The University of Edinburgh
College of Science and Engineering
What is Geography? linking their research and teaching activities. What does the programme
Geography staff have a wide range of research
Geography is the study of the way the world
works. It is a uniquely diverse and integrative
interests spanning the discipline, and offer an actually involve?
array of stimulating courses to students. Choice and flexibility are the hallmarks of the
discipline that spans the natural and social
Geography degree at Edinburgh. This allows
sciences. Administratively, while the Institute
Geography occupies a spacious and historic students to explore those parts of the discipline
of Geography is part of the School of
building in the centre of Edinburgh, and offers they most enjoy. You can specialise in either
GeoSciences in the College of Science and
excellent teaching facilities, with well-equipped human or physical geography, or explore the
Engineering at Edinburgh, it maintains a close
lecture theatres, seminar and tutorial rooms relationship between the two. This flexibility is
relationship with the College of Humanities and
as well as class and map libraries. We have available irrespective of the mode of entry i.e.
Social Science. Geography moreover, can be
excellent laboratories for computer work, BSc or MA.
studied as a science or social science subject
including geomatics and remote sensing,
(for a BSc or MA degree respectively).
and one of the best-equipped laboratories for Year 1: An honours degree in Geography
geographical information science in Europe. lasts for four years. In the first year, all
As a natural science, Geography focuses on
Our newly refurbished analytical laboratories students take two core courses – Human
the environment, mainly through landscapes
offer some of the best facilities for practical Geography and Earth Surface Systems –
and their evolution through space and time.
work in Britain. that provide them with an introduction to key
As a social science, Geography is concerned
geographical theories and concepts in both
with the relationships between people and their
Geography is proud of its friendly atmosphere. sub-disciplines. Together, the courses focus
social, cultural, political and economic worlds. In
We have a vibrant undergraduate community on global economic, social and environmental
both cases, the relationship between the human
with an active Geography Society who organise problems and change. In particular, issues
and physical environments is central.
day trips, lunchtime talks and evening social surrounding poverty, population, natural
events for both staff and students. In past resource management and environmental
In integrating human and physical perspectives,
years, senior students have offered ‘academic hazards are explored. Throughout both
and drawing on theoretical and practical
parenting’ to incoming undergraduates, and courses, students are encouraged to reflect
approaches from the natural and social
active participation in the running of the upon the relationship between local and global
sciences, geography and geographers are
programme is encouraged through student patterns and processes, and on the relationship
well-placed to address issues of contemporary
representation on a student-staff liaison between human societies and the biophysical
economic, social, and environmental concern
committee and various academic governing environment.
such as climatic change, environmental
degradation, cultural identity, social exclusion
Single honours students also take two outside
and economic development.
“Geography at Edinburgh was a courses. For BSc students, these are mainly
drawn from courses offered within the College
Why study Geography at great experience. The courses were of Science and Engineering, while MA students
diverse, interesting and very current. commonly select from courses in the College of
Edinburgh? The culmination of my degree Humanities and Social Science. Joint honours
The University of Edinburgh is one of the students take Geography with the chosen joint
leading teaching and research institutions in was undoubtedly the field course discipline, and add a third outside subject.
the UK. Students benefit from being part of to Iceland where all the theory I
a research environment recognised for its had learnt was applied in a field Year 2: In their second year, students choose
excellence in the 2008 national Research a minimum of two (out of four) half courses
Assessment Exercise, with 55% of research
project. Going somewhere like that, offered as part of the Geography programme.
in ‘Geography and Environmental Studies’ with experts in the area, really gives In the first half of the year, there is a choice
identified as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally you a whole new way of looking at between Economic & Political Geography
excellent’. This demonstrates that Geography and Environmental Sensitivity & Change.
students at Edinburgh are taught by staff who
a landscape.” In the second part of the year the choice is
conduct research of the highest international Recent BSc Geography graduate between Social & Cultural Geography and
quality, and who place great emphasis on Geomorphology.
All four Geography courses may be taken,
Degrees in Science and Engineering though most students continue to study two
MA Honours in: BSc Honours in: outside subjects in their second year. This
Geography Geography allows them to advance their knowledge
Geography and Archaeology Geology and Physical Geography of another subject to second level – taking
Geography and Economic & Social History Geology or Economics courses for example –
Geography and Economics MEarthSci Honours in: or to try other new subjects.
Geography and Politics Geology and Physical Geography
Geography and Social Anthropology
Geography and Social Policy Degrees in Humanities and Social Science
Geography and Sociology
Geography with Environmental Studies MA Honours in:
Business Studies and Geography
The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336
Year 3: Third year is known as Junior
Honours year. A single honours candidate
What can I study Geography What can I do after my
will take two core courses: The Nature of with? degree?
