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BA (Honours) Geography

You’ll explore a wide range of real-world issues and global challenges such as poverty, climate change, migration and urbanisation taking a variety of approaches and engaging with geographical topics from a range of different perspectives. In doing so, you will develop your understanding of the relationships between human and natural environments, and how the interaction between these environments shapes our world.

 

Key features of the course

  • Develop your understanding of the relationships between human and natural environments. 
  • Learn to gather, interpret and evaluate quantitative and qualitative geographical information to examine global challenges.
  • Gain the skills to effectively communicate geographical information and ideas in ways suitable for a range of audiences.
We also offer a Diploma of Higher Education in Geography (W81) that is the same in structure as the first two-thirds of this degree.

Course Summary

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Degree

Degree

  • Also known as an undergraduate or bachelors degree.
  • Internationally respected, universally understood.
  • An essential requirement for many high-level jobs.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of your subject – and the tools to investigate, think critically, form reasoned arguments, solve problems and communicate effectively in new contexts.
  • Progress to higher level study, such as a postgraduate diploma or masters degree.
Course code
R44
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
360
How long it takes
Part time – 6 years
Full time – 3 years
Time limit – 16 years
Study method
Distance learning

Course details

This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.

  • In Stage 1 you’ll study with two interdisciplinary modules – one focuses on environmental issues and one that spans the social sciences.
  • Next, in Stage 2, you'll explore the nature of the relationship between environmental and social issues in more depth.
  • Finally, in Stage 3, you’ll put your knowledge and skills to work investigating responses to environmental change and the political and policy debates that surround them.  

Prepare for OU study with an Access module

We offer two starting points depending on how confident you are or how long it’s been since you last studied. Choose to dive straight in at Stage 1, or if you’d prefer some extra preparation, you can get started with an optional Access module. See Entry requirements for more details.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

In Stage 1 you'll be introduced to the interdisciplinary study of the environmental issues that are affecting the oceans, the Arctic, the Nile, the Amazon, China and key cities across the world. You’ll also cover the core ideas and themes of the social sciences such as inequality, rights and justice.

Stage 2 (120 credits)

At Stage 2 you’ll use the insights of the natural and the social sciences to explore why environmental issues such as biodiversity loss, water security, climate change, and food production pose such significant challenges. This will give you understanding of how matters of environment and society are so thoroughly entangled. 
ModulesCredits
You'll study both of the following:
Environment and society (DD213)60
Changing geographies of the United Kingdom (D225) - planned for October 202160

Stage 3 (120 credits)

At Stage 3 you’ll explore the many debates and dilemmas involved in developing environmental policy as well as gaining the interdisciplinary tools for understanding, researching, and communicating contemporary environmental issues.
ModulesCredits
You'll study both of the following:
Environmental policy in an international context (DD319)60
Researching geographies of change: independent project in geography (D325) - planned for October 202260

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 15 December 2020.


Accessibility

We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BA (Honours) Geography will use a variety of study materials, which can include the following elements:
  • studying a mixture of printed and online material.
    Online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes.
  • mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
  • working in a group with other students
  • using and/or producing diagrams and/or screenshots
  • undertaking practical work
  • finding external/third party material online.
For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit Disability support to find more about what we offer.

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding.
  • Cognitive skills.
  • Practical and professional skills.
  • Key skills.

The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.

Read the detailed learning outcomes here

Credit transfer

If you’ve already completed some study at another university, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – reducing the number of modules you need to study.

You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. Just tell us what you studied, where and when, and we’ll compare this against the learning outcomes for your chosen course.

For more details and an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.


Classification of your degree

On successfully completing this undergraduate course, you'll be awarded the BA (Honours) Geography degree. The class of degree (first, upper second, lower second or third-class honours) depends on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.

You'll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 


Compare this course

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification.

At The Open University we believe education should be open to all, so we provide a high-quality university education to anyone who wishes to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential.

Even though there are no entry requirements, there are some skills that you’ll need to succeed. If you’re not quite ready for OU study we can guide you to resources that prepare you, many of which are free.

Answer a few quick questions to check whether you’re ready for study success

How much time do I need?

  • Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
  • This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner

Preparing for study with an Access module

Students who start their study with an Access module are more likely to be successful when they advance to Stage 1 of their qualification. They’re specially designed to give you a gentle introduction to OU study, boost confidence in your study skills, and help you gain a broad overview of your chosen subject area.

You’ll also benefit from:

  • feedback from your tutor through regular one-to-one phone tutorials
  • support from a dedicated team throughout your study
  • detailed written feedback on your work.
The Access module we’d recommend studying in preparation for this qualification is our:

People, work and society Access module

What you will study

This multidisciplinary module provides an excellent introduction to studying with The Open University; you'll get to cover a wide range of subject areas, including childhood and youth studies, social science, psychology, health, business and law.

View full details of People, work and society Access module

In this section:
How much will it cost?
Ways to pay for your qualification and other support

How much will it cost in England?

We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential. That’s why we work hard to keep the cost of study as low as possible and have a wide range of flexible ways to pay to help spread, or even reduce, the cost.

  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification up front.
  • A qualification comprises a series of modules, each with an individual fee. Added together, they give you the total cost.
  • If, like most OU students, you study part time at a rate of 60 credits a year, you'll take six years to complete an honours degree.
  • Our current fee for 60 credits is £3,096*.
  • Our current fee for 120 credits – which is equivalent to a year's full-time study – is £6,192*.
  • At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would be £18,576*.
  • .

*The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2021. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees.

Additional costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

If your income is not more than £25,000 or you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit, you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after you start studying.


Skills for career development

Employers value the diverse skills of social science graduates very highly. In addition, this interdisciplinary degree will provide you with the ability to work across the natural and social sciences and develop a particularly strong set of transferable skills.

You’ll develop the ability to:

  • interpret, analyse, and critically evaluate quantitative and qualitative evidence
  • apply learning to real world situations
  • communicate effectively to a variety of audiences using different media
  • employ a wide range of digital practices to find, use, and create data
  • learn autonomously and plan, conduct, and present independent work
  • work effectively with others to achieve joint outcomes.

Career relevance

Geographers are highly employable social scientists. They go on to a wide range of destinations after graduation, including:

  • Environmental consultants
  • Data analysis and visualisation using geographical techniques
  • Transport planners
  • Commercial analysts
  • Financial services
  • International Development
  • Field centre instructors
  • Teachers 

In addition, nearly one in five geography graduates choose to pursue postgraduate study, including specialist pathways in education, GIS or other fields. Dr Catherine Souch, Head of Research and Higher Education at the Royal Geographical Society, noted: “These statistics illustrate that the skills, knowledge and understanding gained during a geography degree are held in high regard across all sectors."

Other careers

The broad range of skills developed through an interdisciplinary Geography degree opens up many quality graduate-level jobs across sectors including banking, finance, IT, media, and the public sector.
Other careers identified by ‘Prospects' includes commercial surveyor, town planner, logistics manager and market researcher.

Exploring your options

Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice. This includes online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.

In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.

  • environmental consultant
  • transport planner
  • civil servant
  • investment advisor
  • geographical information system officer
  • journalist
  • data analyst
  • sustainability consultant
  • market researcher
  • teacher
  • business analyst
  • surveyor

Thinking of studying this course?

It is not possible to register for this qualification at the moment. We expect to open for registrations in March. If you would like to be kept updated, register your interest.


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Our prospectuses help you choose your course, understand what it's like to be an OU student and register for study.

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