Introduction

If you want to enhance your Geography degree with more detailed analysis and studying of wider geoscientific areas, such as geology and ecology, then this programme is the best option for you.

This programme is studied on campus.

The programme covers the core courses as taught on the standard Geography MA and BSc degrees, in the first two years.

Geoscience as a discipline focuses primarily on the scientific elements dealing with planet Earth. Within Geoscience, Geography sits as a key discipline. This degree introduces the key core components of our Geography degree but also allows the student to explore other key Geoscience related disciplines in greater detail.

Other key areas that sit within Geoscience include Geology, Hydrology and Ecology are covered in the programme, with courses such as; Space, Economy and Society, Remote Sensing, Mapping Techniques etc. There is also the opportunity to take part in field trips to enhance your studies.

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Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
BSc
Duration
48 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
UCAS Code
FF68

What You'll Study

Year 1

Year 1

Compulsory Courses

Global Worlds, Global Challenges (GG1008) - 15 Credit Points

The course explores major, global-scale issues associated with environmental change, world resources and prospects for development (sustainable or otherwise). Example topics include climate change, natural hazards, population growth, deforestation, water resources and global food supply. The course is designed to appeal to all students interested in the relationships between people and the natural environment, irrespective of their academic background or degree intention. The course combines aspects of the earth, environmental and social sciences. No prior knowledge is assumed.

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The Earth Through Geological Time (GL1005) - 15 Credit Points

For 4,500 million years the Earth has been, and still is, a continually evolving Dynamic Planet. The record is held in the rocks and fossils of the present continental landmasses and ocean basins. To deduce the history of the planet geologists must apply a large range of scientific principles and disciplines. These disciplines encompass the biological, chemical and physical sciences. The course provides a basic understanding of how the structure and evolution of the planet are deduced and how this information can be used to discover and extract natural resources such as fossil fuels and ores.

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Global Worlds, Local Challenges (GG1510) - 15 Credit Points

This course considers the geographical patterns that characterise the Earth’s physical and human environments and landscapes, and the processes that operate within and lead to changes in these. It is also concerned with the ways in which people occupy the Earth’s surface, their movements and settlements, and their perceptions and use of landscapes, resources and space. Lecture material is presented in study blocks covering: glaciology and palaeoclimates; biogeography and soils; economic, social and historical geographies; and issues surrounding sustainability. Key concepts and skills are reinforced through small group teaching (PC-classes and tutorials).

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Earth's Materials (GL1505) - 15 Credit Points

Following on from GL1005 this course is an introduction to the petrogenesis of three major rock groups; igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary. Practical classes will centre around the use of polarizing microscope in the identification of the common rock-forming minerals. The relationship between plate tectonics and the petrogenesis of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, including types and styles of volcanic eruptions will be addressed.

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Professional Skills Part 1 (PD1001)

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year.This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students and above, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year

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Optional Courses

  • Select a further 60 credit points from courses of choice
Year 2

Year 2

Compulsory Courses

Physical Environments (GG2013) - 15 Credit Points

This course provides an understanding of environmental processes and landscape change through time and space. The course places Physical Geography as an integral component of Earth System Science. The first half of the course explores physical environmental processes, whilst the second focuses on evidence of environmental change across a range of temporal and spatial scales. Three themes of glaciology, hydrology and palaeoecology will be explored to illustrate the linkages and interactions between process and form over a range of temporal and spatial scales. The course is team-taught by staff with an emphasis on using examples from recent research projects.

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Stratigraphical Principles (GL2014) - 15 Credit Points

This course is concerned with absolute and relative time-scales as used by geologists to date geological events and processes. Absolute dating using isotopic techniques, including the treatment of raw data, forms the cornerstone of the course. The use of the fossil record in relative and absolute dating is integrated with geological maps and absolute dating techniques to give a broad overview of the methods used by geologists to determine sequences of events in Earth’s history.

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Petrology & Mineralogy (GL2015) - 15 Credit Points

Petrology and mineralogy is a compulsory course for geology students. It covers igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary petrology. The course has a strong practical component and involves the preparation of workbooks based on individual study and practical exercises that use hand specimens, microscope work and chemical data.

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Skills and Techniques in Geosciences (GG2508) - 15 Credit Points

This course introduces students to a range of scientific and social scientific skills and techniques used in Geography. The course involves a residential field trip in the Easter vacation, past venues have included: the Isle of Skye; the Isle of Arran, Inverness and the Cairngorms National Park. The trips enable students to employ skills and techniques learned in lectures and workgroup sessions to conduct original research into issues covered elsewhere.

