Masters degrees in Social Geography offer advanced study of the relationships between people, natural resources and animal life, and their spatial distribution over geographical locations.
Related subjects include Urban Geography and Cultural Geography. Entry requirements normally include an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject such as Human Geography.
Courses in Social and Integrated Geography offer an interdisciplinary approach to learning, combining theory from disciplines such as Anthropology, Geography, Political Science, Cultural Theory and Communications. They are primarily concerned with the spatial constitution of different societies, and the spatial expression of social processes.
Studies typically examine different cultural encounters, cultural change and conflict, and the formation of identity and power in the contemporary world. For example, you might explore how social hegemony and power structures inflate issues of social inequality, identity and belonging.
Or ,you may investigate postcolonial theory including the means through which economic and political practices such as international relations and trade affect migration and urbanisation.
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.
The radicalisation of Muslim youth is continually in the news and high on the political agenda. What has scientific research revealed about the causes and background of this issue? How should the government and societal actors handle this trend and which policy is effective? An ageing population leads to increasing healthcare costs. How should care for the elderly be structured in order to make it personal and affordable again? The virtual and physical world are increasingly merging. What role does the internet play in shaping political and social movements' ability to self-organise?
As society becomes more complex, the demand for experts continues to expand. In the one-year Master’s programme Contemporary Social Problems, you will be trained to become an expert on one important social theme. You choose one contemporary issue in which you will specialise:
You design your own track in this Master’s programme, in which you quickly and rigorously immerse yourself in your specialisation. You will learn about the state-of-the-art in current scholarship. As an expert, you will also learn to think in multidisciplinary terms. In addition to sociology as your core subject, you will also take courses in the social psychology and social geography of your chosen theme, which allows you to further immerse yourself in your area of specialisation.
As an expert, you will also learn to translate theory into practice. You will learn to translate scientific knowledge into concrete advice for companies or effective policy for the government. You will also learn to present research results to a wider audience. Speakers from the field, working visits and your own internship project ensure you gain comprehensive knowledge of the practical context.
During this Master’s programme, you will be thoroughly trained to analyse and advise on contemporary social issues. You will therefore develop yourself into an academic professional and an expert on your chosen theme. In these themes, the boundary between public and private is often transcended, which means that once you complete the Master’s, you can work in both the private and (semi) public sectors. Potential careers include social science expert, applied researcher in the corporate world, policy advisor at a ministry or municipality, advisor, project coordinator or consultant.
There is a significant focus on labour market orientation and your transition to the labour market following your studies. You will, for example, be put in contact with relevant organisations in the professional field in addition to learning the professional project, communication, advice and interview skills you will need in your career.
In this Master’s degree you will acquire conceptual ideas, theoretical approaches and analytical research skills needed to study social and cultural geography at postgraduate level. You will engage with questions that interrogate the foundations of inequality, the relationship between power and dissent, identity and belonging, race, gender, cultural change and conflict. Representations of cultural landscapes and critical cartographies are used to explore the geographical imagination of the world from local to global scales.
UK-focused and international case studies are used to illustrate critical, contemporary challenges, from understanding the dynamics of inequality in a city like London to the cultural processes underpinning the rise in populist politics and social movements across the world. To support the development of learning in areas that are of particular interest, you can choose option modules from a wide variety of subject areas such as urbanisation, culture and development, social anthropology, politics, religion and society.
In addition to core content, you will learn research methods that will enable you to specialise and undertake the researching and writing of a dissertation on a subject that appeals to you, as well as develop skills to conduct independent research in both academic and non-academic contexts.
At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.
Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading. Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.
Our distance-learning and blended-learning courses and modules are self-directed and we will provide you with interactive learning opportunities and encourage you to collaborate and engage via various learning technologies. These courses involve limited or no face-to-face contact between students and module tutors.
In addition, you will have access to pastoral support via a named Personal Tutor.
Teaching is via lectures, seminars, presentations and fieldwork.
On our taught courses, you will have scheduled teaching and study sessions each year. Alongside this, you will also undertake assessment activities and independent learning outside of class. Depending on the modules you take, you may also have additional scheduled academic activities, such as tutorials, dissertation supervision, practical classes, visits and fieldtrips.
On our taught courses, the actual amount of time you spend in the classroom and in contact with your lecturers will depend on your course, the option modules you select and when you undertake your final-year project.
On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, discussion, collaboration and interaction with your lecturers and fellow students are encouraged and enabled through various learning technologies, but you may have limited or no face-to-face contact with your module tutors.
Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to larger groups, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups led by a tutor.
On our taught courses, much of your time outside of class will be spent on self-directed, independent learning, including preparing for classes and following up afterwards. This will usually include, but is not limited to, reading books and journal articles, undertaking research, working on coursework and assignments, and preparing for presentations and assessments.
