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Students photographed conducting field work on a trip to Almeria

We see field classes as a critical part of your training, enabling you to develop skills in field techniques, observation skills, data analysis and presentation, and teamwork and life skills.

In addition to the compulsory Year 1 field class in Southern England, students undertake a Year 2 field class to Scotland.

A significant number of students also choose to take an optional field class in their final year. These are currently Iceland, Berlin (Germany), Nanjing (China) and a UK non-residential field class.  

Fieldwork is an increasingly important component of many modules, from GIS mapping on the University campus to exploring other settings in the UK and abroad.

All of our compulsory field classes are heavily subsidised by the Department, and the cost of the first-year Southern England class and second-year Scotland class are included in your fees.

Core first-year field class: Southern England

A residential field class halfway through the first semester. The cost of this trip is included in your standard undergraduate fees. This is a core module for all degrees other than BSc Geography and Economics, when it is optional.

Second-year field class: Scotland

In your second-year, you will take part in a compulsory seven day field class to Stirling, Scotland.

The cost of this trip is included in your standard undergraduate fees. This is a core module for all degrees other than BSc Geography and Economics, when it is optional. 

“Fieldwork enables you to get hands-on experience with specialist equipment, employing techniques used in industry. By the end of the Scotland field class, I'd enhanced my understanding and gained so many skills that will broaden my employment prospects.”

Joshua Gill
BSc Geography (Physical)

Final-year optional field classes

Our past final-year field classes have been driven by student interest. Our most popular option has been Iceland.

Iceland

This field class investigated the geological context of Iceland as a volcanic island on the mid-Atlantic ridge, the geomorphology of the area, and the history of the landscape and aspects of the archaeological and cultural history of human activity on the island.

Students have also explored issues such as sustainable energy and food supply during this optional final-year field class.

“The Iceland field trip offered the opportunity to explore the Southern coast of Iceland and the capital of Reykjavik from a geography student's perspective; looking at glaciers, coastal environments and of course, volcanoes.

"During our trip we collected glacial retreat data as part of the University of Reykjavik's ongoing work and we conducted our own fieldwork investigation on the glacial outwash systems in the south.

"A particular highlight of the trip was having the chance to ice-climb up a crevasse on a glacier, which was an experience we wouldn't have otherwise had the opportunity to do!

"The trip offered us the chance to work in the field in groups from different courses within our School. This was perhaps one of the best aspects of the trip as we made new friends from different courses and had the chance to work with new people, some of whom we had never met before.

The Iceland field trip has inspired me to look into furthering my education through doing my master's there and consider a career that involves being outside as much as possible!

The trip was a fantastic opportunity to see and experience a country and a landscape that had perhaps sparked our initial interest in real geography in the first place!”

Sarah Newman
BSc Geography (Human and Physical)

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How you'll study

You'll learn from experts in the field through lectures, practical classes, fieldwork and small-group tutorials. We also offer a variety of placement opportunities where you can gain real-world experience.
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Our courses

Our degree courses cover topics including climate change, sustainability, global justice and development.

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Life in the Department

Join a welcoming, supportive community, where you'll have opportunities to get to know fellow students in field classes and group work, as well as at events hosted by the student-run GeogSoc.

Athena SWAN Silver Award