Physical Geography with a Year of Study Abroad (BSc)

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.


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.


Year abroad

Learn while you travel and experience the landscapes or coastlines, education and culture of a different country with the opportunity to complete a year studying at a university abroad.


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 the 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 experience using 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.


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.


During this four-year programme, you can spend one academic year studying at one of our partner universities abroad. Studying abroad is a fantastic opportunity to experience other cultures and viewpoints, learn the different styles and approaches to your subject in another country and explore new physical environments, landscapes and coastlines. You will get the chance to make new friends and contacts from around the world. Plus, you will have the opportunity to develop a wealth of life skills and strengths that will help you to compete in an increasingly global workplace, such as adaptability, resourcefulness, and resilience.


Our Regrow Borneo project allows you to offset your flight’s carbon emissions by making an affordable donation to support our tree-planting project in the Lower Kinabatangan rainforest, Sabah, Borneo.


CardiffUnited Kingdom

  Course Duration

48 Months

  Tuition Fee

£ 23,450


IELTS: 6.5


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Course structure


This is a four-year full-time degree. In your first year you will study core modules and get a strong foundation in physical geography. In year two and four there are core and optional modules so you have some flexibility to choose to study the areas that you’re interested in.   Your third year is spent studying at a partner university in another country.


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

 Core modules for year one


Module title Module code Credits
World of Dynamic Environments EA1300 20 credits
Exploring Planet Earth EA1301 20 credits
GIS, Maps and Analytical Skills EA1303 20 credits
Geography Field Skills EA1305 20 credits
Understanding the Living Planet EA1308 20 credits
Fundamentals of Geographical Science EA1309 20 credits


Year two

Core modules for year two


Module title Module code Credits
Geographical Data Analysis, Field and Professional Skills EA2307 40 credits
Process Geomorphology & Hydrology EA2312 20 credits


 Optional modules for year two


Module title Module code Credits
Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis EA2308 20 credits
Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Science EA2309 20 credits
The Coastal System EA2311 20 credits
The Ocean-Atmosphere System EA2315 20 credits


Year three: Sandwich year

 Core modules for year three


Module title Module code Credits
Year of Study Abroad EA3300 120 credits


Year four

 Core modules for year four


Module title Module code Credits
Physical Geography Dissertation EA3313 40 credits
Environmental Geomorphology EA3319 20 credits


 Optional modules for year four


Module title Module code Credits
Advanced Geography Fieldwork II EA3315 20 credits
Hazards, Risk and Resilience EA3317 20 credits
Extreme Environments: biogeochemical perspectives EA3320 20 credits
Global Climate Change EA3322 20 credits

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.


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.


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. 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 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.


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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