Geography BSc (Hons)

Fact File

Course Code: CK404

Course Title: Geography

College: Science, Engineering and Food Science


Duration: 4 years

Teaching Mode: Full-time

Qualifications: BSc (Hons)

NFQ Level: Level 8

Costs: Full-time EU/EEA/Swiss State undergraduate students may be exempt from paying tuition fees. The State will pay the tuition fees for students who satisfy the Free Fees Criteria. In 2017/18 the Student Contribution Charge will be €3,000 and the Capitation Fee is expected to be €165.

Entry Requirements: Refer to CK404.


The Geography BSc provides insights into the links between the physical, human and environmental processes on planet Earth and explores the major issues facing society in the 21st century, such as climate change; water, food and energy security; land degradation; and migration and economic changes.

Geography is about how people relate to, and interact with, the spaces, places, landscapes and environments in which they live, and how those places engage with the larger world. 

Geographers at UCC develop a wide range of technical, computing, laboratory, field and desktop skills which equip them to do a range of different jobs.

Geography at UCC provides you with a broad understanding of the human, environmental and natural issues facing society with a focus on real-world questions.

Course Details

The BSc in Geography is primarily taught by staff from the School of Geography and Archaeology, with inputs from staff from other schools in the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science, particularly in the discipline of geology.

Year 1
The common first-year foundation course in science taken by all students within the Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences. Subject areas studied in Year 1 include geography, earth science and geology, and also biology, chemistry, environmental science, physics and maths.

Years 2, 3 and 4
Greater specialisation in geography, studying key thematic areas such as:

  • Earth surface processes
  • geomorphology
  • atmospheres and oceans
  • interactions between people and the planet
  • management of the Earth’s resources and environment
  • the use of laboratory, field and computer-based techniques.

Specialisation in Years 3 and 4 leads to an independent research project which students begin to design during Year 3, and is submitted as a 10,000-word thesis in March of the final year. Topics chosen by students may involve summer work with research institutes and consultancy firms, providing work experience, job skills and useful links for potential employment opportunities.

See the College Calendar for additional information on the Programme and the Book of Modules for further information on the modules.

Course Practicalities

Expected lecture hours: Throughout the four years of study, there are daily lectures, laboratory and computer classes and small group teaching.

Expected lab/practical hours: Some modules incorporate practical laboratories for which you may be required to purchase basic safety items such as a laboratory coat or goggles. Other modules may require a kit of components to be purchased. 

Field trips: From Year 1, fieldwork is a key element of Geography, involving day trips in the local area, as well as residential visits in Ireland and abroad. These trips encourage you to put into practice the theory and knowledge learned in university and to develop techniques of field measurement and interpretation. 

Field trips take place during all semesters and on occasion during the holidays. Such field trips are compulsory and you are expected to attend. Fieldwork for the research project takes place during the summer and into Year 4 as necessary, and may be in Ireland or overseas depending on subject area. 

A cost of approximately €800 over the course of the four years for field trips is required.


Written exams will take place before Christmas and in May.  Not all modules will have formal examinations.  Many modules use other types of assessment.

Given the practical nature of the subject, there is a large element of coursework, with some modules assessed entirely though projects and class assignments.

In the later years of the course, exams may require more detailed written essays which draw together learning across a range of different subject areas.

The dissertation is worth 25% of the final year.

You are assessed on valuable transferable skills that include written, mathematical, problem solving, and oral assignments, many of which are completed individually, although some are done in small groups.

Who Teaches This Course

The core teaching staff for the course is drawn from the discipline of geography, with contributions from staff in geology, biology and other disciplines.

Further Contact Information

Noreen McDowell

School of Geography and Archaeology

T: +353 (0)21 490 2804



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