University of Oxford Geography

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University of Oxford Geography

University of Oxford Geography is a diverse discipline that bridges the arts and social and natural sciences, providing a broad education and addressing pressing issues including environmental change, regional and global inequalities and the transformation of global economy and culture. Students obtain a coherent view of the rapidly changing world and the ways in which society influences and is influenced by it.

The Oxford Geography degree focuses on the interrelationships between society and the physical and human environment. Students are introduced to the full range of geographical topics in the foundational courses, which they can then follow up in more detail in the optional papers. There is considerable emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches in the course, with opportunities to explore the cross-fertilisation between Geography and other disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, history, political science, economics, earth sciences and biology.

The facilities available are among the best in the country, notably:

  • the Radcliffe Science Library (RSL), which holds a geography collection of over 28,000 volumes on its open shelves with many more held in closed stack storage. There are over 100 print journals on the open shelves of the RSL as well as electronic access to over 600 core journals;
  • well-equipped Geolabs for practical physical courses and individual research projects.

Geo Careers

Geography graduates have a broad set of transferable skills including literacy, numeracy and graphicacy, along with their experience of research projects and working in groups. Some graduates are able to use their geographical knowledge directly in their work or in higher degrees. In recent years Geography graduates have proceeded to employment in management consultancy, local and central government, conservation and heritage management, law, the media, teaching and research. You can see more on alumni profiles on the Geography website.

Related courses

Students interested in this course might also like to consider Biological SciencesEarth Sciences (Geology) or Human Sciences.

Fieldwork/international opportunities

The School of Geography and the Environment emphasises the importance of fieldwork since it believes there is no substitute for teaching subjects at first hand. In the first year, all students take part in an induction field trip at the start of term and local skills-related field days. Second-year students will undertake a week-long overseas residential field course (currently to Copenhagen and Tenerife). Independent research in the field or in archives is a key element of the dissertation. Each year, around 30% of our undergraduates choose to do their dissertation overseas.

A typical weekly timetable

  • Lectures in the morning
  • Seminars/practical classes in the afternoon
  • Tutorials: at least one college tutorial a week, and some college-based classes.
1st year
Courses

Four compulsory courses:

  • Earth systems processes
  • Human geography
  • Geographical controversies
  • Geographical techniques

Induction field trip

1-day field trips: Human and Physical

Assessment

Four written papers: Two fieldwork reports; submitted essay on Geographical controversies

2nd and 3rd years
Courses

Geographical Research (core)

Foundational courses (two chosen)

  • Space, place and society
  • Earth system dynamics
  • Environmental geography

Options (three chosen)

Options currently offered include:

  • African societies
  • Biogeography, biodiversity and conservation
  • Climate change impacts and adaptation
  • Climate change and variability
  • Complexity
  • Cultural spaces
  • Desert landscapes and dynamics
  • European integration
  • Geographies of finance
  • Geographies of nature
  • Geopolitics in the margins
  • Heritage science and conservation
  • Transport and mobilities
  • Island life
  • The Quaternary period

Dissertation

Overseas field trip

The options listed above are illustrative and may change. The University may cap the number of students who are able to take a particular one. A full list of current options is available on the Geography website.

Assessment

Six written papers: Three extended essays; fieldwork report; dissertation

The content and format of this course may change in some circumstances. Read further information about potential course changes.