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Geography and Oceanography

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The deadline for international students is 30 June 2024.

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Bachelor of Science

Bachelor of Science (BSc) is a bachelor’s degree awarded for an undergraduate programme in the sciences.

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Course overview

Our Geography and Oceanography BSc (Hons) programme explores how the Earth behaves as a result of interactions between the land, the oceans, and the atmosphere. If you're interested in understanding complex issues such as climate change, rising sea levels, and environmental pollution, this is the course for you.

Introduction

Complex issues such as climate change, sea-level rise, and environmental pollution can only be fully understood if all the different facets of the Earth’s behaviour are considered. While the ocean sciences aspect deals with present-day and future climate change scenarios, the link to physical geography provides an understanding of changes in climate over the last several thousand years to provide context for recent climate change.

Your training will cover core topics in oceanography, physical geography, geology, and ecology as well as modules in IT and communication skills. There will be the opportunity to participate in fieldwork throughout your studies, as well as a full sea practical during your final year.

Fieldwork is carried out in a range of locations, ranging from inner city to coastal and mountainous environments. This includes local coastal waters and other locations across the UK.

Liverpool was the first UK university programme to combine land, ocean, and climate studies in one integrated programme of study. Our links with the campus-based National Oceanography Centre provide guest lectures and supervision of projects from their scientists.

A number of the School’s degree programmes involve laboratory and field work. Fieldwork is carried out in various locations, ranging from inner city to coastal and mountainous environments. We consider applications from prospective disabled students on the same basis as all other students, and reasonable adjustments will be considered to address barriers to access.

What you'll learn

  • Accredited by the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology
  • Guest lectures and project supervision from scientists at National Oceanography Centre (NOC)
  • Lectures and assignments are regularly updated with the latest research
  • Fieldwork opportunities in local and UK waters
  • Paid summer internships are offered working alongside academics at the University, NOC, or elsewhere
  • Students without mathematics, physics or chemistry at A level are provided with remedial courses

Accreditation

This course is accredited by the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology.

Accreditations in detail

Teaching Excellence Framework 2023

We’re proud to announce we’ve been awarded a Gold rating for educational excellence.

Accreditations

This course is accredited by the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology.

Course content

Discover what you'll learn, what you'll study, and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Year one

The required modules in year one provide grounding in ocean science and physical geography, as well as developing essential and transferable skills that are required throughout your degree programme. Optional modules allow you to focus on areas of environmental sciences that interest you.

Compulsory modules

Climate, Atmosphere and Oceans (ENVS111)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

Climate, Atmosphere and Oceans provides an understanding of how the climate system operates. The module draws on basic scientific principles to understand how climate has evolved over the history of the planet and how the climate system is operating now. Attention is particularly paid to the structure and circulation of the atmosphere and ocean, and how they both interact. The course emphasises acquiring mechanistic insight and drawing upon order of magnitude calculations. By the end of the module students will understand how the oceans and atmosphere combine to shape Earth’s climate. Students gain quantitative skills by completing a series of coursework exercises and a final exam. Students address the Net Zero carbon goal via group work involving digital storytelling.​

Experiments in Physical Geography (ENVS120)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

The module uses laboratory experiments to allow students to gain first-hand experience of some fundamental physical, biological and chemical processes underlying physical geography, aimed primarily at interactions between people and their physical environment. It is designed to provide a foundation for environmental modules in the second and third years. This module comprises multiple whole-day practical sessions, each designed to give students first-hand experience of a topic important in understanding our changing environment. Dedicated computer practicals are also run to provide training in use of EXCEL, MINITAB, and basic inferential statistics. Students get formal feedback in each assessed week (one poster per group). However, perhaps most valuable is the feedback obtained informally via discussions during the sessions.

Marine Ecosystems: Diversity, Processes and Threats (ENVS122)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module is designed to deliver an introduction to the diversity of marine ecosystems across the globe. Each week during in person lectures you will be introduced to a new ecosystem and will learn about this habitat, specifically the main organisms, key processes, and human threats to each ecosystem described and explored. Central to this module are interactive discussion sessions (workshops) that will build an understanding of how marine ecosystems are expected to respond to the human-induced changes of the anthropocene. During these workshops you will learn to critique a piece of scientific research in small group discussions guided by academics. Your knowledge and understanding will be assessed via open-book online tests, and a group project in which you will create an infographic outlining the threats a particular ecosystem faces.

