Geography

Join a community of leading scientists and social scientists working to understand some of the most urgent challenges facing the world today.

Global reputation

The University of Bristol is ranked 8th in the UK for geography and 1st for geography research quality (Complete University Guide 2022).

Cutting-edge research

Geography at Bristol has been ranked in the top category in every UK national research assessment exercise since 1986. This translates into inspirational teaching informed by the latest studies.

Field trips

Put theory into practice with UK and international fieldwork, from the Avon Gorge in Bristol to Barcelona and Switzerland.

Geography at Bristol

Geography gives you a unique perspective on global issues, from climate change to human-nature interactions, and environmental consequences from urban growth to agricultural pollution. It links the physical and social sciences to explore the interactions between people and the planet.

You will learn with internationally renowned experts whose research feeds directly into your teaching, and you will develop the knowledge and abilities to make a difference.

The School of Geographical Sciences is a partner in Bristol Q-Step, which is part of a national initiative offering enhanced skills training in the social sciences.

Geography at Bristol has allowed me to tailor my course to my interests. I really value the emphasis on developing research and scientific skills, and the energy and passion of the lecturers.

Karen, Bsc Geography

Career prospects

Our graduates excel in a variety of careers thanks to the specialist nature of our courses and the skills students acquire in computing, statistics, literacy and critical thinking.

Some of our graduates find work in areas directly related to geography, while others discover their knowledge and training provides them with a route into different professions or further study.

Some of our recent graduates have gone into:

  • risk analysis
  • management and environmental consultancy
  • finance
  • technology
  • sales and marketing
  • communications
  • computer software development.
What our students do after graduating

Course structure

At Bristol, you can tailor your studies to pursue your own interests.

Year one of all our courses gives you a contemporary overview of both human and physical geography – plus a UK-based field course. You will also gain a foundation in quantitative research methods with lectures and practical classes. As you progress through your course you can choose to specialise in human or physical geography, or pursue a combination of both. The breadth of specialist units available reflects our world-class research strengths, and you’ll use the skills that you gain throughout your studies in a self-directed dissertation project in your final year.

You’ll get hands-on experience through our UK and European field classes, the cost of which is included in your tuition fee. Field classes are a great way to bond with your course mates and hone your skills in field techniques and observation, placing your studies in the context of real-world issues.

Sample units may include:

  • Ice and Ocean in the Global Carbon Cycle
  • Ethnicity, Class and Housing in the City
  • Sea Level Past, Present and Future
  • Advanced Topics in Critical Political Economy
  • Geographic Data Science.

As well as the BSc Geography degree, we also have combined degree options to expand your horizons.

  • You could spend your third year studying abroad and gain a unique experience in a new country. To find out more visit Global Opportunities.
  • You can combine your degree with quantitative research methods and develop numeracy and analysis skills to boost your career prospects.
  • There is also an option to combine your degree with innovation and apply your creativity to nurture interdisciplinary entrepreneurial ventures.

Global impact

Bristol was the first UK university to declare a climate emergency, and our researchers are on the forefront of work into quantifying climate risks and the social impact of climate change.

A former European Green Capital, the UK’s first cycling city, and home to flourishing eco-friendly organisations, Bristol is a pioneering green city.

Bristol is a major centre for research and teaching on environmental processes and systems. Join world-leading experts working on some of the biggest challenges of the 21st century.

Geography

Clearing 2021

Sign up to receive news and advice about applying to Bristol.
Register your interest.

Geography is a discipline that will both stimulate and challenge you. At Bristol you will work with renowned scholars in the fields of glaciology, hydrology, spatial modelling, political economy, historical and cultural geography and environmental change.

Why study Geography at Bristol?

We are entering an exciting new phase in global development where geography will steer great intellectual and practical change. Bristol is deeply involved with the people and debates that will lead those changes.

Our courses are taught in a stimulating environment in which we aim to inspire you and help you develop skills that will lead to a successful career when you graduate.

You will be able to choose specialist units in years two and three, comprising human geography, physical geography or both. Each specialist unit will help you engage with cutting-edge material and develop your knowledge and skills.

Field trips and practical work are key components of our courses. There are UK residential trips in year one, and in year two there is typically an overseas field trip.

The skills that you acquire throughout your studies will be applied in a self-directed dissertation project in your final year.

The School of Geographical Sciences is a partner in Bristol Q-Step, which is part of a national initiative offering enhanced skills training in the social sciences.

See the School of Geographical Sciences on film.

What kind of student would this course suit?

There is no typical Bristol geography student but all share a keen curiosity about our physical, social and cultural worlds. Some are highly numerical and able to develop mathematical models of the Earth’s climate; others enjoy using statistics to understand issues such as social segregation and the outbreak of war. Some students are passionate about contemporary social theory, while others are fascinated by the relationships between people and their environments.

Whether you are interested in the science of modelling, the uncertainties of future sea levels in Greenland and the Antarctic, or quantitative human geography and global development, Bristol offers a choice of courses that will enable you to pursue your interests to the leading edge of the subject.

How is this course taught and assessed?

There is a strong commitment to theoretical and conceptual work, with complementary and substantial training in collecting and analysing geographical data.

Lectures cover core topics, explain key concepts and help students to understand assigned readings. In tutorials, small-group discussions explore core and specialised material, and you will develop your writing and presentation skills.

Practicals provide training in research methods and skills, with hands-on exercises conducted alone and/or in groups. These skills are put to use in fieldwork away from the University, where you will collect original data.

Most units are assessed with both an unseen final exam and one or more pieces of coursework, some of which may be group based. The dissertation is an independently planned and executed research project supported by a supervisor.

What are my career prospects?

Our graduates excel in a variety of careers thanks to the specialist nature of our courses and the skills students acquire in computing, statistics, literacy and critical thinking.

Some of our graduates find work in areas directly related to geography, while others discover their knowledge and training provides them with a route into different professions or further study. Some of our recent graduates have gone into risk analysis, management and environmental consultancy, finance, technology, sales and marketing, communications and computer software development.

Find out more about what our students do after graduating.

Disclaimer

Important disclaimer information about our courses.

Every day my inbox is flooded with opportunities – internships, research projects, extra-curricular activities – all of which are the University getting students involved. The University is constantly updating its facilities, which reinforces its friendly and inclusive environment.

Alexandra (LLB Law)

Request more information

Ask us a question, sign up for our updates or request a prospectus.

Get in touch

Related subjects

You may also be interested in:

Edit this page