[Visit the new SEED website]

School of Environment and Development

Geography (3 Years) [BSc]

Student Opinions

"The staff are excellent and the Geography course is thorough and compelling, offering a fresh contemporary outlook on many important issues." (Alastair Paine, Geography alumnus)

"...the Geography course here, being so flexible, allowed me to not only choose an elective unit in French, but also spend a semester of my second year at the Alpine Institute of Geography in the French Alps (European Erasmus programme). It was a fantastic opportunity that should not be missed." (Lindsay Harper, Geography alumna)

Read more about what students think...



Admission Statistics

Approximately 279 applications were received for entry in 2011/12, and 48 students enrolled on the course.


Studying Geography at SED (Video)


More on our YouTube Channel.


Share this.

Course overview

View tabbed content | View all content (for printing)

Special features

  • Introductory residential field course in the Lake District before registration
  • Overseas fieldwork in the second year, including Crete, Cuba, Donegal, New York, Iceland, Amsterdam and Morocco

Additional course information

The School of Environment and Development runs a number of innovative single and joint honours undergraduate programmes in Geography, Planning and Architecture. These programmes examine contemporary debates about the built, natural and social environments within which we live. Drawing on research carried out within the School, the undergraduate teaching programme provides students with an opportunity to engage with academics working at the cutting edge of such debates and to explore issues at first hand through a range of local and international fieldwork programmes.

Geography has been taught at Manchester for more than one hundred years. It is now part of the School of Environment and Development, and is located in a brand new state of the art building (from July 2007) on the main campus.  With over 25 members of academic staff, Geography is a strong discipline group with a wide range of teaching and research interests. We have a vibrant community of students, postgraduates and academic staff. Indeed, Geography at Manchester has been rated excellent for teaching, has a highly rated international research reputation and is rated highly in a variety of university guides. We are also fortunate in being situated within one of the nation's most interesting regions with regards to its landscape, heritage and cultural vibrancy. Manchester was the focal point of the industrial revolution, surrounded by a landscape that mixes industrial heritage with a huge variety of scenery. The city became associated with technical innovation, such as the first railways and the first computer, and with political innovation through figures such as Emmeline Pankhurst and Friedrich Engels. The modern city has added to this international reputation in the spheres of culture and sports. Such a richness of landscape, history and arts cannot but inspire the geographical imagination of those who come to study here.

Course content for year 1

Modules in Human and Physical Geography provide a basic introduction to key subject areas and skills covered in the degree courses. These compulsory modules establish basic principles, concepts and skills upon which your second and third years courses build. In addition to lectures, you will have tutorials, undertake skills-based activities, complete a team project in each semester, and carry out both human and physical geography fieldwork in the Manchester area.

Beside compulsory modules, you may then choose to take a further two units in Geography, or to take `free choice' subjects outside Geography, choosing from a wide range of units available throughout the University. Our current students take free choice subjects that include languages (eg German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Russian), sciences (eg Biochemistry, Chemistry, Biology, Earth Science, Psychology, Maths), social sciences (eg Economics, Accounting, Planning and Landscape, Government, Politics, Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology, Women's Studies) and arts (eg English, Drama, Music, History, History of Art, Archaeology, Middle Eastern Studies, Philosophy, Religions and Theology).

The first year also comprises fieldwork in Manchester and the North-West, including an introductory residential field course in the Lake District before you register, and day-trip fieldwork visits throughout the year covering human and physical geography.

Course content for year 2

In Year 2 lectures develop the themes established in the first year, but introduce you to wider aspects of the subject. In the second year, lecture modules consist of two sessions every week, divided into a two hour and a one hour session. For each course one of these sessions will take the form of small group learning in order to allow you to discuss and develop your ideas and skills. In semester one, you undertake a course unit to support your future employability, which is jointly run with the Careers Service. The Geography Employability Programme will give you practice in teamwork, report-writing, researching, oral presentations, role playing and negotiation, while helping you to prepare a curriculum vitae and a dissertation proposal. In semester two, through tutorials, practical classes and lecture sessions, you will begin work towards your dissertation, which is handed in during your third year. During the second year, you will take part in an overseas field course that will help you to develop your research skills further.

