Is Oxford Geography for you? Every year the University of Oxford's School of Geography and the Environment offers approximately 80 undergraduate places to study geography - a subject as diverse as the world's challenges.

It doesn't matter who you are or what your background; if you are academically talented and have an insatiable curiosity about the world that we live in, Oxford Geography could be the degree course for you.

The only thing that Oxford students have in common are academic ability and intellectual curiosity.

University of Oxford Prospectus, 2018-19

Do you strive to understand our rapidly changing world?

At Oxford you will be taught about our planet's most pressing issues by some of the world's leading academics.

Geography gives you the tools to investigate everything from environmental change – you will study how humans are impacting on landscape dynamics with Professor Heather Viles – to social inequality - taking a lecture with Professor Danny Dorling learning about population health, housing and inequality.

A first year that builds solid foundations

The first year gives every Oxford geography undergraduate the same broad education in earth systems processes, human geography, and geographical controversies.

Alongside theoretical modules, students develop their understanding of geographical techniques, through practical field trips (see background image by Andrey Afonin (2017), taken on the first-year field trip at the Isle of Portland) and a range of lectures.

The first year gives a great opportunity to grasp what geography is actually about and how diverse the field is. Attending lectures, practicals and tutorials on a broad range of topics, from plate tectonics to nationalism, climatology to urban exploration, not only makes it easier to choose modules for your further studies but also helps you realise that there are identifiable links between subjects and see that geography is a complex yet integrated discipline.

Barbara Tanska (2017)

Does your appetite for knowledge know no boundaries?

Bridging the arts, and social and natural sciences, geography helps us build a deeper understanding of the world that we live in.

After gaining a strong foundation in physical and human geography in your first year, you will have the opportunity to specialise.

Perhaps you'll decide to delve deep into cities, exploring new approaches to urban geography with Dr Alexander Vasudevan; or you'll opt to study the geopolitics of borderlands and marginalised peoples with Dr Fiona McConnell instead. Maybe you'll want to go back in time, to learn how the African desert environment has changed over the last 250,000 years with Professor David Thomas; or you could choose to study contemporary African Societies with Professor Patricia Daley, examining the continent's complex relationship with the rest of the world.

Global change and local impacts

You will have the chance to study change on a global scale; scrutinising the costs and benefits of financial globalisation with Professor Dariusz Wójcik; or exploring the transformation of global visual culture and its implications with Professor Gillian Rose. Or, instead, you might choose to study climate science with Professor Richard Washington, to better understand climate change, its drivers and impacts; or perhaps you'll be interested to learn the effects deserts have on human activities with Professor Giles Wiggs.

The options are wide and varied.

With geography you have lots of choice and can focus on whatever you're really interested in.

Catherine Cooper (2016)

Do you want to see the world through new eyes?

Travel and learn

Oxford geography believes that a robust understanding of theoretical approaches is greatly enhanced by first-hand experience in the real world. That is why every Oxford geography undergraduate goes on two fully-funded* field trips.

  • In the first year all students take part in a four-day physical geography field trip at the start of term, as well as attending local skills-related field days.
  • Second-year students will undertake a week-long residential field trip overseas, to either Berlin or Tenerife.
  • There is scope to do the third-year dissertation abroad. Dissertations allow students to investigate a specific topic of their choosing in detail and are often cited by students as the most enjoyable part of their degree. Around 30% of our undergraduates choose to base their third-year dissertation overseas and there are plenty of travel grants available through the University of Oxford and its colleges to support your independent research field trips.

* The department covers the cost of travel and accommodation for both the first- and second-year field trips.

A selection of photos taken by undergraduates during their field trips and research, 2016-17
Getting to know your course mates through field trips is the best part of studying geography. Most of my friends from college don’t really know their subject group in the same way.

Toby Bunn (2016)

Oxford Luminescence Dating Laboratory

Do you want to get hands-on?

The School of Geography and the Environment has well-equipped Geolabs for practical physical courses and individual research projects.


Do you want to learn from leading experts?

Second year students take a lecture with Professor Simon Dadson
The departmental staff are brilliant - always enthusiastic and willing to give up their time to help with any questions. Every lecture has been fascinating in its own right and even topics which cover more tricky concepts are made comprehensible.

Madeleine Diment (2017)

The lecturers are very approachable, when you have any questions, you can just ask.

Clarisse Pierre (2016)

Can you dig deep?

The Tutorial System

You won't just scratch the surface of your subject at Oxford. Every week at tutorials in your college you'll have a chance to really interrogate a topic, one-on-one with your tutor.

Tutors are looking for students who match academic achievement with enthusiasm, commitment and an awareness of the world around them.

Being taught by world leaders in our subject, both in lectures and tutorials, helps provide a real insight into current discussions and research in geography.

Ben Farmer (2017)

Are you often found with your head in a book?

You'll love Oxford's Libraries

As a geography undergraduate student you'll gain access to the Bodleian Library, made up of over 100 libraries holding 13 million items.

The Radcliffe Science Library (RSL) holds a geography collection of over 28,000 volumes on its open shelves, with more held in closed stack storage.

I love the resources we have access to at Oxford, be it the libraries, tutors, or the lecturers. I also really enjoy being surrounded by other students who are so invested in geography - it makes the learning experience so much more interesting.

Inès Gétaz (2017)

'Take a step back': Photo by Isabelle Watts (2016), taken on the first-year field trip to West Lulworth, Dorset

Do you want to broaden your horizons?

Oxford geography can boost your career

Oxford geography gives graduates the interdisciplinary skills and problem-solving abilities that are increasingly being sought after in the working world.

Geography can be the first step towards a wide variety of careers and in recent years graduates have proceeded to employment in management consultancy, local and central government, law, conservation and heritage management, the law, the media, teaching and research.

Oxford Geography recently topped the table for geography graduates’ earnings too, boosting average salaries five years after graduation more than any other geography department in the UK.

Are you top of your class?

If you're on track to get the grades and have the drive to achieve, we want you to apply.

Entry Requirements

  • A Levels, A*AA;
  • Advanced Highers, AAB;
  • IB, 39 points with 766 at higher level;
  • or any other equivalent.

It is highly recommended that candidates have studied Geography to ALevel, Advanced Higher or Higher Level in the IB or equivalent, but not essential.

Do you like what you've heard so far?

Visit us

Come along to one of our open days and find out more about the course and the Oxford application process in person.

Ask us anything

Check out our frequently asked questions about the application process and, if you can't find the answer that you're looking for, email our Undergraduate Coordinator with your questions.

Put these dates in your diary NOW

Oxford's application process runs about three months ahead of the rest of the country's UCAS application process and you will need to submit your application no later than 15 October 2018, for entry in 2019. Get these dates in your diary now and get planning your application over the summer.

There are so many wonderful things about studying geography at Oxford. I love the vibrancy of the department and the depth of learning you get from the tutorial system. However the best thing, I'd say, is the camaraderie of geographers - we're all really tight-knit, as a subject at college and as a year group of 80. You really feel a sense of belonging!

Laura Jackson (2017), pictured above left


Photos of students are by John Cairns (www.johncairns.co.uk/) unless captioned otherwise.

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