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Geography BSc (Honours) 2022 entry

The BSc (Hons) in Geography explores a fascinating range of important environmental and international phenomena including:

  • glaciers and ice ages
  • climate and weather
  • oceans
  • peatlands
  • environmental change and management
  • population change, migration and border politics
  • development and geopolitical conflict
  • socio-spatial inequalities (widening gaps in wealth, health and wellbeing).

It provides an exciting challenge to those who wish to think critically and creatively about the world around them and understand the interaction of environmental systems and human activity. 

Geography is available as both a Bachelor of Science (BSc) and a Master of Arts (MA) degree. The content of the subjects is the same irrespective of Faculty. Students who have a background in the sciences or who wish to study Geography alongside Science subjects at St Andrews should apply for the BSc. For those interested in studying Geography alongside Arts subjects, the MA in Geography may be of interest instead. The entry requirements are the same for all single Honours Geography degrees, and the chance of receiving an offer is the same for each of these degrees.


The BSc in Geography are accredited by the Royal Geographical Society.

How to apply Register your interest

Key information

UCAS code


Course type

Bachelor of Science (single Honours degree)

Course duration

Four years full time

  • Start date: 5 September 2022
  • End date: 30 June 2026

Entry requirements

These grades are the overall standards required to consider you for entry. Find out more about Standard, Minimum and Gateway entry requirements using academic entry explained and see which entry requirements you need to look at using the entry requirements indicator.

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes. Please see our entry requirements for more information.

For degrees combining more than one subject, the subject with the higher entry requirements determines the grades you need. You will also need to meet any further subject specific entrance requirements as outlined on their pages.

International applicants

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide an English language test score to evidence your English language ability. Find out more about English language requirements.

How to apply

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

No previous knowledge of geography is required.

General entry requirements

All applicants must have attained the following qualifications, or equivalent, in addition to the specific entry requirements for individual programmes.

  • SQA National 5 (B) in English and one SQA National 5 (B) from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing science
    • Geography
    • Lifeskills Mathematics (A grade)
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.
  • GCSE (5) in English language or English literature, and one GCSE (5) from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing Science
    • Geography
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.

Other qualifications

More information on how to apply via other entry routes or accreditation of prior learning and experience can be found on the University’s entry requirements web page.

Course information

The BSc in Geography is a four-year course run by the School of Geography and Sustainable Development. The School also offers an MA in Geography, which may be more suitable for students who wish to take geography alongside Arts subjects. The geography element within both the BSc and MA degree programmes is exactly the same.

In the first two years, you will develop an integrated, coherent vision of the world exploring the complex interrelationships between people and the planet, and the implications of humans becoming a force of nature. You will also gain a conceptual and applied (methods-orientated) grounding in physical, environmental and human geography.

Alongside geography in the first year of your studies, you will be required to study an additional two subjects. In the second year, you will usually carry on at least one of these subjects, sometimes two. Find out more about how academic years are organised

At Honours level, students may choose to specialise in specific aspects of geography or to engage with the full breadth of the discipline. Specialist subject areas may include:

  • climate and weather systems
  • development, politics and inequality
  • glaciers and glaciation
  • migration and transnationalism
  • natural resource management.

Final-year students must also complete a dissertation on a topic chosen in consultation with teaching staff in the School.

Throughout the course, there are opportunities to undertake fieldwork. Recent locations have included Norway, Iceland and Ireland. There are additional costs involved in taking part, although the School does subsidise them. 

The University of St Andrews operates on a flexible modular degree system by which degrees are obtained through the accumulation of credits. More information on the structure of the modules system can be found on the flexible degree structure web page


In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours), you will take the required modules in geography alongside modules in at least one other subject.

Typically, you will take one geography module per semester in your sub-honours years and at least three modules per semester during your third and fourth years (known as Honours). Find out more about the modular Scottish degree system.

Students will take two compulsory geography modules in their first year.

  • Welcome to the Anthropocene: Society, Population, Environment: showcases how Geography as a discipline is uniquely placed to understand our changing world.
  • A World in Crisis?: explores how Geography works as a ‘world discipline’ to examine global problems from a range of human, environmental and physical geography perspectives.

Students will take two compulsory geography modules in their second year.

  • Geographies of Global Change: encourages students to think 'geographically' about particular physical and human dimensions of global change.
  • (Re)constructing Environments, People and Places: explores how and why different peoples, places and bio-physical and social processes operate in both time and space. 

If you decide to take geography in your third and fourth years, you can choose to specialise in certain aspects of the discipline that interest you.

Here is a sample of Honours optional modules which have been offered in previous years:

  • Coastal Processes
  • Colonial and Postcolonial Geographies
  • Development: Voice, Power and Identity in Global Times
  • Environmental Management in Scotland 
  • HIV/AIDs in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Ice and Climate
  • Migration and Transnationalism
  • Political and Cultural Geographies of the Border
  • Scrutinising Segregation: Geographies of Diversity and Inequality
  • Socio-Ecological Systems.

In third year, students will be required to develop a research proposal for a dissertation and choose from a selection of methods-training modules in Semester 2.

In fourth year, students will undertake a 10,000-word dissertation on a topic of their choice. This independent project enables you to develop key research skills, which are desired by both prospective employers and graduate schools offering postgraduate degrees.

