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MEnv (Hons) Physical Geography and Environment (with a placement year)

Unravel how Earth's features and natural processes influence our surroundings.

Year of entry: 2025/26
Show year of entry: 2024

UCAS code


Institution code



5 years full-time

Typical offer

AAB (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2025 (semester dates)

UK (home) fees

£9,250 per year

International and EU fees

£28,800 per year

Undergraduate Open Days

Book your place for our Open Days on 22 and 23 June and 6 and 7 September.

Book your place

It's important to understand the physical environment and its effects on humans.

This understanding will help us to address the world's environmental challenges. During the course you'll explore physical geography. This includes glaciers, rivers, and coastal environments as well as environmental hazards. You'll explore other aspects of geography such as climate change, ecology and sustainability.

Throughout your studies, you'll delve into the relationships between environment and humans. You'll develop academic knowledge and practical skills to tackle real-world sustainability challenges presented in our physical environment.

Environmental Geography (with a placement year) (MEnv).


Our courses are currently accredited by the Institute of Environmental Sciences.

Working together

Our staff collaborate with a broad range of private and public organisations including UNEP, DEFRA, Forestry Commission, Natural England, Overseas Development Institute, Willis Global Insurance Broker.

Strong links

Our Department has strong links to global policy makers including UNEP and WHO

Course content

Understand the physical processes at work in our environment. See how they respond to our changing environments. You'll develop the tools to develop sustainable solutions to environmental problems. 

For example, you will learn about the impact of humans on the environment. You will learn how climate change is altering landscapes. You will also consider the changes needed to solve complex sustainability problems.

Year 1

The first year modules give you an introduction to the basics of the course, providing you with a foundation for advanced material in the future.

Core modules

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.

Year 2

You will take a range of core modules to develop your knowledge of environmental geography. You can then begin to tailor your degree to your own interests with a choice of option modules. 

Core modules

Option modules

You will study two option modules. Examples can be found below. Some option module combinations may not be possible. The options available to you will be confirmed after you begin your course.

Elective modules

You may be able to replace one option module with an elective module, studying a complementary subject or an interdisciplinary topic.

Year 3

You have the option to pursue a placement year in Year 3 or Year 4 of your integrated Masters, extending your time at York by one year. Whilst you are on placement you'll retain your student status and receive your placement year within your degree title.

It's your responsibility to find and secure your work placement but you'll be supported throughout the process by a dedicated member of staff.

Your placement must be between 9 and 12 months and start during the summer vacation. You can choose to do a placement of 9 or 12 months or two shorter placements that total 9 or 12 months of experience.

You will be assigned a Placement Supervisor for the duration of your placement who will keep in touch with you throughout your placement and undertake supervision meetings with you.  

The placement year is an assessed, pass/fail module that is added to your existing programme of study. The assessment is in the form of a 3000 word reflective report with supporting reflective blogs, it is assessed by Careers and Placements.

Placements can be found throughout industry and you're encouraged to focus on your desired outcomes for the placement year in considering the industry in which you would like to secure a placement.

All placements will be subject to the University placement approval process and must meet the Placement Criteria.

Year 4

In Year 4 you undertake advanced research training to prepare the way to your fourth year of masters study. You can also select option modules to suit your interests and employment objectives. 

Core modules

Option modules

You will study two option modules. Examples can be found below. Some option module combinations may not be possible. The options available to you will be confirmed after you begin your course.

Year 5

In Year 5 you undertake further advanced training and a significant independent research project tailored to your research interests and career ambitions.

Core modules

Option modules

You will study two option modules. Examples can be found below. Some option module combinations may not be possible. The options available to you will be confirmed after you begin your course.

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff, and in line with Department/School academic planning.

