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Global Development and Sustainability

BSc (Hons)

Undergraduate degree - single honours

Key facts

BSc (Hons) Global Development and Sustainability
College of Liberal Arts
Campus or location
Newton Park
Course length
Three years full time, or four years full time with professional placement year. Part time available.
UCAS codes
Institution Code: B20
Course Code: LF81 or S166
Campus Code: A,BSU

Entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. Typical offers include A level grades BCC - CCC with a Grade C in Geography, Sociology, Economics or Science.

View typical offers for more information.


Learn about the environmental, social, economic and geopolitical challenges facing the developed and developing world

  • Friendly, supportive team of lecturers, who are excellent teachers and active researchers
  • Opportunity to undertake various placements as well as overseas fieldwork, currently in Northern India
  • The grounding in geography enables development of practical skills, highly valued by employers

How we can live in a more sustainable way, with a good quality of life for all, without jeopardising the environment and the lives of future generations?

This course is for individuals with an interest in contemporary environmental and development challenges, and who may wish to pursue a related career. You’ll explore topics including development theories, sustainability in a variety of contexts, globalisation, food supply, inequality, environmental issues, natural hazards, education, and renewable energy options. Our broad curriculum enables you to specialise in areas of particular interest.

Exams? Money worries? Accommodation? We’ve launched 3, 2, 1, Go! – three ways to help you take that important first step to who you want to be.


Find out more about fieldtrips, activities and the student experience at Bath Spa - check out Geography on TwitterInstagram and YouTube.

What you'll learn


Studying Development and Sustainability at Bath Spa University, you’ll examine relevant geographical concepts and apply geographical methods and techniques to real-world problems. You’ll learn principles in physical and human geography throughout your degree, which you’ll apply to the study and solving of development issues.

The course is designed so you can specialise in areas of particular interest, by choosing specific modules. There is a strong vocational focus to the course, with opportunities to undertake an extended work placement, a volunteer placement and an industry-relevant project.

Course structure

Year 1
The first year of this course introduces you to the theories and realities of development and sustainability issues globally. You’ll acquire the foundational geography skills to equip you to develop your interests and skills in these fields.

Beyond these compulsory elements, you’ll have a choice of modules covering a range of topics, which may include:

  • social and economic inequalities
  • development organisations and structures
  • migration
  • social exclusion
  • economics and globalisation
  • global food issues
  • activism
  • international education

Year 2
This year you acquire more specialist knowledge and skills in relevant topics and research methods relevant to professional practice.  Your research skills are developed through an extended research project where you will apply your growing mastery of your subject to real-world problems and issues.  You will also start to further explore career options and planning, with opportunities to do a work placement or volunteering overseas.

Optional topics include:

  • environmental hazards
  • climate change and society
  • the use of geotechnologies
  • migration and citizenship
  • education and development

The field trip to India offers a unique opportunity to explore development and sustainability themes in a real-world context. On this trip you will examine environmental hazards and development, wellbeing and social inequalities, and the legacy of colonialism.

Year 3
This year you’ll specialise your interests further. You’ll develop your skills as an independent scholar by undertaking primary research that will enable you to demonstrate the your academic and transferable skills. Alternatively you can undertake an extended work placement with a relevant research report. Optional topics include:

  • development and disasters
  • identities and inequalities in society
  • globalisation
  • environmental justice
  • business enterprise
  • managing sustainability
  • international education

An optional field trip to Barcelona examines urban regeneration, social inequalities and urban sustainability. There is also the opportunity to undertake a community placement and project as part of your studies.

How will I be assessed?

You’ll experience a variety of different assessment methods throughout your degree. These include essays, project reports, presentations, posters, video-clips, field-craft assessments, reflective items, time-constrained tests and examinations. These will give you a rich and diverse skills learning experience, be of real benefit in the search for a good career, and be useful in your professional activities.

How will I be taught?

Good teaching is important to us; our graduates highly rate the quality of teaching on the course. In our friendly department you’ll benefit from small classes, specialist expertise, and up-to-date technologies, including ArcGIS and GPS survey instruments. You’ll experience lectures and workshop or seminar-based teaching, with small groups to enable discussion about specific topics.

Course modules

This course offers or includes the following modules. The modules you take will depend on your pathway or course combination (if applicable) as well as any optional or open modules chosen. Please check the programme document (below the main image on this page) for more information.

Year one (Level 4) modules

  • Global Development
  • Geographical Skills
  • Sustainability in Life and Work
  • Environment, People and Place
  • Applied Geographies
  • Visualizing the 21st Century World
  • Introduction to International Education
  • Global Food Issues
  • Economics and Globalisation
  • Fragments of the World: An introduction to World Heritage
  • Global Religions
  • Digital Citizenship
  • CreateLab

Year two (Level 5) modules

  • Geographical Research Methods
  • Spatial Development Planning: A Global Perspective
  • Climate and Society
  • Contested Geographies: Histories and Debates
  • Hazards, Vulnerability and Resilience
  • Future Cities
  • Geographical Fieldwork
  • Geotechnologies for Society and Environment
  • Migration: Identity, Belonging, Citizenship and Security
  • Social Problems, Social Divisions, Social Justice
  • Crime, Law and Society
  • Work Placement
  • Education and International Development
  • Operations and Project Management
  • Destination Management
  • Immigration and Race in Twentieth Century Europe
  • Studying Religions in the Contemporary World
  • Social Enterprise: Digital for Good
  • Professional Placement Year

