Geography BSc/MA/MA(SocSci)

Geography is the study of the surface of the Earth as the site of human living and working. It considers the variability in physical and human landscapes, along with the interrelationships binding them together. Geography is a dynamic, relevant and ever-changing subject, at the heart of many local and global current issues, from river/coastal management and conservation to migration, development and urban geography.

Graduates from this programme have subsequently been employed by companies and organisations including BAE Systems, Transport Scotland, the Scottish Government and the Foreign Office.  

  • September start
  • Session dates
  • Geography BSc (Hons): F800 4 year degree
  • Geography MA (Hons): L702 4 year degree
  • Geography MA(SocSci) (Hons): L700 4 year degree

Why study Geography?

  • Geography at the University of Glasgow is ranked 5th in the UK and 2nd in Scotland (Complete University Guide 2021)
  • This degree programme is accredited by the Institute of Environmental Sciences and the Royal Geographical Society
  • Our location - a culturally and historically significant city, close to some of the most the spectacular landscapes in the world - gives us an unparalleled advantage in the study of both human and physical geography
  • Fieldwork is a fundamental part of studying Geography at the University of Glasgow, and all students undertake residential field classes in south Wales and Mallorca, giving you a comprehensive learning experience
  • Find out more about what it's like to study in the School of Geographical & Earth Sciences: meet our students

Be part of the solution.

Programme structure

Geography can be studied as one of three different degrees in Arts, Science or Social Sciences. The Geography component of each degree is identical; the difference is additional subjects that can be taken in years 1 and 2.

Arts students taking Geography in their first year should choose their additional courses from other Arts degree programmes.


Year 1

Core courses:

You will explore an equal balance of physical and human geography themes including a world of resources, an underdeveloped world, a world of changing environments, a shrinking world, and a changing biosphere in a changing environment.



Year 2

Core courses:

You will explore human and physical processes, examining environmental problems and their possible resolutions. You will be trained in statistical methods, geographical information systems (GIS) and laboratory analysis using a mixture of fieldwork and our own IT and physical geography laboratories.

You will also study other subjects in years 1 and 2, to pursue your interests and ensure maximum flexibility; see Flexible degrees.



Year 3 and 4 

Core courses:

If you progress to Honours (years 3 and 4) you will study both core and optional courses. Core courses are related to advanced training methods such as data management, modelling, geographical information systems, interviewing and interpretative methods, dissertation training and development of key graduate attributes. A wide range of optional courses complement the core courses and allow you to build a programme around your particular interests. Some Earth Science optional courses may also be available to Geography students.


Programme alteration or discontinuation
The University of Glasgow endeavours to run all programmes as advertised. In exceptional circumstances, however, the University may withdraw or alter a programme. For more information, please see: Student contract.

Special Glasgow feature

If you intend to continue to Honours, you will attend a week-long residential field course in year 2 to extend the field, laboratory and statistical skills introduced earlier by focusing on group projects, data collection, problem solving, and presentations. This training is developed in year 3 in a week-long overseas field class focusing on dissertation-related project work.

Our international links

You will have the opportunity to apply to study abroad. There are currently two options available: the Erasmus+ Programme and the International Exchange Programme. This will not add any time to your studies. See Study abroad.

Entry requirements

for entry in 2021

Summary of entry requirements for Geography

SQA Higher Entry Requirements 

  • BBBB at S5 will be considered. Typically S6 entrants will have AAAB at Higher. B at Advanced Higher is equivalent to A at Higher.
  • Applicants to Geography (BSc): Additional requirements: Higher Geography and a Higher Science subject. 
  • Applicants to Geography (MA): Additional requirements: Higher Geography and a Higher Humanities subject.

SQA Higher Adjusted Entry Requirements* (by end of S6)

  • Applicants to Geography (BSc): Additional requirements: Higher Geography and a Higher Science subject. 
  • Applicants to Geography (MA):Additional requirements: Higher Geography and a Higher Humanities subject.
  • Successful completion of Top-Up or one of our Summer Schools.

* See Access Glasgow for eligibility.

