Geography

Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires with Pampas landscape in foreground, 2008. The fast changing cities of the global South are a key focus for teaching and research in the department.

Credit: Matthew Gandy

Welcome to the Geography subject page at King’s! Here you will find an overview of Geography at King's, the Cambridge Geography course, and information about applying to study Geography as an undergraduate.

The Geography Tripos (Tripos = course)

A street in Tokyo, Japan

You don't have to choose between human and physical geography - you'll study both. Credit: OiMax

The Cambridge Geography Tripos is designed to introduce you to all areas of the subject, including contemporary human, historical, social and cultural, environmental and physical geography. From second year onwards you start to specialise in the areas which interest you most, while maintaining the context of the discipline as a whole. Full details of the Tripos can be found on the Department of Geography website.

Graffitti in Berlin

Mural in Berlin - one of the most fascinating cities in Europe, and a destination for one of the overseas field trips. Credit: Matthew Gandy

Fieldwork is an important part of Geography, and the course includes day trips, and a week’s field class in the Easter or summer vacation of your second year. You are also expected to undertake independent fieldwork for your final-year dissertation, and many students travel overseas. Both the College and the University are able to assist with funding.

Book cover

Why not do some reading to explore Geography topics?

The Geography Department is on the Downing Site (a collection of faculties), less than ten minutes walk from King's (see map). There are a range of Geography laboratories there as well as the specialist library and teaching rooms. All lectures are organised by the department and take place there.

The lecture programme is complemented by small teaching groups of two or three students. These are called ‘supervisions’ in Cambridge, and are organised partly by the College’s Director of Studies and partly through the Department. We have well-established links with supervisors in other colleges, enabling you to select freely from the wide variety of papers that Geography in Cambridge offers as you progress through your course. 

Geography at King's

Geography graduates

Jude Browne with Sorcha and Nick at graduation

If you come to King’s to study Geography you will be part of a lively and committed group of students. With the relatively small number geographers, students get to know each other well, and are particularly supportive of each other during their course, meeting both for work and for social activities.

Students have 24/7 access to King's College Library. As well as providing books needed for the course and a very pleasant environment for studying (see the virtual tour), the library has a special climate change and global warming collection which will be of interest. King's students also have easy access to the University Library, next to the King's Garden Hostels (see map)

Chapel

Former King’s geographers have gone on to a range of varied careers. Several have studied for further degrees, and some are now eminent professors of Geography elsewhere. Recent students have followed their undergraduate degree with a Masters course in, for example, Landscape and Culture, Social Anthropology, Urban Regeneration or Science of the Environment. Others have become teachers, either in the UK or overseas, or have obtained interesting positions in non-governmental organisations or with planning authorities.

Student Perspectives

Nina

Nina (pictured), Adam and Ira have written about their experiences of King's Geography, including what it was like to start the course, supervisions, the timetable and workload, the best and worst things about the course, and what they do in their spare time. These accounts are well worth reading to get a sense of what studying Geography at King's is really like. 

Academics in Geography

Jude Browne

Jude Browne researches gender, sex segregation, political and social theories of equality, social dialogue, modern economies and capabilities, and social and human rights.

Nick Cutler

Nick Cutler (current Director of Studies) is a physical geographer with a special interest in long-term ecological change, particularly in high-latitude habitats.

No photo available

Matthew Gandy (Director of Studies 2016 onwards) has research interests in cultural, urban, and environmental geography with particular emphasis on landscape, infrastructure, and bio-diversity

Sandra Jasper

Sandra Jasper is a regular supervisor at King's. She has research interests in cultural and urban geography with particular emphasis on acoustic geographies, feminist theory, and the ‘island city’ of West Berlin.

Applying to study Geography

Students chatting outside the library

If you don't feel well supported, see applying with limited support or advice.

We welcome applications from students with the potential to meet our entrance requirements from all kinds of schools, all over the world. The numbers admitted in Geography vary from year to year, but we rarely admit fewer than two or more than four undergraduates. We are happy to consider applicants who wish to take a year out before coming to study Geography at King’s.

The application process for all subjects is explained on our how to apply page, which we advise applicants to read thoroughly in combination with the details below about subject advice for Geography, the pre-interview written assessment, sending a school essay, and Geography interviews.

Subject requirements

We are keen to attract applicants who can think analytically and demonstrate a real enthusiasm for Geography, shown through their engagement with particular topics, through wider reading, or in some cases through experiences of travel to different countries.

The majority of our students have studied Geography at A level, IB Higher Level, Pre-U or equivalent, although this is by no means mandatory. Most academic subjects would have relevance to some part of the course and you might like to consider the further advice in the general information on subject choices.

pre-interview assessment

All candidates for Geography at King's are asked to take a pre-interview written assessment for Geography, which will take place in schools and other assessment centres on 2 November 2016. You must be registered in advance (separately to your UCAS application) to take the assessment. The registration deadline is 15 October 2016. Your assessment centre must register you for the pre-interview assessment (you can't register yourself).

Information about written assessments
Including assessment centres and how registration works
The pre-interview assessment for Geography
The format, content specification and example questions.
Specimen papers

Your performance in the pre-interview assessment will not be considered in isolation, but will be taken into account alongside the other elements of your application.

written work

Once you have applied through UCAS, you will be asked to submit a recent piece of school work of your choice. For those looking early, written work guidelines are published in September as part of the Applicant Information. All applicants will receive an email shortly after the 15 October deadline sending you to this information. The deadline for written work will be in early November (see how to apply) and essays must not be sent before 15 October.

Interviews

We invite the majority of candidates to Cambridge for an interview, which will take place in early December. In the half hour before the interview you will be asked to read / look at some relevant material which we will discuss with you in the interview.

Information about the interview options for international candidates are in the International Students section.

What are we looking for?

The most important criteria are enthusiasm, dedication and potential and we consider each case on an individual basis. This course requires a considerable commitment in terms of time and energy, but it is well worth the effort!

We will be interested in:

  • your existing examination results which we consider carefully, taking into account your personal and educational background;
  • your academic interests and motivation as explained in your UCAS personal statement and explored further in interviews;
  • your school reference and predicted grades for any exams you have yet to take;
  • the quality of the school work that you send;
  • your performance in the pre-interview written assessment for Geography
  • how you approach questions designed to make you think at interview - our interviewers will work closely with students invited for interviews to assess your suitability for the challenges of Cambridge Geography.

At King's, we are looking for promise and potential. So although existing and predicted grades form a central criterion for admissions, we are careful to interpret grades in light of your personal and educational background. We assess each application individually. We are interested to learn about your existing knowledge and skills, but we endeavour also to find out how you would deal with the new materials and ideas you would encounter at Cambridge.

Reading, resources and events

Further Information

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