Masters degrees in Geography investigate the physical conditions and environments that shape human experiences and civilisations as well as the political and economic processes that re-shape those environments in turn.
Programmes are available in a diverse selection of specific topics, straddling aspects of the humanities, sciences and social sciences. Individual courses are highly diverse, with the opportunity to pursue a specific Masters in Human Geography, Economic Geography or Physical Geography.
Taught MSc and MA courses are offered, as are research programmes and even a few highly specialised MBAs.
Despite its dusty stereotypes, Geography is actually one of the most versatile academic disciplines available.
You could pursue a fulfilling career in education and research, but postgraduate courses in this area can also help prepare you for work in politics, agricultural policy or international relations - any field in which a sophisticated understanding and appreciation of the relationship between human populations and their environment is valuable.
Specialist Geography subjects such as Cartography or Topography also have their own professional applications in exciting fields such as mapmaking or exploration.
A Geography Masters will also equip you with a range of transferrable skills, including the ability to undertake qualitative and quantitative analysis and to approach complex problems both sensitively and strategically.
Information in these tables is based on the 2014/15 publication of the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Longitudinal Survey, produced by the UK’s Higher Education Statistics Agency. Data is given for graduates of UK Masters degrees and other level 7 postgraduate courses, after 3.5 years. Some figures have been rounded.
The Master of Science in Geography is a two-year advanced study programme jointly organised by KU Leuven and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). The interuniversity master programme provides the students with comprehensive training in geography's approaches to social geographical and/or natural geographical phenomena. The objective of this programme is to provide a deeper understanding of geographical problems and methods, knowledge to the theoretical debate within the discipline, and training in the use of geographical working techniques.
The global aim of the master is to generate geographers that can play an active role in our contemporary society. Teaching is based on scientific research. Therefore the KU Leuven and the VUB work together for their master in geography, since their focal points of research are similar. The following specialties are offered in English:
This is an initial Master's programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.
The full programme comprises 120 ECTS. In addition to core courses on human-environment interactions and research methods in geography (27 ECTS), you take the compulsory courses within your chosen specialisation (33-34 ECTS) as well as a number of specialised electives in your field (29-30 ECTS). The remaining 30 ECTS are allocated to the master’s thesis.
The programme offers three specialisations:
Within this specialisation you can also opt to include a two-month GIS internship in your study programme.
Courses are taught at KU Leuven’s Arenberg Campus in Heverlee and at the VUB campus in Etterbeek. A joint degree will be awarded upon the successful completion of the programme.
This highly competitive programme is jointly offered by the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at KU Leuven and the Department of Geography at VUB and is firmly rooted in current research at both universities. Both departments continuously develop and maintain innovative and internationally recognised research programmes on fundamental and applied aspects of the geosciences, covering a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. Within the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at KU Leuven, geographical research activities are focused on earth surface processes and climate, human-environment interactions, society and space, tourism, and education in the geosciences. Research in the Department of Geography at VUB is focused on the dynamics of glacial systems, the study of hazardous geomorphological and volcanological processes, small-scale cartography and map projections, remote sensing, and the geography of world cities.
The Master of Geography aims to gain the analytical and synthetical ability, necessary to understand independently and critically the scientific and social aspects of the environmental problems in our country, in a European dimension and on global level. It aims to enable the student to approach the relation between society and environment in an integrated way. The student will learn to overview and to function within the realm of the geographer. This is possible in the area of fundamental and applied geographical research, as well as in the area of communication and education of geographical sciences.
In the master thesis the research activities are emphasized, next to the acquiring of knowledge and abilities on an advanced level.
The global aim of the master is to produce geographers that can play an active role in our current society. Teaching is based on scientific research. To be able to realize this the KU Leuven and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel work together for their Master of Geography, since their focusses of research are similar. The following specialties are offered in English:
Geographers study the interaction between human societies and their environments, characterize the regions and localities that result, and analyze the spatial distributions and processes of particular natural and human phenomena. Being equally a natural science and a social science equipped with geographical information science techniques, geography integrates the physical and human environments. Thus, geographers have long applied integrated multidisciplinary approaches to solve real-world problems at all spatial scales from local to global.
Undoubtely there exists a growing demand for competent professionals in the broad field of geo-sciences. As a graduate from the interuniversity master programme geography, you may be recruited by surveying companies, mapping agencies, service and utility providers and public entities. You will also be placed high on the recruitment list of international and national administrations dealing with urban and rural land use planning, disaster management, environmental conservation and management. Careers can also be perused in research and education, whereby this Master programme is most often complemented by a relevant PhD programme.