Study Skills (Ocean Sciences) (ENVS103)

Credits: 15 / Semester: whole session

This module is designed to introduce students to key concepts and skills in ocean and climate sciences, for instance key software tools for data analysis and illustration, laboratory skills, and fieldwork experience. Students will also develop more generic skills, particularly in communication through essay writing, technical reports, and oral and poster presentations. This will involve both individual and teamwork and will help students develop time management skills. The module also introduces students to academic integrity and shows students how to access scientific literature and how to use bibliographic software. All students are assigned to a tutorial group with one of the academic staff as their tutor. Teaching is carried out both to the whole year group and also during tutorial group meetings. The module is assessed via a series of coursework assignments.

Theory and Laboratory Experiments in Earth Surfaces Processes (ENVS165)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

The module uses a lecture and laboratory-based problem-solving approach to explore some of the fundamental physical and chemical processes underlying physical geography. It is designed to provide a foundation for environmental and physical geography modules in the second and third year. This module comprises multiple whole-day practical sessions, each designed to give students first-hand experience of a topic important in understanding our changing environment. Students get formal feedback in each assessed week (one poster per group). However, perhaps most valuable is the feedback obtained informally via discussions during the sessions.

Optional modules

Ecology and Conservation (ENVS157)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

The zone of life on earth, or the ‘biosphere’, is a highly dynamic system responding to external pressures including changing human activities. The biosphere obeys a numbers of simple natural principles, but these often interact to create complex and sometimes unexpected responses. Using a wide range of examples we will explore these interactions between organisms and the environment. We will examine how species organise into communities, and how energy and other resources flow through ecosystems. We will explore how ecosystems respond to change, including gradual environmental shifts, sudden disturbance events and the effects of human activities. We will also learn how the key principles of ecology can be applied to conservation. We will assess the current state of the biosphere, and evaluate the major current threats. We will also look towards the future of ecosystems, including whether we can restore degraded habitats, and recreate “natural” landscapes.

Environmental Chemistry (ENVS153)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module will give students an understanding of the fundamental properties of elements and matter, either solid, liquid or gas, in the context of the environmental sciences. It will introduce the fundamentals of atomic structure, elements and molecules from simple inorganic to large organic ones and the bonding forces that hold them together. It will look at the basics of chemical reactions such as the processes of oxidation and reduction, the solubility of solids and gases in water and acid-base properties. Students will learn how to make quantitative predictions, for instance on the amount of products that will be produced based on balanced chemical reactions, and will see how basic chemistry can be used to explain many environmental properties. The module is taught through lectures, tutorial sessions and online formative quizzes with automated feedback. Assessment is through online tests and an open book final exam. This module is largely an introduction to chemistry and might therefore not be well suited for students who did A-level chemistry or equivalent.

Essential Mathematical Skills (ENVS117)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module is designed to provide students without a A-Level GCE level (or equivalent) background in mathematics a foundation to their degree programme. The module covers pure maths, maths mechanics and statistics developing the required knowledge and skills to be able complete degree programmes in Ocean Sciences, Earth Sciences, Geography, Environmental Science and Marine Biology. The module is taught as weekly lectures following a ten-chapter book developed for the module by world leading experts in the fields. Lectures are supplemented with workshops where concepts can be discussed and skills improved. The module is assessed though online pop-quizzes and a formal written exam.

Mathematics for Physicists I (PHYS107)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

​This module aims to provide all students with a common foundation in mathematics, necessary for studying the physical sciences and maths courses in later semesters. All topics will begin "from the ground up" by revising ideas which may be familiar from A-level before building on these concepts. In particular, the basic principles of differentiation and integration will be practised, before extending to functions of more than one variable. Basic matrix manipulation will be covered as well as vector algebra and an understanding of eigenvectors and eigenvalues.