A-level Standard Entry Requirements

  • BBB – BCC 
  • Applicants to Geography (BSc): Additional requirements: A-Level Science subject.
  • Applicants to Geography (MA): Additional requirements: A-level Science or Humanities subject.

IB Standard Entry Requirements

  • 38 – 34 points
  • 38 (6,6,6 HL) – 34 (6,5,5 HL) 
  • Applicants to Geography (BSc): Additional requirements: HL Science subject.
  • Applicants to Geography (MA): Additional requirements: HL Science or Humanities subject.


2021 Admissions Policy and further information about entry requirements

Glasgow International College

International students with academic qualifications below those required should contact our partner institution, Glasgow International College, who offer a range of foundation certificates.

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

English language requirements

Important information for entry in Autumn 2020 and January 2021

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training):

  • overall score 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.0
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification (see below)

Common equivalent English language qualifications:

  • ibTOEFL*: 90; no sub-test less than: Reading: 20; Listening: 19; Speaking: 19; Writing: 23
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall: no sub-test less than 169
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): 176 overall: no sub-test less than 169
  • PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59
  • IGCSE: English as a First Language (0500/0522): C in Reading and Writing, plus 1 in Listening, 2 in Speaking, where applicable. All four components (listening, writing, speaking, reading) must be examined and detailed on results slip
  • IGCSE: English as a Second Language (0510/0511): A in Reading and Writing, plus A in Listening, 2/B in Speaking, where applicable. All four components (listening, writing, speaking, reading) must be examined and detailed on results slip
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII at Distinction with Distinction in all sub-tests

* Please note that TOEFL is still acceptable for admission to this programme for both home/EU and international students.

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use TOEFL to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level courses. We therefore still accept TOEFL tests taken in the last two years for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses
The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:


What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's School of Modern Languages and Cultures offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact External Relations

If you require a Tier 4 student visa, your qualification must be one of the secure English language tests accepted by UK Border Agency:

Visa requirements and proof of English language level

It is a visa requirement to provide information on your level of English based on an internationally recognised and secure English language test. All test reports must be no more than 2 years old. A list of these can be found on the UK Border Agency website. If you have never taken one of these tests before, you can get an initial idea of your level by using the Common European Framework self-assessment grid which gives you a level for each skill (e.g. listening B1/writing B2 etc.) However, please note that this is not a secure English language test and it is not sufficient evidence of your level of English for visa requirements.

For further information about English language, please see School of Modern Languages and Cultures: English for Academic Study.

Career prospects

Graduates of this programme have gone on to work for companies and organisations such as BAE Systems, the Scottish Government, Transport Scotland, and Caledonian MacBrayne. Positions include Coastal and Rivers Engineer, Environmental Social Researcher, Hydrographic Surveyor and Statistician.

Degrees and UCAS codes

Which degree should I choose for Geography?

Geography is offered as three different types of honours degrees: BSc, MA and MA (Soc). The Geography courses within these degrees are identical but the programme structure includes a selection of other subjects in years 1 and 2, which may vary according to the degree. There may be small differences in entry requirements between the degrees as well. This means that you should choose your degree according to the context in which you plan to study Geography and the subjects that you have studied previously. Here is some guidance.

Bachelor of Science (BSc)

If you have a background in Science you may be particularly interested in the areas of the Geography degree that cover scientific topics, such as the role of data gathering and imaging techniques in studying the environment and how it is changing.
The first year comprises Geography and two other subjects, which are typically drawn from the sciences: often Earth Science, Biology, Mathematics, Chemistry or Archaeology. This is the most common choice of degree. Combined honours courses are also available such as Geography/Mathematics or Geography/Archaeology.

Master of Arts in Social Science (MA SocSci)

This option is intended for students who have a background in Social Sciences and are particularly interested in the areas of the Geography degree that investigate the economic, social or behavioural aspects of society.
An obvious subject to take alongside Geography in first year is Sociology and you might be interested in Economics as well. Indeed if you want to take a degree in Economics or Business with Geography, then the only route is via the MA SocSci. Other combined honours courses are also available such as Geography/ Sociology or Geography/Politics.