Only available to students registered for programme year 2 of a Geography study aim or to students also taking at least 3 of GG2013, GG2014, GG2509 & GG2510

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Geophysics (GL2511) - 15 Credit Points

This course establishes the fundamental principles underlying the main methods of geophysical exploration data and their interpretation as applied to Earth Sciences. This includes some basic principles of continuum mechanics and stress and strain as used in structural geology as well some basic principles of geophysical fluid dynamics as relevant to sediment transport and deposition in sedimentology.

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Introduction to Field Geology (GL2510) - 15 Credit Points

Field-based observation is an essential skill for understanding the origin of rocks, and is a vital reality-check for understanding how Geological Science is practised and developed. This course gives students experience with techniques for investigating rocks in their natural habitat, studying the crucial relationships between different units, and developing good habits for observing and recording data in the field. Students learn how to perceive geology in 3D, and to develop working hypotheses from incomplete evidence. This is achieved through a five-day residential field trip (takes place in the Easter break) which is preceded by wide-ranging practical classes and explanatory lectures.

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Optional Courses

Select at least two of the following:

  • Space, Economy and Society (GG2014)
  • Environment and Society (GG2509)
  • Mapping and Monitoring the Environment (GG2510)

Select further credit points from courses of choice to make up 120 credit points

Space, Economy and Society (GG2014) - 15 Credit Points

GG2014 examines political, economic, social and cultural change from geographical perspectives. It makes use of a range of concepts and, being team-taught, uses case studies drawn from our own fields of research. Topics covered typically include: globalisation; economic geography; mobility and transport; political geography; rural change in Western Europe; and relationships between place and identity. The course is designed to be accessible to students from disciplines such as anthropology, economics, geography, history, international relations and sociology. It is intended to provide a foundation for higher level social science study, particularly in human geography.

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Environment and Society (GG2509) - 15 Credit Points

Interactions between human society and our environment have never been more complex or more critical in order to place us on a pathway to more sustainable future. This course explores the diverse approaches and perspectives that help us think about, explain and address all of the environmental challenges that we face in the 21st century. Students will be introduced to these approaches and perspectives and will have the opportunity to apply them across a range of regional and global environmental issues such as climate change, sustainable tourism, the energy crisis and the ozone hole.

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Mapping and Monitoring the Environment (GG2510) - 15 Credit Points

In a digital era of GPS navigators and many online map tools (e.g. Google Maps), there is an increase demand for professionals able to understand and manipulate geographical data and use these to monitor processes at various scales. The course provides a solid background in the acquisition of geographical data, both onshore and offshore with classic field-based and remote sensing techniques. It covers the creation and interpretation of maps and looks at the history of remote sensing and its science as well as providing the essential basis to understanding what a Geographical Information System is.

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Year 3

Year 3

Compulsory Courses

Note: with the approval of the Head of School, candidates may replace GG 4573 with another course chosen from the ‘Physical Geography’ options available. Candidates must choose a minimum of two out of three options from the list of approved ‘Physical Geography’ courses published in Geography and Environment’s Honours handbooks. Alternatively candidates may choose to take both GG 4023 and GG 4537.

Approaches to Earth and Environmental Science (GG3052) - 15 Credit Points

This year-long core course is designed to give Joint Honours students an advanced introduction to the history, philosophy and methodology of the earth and environmental sciences. The first part examines key conceptual debates and innovations. Topics include: the discovery of ‘deep time’, the development of ideas about ice ages, the ‘quantitative revolution’ in physical geography post-1945, the importance of digital technologies and the influence of environmentalism. The second part, designed to support students’ own project work, addresses the implications for research: e.g., the possibilities and pitfalls of different qualitative and quantitative approaches.

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Field and Mapping Techniques (GL3026) - 15 Credit Points

This course is based on a residential field programme that enables students to directly study geological phenomena and relationships in the field. it provides hands-on experience and develops 3-D approaches to thinking and problem solving. The learning environment is remote from the university, and encourages students to learn individually and in small group settings. The course covers a range of techniques typically, geological field mapping, sedimentary logging, and examination of detailed field relationships to enable broader scale conclusions to be drawn. Assessments are undertaken during the actual fieldcourse. The field course is paid for directly by participants.