Introduction to Climate Change and Mitigation (ENVS189)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module will introduce you to the concept of Earth System interactions as a framework for understanding the causes and consequences of climate change. The module will cover the key features of the earth, atmosphere and ocean, and their interactions. alongside the drivers and consequences for perturbing part of the Earth System. Past, contemporary and projections of climate change will be discussed, as well as the toolkit tools deployed by environmental scientists to detect climate change and show attribute it to be a consequence of human activities. The module will discuss also measures to mitigate against climate change, drawing on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) efforts .

Programme details and modules listed are illustrative only and subject to change.

Our curriculum

The Liverpool Curriculum framework sets out our distinctive approach to education. Our teaching staff support our students to develop academic knowledge, skills, and understanding alongside our graduate attributes:

  • Digital fluency
  • Confidence
  • Global citizenship

Our curriculum is characterised by the three Liverpool Hallmarks:

  • Research-connected teaching
  • Active learning
  • Authentic assessment

All this is underpinned by our core value of inclusivity and commitment to providing a curriculum that is accessible to all students.

Course options

Studying with us means you can tailor your degree to suit you. Here's what is available on this course.

Global Opportunities

University of Liverpool students can choose from an exciting range of study placements at partner universities worldwide. Choose to spend a year at XJTLU in China or a year or semester at an institution of your choice.

What's available on this course?

Year in China

Immerse yourself in Chinese culture on an optional additional year at Xi'an Jiaotong Liverpool University in stunning Suzhou.

  • Learn Chinese
  • Study in a bustling world heritage city
  • Improve employment prospects
  • Study Chinese culture
  • 30 minutes from Shanghai
  • Learn new skills

Read more about Year at XJTLU, China

Language study

Every student at The University of Liverpool can study a language as part of, or alongside their degree. You can choose:

  • A dedicated languages degree
  • A language as a joint or major/ minor degree
  • Language modules (selected degrees)
  • Language classes alongside your studies

Read more about studying a language

Your experience

Day-to-day teaching takes place in fully-equipped lecture theatres and seminar rooms across the University campus, including in our Central Teaching Laboratory. Fieldwork takes place locally and across the UK. The Department of Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences also benefits from close links with the National Oceanography Centre, based on campus.

Virtual tour

Supporting your learning

From arrival to alumni, we’re with you all the way:

Careers and employability

Geography is a subject that bridges the social and physical sciences. Those studying geography develop transferable knowledge and skills which open up a wide range of career opportunities.

By the time you graduate you will have developed core research skills in human geography, including surveying, interviewing and innovative community liaison techniques stand students in good stead for a range of employment destinations.

You can explore the following work experience opportunities:

  • Internships during the course of their degree.
  • Work-based dissertation – which combines the final year independent research project with a placement in industry.

Students can also continue their studies at postgraduate level and PhD study with opportunities to apply for funding from a range of organisations, including the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) and NERC (Natural Environment Research Council).raphy is a subject that bridges the social and physical sciences. Those studying geography develop transferable knowledge and skills which open up a wide range of career opportunities.

By the time you graduate you will have developed core research skills in human geography, including surveying, interviewing and innovative community liaison techniques stand students in good stead for a range of employment destinations.

Work experience opportunities

We encourage students to undertake work experience and internships during the course of their degree. Our students can also select a work-based dissertation, which combines the final year independent research project with a placement in industry.

Students can also continue their studies at postgraduate level and PhD study with opportunities to apply for funding from a range of organisations, including the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) and NERC (Natural Environment Research Council).

Fees and funding

Your tuition fees, funding your studies, and other costs to consider.

Tuition fees

UK fees (applies to Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland)
Full-time place, per year £9,250
Year in industry fee £1,850
Year abroad fee £1,385
International fees
Full-time place, per year £27,200
Year abroad fee £13,600
Fees are correct for the academic year 2024/25. Please note that the Year Abroad fee also applies to the Year in China.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching and assessment, operating facilities such as libraries, IT equipment, and access to academic and personal support. Learn more about paying for your studies..

Additional costs

We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This includes the cost of a lab coat, food and drink during compulsory field courses, and dissertation expenses.

Find out more about the additional study costs that may apply to this course.