Become part of something bigger
Take part in a research-led physical geography programme and have an excellent, world-class learning experience.
Find out more about the Master of Science parent structure.
Massey’s Master of Sciences (Geography) will give you the knowledge and skills to understand and help solve some of the world’s most important environmental issues like flooding, coastal erosion, sea level change, landslide hazards and environmental change.
You will have access to a wide range of techniques and equipment, making it easier to progress your research in a timely and comprehensive fashion. From ground survey equipment like a Trimble RTK differential GPS and S6 robotic total station and a ground penetrating radar to a range of coring apparatus e.g., lake/bog corers, percussion corer and vibracorer and Schmidt hammers for relative age dating of boulders we have the specialist equipment to help your research meet global standards.
Other equipment includes:
Our strong relationship with industry and counciis and the masters programmes research element make our graduates very attractive to potential employers such as environmental consultancies and regional councils.
Let our experts help you develop your own expertise.
Massey’s geography lecturers have an extensive range of experience and expertise. The ratio of staff to students is high. Your lecturers will be your mentors, working alongside you to fully engage you in the practical and theoretical aspects of advanced physical geography study, to prepare you for life in the workplace in a specialist sense or preparing you for research at a higher level.
Massey’s geography programmes are ranked as some of the best globally. Out of 800 of the world’s leading universities we were ranked in the top 200 in the QS World University Rankings.
The physical geography team at Massey research and have expertise in fluvial processes, coastal processes, slope processes, palynology, biogeography, palaeoecology and river solutions. During the course of your studies you can choose to further your knowledge and apply your learning on an exciting research project like:
Postgraduate study is hard work but hugely rewarding and empowering. The Master of Science will push you to produce your best creative, strategic and theoretical ideas. The workload replicates the high-pressure environment of senior workplace roles. Our experts are there to guide but if you have come from undergraduate study, you will find that postgraduate study demands more in-depth and independent study.
Some courses in the geography major are taught in block mode, which means you come onto campus for a period. This gives you the opportunity to come to Massey for a semester and spend valuable time with lecturers and fellow students in lectures, seminars, student-led presentations and seminars, lab work, field work day trips, small group discussions, and residential field work.
Postgraduate study is not just ‘more of the same’ undergraduate study. It takes you to a new level in knowledge and expertise especially in planning, time management, setting goals and milestones and undertaking research.
The Master of Science (Geography) may comprise a selection of courses from across both physical and human geography. However, normally students taking this programme will focus on physical geography and it is this experience that is described in these pages.
Students should also consult the Master of Arts (Geography) programme pages for a description of the equivalent experience in human geography.
Our Geography MA, MSc course provides you with an excellent foundation in advanced Geography. The
course will offer you comprehensive study opportunities in the geographical fields of your choice:
The Geography MA, MSc study course is made up of optional and required modules. You must take modules with a total of between 180 and 190 credits to complete the course.
In addition to a required dissertation, you will select from a range of related modules. Your choice of modules will determine whether you take the MA or MSc pathway. If you are enrolling for the Geography MA course, you are expected to choose options in human geography, whereas the Geography MSc course will mean you will study physical geography.
If you are studying full-time, you will complete the course in one year, from September to September. If you are studying part-time, your course will be delivered over two years, you will take the required module in the first year, and the dissertation in your second year.
We use lectures, seminars and group tutorials to deliver most of the modules on the course. You will also be expected to undertake a significant amount of independent study. Typically, one credit equates to 10 hours of work.
Per 20-credit module:
Lectures, seminars and feedback: The total contact time for each 20-credit taught module is 20 hours. These sessions will include lectures, teacher-led and student-led group discussions based on the main areas of study
Self-study:180 hours of self-guided learning time (some modules may involve lab work or e-learning).
Lectures, seminars and feedback: Usually four dissertation workshops/ tutorials and five contact hours of one-to-one or group consultation with supervisors.
Self-study: 587 hours.
Assessment methods will depend on the modules selected. The primary method of assessment for this course is a combination of essays/reports, oral presentations, lab work and occasionally by examination.
Our graduates usually continue on to further research, but many have also entered the fields of national and international consultancies and NGOs, governments, charities, research organisations, journalism and teaching.