School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

BA (Hons) Geography with International Relations

Geographers are ideally placed to tackle many of the world’s most pressing issues. From climate change to social justice, political unrest to disaster management, geography provides its graduates with unique insights into how we can make our planet a better place in which to live. Recently The Guardian described geography as the ‘must-have A level’ – “a subject for our times”. It’s no surprise then that geography graduates have such good employment prospects.

Our geography degrees make the most of geography’s strengths in tackling head on the biggest global challenges we face. Modules have been designed to address many of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals – developed by the UN as the “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all” – all of our degrees are fully accredited by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).

Key features

  • Maximise your choice of option modules by studying geography as a major subject within a BA combined honours degree. Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, international residential fieldwork and tutorials.
  • Develop your understanding of the ways in which humans interpret, organise and respond to aspects in their social, cultural, economic, political and physical environments.
  • Seize the opportunity to gain 'problem-solving' experience. You’ll also be equipped with advanced computer and information technology competence and expertise in other job-related skills.
  • Examine the way political, economic and social issues affect all our lives – international relations will introduce you to key events and debates, with the opportunity to study a number of relevant themes.
  • Gain excellent communication skills by working independently and as part of a team and learn from our accessible, supportive staff – expert researchers in their field. 
  • Benefit from our unique location in the heart of the historical city of Plymouth, bordered by Dartmoor National Park as well as the Tamar Valley and South Hams Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Devon and Cornwall have glorious beaches, coasts, rivers and estuaries.
  • Choose to study abroad in Europe or the USA. You can also experience a valuable work placement programme, opening up a range of career opportunities.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In your first year, lectures, tutorials, practicals and local fieldwork in human geography will strengthen your knowledge and introduce new ideas and techniques. Geography modules introduce themes such as globalisation, population and development as well as how to practise geography. You’ll also be introduced to the concepts and processes of international relations analysis.
    Core modules
    • GGH1202 Changing Places

      Here we begin our overview of contemporary human geography. The module is structured around key themes that are prominent in geographical thinking about how society is organised spatially, and how it changes. Lectures provide a framework for understanding, and through fieldwork and follow-up practical classes, we explore examples these themes using quantitative data, graphic and spatial statistical analysis.

    • GGH1203 Culture, Society and Space

      Here we continue our overview of contemporary human geography. The module is again structured around key themes that are prominent in geographical thinking about how society is organised spatially. Lectures provide a framework for understanding these themes, and through fieldwork and follow-up practical classes, we explore local examples using quantitative and qualitative data, and statistical analysis.

    • GGX1205 Geographical Journeys

      In this module we introduce geography as an undergraduate subject. Through lectures, residential fieldwork and a suite of tutorials we explore the interactions between human and physical geography, and consider the subject in relation to students¿ personal and future professional development. The tutorials support students adjusting to university-level study, in relation to both subject and key / transferable skills.

    • GGX1206 Sustainable Futures

      In this module we explore how geographers use the concepts and principles of sustainable development, and critically examine their application to a range of real-world issues. You enhance your subject knowledge and understanding, and develop your key skills, by investigating an aspect of `sustainability in practice¿, and you are supported through a full programme of tutorials.

    • IRL100 Imagining World Order

      This module introduces the essential terms, concepts and processes of international relations analysis. It describes the main features of the international system since its evolution from the Treaty of Westphalia, continuities and discontinuities with earlier international systems, plus the move from state sovereignty to global governance in the contemporary context. It also introduces the primary theories of international relations analysis, whilst putting their emergence and development into historical context.

    • IRL102 International Relations Since 1945

      This module provides an introduction to the historical development of the international political system since 1945. It provides a crucial background to the major processes and actors that have shaped the contemporary international system.

  • Year 2
  • In your second year, you’ll specialise in human geography options (fieldwork options may also be chosen - recent courses have run in USA, Australia, Iceland, Borneo, Sweden and Portugal). Geography modules include the principles and practice of geographical research, sustainability policies and practices, and geography and employability. You’ll also have the chance to study abroad (Europe, North America or Australia). Develop your knowledge further by exploring many important themes of contemporary international relations.
    Core modules
    • APIE205 Preparation for a Year Long Work Placement in Geography

      This module is designed to assist students in their search and preparation for a year long work placement. It is aimed at students who would like to undertake the placement to enhance both programme specific and employment-related skills during Stage 3.

    • GGX2201 Principles and Applications of Geography 1

      In this module students learn about and critically reflect upon various approaches to the production of geographical knowledge, and the different ways and contexts in which this knowledge is applied. The module develops students' awareness of the place and importance of geographical research in preparation for dissertation study and fieldwork modules, and identifies links between geographical research and employability.

    • GGX2202 Principles and Applications of Geography 2

      Students learn about, practise and critically reflect upon different research methods and techniques in the production of geographical knowledge. The module refines students' awareness of the place and importance of geographical research in preparation for dissertation study and fieldwork modules, and its links to employability. Tutorials are provided for additional, small group discussion of issues arising.

