Examine the processes and patterns that shape the natural world around us with our BSc Geography (Physical) degree.
This three-year course will deepen your understanding of how our physical environment works, responds, and adapts to change. It also offers you the chance to help address issues critical to our shared global future, including:
- climate change
- natural disasters
- weather systems.
You'll explore our physical world's diverse landscapes and environments through the study of:
You'll also have the flexibility to decide where to focus your attention as your degree progresses, so you can adapt the degree to suit your interests as they evolve.
Your learning environment
The University of Reading is the joint 12th highest-ranking UK university for physical sciences (Times Higher Education World University Rankings, 2020, by subject).
At Reading, you'll learn from internationally recognised academics in the Department of Geography and Environmental Science. Our experts are researching matters of global importance, including:
- hydrology, landscapes and ecology
This research feeds directly into the topics you study, placing you at the cutting-edge of developments in the field.
- Professor Frank Mayle is working to reconstruct the history of the Amazon rainforests, removing long cores of sediment from the earth for microscopic analysis of their content to learn about the long-term dynamics of rainforest ecosystems.
Develop technical laboratory skills to help apply your knowledge in areas such as modelling, surveying and measurement, and technologies such as GIS (Geographic Information System) and remote sensing. You'll gain experience in the field, ensuring you have a balance of practical and theoretical skills.
We'll support you to make a difference as you apply your lessons to what you're passionate about. For example, recent students campaigned successfully for the University's students' union to stop using plastic straws.
- Read about Jack Abrey, a recent graduate who travelled to Madagascar with WaterAid and the Scouts to help improve access to clean water and safe toilets across the country.
You'll have opportunities to work on research projects within the School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science and other departments across the University.
You can also join GeogSoc, a student-run society for geography and environmental science undergraduates. As one of the University's largest student societies, GeogSoc is a great way to meet people, build your network, and participate in events like club nights, quizzes, and the annual summer and winter formals.
One of the most popular components of our BSc Geography (Physical) are its field classes.
You’ll have the opportunity to travel throughout the UK and abroad, putting theory into practice and gaining valuable research and practical experience.
Recent field class destinations have included:
- Naples, Italy, where you can climb Mount Vesuvius and learn about the historical impacts and future evacuation plans for volcanic eruptions.
- Crete, Greece, where you can research and model flood activity.
- Iceland, where you can study the geomorphology of the area, the history of the landscape, and aspects of the archaeological and cultural history of human activity on the island.
- Almeria, Spain, where you can investigate the geology, hydrology, and soils.
We are also developing additional field classes to Africa and Latin America.
As part of your degree, you can apply to study for a year abroad at one of our partner universities in Australia, Canada, the USA, or across Europe. For example, recent destinations have included Melbourne, Australia and Ottawa, Canada.
In the autumn of your final year, you'll also have the chance to study abroad for a term – either in the Netherlands (Groningen), Denmark (Aarhus), or Norway (Bergen or Svalbard). All classes are conducted in English and bursaries are available to help with travel and accommodation costs.
Visit our Study Abroad website for further information.
Placements with BSc Geography (Physical)
Enhance your employability and build your network by applying for placements during your degree. Opportunities include year-long and summer placements.
You'll have opportunities to work with partner organisations such as:
- Thames Water
- Dyer & Butler
- Environment Agency
- Earth Trust
- West Berkshire Wildlife Group
- Natural England.
You can also choose to spend a year on a professional placement (between your second and final year) with our four-year BSc Geography (Physical) with Professional Experience degree.
Physical geography is relevant to the modern world and its constant ability to change. The staff at Reading are encouraging and enthusiastic, always prepared to lend a hand and point you in the right direction.