Geographical Knowledge and Geography Through the MA degree entry Geography can The Geography degree at Edinburgh places
Matters. The complementary courses be studied with a range of other subjects in great emphasis on developing your learning,
Quantitative Methods in Geography, Qualitative the form of joint or ‘with’ degrees. Geography communication and life skills. Edinburgh
Methods in Geography and Research Design can be combined with Archaeology, Geography graduates are numerate as well
in Geography all provide an introduction Business Studies, Economic and Social as literate, and are therefore popular with
to methods of research and analysis in the History, Economics, Environmental Studies, an extremely wide range of employers. Our
discipline. In addition, you will choose two Politics, Social Anthropology, Social Policy graduates not only pursue careers in traditional
options from a long list of courses that embrace and Sociology. The College of Science and areas such as teaching, planning, surveying,
social, economic, historical, physical and Engineering also offers a BSc or an MEarthSci cartography, and environmental and transport
cultural geography, and more technical based degree in Geology and Physical Geography. consultancy, but growing numbers now take
instruction in automated mapping and imagery. jobs in finance, marketing, law and the civil
service. A significant number, enthused by their
In third year, you will also begin the groundwork What sort of teaching and studies, go on to further postgraduate study and
for your dissertation. This is an independent research.
- though supervised - piece of research on
assessment methods are used?
a topic of your choice. This can be based In each year, Geography is taught by a
on archival, interviewing, survey or practical combination of lectures, tutorials, practicals,
seminars, projects and fieldwork. While core
What are admissions staff
environmental research. Joint honours students
may undertake the dissertation under the course lecture classes are large, honours looking for?
regulations of either one of the two main option classes are relatively small. Tutorials Geography at A Level or Higher (or equivalent)
disciplines comprising the joint degree. provide the opportunity for even smaller groups is highly desirable, but in special circumstances
PDF version available at: www.ed.ac.uk/studying/undergraduate/information-sheets
(typically 10-12 students) to discuss and very well qualified candidates without
Year 4: Fourth year is known as Senior debate topics related to their lecture courses. Geography will be considered for both the BSc
Honours year. In addition to working on your Practicals are typically two-hour sessions in and MA.
dissertation, a single honours student will take which you carry out practical analysis of data
a further core course Visions for Geography, relating to your course, as well as practise the
one from a choice of research electives, and research methods and techniques introduced in How do I find out more?
another two courses from the option list referred lectures. In third and fourth years, emphasis is To find out more about studying Geography at
to above. increasingly placed upon debates, seminars and Edinburgh, in particular to learn about the range
presentations. of courses on offer, you can visit our web page
Arrangements for joint honours candidates at: www.geos.ed.ac.uk/geography, or email
vary with the degree, but all attempt to balance Assessment is based on performance in both us at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or telephone us
disciplinary input and workload to reflect the coursework and formal written examinations. on: 0131 650 9847. We will be glad to help with
core requirements of each subject. In order to proceed to honours in Geography, any queries you might have.
students must successfully complete the first
As a single honours Geography student you two years of the curriculum. The final degree Enquiries about entry requirements should be
will undertake a residential fieldcourse at the classification is calculated from the results of directed to:
beginning of your third year, orientated either coursework and examinations taken in the third Undergraduate Admissions
to human geography or physical geography. and fourth years. College of Science and Engineering
Currently the human geography fieldtrip is The University of Edinburgh
based in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, and
the physical geography trip in Bangor, in North
Are there any opportunities Weir Building
Wales. Two of the honours options offer field to study abroad? West Mains Road
courses to Iceland and the Scottish Highlands There are a range of opportunities for you Edinburgh, EH9 3JY
Printed on recycled paper for Student Recruitment and Admissions – www.ed.ac.uk/student-recruitment
at the end of third year. The aim of these to spend your third year studying abroad.
courses is to introduce you to a wide range of Geography students are eligible to take part Telephone: 0131 650 5737
research methods and field techniques. in the exchange programmes run by the Email: email@example.com
University’s International Office, and a number
are currently taking advantage of this by For more detailed information on degree
studying in Canada, the USA and New Zealand. structure and content, please see:
Geography also has its own links with several www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/student-
universities in Europe as part of the Socrates recruitment/publications-resources/degree-
exchange programme. programmes
Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this leaflet at the time of going to press. However, it will not form part of a contract between the
University and a student or applicant and must be read in conjunction with the Terms and Conditions of Admission set out in the Undergraduate Prospectus.