    • IRL200 Understanding Global Politics

      This module provides an introduction to the main authors and debates in contemporary IR theory, from mainstream theories to critical approaches. The module pays particular attention to the historical context of each approach, and the relationship between theory and practice in contemporary global politics.

    Optional modules
    • GGH2203 Nature and Society

      This module critically evaluates relationships between nature and society, through the consideration of a range of historical and contemporary examples in Britain and beyond. The core premise of the module is that `nature¿ is inseparable from the realms of culture, politics, economy and science.

    • GGH2204 Transport, Travel and Mobilities

      The module covers key themes, concepts and issues in contemporary transport and mobilities geographies. The geographical nature of transport and travel is discussed, and spatial aspects of the relationships between transport and the economy, society and the environment are explored. The focus is on passenger movement.

    • GGH2205 Social and Cultural Geography

      The module examines the development of the subdisciplines of social and cultural geography, drawing on contemporary case studies. Key geographical concepts and elements are explored within a variety of social and cultural contexts. The module explores the ways in which spaces and places are imagined, practised, and contested, and analyses the role of space in the production or contestation of inequalities and injustices.

    • GGX2203 Geographical Information Systems

      Module provides grounding in theory and practical techniques of GIS. Lectures are on theory, methods and spatial literacy. Practical work covers stages of handling geospatial data, construction of GIS models and automation, provides exposure to a range of techniques in spatial analysis and visualisation, and gives context and experience to spatial literacy concepts. Knowledge and skills are developed in project work.

    • GGX2204 Fieldwork in Geography

      This module enhances students¿ knowledge and understanding of geographical patterns and processes in the field environment, using appropriate research techniques. Parallel fieldtrips are run to overseas destinations, to a comparable academic format.

    • IRL201 International Security Studies

      This module considers the issue of security in contemporary international relations. It examines a variety of different security concepts from deterrence and the security dilemma to arms control, peacekeeping, terrorism, regional security complexes and governance. It then seeks to relate these to practical examples from world politics.

    • IRL203 International Relations of the Developing World

      This module embraces both theoretical and empirical approaches to understanding development issues and policies, at national, international and multilateral scale. The approach taken is deliberately inter-disciplinary, incorporating historical, economic, political and social perspectives. The module also uses case studies based in Africa, Latin America and Asia to illustrate and provide context for the discussion of various developmental concerns. Particular emphasis is placed on understanding the development policy arena; how it is framed and constituted; the power relations between actors; and the impact on human communities and their environments.

  • Optional placement year
  • This is your opportunity to spend a year working in industry to improve your knowledge of applied geography and gain invaluable work experience, leading to a Certificate of Work Experience. Our employability service will help you find a placement from our extensive network across all sectors.
    Optional modules
    • APIE305 Geography:Placement

      This module provides an opportunity for professional training of at least six months duration with an approved company or host organisation between stage 2 and 5. While on placement, students will gain experience of how geography is used in the workplace, be able to apply their geographical knowledge and expertise, and learn further skills and relevant techniques.

  • Final year
  • In your final year, you’ll write a dissertation on your choice of geography research topic and take further geography option modules including a work experience module to prepare you for future employment. You’ll also have a variety of international relations study options including peace-keeping and humanitarian intervention, refugee studies, arms control, European security, maritime studies, Asia-Pacific, Middle Eastern and post-colonial studies.
    Core modules
    • GGX3200 Dissertation in Geography

      Students undertake a major piece of independent, investigative research into a geographical issue of their choice and report on this in a dissertation of ca.12,000 words. The report should establish the wider academic context for the investigation and demonstrate originality and the effective application of intellectual, subject-specific and key skills.

    Optional modules
    • GGH3200 The Competitive City

      This module examines the global competitiveness of cities in the twenty-first century and the strategies adopted to enhance and maintain their performance in economic, social and environmental agendas (representing the three pillars of sustainability). The module is global in focus, focusing on a wide range of in-depth urban case studies to illustrate approaches, concepts, ideas and debates in urban studies.

    • GGH3201 Geographies of Citizenship

      This module uses geographical ideas of citizenship to analyse social, political and cultural issues affecting first world societies. It examines how the use of citizenship by policy makers and other agencies has shaped relations between the public and the state. Particular attention is given to the geographies of participation, power, inclusion and exclusion.

    • GGH3202 Geographies of Landscape

      This module introduces students to the geographic study of landscape. The module looks at the portrayal of landscape through a variety of media, including film, literature, and music, as well as considering `real¿ built and natural landscapes. In doing so, the module expands students¿ understanding of a range of key social, cultural and political geographic themes such as power, memory, identity, place, and dwelling.

    • GGH3206 Changing States and Global Political Geography

      This module explores how the state became the dominant unit in world politics and the challenges states face from globalisation, nationalist movements, non-state actors, and extremist networks. Using contemporary case studies, students will examine key theories in political geography regarding identity, power, and how political authority has been (and might be) arranged over different territorial divisions worldwide.

