A wider world
All societies rely on relationships with each other and the physical environment. Increasingly these are fragile interdependences presenting intellectual and practical challenges. Our Geography course tackles these issues from a broad base, but also allows you to specialise.
Facilities and resources
We have one of the UK’s largest geography libraries, containing around 20,000 books, journals and periodicals, and the Scott Polar Research Institute is an integral part of the Department. There are extensive computing resources, where you receive formal teaching in geographical information technology including geographical information systems and remote sensing, and the Department’s intranet provides further online resources.
Fieldwork and travel
Fieldwork is an important part of our course and there are several one-day excursions and field trips in Years 1 and 2. A compulsory field class in Year 2 leads to a piece of assessed practical work. Recent locations include Switzerland, Ireland, Germany, Morocco and Spain. Some financial help is available but students are required to contribute to the cost of field trips.Your Part II dissertation requires basic research, usually carried out in the summer vacation at the end of your second year. Dissertation subjects and locations vary widely: some students travel abroad, others stay in the British Isles.
Many students organise their own overseas expeditions, often with the University Expeditions Society. Some Department and College travel awards are available for this.
Additional course costs
- Required: a University approved scientific calculator - Estimated cost £20
- Strongly recommended: waterproof clothing and walking boots for fieldwork
- Required: residential field class (some Colleges may be able to offer financial support) - Estimated cost £150-200
- Required: data collection during the summer between Years 2 and 3 in preparation for Year 3 dissertation – costs variable depending on dissertation topic and data collection location (UK or overseas)
- Optional: dependent on dissertation topic, fieldwork may be required - Cost dependent on topic
Students are not required to buy any books in support of their studies, as these are very well provided by the Department, University, College and other Faculty libraries. Some students choose to purchase a small number of texts to support their studies. See the course guide on the Department website for more information about additional course costs and University funding available to support students, and contact the Department for advice. Some Colleges also offer financial support – see individual College websites or contact the College you’re interested in applying to.
To be able to change course, you need the agreement of your College that any change is in your educational interests, and you must have the necessary background in the subject to which you wish to change – in some cases you may be required to undertake some catch-up work or take up the new course from the start/an earlier year. If you think you may wish to change course, we encourage you to contact a College admissions office for advice. You should also consider if/how changing course may affect any financial support arrangements.
While Geography isn’t directly a ‘vocational’ degree, Cambridge Geography graduates are trained to deal with multivariate problems, are skilled in information retrieval, data management and computing, and are used to working on their own initiative, and as such are highly employable in a variety of professions.
Our graduates enter many different careers, including industry and commerce, charities, planning, teaching, finance, social and community work, environmental management and conservation, the media, politics, and the Civil Service. Positions currently held by graduates include entrepreneurs in international companies, analysts for major organisations (eg the International Organisation for Migration, the Royal Institute), House of Commons researchers and news journalists.