Geography reading list

For prospective students

Book cover

If you are a prospective student looking for advice, you may find the Geography reading suggestions helpful, which the Director of Studies has prepared to help you to get a flavour of some of the topics and materials that you could study. We also advise you to follow up on areas of your school courses that you have enjoyed. Of course, there are no specific books or articles that you are required to read before making an application for Geography.

Do also read the Geography page thoroughly. For further reading and preparation advice, you will find the following sections particularly useful:

Finally, it is useful to keep an eye on the subject resources, which provide more general guidance and examples for developing your academic interests.

For offer holders


Alnmouth, Northumberland. Credit: jay-jerry (RGB levels adjusted)

You are not expected to read extensively in preparation for your course at Cambridge. However, the following books should provide some useful background material for each of the first-year papers.

For Human Geography: People, Place and Politics of Difference

  • Held, D. (ed) 2004 A Globalizing world? Culture, Economics, Politics, Routledge / Open University Press, 2nd edition
  • Murray, W.E. 2006 Geographies of Globalization, Routledge
  • Gough, J., Eisenschitz, A. and McCulloch, A. 2006 Spaces of Social Exclusion, Routledge

For Historical Geography

  • Davis, M. 2000 Late Victorian Holocausts: El Nino Famines and the Making of the Modern World Economy, London: Verso
  • Graham, B and Nash, C (eds) 2000 Modern Historical Geographies, Prentice Hall
  • Pomeranz, K. 2000 The Great Divergence: China, Europe and the Making of the Modern World Economy, Princeton University Press

For Society Environment and Development

  • Adams, W.M. 2001 Green Development: environment and sustainability in the Third World, Routledge, 2nd edition
  • Allen, T. and Thomas, A. (eds) 2000 Poverty and Development into the 21st Century, Oxford University Press
  • Lawson, V. 2007 Making Development Geography, Hodder Arnold, London

For the Physical Geography courses (Environmental Processes and Environmental Change)

  • Barry, R.G., Chorley, R.J. and Chase, T. 2003 Atmosphere, weather and climate, Routledge
  • Masselink, G. and Hughes, M.G. 2003 An introduction to coastal processes and geomorphology, Hodder Arnold
  • Gaston, K. and Spicer, J. 2004 Biodiversity, Blackwell, 2nd edition
  • Francis, P. and Oppenheimer, C. 2004 Volcanoes, Oxford University Press

If you would like to buy something relevant to your Geography course, two books which are highly recommended as being particularly useful are:

  • Thomas, D and Goudie, A (eds) 2000 The Dictionary of Physical Geography, Blackwell, 3rd edition
  • Johnston, R et al (eds) 2000 The Dictionary of Human Geography, Blackwell, 4th edition

For more information, please consult the Department of Geography website.

Reading lists | For offer holders | Undergraduate study