Master of Arts (MA)

This is a more specialised route with fewer course choice options, and is typically chosen by students with a background in English or Languages, who are particularly interested in the areas of the Geography degree that explore the geographical context of language, literature or philosophy.
The first year comprises Geography and two Arts courses, such as English or another language and Philosophy. Combined honours courses are also available such as Geography/Spanish or Geography/French.

When applying you will need to know the UCAS code for the subject or subject-combination that you wish to apply to:

BSc (Hons)

Geography: F800 (4 years)
Geography/Archaeology: FV84 (4 years)
Geography/Computing Science: FG84 (4 years)
Geography/Mathematics: FG81 (4 years)
Geography/Statistics: FG83 (4 years)

MA (Hons)

Geography: L702 (4 years)
Geography/Archaeology: LV74 (4 years)
Geography/Celtic Civilisation: LQ75 (4 years)
Geography/Celtic Studies: QL57 (4 years)
Geography/Classics: LQ78 (4 years)
Geography/Digital Media & Information Studies: GL57 (4 years)
Geography/French: LR71 (5 years)
Geography/German: LR72 (5 years)
Geography/History: LV71 (4 years)
Geography/History of Art: LVR3 (4 years)
Geography/Latin: QL67 (4 years)
Geography/Music: LW73 (4 years)
Geography/Philosophy: LV75 (4 years)
Geography/Portuguese: 3T5Y (5 years)
Geography/Scottish History: LVR2 (4 years)
Geography/Scottish Literature: LQ72 (4 years)
Geography/Spanish: RL47 (5 years)
Geography/Theatre Studies: LW74 (4 years)

MA(SocSci) (Hons)

Geography: L700 (4 years)
Geography/Business & Management: LN72 (4 years)
Geography/Business Economics: LLC7 (4 years)
Geography/Central & East European Studies: RL77 (4 years)
Geography/Economic & Social History: LV73 (4 years)
Geography/Economics: LL17 (4 years)
Geography/Politics: LL72 (4 years)
Geography/Social & Public Policy: LL47 (4 years)
Geography/Sociology: LL37 (4 years)

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

How and when you pay tuition fees depends on where you’re from: see Tuition fees for details.


The University is committed to supporting students and rewarding academic excellence. That's why we've invested more than £1m in additional scholarship funding in recent years.

The scholarships above are specific to this programme. For more funding opportunities search the scholarships database

How to apply


Full-time students must apply through the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). 

International students to Arts, Engineering, Law, Nursing, Science, and Social Sciences can also apply using The Common Application: however, if applying to more than one UK university, we recommend using UCAS. Applications to Dentistry, Education, Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine must be made through UCAS.

Application deadlines

  • 15 October: if including Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine or also applying to Oxford or Cambridge
  • 15 January: all other UK/EU applicants (unless otherwise stated on the UCAS website)
  • 30 June: international (non-EU) students

We do not usually accept any applications after these deadlines.

It's your responsibility to ensure the accuracy of your application before submission. Requests to correct application content, change degree programme or change college of entry, will not be accepted after these deadlines. This policy is in place to ensure fairness and consistency to all applicants, and no exceptions will be made.

How to apply for Advanced Entry

Apply for year 2 (Y2) on your UCAS application. If the specific subject is unavailable for Advanced Entry or your application for year 2 entry is unsuccessful, you will be automatically considered for year 1 entry. You do not have to submit a separate UCAS application.

Apply via UCAS


MA (SocSci) students satisfied

Discover Uni, January 2020
study abroad plane


guardian newspaper

5th in UK: Guardian University Guide [Geography & environmental studies]

Complete University Guide

5th in UK: Complete University Guide [Geography & Environmental Science]

qs logo

World top 50: QS World University Rankings [Geography]

Times Good university guide

UK top 10: Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide [Geography & Environmental Science]

ShanghaiRanking of World Universities

World top 50: ShanghaiRanking's Global [Geography]