Independent learning is absolutely vital to your success as a student. Everyone is different, and the study time required varies topic by topic, but, as a guide, expect to schedule up to five hours of self-study for each hour of teaching.
On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, the emphasis is very much on independent, self-directed learning and you will be expected to manage your own learning, with the support of your module tutors and various learning technologies.
Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations, although this will vary from course to course - on some of our courses, assessment is entirely by coursework. The methods of assessment on this course are specified below under 'Methods of assessment on this course'. You will need to allow time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.
Where a course has unseen written examinations, these may be held termly, but, on the majority of our courses, exams are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June. Exams may be held at other times of the year as well. In most cases, exams are held during the day on a weekday - if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance - but some exams are held in the evening. Exam timetables are published online.
All assessment is by coursework. You also write a 15,000-word dissertation.
Students who graduate from the Master’s programme in geography have strong theoretical and practical skills. The education in geography offers a broad understanding in current social and environmental issues. Our students can work as experts in their field, both independently and as members of multi-professional teams.
The teaching within the programme is connected with the work of the geography research groups. It is often possible to write the final thesis as part of work in a research group or a research institute in a related field.
The Master’s programme in geography is divided into three study tracks (described in section 4). Our students have been very successful in the job market after completing our programme.
The strengths of students who have completed our Master’s programme when it comes to research and expertise are:
Further information about the studies on the Master's programme website.
The first year of the advanced module of the Master’s programme contains the method courses of your chosen study track, elective courses, and advanced literature. During this year you will start planning your Master’s thesis.
In the autumn of the second year, you will join a Master’s seminar and take exams on literature related to the MSc thesis. In the spring, you should be ready to present your finished MSc thesis (Pro gradu). In addition, you can take optional courses in both years that support your study track. If you are studying to be a teacher, you will take courses in pedagogy during your second year.
Studying takes many forms. A large part of the instruction is contact teaching. Method and specialisation courses are usually implemented in groups of 10-20 students, where it is easy to discuss professional issues and gain deeper insights. Independent study is supported through workshops supervised by older students, and reading circles. The Master’s programme also includes extensive exams on literature in the field.
The Master’s programme in geography is divided into study tracks. The study tracks offer students the opportunity to specialise in different areas of geography. The Master’s programme contains both general and study track-specific courses. The teaching within the Master’s programme in geography is seamlessly connected with the Master’s programme in urban studies and planning, which is jointly implemented with Aalto University.
The study tracks in the Master’s programme for geography are:
This programme's emphasis on independent research allows you to work closely with scholars who are leaders in their field.
Research may be in any area of social, urban, environmental, development, political, economic, historical or cultural geography that is supported by the Human Geography Research Group. It is co-delivered with the University’s Graduate School of Social Science.
The programme can stand alone as a masters degree, or form the first year of a ‘1+3’ ESRC-backed PhD programme.
Students who successfully complete this programme will:
This programme is affiliated with the University's Global Environment & Society Academy.
We offer a balance between general and specialist research training. The programme combines lectures, practical work, workshops, essays, seminars and one-to-one supervision of independent research leading to delivery of a dissertation.
In consultation with the Programme Director, you will choose from a range of option courses. We particularly recommend:
The emphasis on independent research allows you to work closely with scholars at the cutting edge in order to advance your own research passions. A highlight of the programme is the postgraduate conference where you present your research to colleagues.
The University of Edinburgh has an unbroken record of teaching and research in the earth sciences going back to 1770, when Robert Ramsay became the first Professor of Natural History.
James Hutton and Arthur Holmes were prominent among those who set an academic tradition in Edinburgh that continues today with the University achieving top ratings in earth sciences teaching and research.
Our interactive and interdisciplinary research environment allows us to tackle difficult research questions, from causes of past glaciations to interactions of earth, climate and society. The ambition and quality of our research was reflected in the latest Research Assessment Exercise: 66 per cent of our research was rated within the top two categories – world-leading and internationally excellent.
Our location at the King’s Buildings campus – home to most of the University’s science and engineering research – benefits our work too. Our King’s Buildings neighbours include external institutes such as the British Geological Survey; our proximity to them strengthens these research links.
As a research student, you will be affiliated to one of our research institutes, benefiting from an excellent peer-supported network.
As groupings of researchers with related interests, the institutes provide a forum for development of ideas, collaboration, and dissemination of results, and an environment for training, development and mentoring of research students and early career researchers.
The School receives strong backing from industry, particularly in areas such as hydrocarbons and carbon capture and storage. We receive support from the EU and from major UK research councils, including the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council.