The compulsory modules listed here must be taken in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. For Honours level, students choose from a range of Honours modules, some of which are listed above. A full list of all modules appropriate to the programme for the current academic year can be found in the programme requirements.


Teaching format

In first year, teaching centres on lectures (150 to 200 students), small group tutorials (8 to 10 students), and fieldwork.

In second year, modules are delivered through lectures (80 to 120 students), practical classes (15 to 20 students), tutorials (8 to 12 students), and a residential field trip.

At Honours level, greater emphasis is put on individual study and on students taking a major role in preparing for, and conducting, laboratories and seminars (10 to 50 students), and a research-focused field course. 

When not attending lectures, tutorials and practical classes, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve:

  • working on individual and group projects
  • undertaking research in the library
  • preparing coursework assignments and presentations
  • preparing for examinations.

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team with expertise and knowledge of geography. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of laboratory classes and seminars under the supervision of the module leader.

You can find contact information for all geography staff on the School of Geography and Sustainable Development website.

In addition to your studies in the School of Geography and Sustainable Development, optional academic support is available through practical study skills courses and workshops hosted within the University.

The University’s Student Services team can help students with additional needs resulting from disabilities, long term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities web page


Sub-honours modules are assessed by a combination of coursework and written exams. At Honours level, some modules are assessed by 100% coursework, while others include at least 40% coursework and a wide range of innovative assessment formats.

Examinations are held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand.

The School aims to provide feedback on every assessment within three weeks to help you improve on future assessments.

Undergraduates at the University of St Andrews must achieve at least 7.0 on the St Andrews 20-point grade scale to pass a module. To gain access to Honours-level modules, students must achieve the relevant requisites as specified in the policy on entry to Honours and in the relevant programme requirements. Please note that some Schools offer qualified entry to Honours, and this will be clearly specified in the programme requirements. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please see the common reporting scale.

Meet us online

If you're interested in studying at St Andrews, join us on a virtual visiting day or daily information session to find out about our courses, how to apply, and to meet current students.

Virtual visiting days


Our online autumn visiting days will take place on:

  • Wednesday 6 October 2021
  • Wednesday 20 October 2021


Tuition fees for 2022 entry

Home-funded Tuition fees for Scottish applicants have yet to be set for 2022 entry.
RUK (England, Wales, Northern Ireland) and Republic of Ireland Tuition fees for applicants from the rest of the UK have yet to be set for 2022 entry.
Islands (Channel Islands, Isle of Man) Tuition fees for Islands applicants have yet to be set for 2022 entry.
EU and overseas Tuition fees for EU and overseas applicants have yet to be set for 2022 entry.

For overseas students, tuition fees will be fixed at this level for the duration of your programme.

More information on tuition fees can be found on the undergraduate fees and funding page.

Accommodation fees

Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews offers a number of scholarships and support packages to undergraduate students each year.

Funding for fieldwork

Fieldwork expenses for geography students are subsidised by the Irvine Bequest and contributions from alumni.

Joint Honours degrees

You can take Geography as part of a joint Honours degree alongside one of the following subjects:

In taking a joint degree, you are required to take core modules in all of your subjects. Find out more about joint degrees.

Additional joint degree options are available for students who take the MA in Geography.

"With" degrees

You can take Geography as part of a "with" Honours degree in which the majority of the course deals with the first named subject. 

In taking a "with" degree, you are required to take core modules in all of your subjects. Find out more about joint degrees.

Additional "with" degree options are available for students who take the MA in Geography.

Your future


Reflecting the broad nature of geography, graduates leave St Andrews with a diverse and unique skill set, putting them in a very strong position in the jobs market.

Employers seek out geography graduates because of their rare combination of quantitative and qualitative skills, their ability to integrate and analyse diverse data, their understanding of human and environment interactions, their competence in GIS and spatial analysis, and their ability to think critically and creatively about the big social and environmental challenges facing us.

 Career paths include: 

  • government
  • education
  • environment
  • sustainability
  • tourism and leisure
  • planning and development
  • business and finance
  • security analysis
  • science research.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills. 

Study abroad

Geography students can apply to participate in the University-wide St Andrews Abroad programme. You may also have the opportunity to participate in the School Abroad exchange programme. For information about study abroad options, please see the study abroad site.

Student life

The University of St Andrews offers an array of events and opportunities which result in a truly unique student experience. Students participate in a range of traditions, notably, the red academic gown and the academic family, where older students adopt first-year students as ‘children’ and help guide them in a system of mentoring. These traditions, and the choice of over 150 sports clubs and student societies to choose from, ensure a community feel amongst students from first year onwards.

Students of geography may be interested in joining GeogSoc, the University’s geography society. This student-run organisation offers opportunities to meet other enthusiastic geographers at every level of study and to meet staff members outside of lectures so you can really get involved in the School.

The School of Geography and Sustainable Development is housed within the Irvine Building in the historical heart of the University between St Salvator's Quadrangle and St Salvator's Hall. Students will attend tutorials, seminars, lectures and individual meetings with tutors in this building.

The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As University buildings are located throughout the town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings, parks and beaches, providing a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. Find out more about the town of St Andrews.

Find out more about student life at the University of St Andrews.


School of Geography & Sustainable Development
University of St Andrews
The Irvine Building
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

Phone: 01334 462894

School of Geography & Sustainable Development website


Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our admissions policy.

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online.

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online.

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