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Techniques in Physical Geography (GG3575) - 15 Credit Points

This course provides an introduction to and training in multiple techniques which are used in Physical Geography. These are directly related to our research strengths in glaciology, hydrology and palaeoecology. This develops skills across a range of techniques which can be subsequently applied to dissertation projects, for advanced 4th year courses, for higher level education. These techniques all represent transferable skills with may be used applied in the workplace. There are three field days where data are collected with subsequent lab classes providing instruction on how to analyse and interpret the data.

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Sedimentology (GL3521) - 15 Credit Points

Sedimentology is fundamental to interpreting past climate and geography from the evidence in the rock record of the environment in which sediment was deposited. This course develops the skills needed to make such interpretations by cultivating proficiency at description and process-based interpretation of sedimentary successions, and showing how study of modern environments is used to decipher sedimentary processes. We review the controls on the preservation of sediments to make the rock record, including an introduction to the concepts of genetic (sequence) stratigraphy, and see how this can improve discovery and recovery of water and hydrocarbon resources in the subsurface.

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Montane Environments (GG4573) - 15 Credit Points

The fieldtrip explores the physical geography of the Italian Alps. The course is based around an eight day residential field-course located In the shadow of the Mont Blanc Massif supported by taught and student-led sessions on campus. Students have the opportunity to study glacier dynamics and geomorphology, alpine hazards such as avalanches, mountain ecology and the dynamics of alpine rivers. Students complete independent research projects, conducted in small groups, on topics they select themselves and which are developed with support from an academic supervisor. The course will also provide research training in physical geography.

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Optional Courses

  • Select a further 30 credit points from Geology courses
  • Select a further 15 credit points from Geography courses
Year 4

Year 4

Compulsory Courses

Geological Synthesis (GL4530) - 15 Credit Points

Students will take a number of approaches to synthesizing information, especially directed to petroleum geology. Six case studies in petroleum exploration topics will be presented, based on the special expertise of staff. Students will write up a synthesis of one study, using sources provided by staff. In groups, students will address topics to be researched, co-ordinated and written up in 7 hours, simulating rapid response to management in an oil company office. There will also be 2 one-day field excursions, each followed by data synthesis and submission of a report.

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Optional Courses

Choose at least one of the following:

  • Geography Dissertation (GG4023) AND 15 further credit points from Geology Honours courses, including SX3501
  • Geographical Issues (GG4537)

Plus, choose at least one of the following:

  • Geological Mapping Project (GL4023)
  • Geological Research Project (GL4527)

Plus select further credit points from level 3 or 4 course(s) in Geography to gain a total of 60 credit points in the discipline. A graduating curriculum for the Honours programme must include 90 credit points from Level 4 courses.

Geography Dissertation (GG4023) - 30 Credit Points

The Honours dissertation provides students with the opportunity to produce a piece of independent and original research on an approved topic. Advanced level knowledge of a sub-area of the discipline is developed through independent study supervised by a member of academic staff. This course is compulsory for any students completing a single Honours degree in Geography and for any joint Honours student who has not registered to complete a dissertation in their other Honours subject.

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Geographical Issues (GG4537) - 30 Credit Points

This core, ‘capstone’ course is designed to develop further students’ critical understanding of the contemporary intellectual and real-world contexts in which the academic discipline of geography – and its graduates! – operates. The course involves the preparation of seminar presentations and short papers on a series of issues pertinent to contemporary geography. This work should showcase new philosophies and methodologies; and/or the relationships between geography and other academic disciplines; and/or applications of academic geography to real-world problems. Students also consider how they can best make use of their degree after graduation, with preparation of a reflective, career-planning report.

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Geological Mapping Project (GL4023) - 45 Credit Points

35 days of individual geological field mapping. During the exercise the student will devise and carry out a research project based on an aspect of the area mapped and submit a final map and report.

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Geological Research Project (GL4527) - 30 Credit Points

The geological research project is an individual research project. It is taken by students on a joint geology program, and exceptionally by geology-students. Multidisciplinarity and crossdisciplinarity are encouraged so that students can play to their strengths and interests, but the project is assessed on geological merit.

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Course Availability

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:

  • coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course;
  • practical assessments of the skills and competencies learnt on the course; and
  • written examinations at the end of each course.

The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, year of study and individual courses.

Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.

Why Study Geography and Geoscience?

