Why study Geography?

The School of GeoSciences offers a number of undergraduate programmes that can be undertaken either as four-year or three-year honours degrees. The four-year format is more broadly based by providing a greater opportunity to take courses outside your chosen degree programme in the first two years of study, whilst the three-year format provides more focus on your chosen degree subject. Details of those degree programmes that provide the opportunity of three years of study along with their entry requirements can be found under the relevant discipline headings in the University Undergraduate Prospectus (see Second-year entry).

Geography is the study of the way the world works. As such, it is a uniquely diverse and integrative discipline that spans the natural and social sciences.

Interdisciplinary approach

As a natural science, Geography focuses on the environment, mainly through landscapes and their evolution through space and time.

As a social science, Geography explores the role of space and place in the creation and functioning of society.

In both cases, however, the relationship between the human and physical environments is recognised to be important.

Geographers are ideally placed to address issues of contemporary environmental, economic and social concern such as:

  • environmental degradation
  • climatic change
  • natural hazards
  • cultural identity
  • social exclusion
  • economic development

Diverse skills portfolio

A Geography degree at Edinburgh enables students to develop a range of academic and life skills, including writing, presentation, teamwork and communication skills.

It also encourages you to develop analytical skills, reflecting your introduction to everything from statistical analysis to discourse analysis to soil analysis.

Excellent employment prospects

Edinburgh geography graduates have excellent employment prospects. Most find their desired occupation or go on to further education and training within one year of graduation.

As well as traditional jobs in planning, teaching and research, geography graduates use the skills that they have acquired to work as:

  • environmental and transport consultants
  • surveyors
  • cartographers
  • architects
  • GIS analysts
  • market researchers

In addition, many geographers move into finance, law, accountancy, marketing or the civil service.


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