Globalisation, environmental economics, conservation and ecology, climate change, glaciation, volcanology, the future of developing regions, cultural differences – just some of the topics you can study on the Cambridge Geography course.
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.
The Geography Department is on the Downing Site, less than ten minutes walk from King's. 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 ‘supervisions’ 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.
Fieldwork is also 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.
Geography at King's
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 of 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.
As well as providing books needed for the course and a very pleasant environment for studying, the King's College 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.
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.
Fellows at King's in Geography:
Applying for Geography at King's
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.
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.
All candidates for Geography at King's are required to take the pre-interview admissions assessment for Geography, which will take place in schools and other assessment centres. You must be registered in advance to take the assessment.
Once you have applied through UCAS, you will be asked to submit a recent piece of school work of your choice.
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 or look at some relevant material which we will discuss with you in the interview.
Nina and Adam 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.
Reading, Resources and Events
There is no required reading for applicants, but the Director of Studies in Geography has provided some helpful reading suggestions below to give a flavour of the material that you can study in the course. We also advise you to follow up on areas of your school courses that you have enjoyed, and recommend that you keep up with the news and read a newspaper, as well as dipping into current affairs journals and magazines such as Nature, New Scientist, The Economist, Geographical Magazine and Geography Review.
Events which may be of interest in the year before you apply (year 12 in the UK) include Oxford and Cambridge Student Conferences, CU Masterclasses and King's Open Days. Students from backgrounds where there is little tradition of entry to Higher Education might like to think about applying for the Sutton Trust Summer Schools or the CUSU Shadowing Scheme.
If you visit Cambridge, as well as coming to visit King's, you might like to go to the Scott Polar Research Institute, which is a sub-department of the Geography Department. They have a very interesting museum on all aspects of polar research.