Additional study costs

We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This includes the cost of a lab coat, food and drink during compulsory field courses, and dissertation expenses.

Students should expect to cover the following costs.

Lab coat:

Approximately £10-20. Students are advised to purchase a lab coat before the start of their studies. The first lab practical will take place in teaching week one and all students are required to wear a lab coat.

Compulsory field courses:

The School will usually cover the cost of accommodation and travel for year one and three field courses. Students will cover the cost of sustenance.

Project/dissertation costs:

The School may provide a budget of up to £200 for certain field or lab-based projects. Desk-based projects receive no budget from the School.

Find out more about additional study costs.

Scholarships and bursaries

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to provide tuition fee discounts and help with living expenses while at university.

Check out our Liverpool Bursary, worth up to £2,000 per year for eligible UK students. Or for international students, our Undergraduate Global Advancement Scholarship offers a tuition fee discount of up to £5,000 for eligible international students starting an undergraduate degree from September 2024.

Discover our full range of undergraduate scholarships and bursaries

Entry requirements

The qualifications and exam results you'll need to apply for this course.

We've set the country or region your qualifications are from as United Kingdom. Change it here

Your qualification Requirements

About our typical entry requirements

A levels

ABB including two science subjects (acceptable science subjects: Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geology, Geography, Applied Science, Environmental Science, Psychology, Marine Science)

Applicants with the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) are eligible for a reduction in grade requirements. For this course, the offer is BBB with A in the EPQ including two sciences.

You may automatically qualify for reduced entry requirements through our contextual offers scheme.

If you don't meet the entry requirements, you may be able to complete a foundation year which would allow you to progress to this course.

Available foundation years:

T levels

T levels are not currently accepted.

GCSE 4/C in English and 4/C in Mathematics
Subject requirements

Including two sciences. Acceptable sciences: Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geology, Geography, Applied Science, Environmental Science, Psychology, Marine Science.

For applicants from England: For science A levels that include the separately graded practical endorsement, a "Pass" is required.

BTEC BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma: D*DD in relevant diploma
BTEC National Extended Certificate: Distinction plus BB in two science A levels
International Baccalaureate

33 points including 5 at Higher Level in two science subjects, no score below 4.

Irish Leaving Certificate H1, H2, H2, H2, H3, H3 including H2 or above in two sciences
Scottish Higher/Advanced Higher

Not accepted without Advanced Highers at ABB including two sciences

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Accepted at Grade B with AB at two science A levels
Access Applications considered. 45 Level 3 credits in graded units, including 30 at Distinction and a further 15 with at least Merit. 15 Distinctions are required in each of two sciences. GCSE Mathematics and English grade C / 4 also required
International qualifications

Many countries have a different education system to that of the UK, meaning your qualifications may not meet our entry requirements. Completing your Foundation Certificate, such as that offered by the University of Liverpool International College, means you're guaranteed a place on your chosen course.

Contextual offers: reduced grade requirements

Based on your personal circumstances, you may automatically qualify for up to a two-grade reduction in the entry requirements needed for this course. When you apply, we consider a range of factors – such as where you live – to assess if you’re eligible for a grade reduction. You don’t have to make an application for a grade reduction – we’ll do all the work.

Find out more about how we make reduced grade offers.

About our entry requirements

Our entry requirements may change from time to time both according to national application trends and the availability of places at Liverpool for particular courses. We review our requirements before the start of the new UCAS cycle each year and publish any changes on our website so that applicants are aware of our typical entry requirements before they submit their application.

Recent changes to government policy which determine the number of students individual institutions may admit under the student number control also have a bearing on our entry requirements and acceptance levels, as this policy may result in us having fewer places than in previous years.

We believe in treating applicants as individuals, and in making offers that are appropriate to their personal circumstances and background. For this reason, we consider a range of factors in addition to predicted grades, widening participation factors amongst other evidence provided. Therefore the offer any individual applicant receives may differ slightly from the typical offer quoted in the prospectus and on the website.

Alternative entry requirements

Changes to Geography and Oceanography BSc (Hons)

See what updates we've made to this course since it was published. We document changes to information such as course content, entry requirements and how you'll be taught.

7 June 2022: New course pages

New course pages launched.