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Birkbeck, University of London, Full Time Masters Degrees in Geography

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This Master’s degree in geography will give you a thorough understanding of contemporary approaches to critical social and cultural geography, engaging with questions of inequality, identity and belonging, power and dissent, culture and conflict, critical cartographies, the spatiality of social inequalities, and the representation and power of cultural landscapes. Read more
This Master’s degree in geography will give you a thorough understanding of contemporary approaches to critical social and cultural geography, engaging with questions of inequality, identity and belonging, power and dissent, culture and conflict, critical cartographies, the spatiality of social inequalities, and the representation and power of cultural landscapes. You will develop your knowledge in the fields of social and cultural geography and understand their relationship to the wider field of human geography.

The compulsory modules explore cultural encounters, cultural change and conflict, and identity and power in the contemporary world, using case studies from the UK and internationally. You will acquire the conceptual ideas, theoretical approaches and analytical research skills needed to study geography at a postgraduate level.

You can then choose 2 option modules from a wide variety of topics including anthropology, Geographic Information Systems, postcolonial studies and urbanisation. You will also learn research methods that will enable you to specialise and undertake the researching and writing of a dissertation on the subject that interests you most and to conduct independent research in both academic and non-academic contexts.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

This distinctive Master's degree combines theoretical and critical approaches to social and cultural geography with real-world case studies.
The programme allows you to follow your own interests, with a wide choice of option modules, while developing your research skills and undertaking a dissertation in an area that interests you.
The structure and teaching of the programme is informed by the critical, socially-engaged research of academics in the Department of Geography, Environment and Development Studies.
The department is at the forefront of research into social and spatial inequalities, urbanisation and environmental change with active research in these fields.
The department is one of the hosts of the Living Maps project and our students have the opportunity to access activities and research centres across the College, including the Birkbeck Institute for Social Research and the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities.
Our location in Bloomsbury puts us at the heart of academic London. You can take advantage of the rich research collections nearby, including Senate House Library, which is right next door to Birkbeck and the British Library, which is 5 minutes' walk away.

Our research

Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research-intensive institutions. Our cutting-edge scholarship informs public policy, achieves scientific advances, supports the economy, promotes culture and the arts, and makes a positive difference to society.

Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated ‘world-leading’ or internationally excellent.

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Birkbeck's MSc Geography offers you the opportunity to tailor a postgraduate programme in geography to your own interests and professional needs. Read more
Birkbeck's MSc Geography offers you the opportunity to tailor a postgraduate programme in geography to your own interests and professional needs. You can select modules from the exciting range offered in our department and bring them together into a bespoke programme. We offer a wide choice of modules that respond to the demands of today's workplace and are linked to the cutting-edge research interests of our staff. This programme gives you the opportunity to study with internationally recognised experts who are defining the field with their ground-breaking research. Ours is a lively, stimulating environment in which to study and research.

You will also benefit from our mix of classroom and field-based teaching, including a number of fieldwork opportunities that bring together students to build social and professional networks and develop important skills in data collection and analysis. You will develop the social and technical skills you need for both academic research and the modern workplace.

The MSc Geography is ideal if you want to study geography at postgraduate level for personal or professional reasons and want a flexible evening study course that allows you to explore and deepen your interests. You will also complete a piece of research in an area of special interest to you.

You can choose from a wide range of topics, including:

Development studies
Cultural landscapes
Energy and climate change
Critical social geographies
Critical geographies of nature
Contesting culture
Environmental science
Environment and policy
Sustainable business practice
Environmental reporting and management systems
Gender and development
Geographic information science and remote sensing
International childhood studies
Spatial analysis and statistics
War, conflict and development.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

We offer multiple approaches to the study of societies and cultures, human geography, and sustainability, poverty and development, as well as community and citizenship, at local, regional and global levels.
Our Department of Geography, Environment and Development Studies thrives on the breadth of research interests of our staff. This means that we offer a wide range of postgraduate courses in geography, as well as allowing students to engage with other disciplines such as anthropology and international development.
Birkbeck's mode of teaching is unique: it is almost all in the evening or at weekends, including fieldwork, so you can also gain relevant work experience during the day. Birkbeck's professional recruitment service, Birkbeck Talent, can help you secure paid interning and work opportunities to give you the edge in a competitive job market.
You will be surrounded by committed fellow students from all cultures, backgrounds and career stages, who share their experience and expertise with their peers. Many of our students work in areas under discussion and so can bring their experience to bear in discussions about theory and practice.
We are proud of our vibrant research culture, powered by a shared passion for learning and intellectual engagement among our academics and students. We have a strong commitment to social justice, which is demonstrated in much of our research.
This is complemented by an extensive student support system and excellent research resources.

