Undergraduate study - 2019 entry

MA Geography and Social Policy

UCAS code: LL74

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: GeoSciences

College: Science and Engineering

Year 1

Your programme begins with a broad grounding across geographical topics focusing on global economic, social and environmental problems and change. You will participate in a field trip to the Scottish Highlands, training you in geographical methods and offering opportunities to begin getting to know geography staff and students.

You can also choose courses from other academic areas. On the BSc you will target courses that expand your scientific grounding while on the MA you will often focus on humanities. The range of courses offered gives you a chance to try something new.

Year 2

You will study at least two, but up to four, of Economic & Political Geography, Environmental Sensitivity & Change, Social & Cultural Geography, and Geomorphology. As in Year 1 you will have significant flexibility in your option choices.

Field trips are also offered, with Greece, South Africa and Wales among recent destinations.

Year 3

You will focus on the aspects of geography that interest you the most. Courses in geographical research skills and research design lead you through the process of planning independent research for your dissertation in Year 4 and teach important transferable skills.

You will also choose option courses from either of, or both, human and physical geography. Fieldwork opportunities as you move into Year 4, subject to demand, include Iceland, the Western Isles of Scotland, Germany, and the Scottish Highlands.

Year 4

A large focus will be on your dissertation, an independent, original piece of geographical research in your chosen specialist field. You will also take additional geography courses, including options in physical or human geography that can include fieldwork.

A compulsory course for all students, at the end of your programme, will summarise the breadth and value of geographical research as well as its practical applications to your future career.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2018/19)

Our facilities

Geography is based in a spacious and historic building on Drummond Street, in the University’s Central Area campus.

The building contains well-equipped lecture and seminar rooms and laboratories for physical geography, image processing and geographical information science and modelling.

How will I learn?

Teaching is through a mixture of lectures, tutorials, practical classes, field components and project work. You will complete a dissertation in Year 4.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed on the basis of coursework and exams. In addition you will have classwork that is assessed and will provide formative feedback.

Programme details

Find out more about this programme's aims, what you will learn, how you will be assessed and what skills and knowledge you will develop.

To give you an idea of what to expect from this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme details (2018/19)

Studying geography at Edinburgh prepares you for a range of careers, including scientific and humanities research, planning, surveying, environmental consultancy, conservation, energy, teaching, non-governmental organisation work and geospatial data analysis.

A significant number of graduates also move on to careers such as finance, marketing and law, or go on to further postgraduate study and research.

Typical offer range

The typical offer is likely to be:

  • SQA Highers: AAAA - AABB.
  • A Levels: AAA - ABB.
  • IB: 37 points with 666 at HL - 32 points with 555 at HL.

Access threshold

The access threshold for a contextual offer is:

  • SQA Highers: AABB.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 32 points with 555 at HL.

Find out more about access thresholds and contextual offers

Detailed requirements for all applicants

To be considered for an offer of a place all applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • SQA Highers: AABB by end of S5 or AABBB/AAAB from S4-S6, with a minimum of BBB achieved in one year of S4-S6, preferably including Geography. National 5 in Mathematics at Grade C.
  • A Levels: ABB in one sitting, preferably including Geography. GCSE Mathematics at Grade C or 4.
  • IB: 32 points overall and award of IB Diploma with 555 at HL. Diploma must include Mathematics SL, if not held at HL.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

You must provide evidence that your written and spoken English is at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

If English is not your first language, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your spoken and written English:

  • IELTS Academic module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component
  • TOEFL-iBT 92 or above with 20 in each section
  • Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): Total 61 with at least 51 in each "Communicative Skills" section
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components

About English language requirements


For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 Grade C
  • SQA Standard Grade 3
  • SQA Intermediate 1 Grade A
  • SQA Intermediate 2 Grade C
  • GCSE Grade C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate Grade C
  • IB Standard Level Grade 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Unistats data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MA Geography and Social Policy

Additional costs

You will incur costs on compulsory field trips. For 2017, these were around: Year 2 = £85, Year 3 = £650 + £250 (Human Geography) / £200 (Physical Geography), Year 4 = £350 (Physical Geography) / £250 + £250 (Human Geography).

Previous destinations include Kindrogran, Cape Town (Human Geography), Snowdonia (Physical Geography), Athens (Human Geography), Iceland (Physical Geography), Berlin (Human Geography) and Western Isles (Human Geography).

Find more information about field trip costs on the GeoSciences website.

Field trip costs


For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding

More information

How to apply

School: GeoSciences

College: Science and Engineering