Learning by design

Every course at York has been designed to provide clear and ambitious learning outcomes. These learning outcomes give you an understanding of what you will be able to do at the end of the course. We develop each course by designing modules that grow your abilities towards the learning outcomes and help you to explain what you can offer to employers. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Debate, interpret and explain the causes, scales and impacts of issues such as climate change, glacial retreat and natural hazards using appropriate methods and norms, and engage critically with theory, knowledge and emerging issues in physical and environmental geography [Knowledgeable and aware]
  • Obtain, synthesise and critically evaluate information from a wide range of reliable sources, and collate this information to establish current understanding and independently identify key research questions in specialised areas of physical and environmental geography [Independent learner]
  • Cut across disciplinary boundaries to link knowledge and experience from physical geography, biology, chemistry, biogeography, the social sciences, to understand the physical environment, its impact on society and links with the management and business sector [Interdisciplinary thinker]
  • Identify knowledge gaps, plan, design and execute advanced research in environmental geography individually or within a team using critically-selected qualitative and quantitative methods in the field and other settings [Creator of new Knowledge]
  • Design and undertake critical analyses of qualitative and quantitative data using appropriate tools such as GIS and statistical packages to draw meaningful conclusions from research aimed at understanding the functioning of the physical environment, and its links with the human environment [Analytical]
  • Effectively communicate knowledge, complex ideas and persuasive arguments to professional and non-specialist audiences using verbal, written, visual and digital media and research publications [Effective communicator]
  • Recommend sustainable solutions to environmental problems that consider the broader social and political contexts, and the ethical implications of their application by applying knowledge, theories and approaches from physical geography and related disciplines [Problem solver]
  • Work responsibly as part of a team or as a team-leader, including in an applied setting, to set challenging yet attainable goals and make an important contribution to addressing the challenges facing the world through the integration of physical and environmental geography [Team player]

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees

UK (home) International and EU
£9,250 £28,800

The fees above are for students starting their course in the 2024/25 academic year. Fees for 2025/26 will be confirmed later in the year.

UK (home) or international fees?

The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status.

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK (home) fees may increase within the government fee cap in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International fees are subject to increase in subsequent years in line with the prevailing Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate (up to a maximum of 10%).

More information

For more information about tuition fees, any reduced fees for study abroad and work placement years, scholarships, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs see undergraduate fees and funding.

Additional costs

Field work is integral to your course and includes both residential and day trips. In year 1 and 2 there are core residential and day field trips. The travel and accommodation costs of these core trips are included in your student fees. Optional field trips are not paid for, and you will be asked to contribute to the cost of these. The destinations of our residential field trips do change to meet the requirements of our students, acknowledge the pressing environmental challenges we face and meet our commitment to sustainability and inclusivity.

A reduced fee will be payable to the University of York for your year in industry, but you will be responsible for accommodation and travel costs for your placement.


We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2025/26 throughout the year.

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

£12.5m facilities

Our superb state-of-the-art building contains purpose-built labs, lecture theatres and seminar rooms and features a spectacular living wall.

Committed to equality

We are proud to hold an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of the work we do to support gender equality.


Our BSc and MEnv courses are currently accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences, in recognition of the quality of our teaching.

Teaching Excellence Framework Gold Award

Gold-standard education

Our teaching, learning and student experience is outstanding, recognised by a Gold rating from the Office for Students in the 2023 national assessment (Teaching Excellence Framework).

Why we’re gold-rated

Teaching and assessment

You’ll study and learn with academics who are active researchers, experts in their field and have a passion for their subjects. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

Teaching includes field-based learning, research-led teaching and a more traditional combination of lectures, tutorials, and seminars.

Practical work is a key feature, both in individual projects and in groups.

Field work is integral to your course and includes both residential and day trips. In year 1 and 2 there are core residential and day field trips. In year 3 there is also optional field module.

For the Placement Year, a dedicated member of staff will guide you through the process of finding a placement. You will be assigned a supervisor for your placement and be expected to contribute academic work based on your experience. Placements can be local, national or international.

Timetabled activities

In your first year, you can expect:

Lectures4-6 hours per week
Seminars1-2 hours per week
Workshops2-4 hours per week
Practicals2-4 hours per week
Field trips1 week

These figures are representative of a typical week. Your contact hours will vary throughout the year due to your module choices, non-compulsory classes, exam periods and changes to scheduled activities.

Outside your timetabled hours, you'll study independently. This may include preparation for classes, follow-up work, wider reading, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision.

In the UK, full-time students are expected to spend 1,200 hours a year learning. That's about 40 hours of classes and independent study each week during semesters. Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours you spend on independent study will be different to other students on your course.