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Researchers can specialise in geography, geographical information science, environmental studies, development studies, international childhood studies, or community, youth and voluntary sector studies. Read more
Researchers can specialise in geography, geographical information science, environmental studies, development studies, international childhood studies, or community, youth and voluntary sector studies. Our MPhil/PhD programmes aim to train you to conduct research of the highest academic standard and to make an original contribution to the subject through your research. Our doctoral programme aims to respond to the needs and interests both of students seeking an academic career or other professional employment and of those who wish to pursue a line of intellectual enquiry for its own sake. We aim to recruit both recent graduates and mature students who now have the time to pursue an intellectual enthusiasm, perhaps after a lifetime of professional work.

Our students benefit not only from the advisory insight of specialist academics within the department, but also from a wider culture of support and advice from staff and other research students. We see our research students as a central part of our community, who play a key role in the vitality of the wider research process. Those completing our research degrees in the past have often moved on into highly skilled occupations in both the commercial and academic worlds.

Research students in GEDS are able to participate in subject-specific doctoral seminars and can attend relevant modules on any of the MSc degrees offered within GEDS as part of their research training. Students also have the opportunity to participate in guest lectures, films and workshops offered both within the department and in wider groupings such as the Birkbeck Institute for Social Research, the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, the Institute of Voluntary Action Research, and the London International Development Centre. We offer financial assistance for conference attendance where appropriate.

Studying for an MPhil in any of the areas offered in GEDS involves working closely with a small group of staff on an independent research project. This means that we are only able to accept students whose proposed research project lies within the areas of expertise of our staff. If there is a particular member of staff you would like to work with, please contact them to discuss your project before applying.

Community, Youth and Voluntary Sector Studies

The department offers supervision in theoretical perspectives and understandings of community theory and practice and youth and voluntary sector studies. Staff in this research area have established excellent links with professional organisations in their fields and also have international links with academic institutions in the USA and South Africa, working collaboratively on issues concerning religion and race in public life.

Development Studies

The department offers supervision in theoretical and empirical research on practices and experiences of development. Our research areas include ageing, childhood, gender and development, migration, NGOs and political activism, regional specialisation in Latin America and South Asia, rights, social policy, urban and rural poverty, and visual culture and development.

Geography

Research study in geography can take a wide variety of forms across the social and physical sciences dependent on topic, but the common thread is the distinctive perspective, often interdisciplinary, that a geographical approach to research offers. Key research interests are: cities and socio-spatial inequality, coastal geomorphology and coastal policy, food security and climate change, flooding and flood insurance, impact of environmental change on nature and agriculture, long-term river behaviour and climate change, remote sensing, renewable energy, and social and urban geography.

Geographical Information Science

At Birkbeck, we pride ourselves in offering one of the longest-running GISc programmes. The Birkbeck GISc academic team works in a broad range of areas of geographic information knowledge, including spatial analytical methods, cartography and visualisation, remote sensing, and geocomputation and their research activities are at the forefront of GIS development.

International Childhood Studies

The department offers supervision in theoretical and empirical research on practices and experiences of childhood. Our research areas include cultures of childhood, visual culture and representation of childhood, the governance of childhood, childhood and social identities, and histories of childhood.

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This interdisciplinary Master's programme in environment and politics combines critical social theory and detailed empirical analyses to explore contemporary global environmental politics and policy. Read more
This interdisciplinary Master's programme in environment and politics combines critical social theory and detailed empirical analyses to explore contemporary global environmental politics and policy. It draws together the research and teaching expertise of 2 departments at Birkbeck – the Department of Politics and the Department of Geography, Environment and Development Studies - to deliver an ambitious curriculum, addressing conceptual and practical issues of climate change, resources, global scarcity, violence, demographic change and environmental crisis, together with an in-depth examination of key areas in contemporary environmental policy. The cross-disciplinary content of the programme means you can choose from a wide variety of specialised option modules across the 2 departments.

