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.
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.