Geography MA (Hons) 2020 entry

The BSc (Hons) in Geography explores a fascinating range of important environmental and international phenomena including glaciers and ice ages; climate and weather; environmental change and management; population change, migration and border politics; urbanisation, development and geopolitical conflict; socio-spatial inequalities (widening gaps in wealth, health and wellbeing). It provides an exciting challenge to those who wish to think critically and creatively about the world around them, and understand the interaction of environmental systems and human activity. 

Geography is studied up to Honours level in both the Faculty of Science (BSc) and the Faculty of Arts (MA). Students who have a background in the Arts or who wish to study Geography alongside Arts subjects at St Andrews should apply for the MA. For those interested in studying Geography alongside Science subjects, the BSc in Geography may be of interest instead.

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UCAS code

L700

Course type

Master of Arts (single Honours degree)

Course duration

Four years full time

  • Start date: 7 September 2020
  • End date: 30 June 2024

If you started this programme in 2019, you can find information about 2019 entry on the 2019 Geography MA page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Entry requirements

These grades are the overall standards required to consider you for entry. Find out more about Standard, Minimum and Gateway entry requirements using academic entry explained and see which entry requirements you need to look at using the entry requirements indicator.

    • Standard entry grades: AAAB
    • Minimum entry grades: AABB
    • Gateway entry grades: BBBB
    • Standard entry grades: AAA
    • Minimum entry grades: ABB
    • Standard entry grades: 38 (HL 6,6,6)
    • Minimum entry grades: 36 (HL 6,5,5)

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes, please see our entry requirements for more information.

For degrees combining more than one subject, the subject with the higher entry requirements determines the grades you need. You will also need to meet any further subject specific entrance requirements as outlined on their pages.

International applicants

If English is not your first language you will need an overall IELTS score of 7.0, with a minimum score of 6.5 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English Language qualification.

How to apply

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

No previous knowledge of Geography is required.

General entry requirements

All applicants must have attained the following qualifications, or equivalent, in addition to the specific entry requirements for individual programmes.

Other qualifications

More information on how to apply via other entry routes or accreditation of prior learning and experience can be found on the University’s entry requirements web page.

Timetables

St Andrews students must meet with their Adviser of Studies at the beginning of Semester 1 in September to complete advising – a compulsory part of the matriculation process. After module choices have been decided, a timetable will be allocated indicating the dates and times of classes.

Course information

The MA (Hons) in Geography is a four-year course run by the School of Geography and Sustainable Development.  The School also offers a BSc in Geography, which may be more suitable for students who wish to take Geography alongside Science subjects. The Geography element within both the BSc and MA degree programmes is exactly the same.

In the first two years, you will develop an integrated, coherent vision of the world exploring the complex interrelationships between people and the planet, and the implications of humans becoming a force of nature. You will also gain a conceptual and applied (methods-orientated) grounding in physical, environmental and human geography.

Alongside Geography in the first year of your studies, you will be required to study an additional two subjects. In the second year you will usually carry on at least one of these subjects, sometimes two. Find out more about how academic years are organised

At Honours level, students may choose to specialise in one aspect of Geography or to engage with the full, fascinating breadth of the discipline. Specialist subject areas may include:

  • climate and weather systems
  • development, politics and inequality
  • glaciers and glaciation
  • migration and transnationalism
  • natural resource management.

Final year students must also complete a 10,000-word dissertation on a topic chosen in consultation with teaching staff at the School of Geography and Sustainable Development.

Throughout the course there are opportunities to undertake fieldwork both locally and overseas. Recent locations have included Norway, the Pyrenees, Iceland and Galway.

The University of St Andrews operates on a flexible modular degree system by which degrees are obtained through the accumulation of credits. More information on the structure of the modules system can be found on the flexible degree structure webpage

Find out more about studying Geography at St Andrews.

Modules

In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours) you will take the required modules in Geography alongside modules in at least one other subject in the Faculty of Arts.

Typically, you will take a total of three modules per semester during your first two years, and two modules per semester during your third and fourth year (known as Honours). Find out more about the modular Scottish degree system.

Students will take two compulsory Geography modules in their first year.

  • Welcome to the Anthropocene: Society, Population, Environment: showcases how Geography as a discipline is uniquely placed to understand our changing world.
  • A World in Crisis?: explores how Geography works as a ‘world discipline’ to examine global problems from a range of human, environmental and physical geography perspectives.

Students will take two compulsory Geography modules in their second year.

  • Geographies of Global Change: encourages students to think 'geographically' about particular physical and human dimensions of global change.
  • (Re)constructing Environments, People and Places: explores how and why different peoples, places and bio-physical and social processes operate in both time and space. 

If you decide to take Geography in your third and fourth years, you can choose to specialise in one aspect of Geography or to engage with the full, fascinating breadth of the discipline.

Here is a sample of Honours modules which have been offered in previous years:

  • Coastal Processes
  • Colonial and Postcolonial Geography
  • Environmental Management in Scotland 
  • HIV/AIDs in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Ice and Climate
  • Political and Cultural Geographies of the Border
  • Scrutinising Segregation: Geographies of Diversity and Inequality
  • Socio-Ecological Systems.