The core modules explore the relationship between population, environment, economy and human values, as well as key areas of environmental policy and law, and introduce you to recent public policy, empirical data and case studies. You will be equipped with the conceptual ideas, theoretical approaches and analytical research skills needed to study environment, global politics and policy at postgraduate level.

You can then choose 2 option modules from a wide variety of topics, including climate change, gender, development, global governance, nationalism, population change, war and conflict, and public policy. You will also learn research techniques that will enable you to specialise and undertake the researching and writing of a dissertation on the subject that interests you most.

You will develop the skills to engage with and analyse demographic and environmental change and to appreciate the tensions and contradictions they generate in the geopolitical realm, through the relationships between and across states and regions. You will learn about the principles, instruments and ethics of international environmental policy, governance and legislation, as well as acquiring detailed knowledge of environmental policies in relation to natural environment, water, waste, energy, low carbon, and resources on a local, national, regional and global scale.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

This Master's degree will equip you with the theoretical and analytical knowledge and tools to analyse environmental change and its global political impact and implications.
The programme allows you to follow your own interests, with a wide choice of option modules, while developing your research skills and undertaking a dissertation in an area that interests you.
The programme is taught across 2 departments - Politics and Geography, Environment and Development Studies - giving you access to a wealth of world-class teaching and research. You will be taught by research-active academics who are internationally recognised specialists in their fields.
Our Department of Politics was ranked 12th in the UK in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) and is a world-renowned centre of original, influential research. Our academic staff are international authorities in their respective fields, publishing and delivering stimulating teaching in a wide range of political topics.
One of the unique strengths of our Department of Geography, Environment and Development Studies is the breadth of research interests of our staff. Subsequently, we offer a very wide range of courses that reflect the disciplinary breadth of development and globalisation, while also allowing you to engage with other disciplines, such as anthropology and sociology.
Birkbeck Library has a large politics and environment collection, including the major specialist journals, and provides you with access to an extensive range of online materials.
You can take advantage of the rich research collections nearby, including Senate House Library, which is right next door to Birkbeck, the British Library, which is 5 minutes' walk away, and the British Library of Political and Economic Science at the London School of Economics, which is walkable from Birkbeck.

Our research

Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research-intensive institutions. Our cutting-edge scholarship informs public policy, achieves scientific advances, supports the economy, promotes culture and the arts, and makes a positive difference to society.

Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), Politics at Birkbeck was ranked 17th in the UK and Sociology was ranked 13th in the UK.

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Climate change is a multifaceted issue, with relevance across a wide range of economic sectors and policy areas. The MSc Climate Change offers you the chance to take a truly interdisciplinary approach to your study in climate change, engaging with academic, professional and popular literature. Read more
Climate change is a multifaceted issue, with relevance across a wide range of economic sectors and policy areas. The MSc Climate Change offers you the chance to take a truly interdisciplinary approach to your study in climate change, engaging with academic, professional and popular literature. The programme will equip you with an understanding of climate change and how this challenge is being tackled by governments, business and other organisations. You will be able to critically evaluate scientific scenarios of future climate and associated impacts, assess the effectiveness of different policy approaches, and determine suitable business responses to the climate change challenge.

You will also explore the key debates and ideas from a range of viewpoints, balancing science, policy and business practice. The course is designed for both climate change practitioners wishing to further develop their understanding of key issues, and those hoping to move into this fast-developing sector. As the programme is offered through part-time, evening, face-to-face study, it provides a distinctive opportunity for practitioners to combine study with their career.

The 5 compulsory modules - Climate Change, Environment and Policy, Sustainable Business Practice, Energy and Climate Change, and Research Methods - give a comprehensive grounding in key topics and an opportunity to reflect on practice at both individual and corporate levels.

These compulsory courses are complemented by a wide range of option modules, which allow you to pursue your own interests. Alternatively, you can elect to take option modules that lead to Institute of Environmental Managers and Assessors (IEMA) Associate Member status.

In addition, you will receive training in research methods and complete a research project, involving in-depth study of real challenges arising from climate change.

