Undergraduate study - 2022 entry
Open to the world

Subject area: Geography

Why choose Geography at the University of Edinburgh?

  • We are ranked in the world's top 20 universities in the QS World University Rankings 2021.

  • We are ranked 17th in the world and 7th in the UK for Geography in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021.

  • Edinburgh is the perfect location to study geography. It combines the city's stunning physical environment, including the ancient volcano of Arthur's Seat, with the human geographer's interests of a capital city with a vibrant cultural and economic hub.

  • Each year, you will have fieldwork opportunities not only in Scotland but further afield. Recently, our students have undertaken fieldwork in Iceland, Greece, Germany, South Africa and Wales.

Study abroad

After visiting Edinburgh and the School of Geosciences in my final years of secondary school, I knew the BSc Geography Course would be my cup of tea. The course offers an array of learning opportunities and is particularly accommodating to different learning styles. Now in my third year, I have acquired a detailed and well-rounded skill set regarding the physical components of our world – which was facilitated by the high standards of teaching throughout the vast range of compulsory and optional courses on offer. All in all, I couldn’t recommend this course enough.

Erin Mills BSc (Hons) Geography
Erin Mills BSc (Hons) Geography

Introducing Geography

Geography is the study of the way the world works. It is an incredibly diverse subject which spans the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities to address environmental, social and political issues.

Through geography, you can explore our ever-changing world, including:

  • volcanoes
  • ice sheets
  • flooding
  • landscape geomorphology
  • climate change

Geography means you will also investigate a range of human issues such as:

  • sustainability
  • inequality
  • migration
  • social justice
  • health
  • resource management
  • poverty

A knowledge of geography is becoming increasingly important in today's world, as our planet and humanity face some of the biggest challenges we have ever known.

Current news and recent major global events highlight the need for greater understanding and work in the areas of geography.

Field trips

Field trips are at the heart of many of our geography programmes. We know that getting out in the world is essential for understanding how it works.

This requires learning in all sorts of settings, both locally and overseas. You will go beyond the classroom so you can apply the skills you have learned to real-life situations through our local and international field trips.

For example, you could be:

  • conducting project group work on a biogeographical evaluation of local woodland in Scotland
  • investigating the impacts of people, climate and volcanism on the Icelandic landscape
  • meeting with community groups about the impacts of urban racial segregation
  • examining approaches to mental health in rural areas

This means you will develop the hands-on field experience prized by employers, as well as the skills to become the next generation of researchers.

The locations and experiences of each trip will vary, enriching you with a broad understanding of how the world works.

Field trip costs

Our compulsory field trips or field courses are free, including travel and accommodation. We are proud to be able to support you as you learn practical and highly prized skills.

Field trips may be subject to change

Please note: As we update our programmes to reflect advancing subject matter and student feedback, the location of our field trips may change.

Field trips may also be changed due to Covid-19. Where suitable, fieldwork will be relocated, rescheduled or alternative arrangements provided.

Decisions will be made to safeguard the health and safety of our students, staff and community - and to ensure the highest standards of educational experience.

Reputation, relevance and employability

By studying geography at the University of Edinburgh, you will:

  • join one of the top-ranked universities in the world
  • become part of an academic community in one of the leading geography departments in the UK
  • enjoy access to a world of experience with our research and industry networks
  • learn from leading geographers at the forefront of their fields, undertaking world-leading research in a wide range of areas

Our geography degrees

You can explore geography:

  • as a natural science that examines the Earth's surface processes through physical geography, or
  • through the social sciences and humanities as human geography

Our geography programmes are interdisciplinary, meaning they include aspects of both human and physical geography.

We believe this is essential to understand our impact on the world and our ways of living within it. Both BSc and MA students may choose human geography or physical geography options, or a combination of both.

Bachelor of Science (BSc) Geography

You will specialise in physical geography as a natural science that examines the Earth's surface processes and ongoing environmental change. You will be exploring issues such as climate change, environmental degradation and natural hazards.

Master of Arts (MA) Geography

You will specialise in human geography. You can learn about the relationships between people and their social, cultural, political, and economic worlds. This discipline is key to understanding and resolving many of the most pressing problems faced by society.

Joint Honours (MA) programmes

On our Joint Honours programmes, you can combine your studies with another academic topic. This will enable you to understand the world from the perspectives of different academic disciplines in an area you are most passionate about.

What is it really like to study with us?

Visit our student blog, where geography students in the School of GeoSciences share their experiences of undergraduate study, living in Edinburgh and everything in-between.

Student experience blog