BSc (Hons) Geography

The course

UCAS code
4 years
Delivery type

Gain specialist skills to tackle global environmental challenges in human and physical geography. We are ranked 9th in the UK for Town and Country Planning and Landscape Design in the Complete University Guide 2022.


Got questions about this programme?

Contact our enquiries team.


Studying geography at Heriot-Watt covers human geography, physical geography, social policy, economics and modern studies. It combines theory and practical work drawn from these main subject areas to create an inherently interesting and broadly defined university degree.

Our Geography BSc focuses on physical geography, studying the processes that shape the natural environment including hydrology, geology and geomorphology. You will develop field work skills in surveying, mapping and site assessment with field work and site visits as a key strand in your learning. We are ranked 9th in the UK for Town and Country Planning and Landscape Design in the Complete University Guide 2022.

You will develop important research skills through core modules in statistics, data analysis and research methods which you will apply to your final year research dissertation. Throughout your degree cross-disciplinary and problem-based working helps students acquire the skills needed to work in multi-disciplinary teams and solve real-world problems.


You can participate in residential field trips in years 1, 2 and 3 – visiting locations in Scotland, the UK and beyond, plus shorter one-day trips and site visits. These trips provide important opportunities to deepen practical skills in field survey, site observation, data collection and analysis.

You can experience links to practice and industry – hearing from visiting speakers and professionals working as chartered geographers, surveyors and planners.

In year 3, all students are given the opportunity for mentoring by a practitioner, someone working in industry who can discuss career choices, graduate job opportunities and professional membership routes.

Course content

Year 1

Semester 1

  • Geography Today
  • Dynamic Earth 1
  • Introduction to Human Geography
  • Shaping Tomorrow Together A

Semester Two

  • Dynamic Earth 2
  • Scottish Geographies: Fieldwork Observation
  • Human Geography and the City
  • Shaping Tomorrow Together B

Year 2

Semester 1

  • Surveying and GIS 
  • Catchment Hydrology 
  • City Life and Difference

Optional courses include:

  • Introductory Biology 1 
  • Management in a Global Context
  • Critical Writing and Analysis 
  • Mathematics for Scientists 1 
  • Scottish Studies 

Semester Two

  • Geomorphology, Landscapes and Society 
  • Geography Toolbox 
  • Global Challenges 1 

Optional courses include:

  • Employability and Professional Skills
  • Contemporary Economic Policy and Institutions 
  • The Economy 
  • Introduction to World History and Culture
  • Film and Cultures 

Year 3

Semester 1

  • Marine and Coastal Geography
  • River Geomorphology: Form and Process
  • Theories and Methods in Geography 1

Optional courses include:

  • Science and Exploitation of Plants 
  • Practical Marine Biology 
  • Hydraulics and Hydrology A 
  • Geology and Soil Properties 
  • Global Challenges 2 

Semester Two

  • Global Environmental Change 
  • GIS and Spatial Analysis for Environmental Applications 
  • Living Planet 
  • Theories and Methods in Geography 2 

Year 4

Semester 1

  • Catchment Flood Management 
  • Dissertation (Geography) A 
  • Environmental Geo-Data Science 

Optional courses include:

  • Scientific Management of Marine Environments 
  • Innovative Technologies and Global Water Challenges 
  • Environmental Geotechnics 
  • Urban Design for Health and Wellbeing 
  • Climate Change, Sustainability and Adaptation 

Semester Two

  • Dissertation (Geography) B 
  • Professional Practice in Physical Geography 
  • Living Lab: Monitoring and Modelling of the Environment 

Optional courses include:

  • Statistical Modelling of the Environment 
  • Social Sustainability 
  • River Flow and Flood Modelling 
  • Nature-Based Solutions in the City 
  • Urban Drainage and Water Supply 

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Entry requirements

Year 1

Standard entry requirements 

  • Highers AABB
  • A-Levels BBC - ABB
  • Int. Baccalaureate 29 points
  • BTEC DMM (in a relevant subject)
  • HNC B in graded unit (in relevant HNC)

Minimum entry requirements*

  • Highers BBBC
  • A-Levels BBC - ABB

* Minimum: under our Fair Access Policy, we will relax our standard entry requirements for some Scottish students depending on their circumstances. Our minimum requirements will apply if you:

  • live in an area within the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation lowest 20% (SIMD20), or
  • are care experienced.

We can also make exceptions for some Scottish students with grades above minimum but below standard. Read more about our Minimum and standard entry requirements

Year 2

  • Advanced Highers BB plus Highers AABB
  • A-Levels ABB
  • Int. Baccalaureate 34 points
  • HNC A in graded unit (in a relevant subject area)
  • HND BB in graded units (in a relevant subject area)
  • BTEC DDM (in a relevant subject)

Year 3

HND AB in graded units (in a relevant subject area)

Additional information

English language requirements

  • If English is not your first language, you have to show that your English is good enough to succeed on your course. Please see our English language requirements.


Tuition fees for 2024 entry
Status* Scotland England / Wales / N Ireland / Rep of Ireland International**
Fee Paid by SAAS £9,250 £19,744

* Your residency 'status' is usually defined as the country where you have been ordinarily resident for the three years before the start of your course. Find out more about tuition fees.

** 'International' includes applicants from European Union countries who do not hold Pre-Settled or Settled status in UK. (This does not include students from the Republic of Ireland - see above). Read more about the application process for EU nationals.

Additional costs

You may incur additional costs in the course of your studies at Heriot-Watt over and above tuition fees in an academic year. Depending on your programme of study, these may include: protective equipment, field trips, professional memberships, studio fees, required course texts or other study resources.

Scholarships and bursaries

Featured scholarships

Bursaries for students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales

In addition to government loans and grants towards the costs of fees and living costs, we are offering generous financial support to attract and support eligible undergraduate students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales:

  • Heriot-Watt University Bursary (up to £3,100 per year)
View details about the Heriot-Watt University Bursary

View our full range of undergraduate scholarships.