Staff teaching on this programme

Dr Becky Briant
Dr Melissa Butcher
Dr Paul Elsner
Dr Aideen Foley (Programme Director)
Dr Diane Horn

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

The MSc Climate Change will give you an advanced understanding of climate science, policy and business practice, meeting the needs of both climate change practitioners and those hoping to move into this fast-developing sector.
Successful completion of the relevant modules allows you to become a Member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA), a non-profit membership organisation that promotes best practice standards in environmental management, auditing and assessment. IEMA supports the professional development of individuals involved in the environmental and sustainability profession in the public, private and non-governmental sectors.
Find out more about studying at Birkbeck and what our students say about our geography- and environment-related programmes.
Listen to an introductory lecture: 'Climate Change and the River Thames' (delivered by Becky Briant).
The programme allows you to pursue your own interests, undertaking in-depth research in a sector of your own choosing.
Our location in central London offers excellent access to a wide range of research resources, including the Birkbeck Library, the LSE Library of Political and Economic Science (LSE), the Royal Geographical Society and Senate House Library (University of London).
The Department of Geography, Environment and Development Studies has contacts with many public and private sector organisations, professional bodies and researchers at other academic institutions, which can lead to important networking opportunities.
We offer an excellent range of student support services.
Our academic staff are experts in their respective fields, publishing and teaching in a wide range of topics including climate modelling, renewable energy, flooding and coastal adaptation.

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The Department of Geography, Environment and Development Studies offers an advanced and flexible Master's degree in Geographic Information Science (GISc) for professionals and researchers who work with (or those who wish to work with) geographically referenced data. Read more
The Department of Geography, Environment and Development Studies offers an advanced and flexible Master's degree in Geographic Information Science (GISc) for professionals and researchers who work with (or those who wish to work with) geographically referenced data. The course covers the philosophical, scientific, social, policy, environmental and technological issues associated with the use of geographic information in an international context, building on the department’s experience in teaching GISc at postgraduate level for over 20 years.

This course will introduce you to the principles and applications of GISc at an advanced level through the development of scientific knowledge, technical expertise and practical experience. You will develop the relevant theoretical background knowledge and a conceptual understanding of GISc, as well as an appreciation of the social and political context of geographical data and the implications of its use. The emphasis throughout this course is on enabling you to develop new skills that have real-world applications for your work and career.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Designed for those without previous Geographic Information Science (GISc) experience, or for those with some experience who want to develop their theoretical and practical knowledge.
Brings our long-term tradition of GISc teaching to students who value face-to-face support.
Teaching team includes external collaborators: researchers, private GISc consultants, and GISc professionals working in private industry and public bodies.
Learning resources include a virtual learning environment, GIS software (ArcGIS, free to UK-based students, and IDRISI, available at student rates), GIS practicals (ESRI Virtual Campus, IDRISI and selfcontained) and e-library facilities.
We offer student support and have a range of research resources.

Our research

Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research-intensive institutions. Our cutting-edge scholarship informs public policy, achieves scientific advances, supports the economy, promotes culture and the arts, and makes a positive difference to society.

Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), Sociology at Birkbeck was ranked 13th in the UK.

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This MSc Environment and Sustainability aims to provide an advanced-level grounding in sustainable responses to a broad range of environmental issues. Read more
This MSc Environment and Sustainability aims to provide an advanced-level grounding in sustainable responses to a broad range of environmental issues. It explores the relationship between policy, practice and the ecological environment and the development of effective strategies for addressing the threats and opportunities posed by environmental issues. As the programme is offered through part-time, evening, face-to-face study, it provides a distinctive opportunity for practitioners to combine study with a continuing career.

Completion of this MSc will allow you to become an Associate Member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA).

Aimed at people from a wide range of backgrounds, it is suitable for anyone who wishes to develop a deeper understanding of the key drivers of environmental policy developments in the UK and internationally.

It is also possible to specialise in Geographic Information Science (GIS) and gain an MSc Environment and Sustainability with GIS.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