    • GGX3201 Advanced Fieldwork in Geography

      Students will undertake an advanced field study, relating to key human and / or physical geographical issues in the visited area. After an introduction to key themes in the context of both urban and rural areas, students will conduct a group research project of their own design.

    • GGX3203 Work Based Learning in Geography

      This module provides an opportunity for work based learning. Students work with an appropriate host organisation for a minimum of 100 hours, engaged on activities relevant to geographical skills, knowledge and expertise.

    • IRL302 NATO after the Cold War and Beyond

      "This module proposes to study the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) from a theoretical as well policy point of view. The aim is to investigate the relevance of NATO in the 21st century by looking at how NATO survived and developed in the aftermath of the Cold War as it appeared to have lost its original purpose of containing the Soviet Union. By looking at key developments within NATO in the post-Cold War period, this module also looks at the challenges which NATO has faced and overcome but it also critically reflects on the contemporary relevance of NATO. "

    • PIR304 US Foreign Policy Since 1945

      This module introduces students to different approaches to studying US foreign policy. As well as providing an empirical survey of America's foreign relations since 1945, it draws on IR theory to examine its changing place in the world. Students will examine historical and contemporary themes in US foreign policy and explore the complex mix of factors that combine to influence it. The module will examine US interests in different parts of the world and evaluate how US foreign policy has affected regional and international orders. The ultimate objective of the course is to explore how US foreign policy shapes the world we live in.

    • PIR307 Europe in the World

      The European Union is the world's major trading block and its most integrated region. This module takes a holistic look at the EU's role in the world and the link between its economic and political presence. Accordingly it concentrates on the impact of the EU on the world (including the developing world) but also considers the internal dynamics of Europe.

    • PIR312 The Politics and International Relations of the Middle East

      "The module introduces students to international relations in the Middle East. It equips them with the analytical skills to examine the Arab-Israeli conflict, Gulf conflicts, and the impact of the Arab Spring on regional politics. "

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BA Geography with International Relations programme specification 1873

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

104 - 112

IB
27 overall. English and mathematics must be included.

A level/AS level
104-112 points from a minimum of two A levels. Excluding general studies. 

BTEC
DMM. We welcome this qualification however please contact admissions@plymouth.ac.uk, stating explicitly the full list of modules within your qualification.

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

Access courses 
Pass a named Access to HE Diploma (e.g. science, humanities, combined), (including GCSE English and Mathematics grade C /4 or above or equivalent) with at least 33 credits at merit.

GCSE
Mathematics and English language grade C.

Other
Equivalent qualifications may be considered.
 

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated Brexit webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

New Student 2019 2020
Home/EU £9,250 £9,250
International £13,400 £13,800
Part time (Home/EU) To be confirmed £770
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.

Undergraduate scholarships for international students

To reward outstanding achievement the University of Plymouth offers scholarship schemes to help towards funding your studies.

Find out whether you are eligible and how you can apply

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the Faculty of Science and Engineering and more details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page: Additional fieldwork and equipment costs.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Geography at Plymouth

Study a varied and exciting range of topics whilst gaining skills to equip you for a lifetime of learning.

Geography at Plymouth is renowned as a vibrant, welcoming community committed to teaching and research.

Find out more about what we do in geography

Geography fieldwork

"One of the highlights of my degree was the North West USA fieldwork module." Amy Sparrow, BA Geography

We offer one of the very best fieldwork programmes in the UK.

Learn more about our fieldwork programme

BSc (Hons) Geography graduate (2018) Jessica Kitch awarded British Society for Geomorphology Marjorie Sweeting Dissertation Prize 2019 for her dissertation:

Sediment Source Fingerprinting in The Merriott Stream Catchment, Somerset

Jessica's project was advised by Professor Will Blake in collaboration with Dr John Phillips from the Environment Agency.

More details

Research

Our research is focused on environment-society interactions, environmental processes and change, and their governance through regulation, management policies and stakeholder involvement.

Individual staff engage with a wide range of other departments in universities and research institutes from around the world.

Find out more about our research

Updates and news from our students and staff

Gain insight into what's happening in Geography at the University of Plymouth. Enjoy reading about the Geography Society, research, field trips, study opportunities, placements and more.

Read our latest newsletter

Academic staff

Student insight

Skills picked up on fieldwork courses are valuable in future careers and the parts of the course that were most useful to me in my current job were transferable skills, the use of various computer packages and all the statistics modules.

Jane Childs, BA (Hons) Geography graduate

Read more feedback from our students

Matt Bishop – graduate profile

Since graduating in 2014, Matt has been planning the first ever circumnavigation of the planet on a scooter with a sidecar. His expedition aims to connect people through storytelling and raise awareness for the fight against modern day slavery.

Learn more about Matt's expedition

International relations at Plymouth

Immerse yourself in the ideologies, political interests, and debates that influence past and present relationships between people, places, and environments, and explore the decisions made by governments and global institutions.

Understand how the geopolitical world works, examining the consequences of actions at both the local and global scales.