Geography and Environmental Sciences Foundation Year

UCAS code F920

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About this course 2019/20

Geography and Environmental Sciences involves the study of the human and environmental systems that sustain life on earth.

Geography and Environmental Science professionals provide solutions to many of the environmental issues facing urban and rural environments and populations. These include physical planning; use of resources; environmental health; environmental management and life cycle analysis. Increasingly it also includes the emergency aspects of environmental, economic and social development brought about by climate change, new ways of living, unstable earth systems and human conflict.

This new foundation year bridges the gap between school and undergraduate level study, providing a broad introduction to the subjects for those who do not meet the requirements needed for direct undergraduate entry.

The course provides both academic knowledge and practical skills, and makes use of high quality, current technology and on-site laboratories. It is the first step towards developing the skills you will need to engage successfully with life beyond the classroom, preparing you for working in an environmental context.

Following successful completion of the foundation year you will qualify to join any of the following degrees:

Modules and Learning

The course comprises six 20-credit modules that are completed over two semesters. These include environmental geography and environmental issues modules; sustainable development; earth resources; human geography and post-industrial landscapes; and the tutorial and fieldwork module which will help you to develop the skills to transition to University level study.

Teaching methods include lectures and seminars, practical use of tools and equipment, laboratory work, fieldwork, visits from professional speakers as well as guided and self-study. You will get the chance to work as an individual and to learn with others in group situations.

Assessments are designed to help you develop both general and discipline specific knowledge as well as developing transferable skills including communication, research and teamwork that will prepare you for progression onto your chosen undergraduate degree.

Teaching staff

The teaching team in the Department of Geography and Environmental Science are a diverse group of experts who share a genuine passion for their subject specialisms. They draw on their backgrounds and experiences in both academic teaching and practice to shape the course and bring real-life experience to your learning. As such, the course is strongly influenced by professional and industry practice and will continue to evolve in line with developments across the sector.

All of our academic staff are approachable, passionate about their subject and, above all, committed to your development, they are there to support you through every step of your foundation year.


The Department offers a host of specialist laboratory facilities, field equipment and specialist software including a qualitative research suite and social spaces to support learning. On-site study facilities also include The Hub which is a dedicated learning area and resource centre, and The Zone – a 24/7 study space.

You will also benefit from the use of technologies to support learning, teaching and the student experience. This includes the e-learning portal, Northumbria’s Virtual Learning Environment, which houses course materials, study notes and reading lists.

The City Campus Library provides learning resources and additional study space. The Library, which is accessible 24/7, has achieved some of the highest levels of student satisfaction in the UK. In addition, it has held the Cabinet Office accreditation for Customer Service Excellence since 2010.

Research-rich learning

Tutors and lecturers are drawn from a team of geography and environmental sciences professionals with experience in research, industry and academic teaching. Many are actively involved in international research projects that shape their discipline. During the foundation year they provide the support you will need to progress to your chosen degree course.

Geography is a top-30 research department based on research power. In the latest UK-wide research assessment exercise 55% of our research ranked as world leading or internationally excellent (REF 2014).

Career edge

The foundation year is intended to provide support, raise standards of excellence and increase confidence. The course starts with basic knowledge, theories, practices and skills and, as your knowledge builds, you progress to more complex and in-depth issues associated with geography and environmental sciences.

The real world focused, practical modules undertaken will help you develop skills that are most relevant to your chosen degree subject. By the end of the year, you will also be able to demonstrate a range of transferable skills including communication, research, independent and group working that will enhance your prospects and equip you with the knowledge to progress to an undergraduate degree.

Your future

The foundation year prepares you to progress onto one of the undergraduate degrees from the Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences, and provides the intellectual and practical skills you will need to succeed in life beyond university, as a critical and reflective member of society.

On completion of the undergraduate degree you may go on to work in planning, sustainability, greening business, environmental management, or conservation, and fields as diverse as, cartography, pollution control, urban regeneration, local government, overseas development and teaching.

Course info

UCAS Code F920

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 1 year full-time followed by a further 3 years full-time study or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Location Ellison Building, Newcastle City Campus

City Newcastle

Start September 2019

Current, Relevant and Inspiring

We continuously review and improve course content in consultation with our students and employers. To make sure we can inform you of any changes to your course register for updates on the course page.

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