BSc Physical Geography with Statistics

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

In choosing to study a degree in Physical Geography with Statistics at Aberystwyth University, you will be taught in two of the longest-standing departments in the UK. The Physical Geography with Statistics 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 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, and you will also develop a deep understanding of statistics. 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, and as a student here, you can't go far without catching glimpses of the sea, beautiful beaches, mountains or rivers. Expand the sections below and find out more...


The Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth is one of the oldest and most well-respected departments of its kind in Britain. As one of the largest and most dynamic Geography communities in the UK, we are able to offer you an extremely broad range of geographical specialisms, ranging from concerns over climate change, the environmental impact of volcanic eruptions, and current trends in geohazards to urban sustainability, regional development and the future of the nation state, amongst others.

Our lecturers are active researchers working at the cutting edge of their disciplines, and you will benefit from being taught the latest geographical theories and techniques. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework assessment (REF 2014) DGES retained its crown of the best Geography department in Wales, with 78% of the research being undertaken classified as either "world leading" or "internationally excellent”. DGES is also in the top ten of UK Geography departments with regard to research power, which provides a measure of the quality of research, as well as of the number of staff undertaking research within the department.

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 teaching and research laboratories are equipped with an impressive array of analytical equipment such as mass spectrometers and core scanners, and an extensive range of equipment is available for fieldwork, such as surveying, remote sensing, and water and sediment sampling. Other resources include a digital map library, and our computer provision is second to none, with superb web-based support available.

Mathematics is a subject that has fascinated humanity for thousands of years from the ancient world to the present day. A degree in Physical Geography with Statistics will allow you to develop the skills to apply this knowledge to understanding the processes which structure the natural world.

Our Mathematics and Statistics courses are accredited by the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications (IMA), the UK’s learned and professional society for mathematics. The IMA exists to support the advancement of mathematical knowledge and its applications, and to promote and enhance mathematical culture in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, for the public good. You can therefore be assured that you will be taught by leading and highly qualified academics in their respective fields.

100% of our 2014 Maths graduates were in employment or further study 6 months after graduating. 71% were in professional work or graduate level education, above the UK av
erage for the subject (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.

The 2015 National Student Satisfaction survey results show high levels of satisfaction amongst Mathematics and Statistics students, with 84% reporting satisfaction with the quality of the teaching they received, and 92% satisfaction with learning resources (5 points above the UK average for the subject).

Mathematics and Statistics have been taught at Aberystwyth since the foundation of the university in 1872, making it the oldest Mathematics department in Wales. Despite our heritage we have continued to innovate ensuring that the degree schemes we offer will provide you with the best degree you can possibly obtain.

Our Staff

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

Most lecturers in the Department of Mathematics are qualified to PhD level and are research active. Many have a postgraduate 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 Core (40 Credits) Statistics (Minor): The following modules are core

Semester 1

Probability MA10310

Algebra MA10510

Calculus MA10610

Semester 2

Statistics MA11310

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 Welsh medium alternative modules

Semester 1

Tebygoleg MT10310

Algebra MT10510

Calcwlws MT10610

Semester 2

Ystadegaeth MT11310

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 Core (40 Credits) Statistics (Minor). The following modules are core.

Semester 1

Distributions And Estimation MA26010

Applied Statistics MA26600

Semester 2

Linear Algebra MA21410

Applied Statistics MA26620

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

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 Statistics (Minor). 40 credits from the following:

Semester 1

Linear Statistical Models MA36510

Probability And Stochastic Processes MA37410

Semester 2

Topics In Biological Statistics MA35210

Comparative Statistical Inference MA36010

Both Semesters

Project In Mathematics Or Statistics MA39910

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


our BSc in Physical Geography with Statistics will prepare you for a broad range of employment and further training options. You will be a strong candidate for opportunities in cartography, surveying, geographical information systems, teaching and research. Your degree would also be useful for careers involving logistics and distribution, transport planning and land management. These include working for organisations such as the Meteorological Office.

Transferable Skills

Studying for a degree in Mathematics with Physical Geography will equip you with a range of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers. These include:

• research and data analysis skills
• enhanced mathematical and computational skills
• effective problem-solving and creative thinking skills
• the facility to deal with abstract concepts
• a thorough grounding in information technology skills
• the ability to work independently
• time-management and organisational skills, including the ability to meet deadlines
• the ability to express ideas and communicate information in a clear and structured manner, in both written and oral form
• self-motivation and self-reliance
• team-working, with the ability to discuss concepts in groups, accommodating different ideas and reaching agreement

Year in Employment scheme (YES)

The University operates a Year in Employment Scheme (YES), which offers you a fantastic opportunity to take a year out between your second and third year to work in an organisation in the UK or overseas. YES provides a very rewarding and worthwhile experience, both personally and professionally, and can help you to stand out from the crowd in a very competitive job market. The University’s Career Service will help you to explore your options and secure a suitable work placement.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

What will I learn?

In the first year you will take core modules designed to introduce you to key concepts in geographical study, and to issues and techniques in the acquisition, analysis and presentation of geographical data. You will become familiar with the key environmental issues affecting the world today such as climate change, the natural processes that generate and control weather and climate, global ecology and soil systems. You will take modules in probability, statistics and basic algebra and calculus.

In the second year you will be introduced to glacial environments and you will learn how to obtain and interpret Quaternary palaeoclimatic and palaeoenvironmental data. You will develop your practical research skills in preparation for your independent research project, learning how to analyze quantitative datasets and produce maps and graphical representations of geographical data. You will also participate in a residential field trip in the UK or overseas. You will also have a choice of modules in statistics, for example the theory and practice of sampling and distributions and estimation.

In the third year you will undertake an independent research project or dissertation involving the collection, analysis and interpretation of primary data. You will be allocated an advisor to provide guidance during your project. Optional modules covering topics such as engineering geology, geochemistry, oceanography and hydrology in geography and comparative statistical inference and regression and anova in the Department of Mathematics will enable you to direct your study according to your preferences.

How will I be taught?

This course will be delivered through a programme of lectures, seminars, small-group tutorials, workshops, practicals and fieldtrips. This combination will balance the theoretical with the practical and group work with individual assignments. You will be able to debate topics with your peers and stretch your fieldwork abilities in the open air.

The ethos of the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences is student-centred, meaning that you will be supported through your studies, but given the freedom to forge your own study path through module selection and exciting opportunities for fieldwork.

You will be assessed through a variety of methods including essays, exams, oral presentations, literature reviews, research project reports, workbooks, posters, and learning logs. This broad portfolio gives you the chance to excel in the media which are best suited to your abilities.

You will be assigned a personal tutor throughout your degree course, who will help you with any problems or queries, whether these are academic-related or personal issues. You should feel free to contact them at any time for help and advice.

Personal Development Plan

You will also have the opportunity to complete a Personal Development Plan (PDP) at Aberystwyth. This is a structured process of self-appraisal, reflection, and planning, which will enable you to chart your personal, academic and professional development throughout your time at university. By recording your academic performance, and highlighting the skills you already have and those you will need for future employability, the PDP portfolio will equip you with the necessary tools to plan effectively, develop successful approaches to study, and consider your future career options and aspirations.

Key Information Set