Year three (Level 6) modules

  • Development and Sustainability Dissertation Part 1
  • Development and Sustainability Dissertation Part 2
  • Advanced Geographical Fieldwork
  • Identities and Inequalities
  • Climatology
  • Coastal and River Management
  • Disaster Risk Reduction
  • Work, Identities and Organisations
  • Culture, Risk and Environmental Justice
  • Community Engagement
  • Global and International Education
  • Enterprise: Creating Your Business
  • Managing Sustainability
  • Tourism: Contemporary Issues
  • Muslim Migration and Islam in Europe in Historical Perspective
  • India and the West


Study abroad

You’ll have the opportunity to study in a wide range of locations around the world. Our students have completed Erasmus+ and Exchange programmes in a variety of countries including Australia, Finland and the USA.

Field trips

“Field trip opportunities have been brilliant and a really valuable experience”
–Geography graduate, 2015

We’re committed to giving you a relevant, interesting and useful degree; fieldwork is integral to this. Fieldwork helps you to put your learning into practice and gives you experience of working in teams and in unfamiliar environments.

There are various field days during modules as well as residential fieldwork opportunities overseas, currently to Northern India, Zambia and Spain. Please note that you will have to make a financial contribution towards these residential study visits.

Work placements, industry links and internships

There are opportunities to undertake work placements in your second and third year – this is an excellent way to gain experience in the workplace.

Guest speakers from industry contribute to the learning experience throughout the course. This engagement with potential employers will help you make those all-important career decisions when you graduate.

Competitions/ awards

There are prizes awarded each year in recognition of excellence in the core modules. This culminates with the Excellence in Global Development and Sustainability Prize, recognising the best overall performance in the compulsory modules in the final year of study.

Professional placement year


This optional placement year provides you with the opportunity to identify, apply for, and secure professional experience, normally comprising one to three placements over a minimum of nine months. Successful completion of this module will demonstrate your ability to secure and sustain graduate-level employment.

By completing the module, you'll be entitled to the addition of 'with Professional Placement Year' to your degree title.


Before your Professional Placement Year, you'll work to secure your placement, constructing a development plan with your module leader and your placement coordinator from our Careers and Employability team.

How will I be assessed?

On your return to University for your final year, you'll submit your Placement Portfolio, detailing your development on your placement.

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught

You'll be taught on Newton Park campus, with access to a range of facilities including:


We have all the latest technologies and learning resources and GIS. You’ll have access to IT suites with geographical software including ArcGIS.


UK and EU students full time

2018/19 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 £9,250
Year 2 Published Jan 2019
Year 3 Published Jan 2020

2019/20 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2019
Year 2 Published Jan 2020
Year 3 Published Jan 2021

2020/21 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2020
Year 2 Published Jan 2021
Year 3 Published Jan 2022

UK and EU students full time - with placement year

During the placement year, the fee is reduced to 20% of the full time fee. Otherwise, fees are the same as for full time study.

UK and EU students part time

2018/19 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 £4,625
Year 2 Published Jan 2019
Year 3 Published Jan 2020

2019/20 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2019
Year 2 Published Jan 2020
Year 3 Published Jan 2021

2020/21 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2020
Year 2 Published Jan 2021
Year 3 Published Jan 2022

International students full time

2018/19 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 £12,900
Year 2 Published Jan 2019
Year 3 Published Jan 2020

2019/20 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2019
Year 2 Published Jan 2020
Year 3 Published Jan 2021

2020/21 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2020
Year 2 Published Jan 2021
Year 3 Published Jan 2022

Interested in applying?

What we look for in potential students

We’re looking for enthusiastic and motivated students who are interested in understanding and finding solutions to the challenges facing the developed and developing world today. We accept a broad range of traditional and untraditional qualifications and welcome students from a wide background.

Typical offers

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. The main ones are listed below:

  • A Level - grades BCC-CCC preferred with grade C in Geography, Sociology Economics or Science
  • BTEC - Extended Diploma grades Merit, Merit, Merit (MMM) preferred in a related subject.
  • International Baccalaureate - a minimum score of 26 points required with grade 5 or above in Geography, Sociology Economics or Science at Higher Level.
  • Typical offers for applicants with Access to HE will be the Access to HE Diploma or Access to HE Certificate (60 credits, 45 of which must be Level 3, including 30 at merit or higher).
English Language Requirements for International and EU Applicants
IELTS 6.0 - for visa nationals, with a minimum score of IELTS 5.5 in each element.
Course enquiries
For further information about the programme or other enquiries, please email us at admissions@bathspa.ac.uk

How do I apply?

Ready to apply? Click the apply now button in the centre of this page.

Need more guidance? Head to our how to apply webpages.

Admissions service: +44 (0)1225 876 180
Email: admissions@bathspa.ac.uk
Course leader: Heather Winlow
Email: h.winlow@bathspa.ac.uk

Programme accreditation

This programme has been accredited by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).

Accredited degree programmes contain a solid academic foundation in geographical knowledge and skills, and prepare graduates to address the needs of the world beyond higher education.

The accreditation criteria require evidence that graduates from accredited programmes meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including subject knowledge, technical ability and transferable skills.

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