All students who successfully complete the 4 compulsory modules undertaken in Year 1 of the programme also become Members of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA). Recently merged with the Global Association of Corporate Sustainability Officers (GACSO), and aiming to be the international leader for environmental and sustainability professionals, IEMA is a non-profit membership organisation that promotes best practice standards in environmental management, auditing and assessment. IEMA supports professional development of individuals involved in the environmental and sustainability profession in the public, private and non-governmental sectors. Benefits of IEMA membership include access to: regional and national events, publications, workshops, negotiated deals for professional indemnity insurance, website and special interest groups. Associate membership is widely recognised as the minimum professional achievement for anyone who is working in an environmental role and has responsibility for environmental issues. Associates of IEMA earn the suffix AIEMA and this is increasingly being asked for by employers.
Relevant for managers with responsibility for environmental affairs in the public or private sector, members of a regulatory body, members of environmental pressure groups, or those with a general interest in ecological issues.
Provides an opportunity to undertake in-depth research in a sector of your own choosing, which can lead to important networking opportunities.
Birkbeck has considerable expertise in, and a long history of, effectively teaching Geographic Information Science (GIS), and this programme has a pathway that allows students to combine Sustainability and GIS studies, graduating with an MSc Environment and Sustainability with GIS.
The Department of Geography, Environment and Development Studies has contacts with many public and private sector organisations, professional bodies and researchers at other academic institutions.
We offer student support and have a range of research resources.
For students studying the GIS pathway, we provide access to GIS software (ArcGIS, free to UK-based students, and IDRISI, available at student rates) and GIS practicals (ESRI Virtual Campus, IDRISI and selfcontained).

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This multidisciplinary Master's programme explores debates on 'race' and racism, multiculture and postcoloniality. Read more
This multidisciplinary Master's programme explores debates on 'race' and racism, multiculture and postcoloniality. It explores connections between histories of empire and contemporary social formations and inequalities in the UK, and considers how local debates on 'race' and racism are shaped by the global geopolitics of the twenty-first century.

The programme explores debates on empire and the formation of modern Britain and contemporary transnational political communities, social identities and urban cultures. The MA aims to draw connections between interlocking colonial histories across the globe and our ordinary, local, everyday life here in contemporary Britain.

The programme focuses on subjects such as histories of colonisation, systems of slavery, the concept of 'race' and the invention of 'the West'; colonial cultures, class, nationalisms, 'respectability' and the invention of 'whiteness'; histories of criminalisation and imprisonment; human rights; 'the war on terror'; diaspora, place and belonging; psychoanalysis and 'race', 'hybridity', 'mixedness', 'whiteness', 'race' and 'beauty' and 'race', gender, sexuality and desire. It offers the opportunity to study a wide range of different subjects in this broad multidisciplinary area.

The MA is convened by academics who have interests in racialisation, postcoloniality, urban multiculture and psychoanalysis. You can also choose from a range of option modules convened by other academics in other departments across the College.

This innovative, interdisciplinary postgraduate programme will be of interest to those who want to develop careers in social research, education, law, journalism, youth and community work, urban planning, housing, politics, the arts and cultural industries, health and social care, and numerous other areas. It will also be of interest to those who wish to pursue an academic career in sociology, cultural studies, postcolonial studies, urban studies, psychosocial studies, or in the social sciences or humanities more generally and to those who simply wish to develop an advanced understanding of 'race' and racism, multiculture and postcoloniality.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

The programme introduces you to different historical and political debates and theoretical perspectives in the broad multidisciplinary area of 'race' and racism, multiculture and postcoloniality.
You will participate in a vibrant, stimulating and diverse intellectual environment. There is a Race Forum and several other research institutes at Birkbeck that focus on relevant subject areas.
The programme is flexibly designed for students from all backgrounds to pursue their own particular research and professional interests.
The MA draws from sociology, cultural studies, history, urban studies, literary studies, psychosocial studies, philosophy and politics.
The Department of Psychosocial Studies has a formal link with the University of São Paulo, Brazil. This link enables students on this programme to undertake an optional module at the University of São Paulo as part of their programme of study at Birkbeck.
You will join a flourishing and diverse postgraduate student community and a growing research culture. Birkbeck Library has an extensive teaching collection of books, journals and learning resources in sociology, cultural studies, postcolonial studies, psychosocial studies and related disciplines. You will also be able to use the rich research resources nearby including Senate House Library, the British Library of Political and Economic Science (the LSE Library), the SOAS Library and the British Library.
There are also research institutes which focus on relevant subject areas such as the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck Law School Centre for Law and the Humanities and the Centre for Media, Culture and Creative Practice and reading groups such as the Postcolonial Studies Reading Group.

Our research

Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research-intensive institutions. Our cutting-edge scholarship informs public policy, achieves scientific advances, supports the economy, promotes culture and the arts, and makes a positive difference to society.

Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), Sociology at Birkbeck was ranked 13th in the UK.

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