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					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:
                                                    (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:, or email
vary with the degree, but all attempt to balance    Assessment is based on performance in both           us at:, 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
                                                                                                         King’s Buildings
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 –
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:
                                                    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
                                                    universities in Europe as part of the Socrates       recruitment/publications-resources/degree-
                                                    exchange programme.                                  programmes

                                                                                                                                              (May 2011)

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.

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