental Perspective GG33720


Your BSc in Physical Geography with Education will prepare you for teaching and a range of scientific and more generic employment options. Your teaching knowledge will help you establish a career as a community education officer, early years teacher, education administrator, teacher, lecturer, special educational needs teacher or youth worker. Your geographical training will suit you for work in cartography, environmental consulting and town planning or development.

Recent statistics from HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) show that over 88% of Education graduates and over 82% of Geography graduates find either paid employment or continue with further study upon graduation.

Throughout your training you will develop a wealth of subject-specific skills and other generic professional skills that can be easily transferred into almost any graduate or professional employment situation.

You will be able to evaluate and improve research practices, critically review debates on relevant issues, present data through a number of channels and articulate an informed response to enquiries. You will also have proven your abilities in writing for and speaking to a range of audiences, working effectively with others, and delivering work in time to meet specific deadlines.

The study of both Physical Geography and Education requires rigorous handling of data, clarity in planning and connected thinking in what are both academically demanding subjects. This puts you at an advantage over your competitors in any general employment context, and your specialism in Education signals an obvious career path, should you choose to pursue it.

To help you discover the most appropriate career pathway for you, you will be assigned a dedicated, subject-specific careers advisor who will assist you in constructing a Personal Development Plan. This process will encourage you to reflect on your learning and your career aspirations so that every academic option you choose will point you towards your future career.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

This course will be delivered through a programme of lectures and seminars designed to inspire you in the best practices for teaching and learning, and stimulate your academic interest in physical geography. By joining these two disciplines, this course will help you deepen your geographical knowledge and equip you with skills vital for work in the field of education.

As you study, you will be both challenged and inspired by our staff members, who have created a vibrant culture of creativity and intellectual curiosity perfect for the study of education and geography. You will also have access to a personal tutor throughout your degree scheme who will meet with you regularly and handle your queries.

You will be assessed through essays, exams, practical exercises, oral presentations and extended final project. You will also be required to complete additional assignments and work with others on particular tasks.

As you study, you will develop a range of skills which will benefit you in further study or any graduate workplace. You will learn to: develop a reflective learning style to promote self-improvement; employ multiple critical techniques when approaching complex data sets; develop a rigorous approach to vital areas such as child protection; and articulate a detailed critical analysis of your subject.

Student Views

Physical Geography is EVERYWHERE - especially in Aberystwyth. You can't go far without catching glimpses of the sea, beaches, mountains or rivers, and what better subject to take than one that allows you to explore how these came to be and how they're changing today? It's a subject that will never cease to amaze me, and the course itself explains it in such an engaging way, and in such brilliant detail. Rachel Say

The thing I love about my course is that here in Aberystwyth, it's all around me - we have the sea, we have the mountains, we have the rivers, we have the valleys. My degree is the only one that wherever I am in the world, I can look and see it all around me. Jonathan Ackroyd

Physical Geography starts with a love for the outdoors. It's brilliant because it's real, it's out there - you can't walk down a street without noticing geography. So many people have a fascination for the natural processes which take place around us, but few truly understand them. By studying Physical Geography you can gain valuable knowledge about the world around you. By engaging with the world we live in we can understand it, promote it and conserve it for future generations, and that's pretty cool! Emily Brown

Key Information Set