During the second year, you may also choose four optional modules. You can choose all of your modules within Geography, or you may decide to continue with a free choice element - either continuing your first year area, or choosing a new subject for study. In order to make the most of the unsurpassed range of courses that a University as large as Manchester is able to offer, you are able to choose up to two free choice subjects in your second year including the Manchester Leadership Programme . (This is a unique programme offered in Manchester to develop you leadership skills and enhance employability). Geography options currently include: Maps and Politics, North American Cities, Economic Geography, Nature, Society and Social Power, Development and Inequality, The Political City, Environmental Change and Human Impacts, Green Planet, Glaciers, River Catchments, Spatial Thinking with GIS and Remote Sensing in Action.

Course content for year 3

In the third year, lecture modules consist of two sessions each week, divided into a two hour and a one hour session. For each course one of these sessions will take the form of small group learning in order to allow you to discuss and develop your ideas and skills. You will continue to explore the ways in which we gain geographical knowledge through the core module Geography in the 21 st Century. In addition, you will choose three modules from approximately 15 options available in any one year. The range of optional modules is common to both the BA and BSc degree courses and allows you to get experience of geography at the research face, as members of staff lead courses dealing with their areas of particular expertise and interest.

Current optional modules include: Borders and Security in a Mobile World, Making Sense of Nature, Understanding Development through Film, Fiction and Media, Energy, Space and Power, Social Constructions of Health and Disease, Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation, Geographies of Food and Farming, Critical Perspectives on Development, Islands, Cities and Consumption, Urban Political Ecology, Spaces of Work, Hydro-Chemical Modelling, Ice Age Earth, Managing the Uplands, Earth Observation and Image Analysis, Coastal Processes, Geography of Life and Mediterranean Geographies.

The large number of options on offer means that students will be taught in small classes making for a truly world class learning environment. All lecture-based modules encourage student participation and often include a practical element. Every course unit is assessed in part by a final examination and in part by a piece of coursework. The normal weighting is 67% examination and 33% coursework; although a limited number of practically oriented modules are 100% coursework. All students also undertake a dissertation, beginning the work during their second year and submitting the finished project in the third year. This is an opportunity to draw together the different strands of the degree course and to study a subject that you select and that really interests you. You will be assigned a supervisor who will guide you through the research process and have the support of a small tutorial group of your peers who are working on similar topics.

By the end of the programme you will be able to carry out a piece of independent research and will have developed the skills required to embark on a professional career or to begin postgraduate research and study.

Career opportunities

Geography, as a discipline that requires both numeracy and literacy has one of the best graduate employment records in the country.  The department has a dedicated member of academic staff focussed on developing and enhancing student employability both through the curriculum and fostering other opportunities for our students such as volunteering, internships etc. Manchester geographers are employed in a wide variety of occupations, including finance, education, marketing, sales, the media, advertising, land management, environmental work, the diplomatic service, health service, law and social work. Many others choose to undertake further study, either on masters or PhD programmes, often staying at Manchester to do so. Geography and Geology graduates likewise go into a wide range of careers, from accountancy and management, to environmental work and careers directly related to earth sciences. Some graduates choose to undertake further study, including various forms of professional training, as well as masters and PhD programmes.

What our students say

Comments from last year's students:  `A degree at Manchester University is stimulating, challenging and enjoyable.'.....' It's a very good environment here and if you ever need support, the whole department is available or willing to help.'......' the social side of my course was really well catered for, it makes a difference!'.....' The guidance and structure available for the dissertation is superb and is a major advantage compared to some other courses'.....' Our overseas fieldwork was a great experience both academically and socially.'.... `The tasks set encourage development of a variety of skills that are all relevant to succeeding in later life. I feel I have been well prepared for any circumstance in the future'

Click here to see more student comment.

Open days

Previous tab | Next tab

Related Courses

If you are interested in this course you may also be interested in:

Page viewing options