Our bespoke building contains purpose-built labs, lecture theatres and seminar rooms.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of Environment and Geography, which is based on Campus West.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can use the fast and frequent bus service. Take a campus tour.

Assessment and feedback

Each module will be assessed either by coursework, closed or open examinations, or a combination of both. Coursework can include:

  • grant application
  • policy briefings
  • practical and field work write-ups
  • reports
  • reflective exercises
  • oral Presentations
  • essays

Careers and skills

Your degree in physical geography and environment will help you become a numerate graduate with practical, applied skills. You'll also learn to communicate clearly in written reports and during oral presentations. Find out more about careers and employability.

Career opportunities

  • Environmental conservationist
  • Graduate policy analyst
  • Flood risk officer
  • Graduate environmental consultant
  • Environmental engineer
  • Oil and gas analyst

Example employers

  • Network Rail
  • Environment Agency
  • Anglian Water
  • Atkins
  • Department for International Development
  • WSP│Parsons Brinckerhoff Consultancy
  • Defra

Transferable skills

  • Project management 
  • Feasibility studies
  • Data analysis 
  • Research skills 
  • Time management

Entry requirements

Typical offer
A levels

AAB including Geography or Geology plus a second science (Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Studies, Geography, Geology, Mathematics, Physics, Psychology or Life and Health Sciences)

Access to Higher Education Diploma 36 credits at Distinction and 9 credits at Merit or higher including Geography and Science-related units.
BTEC National Extended Diploma DD in the BTEC National Diploma plus A level Geography or Geology. If you are studying for the BTEC National Extended Diploma or a different combination of A levels and BTEC qualifications please contact us at for advice.
Cambridge Pre-U D3, D3, M2 including Geography or Geology plus a second science (Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Studies, Geography, Geology, Mathematics, Physics, Psychology or Life and Health Sciences)
European Baccalaureate 80% overall including Geography or Geology plus a second science (Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Studies, Geography, Geology, Mathematics, Physics, Psychology or Life and Health Sciences)
International Baccalaureate 35 points including Geography or Geology plus a second science (Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Geology, Mathematics (either Analysis and Approaches or Applications and Interpretations), Physics, Psychology or Life and Health Sciences) at Higher level
T levels We are currently not accepting T Levels for this course unless an additional A Level (or equivalent qualification) in Geography has been taken.
Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers Advanced Highers - BB in Geography or Geology plus one of the following: Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Studies, Geography, Geology, Life and Health Sciences, Mathematics, Physics or Psychology plus Scottish Highers - BB

We may also be able to consider three Advanced Highers or a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers, where an applicant does not meet the grade requirement through Highers alone. Please contact us to discuss your qualifications.
International foundation programme Foundation Certificate from our International Pathway College or an appropriate alternative.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

Additional requirements

You should also have GCSE Mathematics at grade 4 (C) or above, or equivalent.

Alternative offers

Meeting the following additional criteria may qualify you for an alternative offer.

Criteria Adjustment
Widening participation If you successfully complete one of the following programmes, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to three A level grades (or equivalent) below our typical offer: Black Access Programme, Next Step York, Realising Opportunities, YESS, YorWay to York. More about widening participation.
Contextual offers If you have experience of local authority care or live in an area with low progression to university, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to two A level grades (or equivalent) below our typical offer. More about contextual offers.
EPQ If you achieve C or higher at EPQ, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer.
Core Maths If you achieve B or higher in Core Maths, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS (Academic) 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component
Cambridge CEFR 176, with a minimum of 169 in each component
Oxford ELLT 7, with a minimum of 6 in each component
Duolingo 120, minimum 105 in each component
GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language) Grade C / Grade 4
LanguageCert SELT B2 with a minimum score of 33/50 in each component
LanguageCert Academic B2 Communicator with a minimum score of 33/50 in each component
KITE 459 Main Flight score with 426 in each component
Skills for English B2: Merit overall, with Pass with Merit in each component
PTE Academic 61, with a minimum of 55 in each component
TOEFL 87 overall, with a minimum of 21 in each component
Trinity ISE III Merit in all components

For more information see our undergraduate English language requirements.

If you haven't met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

All applications must be made through UCAS. Applicants who are offered a place are encouraged to attend one of the Departmental visit days held during the Spring term.

Next steps

Contact us

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Department of Environment and Geography

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