In fourth year, students also undertake a 10,000-word dissertation on a topic of their choice. This independent project enables you to develop key research skills which are desired by both prospective employers and by graduate schools offering postgraduate degrees.


The compulsory modules listed here must be taken in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. For Honours-level, students choose from a range of Honours modules, some of which are listed above. A full list of all modules available for the current academic year can be found in the module catalogue.

Teaching

Teaching format

In first year, teaching centres on lectures (150 to 200 students), small group tutorials (8 to 10 students), and day long field trips.

In second year, modules are delivered through lectures (80 to 120 students), practical classes (15 to 20 students), tutorials (8 to 12 students), and a residential field trip.

At Honours level, greater emphasis is put on individual study and on students taking a major role in preparing for, and conducting, laboratories and seminars (10 to 50 students), and an international field trip. 

When not attending lectures, tutorials and practical classes, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study.  Typically, this will involve:

  • working on individual and group projects
  • undertaking research in the library
  • preparing coursework assignments and presentations
  • preparing for examinations.

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team with expertise and knowledge of Geography. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of laboratory classes and seminars under the supervision of the module leader.

You can find contact information for all Geography staff on the School of Geography and Sustainable Development website.

In addition to your studies in the School of Geography and Sustainable Development, optional academic support is available through practical study skills courses and workshops hosted within the University.

The University’s student services team can help students with additional needs resulting from disabilities, long term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities webpage

Assessment

All sub-honours modules are assessed by a balanced combination of coursework and written exams. At Honours level, some modules are assessed by 100% coursework, while others include at least 40% coursework and a wide range of innovative assessment formats.

Examinations are held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand.

The School aims to provide feedback on every assessment within three weeks to help you improve on future assessments.

Undergraduates at the University of St Andrews must achieve at least 7.0 on the St Andrews 20-point grade scale to pass a module. To gain access to Honours-level modules, students must achieve the relevant requisites as specified in the policy on entry to Honours and in the relevant programme requirements. Please note that some Schools offer qualified entry to Honours, and this will be clearly specified in the programme requirements. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please visit the common reporting scale webpage

Visit St Andrews

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at a visiting day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.

Undergraduates

Upcoming visiting days:

  • Wednesday 30 October 2019

Fees

Tuition fees for 2020 entry

Scotland and EU Tuition fees for Scottish and EU applicants have yet to be set for 2020 entry.
Rest of the UK Tuition fees for applicants from the rest of the UK have yet to be set for 2020 entry.
Overseas £23,910

For overseas students, tuition fees will be fixed at this level for the duration of your programme.

More information on tuition fees can be found on the undergraduate fees and funding page.

Accommodation fees

Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews offers a number of scholarships and support packages to undergraduate students each year.

Funding for fieldwork

Fieldwork expenses for Geography students are subsidised by the Irvine Bequest and contributions from alumni. There are financial awards at every level of study for students who have earned the highest marks in fieldwork.

Find out more about undergraduate scholarships.

"With" degrees

You can take Geography as part of a "with" Honours degree in which the majority of the course deals with the first named subject.

Your future

Careers

Reflecting the broad nature of Geography, graduates leave St Andrews with a diverse and unique skill set, putting them in a very strong position in the jobs market.

Employers seek out Geography graduates because of their rare combination of quantitative and qualitative skills, their ability to integrate and analyse diverse data, their understanding of human and environment interactions, their competence in GIS and spatial analysis, and their ability to think critically and creatively about the big social and environmental challenges facing us.

Career paths include: 

  • government
  • environment
  • sustainability
  • tourism and leisure
  • planning and development
  • business and finance
  • security analysis
  • science research.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.

Study abroad

Geography students may participate in the University-wide St Andrews Abroad programme. You may also have the opportunity to participate in the School Abroad exchange programme. For information about study abroad options, please see the Study Abroad site.

Student life

From the outset, the University of St Andrews offers an array of events and opportunities which result in a truly unique student experience. Students participate in a range of traditions, notably, the red academic gown and the academic family, where older students adopt first year students as ‘children’ and help guide them in a system of mentoring. These traditions and the choice of over 150 sports clubs and student societies to choose from ensures a community feel amongst students from first year onwards.

Students of Geography may be interested in joining GeogSoc, the University’s Geography society. This student-run organisation offers opportunities to meet other enthusiastic geographers at every level of study and to meet staff members outside of lectures so you can really get involved in the School.

The School of Geography and Sustainable Development is housed within the Irvine Building in the historical heart of the University between St Salvator's Quadrangle and St Salvator's Hall. Students will attend tutorials, seminars, lectures and individual meetings with tutors in this building.

The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As University buildings are located throughout the town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings and areas of greenery and seaside which provide a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. If you want a change of scenery, St Andrews' position near surrounding towns and cities such as Anstruther, Dundee and Edinburgh make it ideal for getting to know more about Scotland.

Find out more about student life at the University of St Andrews.

Contact information

School of Geography and Sustainable Development
University of St Andrews
Irvine Building
North Street
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2894
Email: gsd@st-andrews.ac.uk

Geography and Sustainable Development website

Policies

Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our admissions policy.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online (PDF, 84 KB).