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Physical Geography (MSci)

Cardiff University

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Program Overview

High quality facilities

You will have access to the latest technologies in surveying and mapping equipment, chemical laboratories and laboratories with Geographic Information System (GIS).

 

Strong connections

Our excellent links to local organisations, such as Natural Resources Wales and the Severn Estuary Partnership, helps our students to find projects and placement opportunities.

 

Flexible course

In most cases, you may request a transfer to programmes with a professional placement year, with a year of study abroad, or to the MSci. You may also request a switch to another course in the School at the end of the first semester.

 

Great location

From impressive mountains in the north to a biodiverse tidal estuary in the south, Wales is a playground for geographers with plenty of natural environments to explore.

 

Fieldwork opportunities

Regular field trips in the UK and overseas will help you to develop strong fieldwork skills. The cost of field trips is included in your course fees.

 

Our planet is constantly evolving and reshaping itself. We need to understand the science behind physical processes and hazards, like flooding and coastal erosion, so we can adapt and find solutions to challenges we’ll face in the future. 

 

On our Physical Geography course, you will explore how the Earth functions and learn about global hazards like volcanoes and landslides and investigate how landscapes evolve over time. You will study physical processes from across the world, from glacial processes to desertification. You will develop skills in mapping and research and get hands-on with industry-standard equipment and software. 

 

Students on this course are usually interested in the physical world around us and want to use their knowledge and understanding to make a positive difference. Graduates leave with the skills to solve a range of complex real-world problems related to the physical environment and with experience of hands-on fieldwork and cutting-edge research with world-leading scientists.

 

Our Master's degree includes a fourth year of study where you work on an independent research project with a world-leading scientist from the School and their research staff. You will develop the advanced research skills needed for a career in academic research and consultancy.

 

We make the most of our location and take regular day trips along the coast and to the Brecon Beacons in South Wales. There will also be opportunities to go on overseas field trips, in the past we have taken our geography students to Switzerland.

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  Location

CardiffUnited Kingdom

DurationIcon
  Course Duration

48 Months

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  Tuition Fee

£ 23,450

 Score

IELTS: 6.5

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Course structure

 

This is a four-year full-time course and you study for your Bachelors and Masters degree at the same time. The first three years are structured in the same way as the BSc course and then in year four you will complete your Masters qualification.  

 

In your first year you will study core modules and get a strong foundation in marine geography. In year two to four there are core and optional modules so you have some flexibility to choose to study the areas that you’re interested in. Both year three and four include a research dissertation.

 

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2022/2023 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2022.

 

Year one


In your first year you will study core modules designed to give you a strong foundation in Earth sciences and geography. Topics include oceans, climate, earth processes and global environments. You will develop essential geographical skills like map and chart work, GIS and basic geographical data analysis.

 

We will go on a residential field course to a coastal national park within Wales (either Pembrokeshire or Snowdonia) to learn key field skills including mapping and surveying.

 

All of the degrees in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences study the same first semester. After semester one you can decide whether you want to continue with your original choice or switch to one of the other degrees (such as Marine or Environmental Geography).

 

You earn 120 credits for the year with each core module worth 20 credits.

 

Year two


In your second year you will build on the knowledge from year one and start exploring more advanced concepts like process geomorphology and hydrology. You will gain skills and experience in sampling, data collection and analysis ready for your dissertation in year three.

 

We will go on an overseas residential field course to a location in Europe where you will develop your skills in environmental monitoring and surveying the physical landscape. In the past we’ve been to the Netherlands and Switzerland.

 

In the summer between year two and three you will do five weeks of independent research to prepare for your dissertation in year three. You can choose to research an area you’re interested in including topics like hillslope erosion and flooding, future landscape changes and cliff profile changes along actively eroding coastlines.

 

You earn 120 credits for the year. This is made up of 40 and 20 credit core modules and a choice of 20 credit optional modules.

 

Year three


In your third year, you will have more freedom to shape your degree and choose modules that fit with your career ambitions. You will also develop essential professional skills and knowledge that all employers are looking for.

 

You earn 120 credits for the year. The core modules include your dissertation and Environmental Geomorphology. For your optional modules you can choose to do a further residential field course and study a range of specialist subjects like Global Climate Change.

 

Year four


Year four is when you study for your Masters. Your core modules include your dissertation (60 credits) and a fieldwork module. For your optional modules, you can choose from topics like business and consultancy and advanced geographical modelling.

 

You can choose to do your Masters dissertation on any topic related to physical geography that we can supervise in the School. You can either choose from a list of potential projects circulated by the School or you can work with a supervisor to design a project in an area you’re particularly interested in.

 

You will work one-to-one with a research supervisor throughout the year and possibly with a wider group of research students and industry professionals. Some of our best Masters research projects have been published in the scientific literature.

A level
ABB-BBB (with 1 science subject) or BBB-BBC (with 2 science subjects). Acceptable science subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology, Maths, Physics.

 

Extended/International Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ/IPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

 

International Baccalaureate
32-31 overall or 665 in 3 HL subjects (with 1 HL science subject) or 31-30 overall or 665-655 in 3 HL subjects (with 2 HL science subjects). Acceptable science subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology, Maths, Physics.

 

GCSE
Grade C or grade 4 in GCSE English Language.

 

IELTS (academic)
At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each subskill.

 

TOEFL iBT
At least 90 overall with minimum scores of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking.

 

PTE Academic
At least 62 overall with a minimum of 59 in all communicative skills.

 

Trinity ISE II/III
II: at least two Distinctions and two Merits.
III: at least a Pass in all components.

Tuition fees for 2022 entry


Fees for home status

  • £9,000    

 

Fees for overseas status

  • £23,450

With the planet under increasing pressure from climate change and a changing landscape, the knowledge and skills of a physical geographer are in demand. As a physical geographer, you can use your understanding of the Earth’s processes to find sustainable solutions to many of the complex challenges we face today and in the future.

 

You can choose to work in a variety of different industries and roles in government, government agencies or environmental consultancies including working as a technical specialist or a geospatial analyst. You will also have employable skills that sectors like insurance, finance, education and planning are looking for.

 

Your advanced research skills, innovation and initiative from your Master's degree will be invaluable to employers in academia, government and industry. Many senior positions in physical geography-related careers ask for a minimum of a Master's level qualification.

 

Some of our past students have gone on to work at the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales, local government, environmental consultancies and environmental charities.

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