Why Geography

  • Geography has a strong tradition at Aberdeen having been successfully taught here since the foundation of Marischal College in 1593 and established as a formal unit within the University in 1919.
  • The degree programme reflects modern day Geography, with course options reflecting the Department's research strengths in both human and physical Geography.
  • Our curriculum is also focussed on employability, with core courses on the degrees aimed at producing graduates who can think critically and in an interdisciplinary way, communicate well and are well educated in geographic skills and techniques.
  • The department, and its students, are at a distinct advantage being based in the north east of Scotland. The University is in close proximity to some of the most environmentally important and geographically varied landscapes in the whole of the UK.
  • We offer a range of Geography based degree programmes across Arts and Science, designed to suit the individual interests of our learners.
  • Students have the opportunity to engage with industry in a number of ways, and we have developed close working relationships through research and teaching with key organisations, including Aberdeen Harbour Board, SEPA, Scottish Natural Heritage etc.
  • Local, national and international field trips are an integral part of all our degree programmes in the Department.
  • We have an engaging and very active Geography Society, where you can build your networks and enhance your employability.
  • We draw from social, environmental and geosciences to address local and global sustainability challenges and the impact of rapid environmental change on contemporary surface processes.
  • In the 2014 REF results, we were
    1st in Scotland - Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences (Geology and Geosciences)
    1st in Scotland for Impact - Geosciences
    5th in the UK for Architecture, Built Environment and Planning (Property and Transport)

Why Geology

  • Aberdeen is the oil and gas capital of Europe making it the most relevant place in the UK to study Geology and Petroleum Geology.
  • Since it combines all of the major natural and physical sciences in a broad interdisciplinary mix, Geoscience is in many ways the ultimate general science degree.
  • If the interactions of people and planet are of special interest, our Joint Degree combining Geosciences with Geography is the degree for you.
  • For those planning a career in geophysics or petrophysics with the hydrocarbon industry, the Joint Degree in Geology and Physics is highly relevant, whilst the degree option of Physics with Geology is another option.
  • Fieldwork is an important element of our geology degree, we make the best use of our location in Scotland – close to many great areas for fieldwork.
  • Fieldwork locations include - Arran, Skye, Northwest Highlands and other areas throughout the UK. The MGeol programme includes a trip to Italy.
  • Many past graduates continue to work in the city and links with industry are therefore very strong and employability second to none.
  • You will have the chance to join the Geology and Petroleum Geology Student Chapter. This is an active and very social Student Chapter which will give you the opportunity to expand your knowledge, skills and networks beyond the classroom.
  • To expand skills, knowledge and networks even further, many of our students join the Aberdeen Geology Society.
  • 2015 Complete University, Geology at Aberdeen was ranked 6th in the whole of the UK.
  • Our BSc degrees are fully accredited by the Geological Society for London.

Entry Requirements

You will find all the information you require about entry requirements on our dedicated 'Entry Requirements' page. You can also find out about the different types of degrees, changing your subject, offers and advanced entry.

Qualifications

SQA Highers - AABB*
A Levels - BBB*
IB - 32 points, 5 at HL*
ILC - 5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3 OR AAABB, obtained in a single sitting. (B must be at B2 or above)*

*Including good performance in at least two Mathematics/Science subjects.

Advanced Entry - Advanced Highers ABB, A Levels ABB or IB 34 points (6 at HL) including Geography at A grade.

Further detailed entry requirements for Sciences degrees.

English Language Requirements

To study for a degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee Waiver

For international students (all non-EU students) entering in 2017/18, the 2017/18 tuition fee rate will apply to all years of study; however, most international students will be eligible for a fee waiver in their final year via the International Undergraduate Scholarship.

Most RUK students (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) on a four year honours degree will be eligible for a full-fees waiver in their final year. Scholarships and other sources of funding are also available.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU £1,820
All Students
RUK £9,250
Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year
International Students £18,400
Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Careers

There are many opportunities at the University of Aberdeen to develop your knowledge, gain experience and build a competitive set of skills to enhance your employability. This is essential for your future career success. The Careers Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us, from first to final year – and beyond.

Our Experts

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Features

Image for Geography Field Trips
Geography Field Trips

Geography Field Trips

The Geography degree takes students on a range of local, national and international field trips.

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Aberdeen University Geological Society

Aberdeen University Geological Society

Student-led social and professional events and networking.

Find out more
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Geography Society

Geography Society

Student-led Geography society

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Key Information Set (KIS)

Unistats draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. The core information it contains is called the Key Information Set.

You can compare these and other data for different degree programmes in which you are interested.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX