Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences

Whether your preference is for Human or Physical Geography or Earth and Environmental Sciences, our Department of Geography & Earth Sciences is one of the most established and experienced departments of its kind. Set on the coast of Cardigan Bay and surrounded by a great diversity of beautiful environments, including marine, moorland, mountain and grassland, Aberystwyth University is uniquely placed to make the most of the stunning landscapes that surround it, providing you with a fabulous variety of fieldwork and recreational opportunities, and offering you the chance to study geography, earth and environmental Sciences in one of the most picturesque locations in Europe.  

Royal Geographical Society
  • Top 10 in the UK for satisfaction with feedback in the subject of Geography & Environmental Studies. (The Guardian League Table 2022)
  • Top 15 in the UK for Student Experience and Teaching Quality for the subject of Geography & Environmental Science (Good University Guide, The Times and Sunday Times 2022)
  • Best in Wales for the subject of Geography & Environmental Science (Good University Guide, The Times and Sunday Times 2020)

Why study Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences at Aberystwyth University?

As a large and dynamic Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences department we are able to offer you an extremely broad range of geographical specialisms, opportunities and facilities. Whether your interests lie in climate change, pollution, geohazards and river catchment processes or lean towards political and cultural geography, we offer an exciting range of modules to capture your imagination. Lab practicals and fieldwork opportunities in the UK and overseas further enhance your studies.

Our Geography courses are accredited by the Royal Society of Geographers (with IBG).  

“The Physical Geography course at Aberystwyth is an exciting mix of written theory, field trips and lab-based practicals that gives a versatile perspective on a collection of key topics that affect the environment. I chose Aberystwyth because of the geography department. I was fascinated with the research the department was doing and upon speaking to the lecturers on open days found that their passion for the subject really resonated with me. ”
Laura English Laura English BSc Physical Geography
“Environmental Earth Science is a course that gives you all that you need to have a great time at university. The lectures are amazing, the lecturers are awesome and the work is engaging. From the first day you are made to feel that you are valued as a student and as an Earth Scientist. The work, while hard, is always interesting and you get the chance to meet some amazing people along the way. The course fully stands up to the expectations I had when I applied. ”
Sebastian Charles Taylor Sebastian Charles Taylor BSc Environmental Earth Science
“My course is F800 Geography, which strikes a perfect balance between the physical and social sciences. Geography encapsulates and investigates all the constant, sometimes invisible, processes happening around us that all interact with each other, as we do with them, to shape our environment. ”
Oliver Clegg Oliver Clegg BSc Geography
“I chose to study Environmental Earth Science at Aberystwyth University because of the multidisciplinary approach, which incorporates aspects of geography, geology, geochemistry and environmental science. I like the practical nature of this scheme, meaning I don’t have to sit at a desk all day! I really enjoyed the fieldwork, which really helped to reinforce everything I did in lectures. ”
Catherine Fletcher Catherine Fletcher BSc Environmental Earth Science

Employability

There is an ever-growing need for graduates with appropriate environmental and geographical skills. That’s why we make every effort during your time at university to help you gain the skills you need to succeed in the workplace. Individual enterprise, group discussion and leadership skills are encouraged through a range of opportunities provided in lecture, seminar, tutorial, library, field and practical settings. 

You will also acquire a range of valuable transferable skills such as the ability to conduct research and interpret information, communicate ideas, develop critical and interdisciplinary thinking, work independently or as part of a creative team, and to stay motivated and focused on your goals. 

The majority of our single honours courses are available with the option of an integrated year in industry or with an integrated year studying abroad, enabling you to get the most out of your time at university and gain a head start when entering the job market after you graduate. Our foundation year courses will ensure you receive a solid grounding in the essential skills you will need to successfully complete your chosen degree path. 

Employment opportunities include environmental consultancy, planning, the Civil Service, surveying, education and local and national government. 

Facilities

The Department of Geography and Earth Sciences maintains world-class laboratory facilities (including the Earth Observation Laboratory, Palaeoecology Laboratory and the Aberystwyth Luminescence Research Laboratory) and field equipment supporting research across the earth and environmental sciences. These incorporate state-of-the-art dating and geochemical research laboratories and a suite of advanced geomatics equipment including terrestrial laser scanners, robotic total station and RTK GPS.  

The department also has up-to-date teaching and computing facilities for students including the Digital Map Library and a range of teaching laboratories which are utilised for class practical sessions and individual dissertations. 

Our facilities are recognised by Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

Research

You will be taught by world-leading researchers during your time in Aberystwyth. Our staff are experts across a broad range of areas of human geography, physical geography, environmental science, Earth science and sociology, working across several distinct research groups: Centre for Glaciology; Cultural and Historical Geography; Earth Observation and Ecosystem Dynamics; Earth Surface Processes; New Political Geographies; Quaternary Environmental Change and Interdisciplinary Centre for Environmental Microbiology and Geochemistry.

In the most recent UK-wide research assessment (REF 2021) 95% of our research is world-leading or internationally excellent, signifying both the quality and breadth of research that we undertake. A key feature of the ‘research-led teaching’ ethos at Aberystwyth, is that you will have regular contact with acknowledged pioneers and leaders in their respective fields. This ensures that you are exposed to the latest academic thinking in undergraduate lectures, tutorials, seminars and field courses throughout our programmes.

CHERISH (Climate, Heritage and Environments of Reefs, Islands and Headlands):

EU Funded Project that aims to increase knowledge and understanding of the impacts (past, present and near-future) of climate change, increased storminess and extreme weather events on the cultural heritage of reefs, islands and headlands of the Welsh and Irish regional seas, also involving the Royal Commission, The Discovery Programme and Geological Survey, Ireland.

Glacial Hazards in Chile:

NERC (UK) and CONICYT (Chile) funded project that aims to answer key questions concerning past, present and future glacial hazards in Chile. The project assesses the changing magnitude, frequency, and distribution of different glacial hazards in Chile under current and future global climate change. The project brings together leading researchers from Aberystwyth University (UK), Austral University of Chile, Exeter University (UK), Reynolds International Ltd (UK) and University of Magallanes (Chile). 

Earth Observation and Ecosystem Dynamics:

The Earth Observation team in Aberystwyth use ground, airborne and spaceborne remote sensing data for better understanding the direct and indirect impacts of climate change on ecosystems and environments. The team have developed tools for identifying malaria vector habitats by exploiting information from remotely sensed data and its products. In doing so, malaria control activities can be targeted in areas where it is needed most to help eliminate this disease. 

Global-Rural:

This wide-ranging project aims to discover how globalisation is changing rural places around the world and how different communities are responding. Research has focused on a range of themes and sites, including studying how New Zealand has become a global dairy superpower, how businesses in Newtown (Wales) are using novel ways to complete in an increasingly global marketplace, and how the production, consumption of sugar have influenced rural economies and trade.

WISERD (Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research Data and Methods):

This national multi-institution research centre undertakes cutting edge research on civil society spanning human geography, sociology and other social science disciplines. Research themes have included: migration, minorities and society; local communities and globalisation; and language, culture and identity.