The MRes Critical Human Geographies is a full-time taught Masters programme. It forms part of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) South West Doctoral Training Centre – a hub of world-class social science research – and so provides in-depth research training in the social sciences in general and human geography in particular. With a focus on preparing you for a career in social science research, whether at doctoral level at university, or in the public and private sectors, the MRes programme provides core modules in social and geographical theories and methodologies, along with three research-led modules through which you can experience the variety of cutting-edge scholarship undertaken in the department:
The programme structure and content of the MRes in Critical Human Geographies reflects our commitment to integrating MRes students into the wider research culture of the department, whilst the title of the degree reflects the commitment that human geography staff at the University of Exeter have to pursuing critical intellectual agendas within the discipline.
The MRes Critical Human Geographies programme comprises 180 credits which is made up compulsory research training modules (which includes a compulsory 60 credit research dissertation). The following tables describe the programme and constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted or replaced as a consequence of the annual programme review of this programme.
The following is an indicative list of the likely compulsory modules;
The MRes Critical Human Geographies is essentially designed to develop in you a broad based and relevant knowledge of research approaches and methods in human geography and the social sciences, and to provide you with a range of transferable skills appropriate to Masters level research within the discipline. The programme aims to prepare you for careers as a professional researcher in either academic or non-academic environment. The core training in social scientific philosophy, epistemology, methodology and analysis are set within a contemporary human geography context, allowing you to apply the wider concepts and skills introduced in the broader social scientific setting to specific topics of geographical inquiry.
The MA in Geography (Research Methods) - or MARM - aims to give a broad training in social science research methodology as well as more specific training in the approaches and techniques used in human geography. There is a balance between theory and practical application. The degree programme includes skills training and reflection on personal experience, and those students who are going on to MPhil/PhD work are encouraged to relate what they learn to their future research. Most of the teaching is in small groups and emphasises student engagement and discussion. The MARM is an ESRC recognised Masters training course and all modules are designed and delivered in line within the ESRC's requirements. All modules include formative and summative assessment. The teaching programme is delivered in Terms 1 and 2. From Easter onwards students work on their dissertation with the support of an allocated supervisor.
The MARM is composed of six core (compulsory) modules and a choice from three optional modules. The core modules total 150 credits and, in addition, students take 30 credits from the optional modules adding up to a total of 180 credits. The course is delivered by the Department of Geography, the Department of Anthropology, the Department of Psychology and the School of Applied Social Sciences (SASS).
Optional Modules available in previous years include:
Visit our website for more information on fees, scholarships, postgraduate loans and other funding options to study Social Theory and Space at Swansea University - 'Welsh University of the Year 2017' (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017).
The MSc by Research Social Theory and Space enables students to pursue a one year individual programme of research. The Social Theory and Space programme would normally terminate after a year. However, under appropriate circumstances, this first year of research can also be used in a progression to Year 2 of a PhD degree.
You will be fully integrated into one of our established research groups and participate in research activities such as seminars, workshops, laboratories, and field work.
Swansea is a research-led University and the Department makes a significant contribution, meaning that as a postgraduate Geography student you will benefit from the knowledge and skills of internationally renowned academics.
In the latest Research Assessment Exercise, 95% of Geography research at Swansea was judged to be of international quality, and 60% was regarded as World-leading or internationally excellent.
As a student of the Social Theory and Space programme you will have access to:
Computer laboratory with 24 computers providing general IT software and programmes dedicated to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing Computer laboratory with 10 high-performance Linux workstations delivering software tools for advanced GIS and remote sensing applications
Specialist laboratory suites for stable isotope ratio analysis; tree ring analysis; extraction and identification of organic compounds; pollen extraction and analysis; rainfall simulation; tephra analysis; soil and sediment characterisation
In addition, the computing facilities include 15 dual-processor workstations for Earth Observation, a 20-node multiprocessor Beowulf cluster, and the Department’s IBM ‘Blue Ice’ Supercomputer, used mainly for climate and glaciological modelling.
All academic staff in Geography are active researchers and the department has a thriving research culture and a strong postgraduate community.
The results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 show that Geography at Swansea University is ranked joint 9th in the UK for research impact and 11th in the UK for research environment.
Research groups include:
Global Environmental Modelling and Earth Observation
Migration, Boundaries and Identity
Social Theory and Urban Space
Geography is a strongly fieldwork-oriented discipline that extends across the social and natural sciences. This is an area of growing interest as we meet the challenges arising from significant changes in our physical environment and the social, economic and political implications of those changes. The newly-established Master of Geography provides comprehensive grounding across all major sub-disciplines of contemporary geographic study; physical, human and integrated.
Students specialise in one of these three streams, and will choose either a coursework-only option of study or one of two coursework-plus-thesis options (comprising of a 50 point research project or a 100 point research project). You will also have access to numerous field-based subjects, allowing you to experience and build the field skills that are essential to the study of applied geography.
The Master of Geography is replacing the Master of Science (Geography) as of 2017.
As a graduate, you may find a rewarding career in: