Contact: Beth Muir, Undergraduate Secretary
Phone: +44 (0)131 650 9847
Geography is the study of the way the world works. It is a uniquely diverse and integrative discipline that spans the boundary between the natural world and social sciences.
At Edinburgh, Geography can be studied as a natural science or a social science. If you study Geography as a natural science, you may focus on the environment, mainly on landscapes and their evolution through space and time. If you study Geography as a social science you will learn how it is concerned with the relationships between people and their social, cultural, political and economic worlds. In both cases, the relationship between the human and physical environments is central, and both BSc and MA students choose human geography or physical geography options or a combination of the two.
In your first year you will study the core courses Human Geography and Earth Surface Systems, which introduce key geographic ideas. They focus on global economic, social and environmental problems and change.
You can also choose courses from other academic areas and although BSc students are encouraged to choose science-based subjects, and MA students to take social science subjects, there is room for flexibility.
In your second year you can choose to study Economic & Political Geography, Environmental Sensitivity & Change, Social & Cultural Geography, and Geomorphology, plus two outside courses. Or you can choose a minimum of two geography courses and four outside courses.
Fieldwork in the Netherlands and Wales is offered. This provides an introduction to a range of research methods.
In your third year you will take core courses that explore the nature of geographical knowledge, methodology and why geography matters, together with courses that develop skills in research and analysis. You will complete two optional courses drawn from a wide selection related to staff research. You will also choose a topic for your dissertation and submit your research plan.
In addition to writing your dissertation, you will take the core course, Visions for Geography, choose one from a choice of research electives, including fieldwork opportunities in Iceland, the Western Isles of Scotland or the Scottish Highlands, plus two further honours optional courses related to staff research.
All degree programmes involve fieldwork. There is no additional contribution required to the teaching costs involved, but for the residential fieldwork and individual field-based projects, students cover accommodation, subsistence and the costs of travel to the fieldwork location, at a subsidised rate. The actual student contribution depends on the degree programme involved and the courses selected.
You will be taught through a mixture of lectures, tutorials, practical classes and project work. You will complete a dissertation in your fourth year.
You will be assessed on the basis of coursework and exams. In addition you will have class work that is assessed but does not count towards your final degree.
Studying Geography at the University of Edinburgh prepares you for a range of careers including teaching, planning, surveying, environmental consultancy and cartography. Recent graduates have also moved into finance, marketing and law. Many students choose to go on to postgraduate study and continue their research.
The Geography department is based in an historic building in the centre of Edinburgh. The building contains well-equipped lecture and seminar rooms and laboratories for physical geography, geomatics, image processing and geographical information science (GIS) and modelling. You have the opportunity to join the European exchange programme ERASMUS in your third year, or to study in Canada, the US, Australia or New Zealand.
Opportunities to study abroad are available in this subject area.
The flexibility of the Geography degree at Edinburgh allowed me to study geology alongside geography for the first two years. This helped me to clarify what I wanted to specialise in during my Honours years when I was able to develop my interest in glaciology and climate change while continuing to examine the philosophies of science within geography, an aspect of the degree which I found particularly interesting. The degree has developed my critical thinking and transferable skills as well as giving me an appreciation of the importance of a holistic approach to research: valuable preparation for future employment. With the support and advice of staff, many of whom are leading academics in their field, on graduating this specialisation has helped me obtain a Government funded (NERC) PhD scholarship. Edinburgh is a lively and attractive city and a fantastic place to spend four years. I would highly recommend the University and its Institute of Geography.
This article was published on Jun 29, 2012