Geography MA (Honours) 2023 entry

The MA (Hons) in Geography explores a fascinating range of important environmental and international phenomena including: 

  • glaciers and ice ages 
  • climate and weather 
  • oceans 
  • peatlands 
  • environmental change and management 
  • population change, migration and border politics 
  • 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.  

Accreditation

The MA in Geography is accredited by the Royal Geographical Society.

UCAS code
L700
Start date
September 2023
End date
September 2027
Duration
Four years full time
School
School of Geography and Sustainable Development
“I like the independence of study which is encouraged here. Over time I have grown in confidence as a result of guidance from my lecturers and tutors, although they also take a step back when necessary. At the University you meet a wonderfully diverse group of people in all walks of life, from halls to clubs to the weird and wonderful traditions.”
Fionnghuala
- Perth, Scotland

Entry requirements

The University offers different entry requirements, depending on your background. 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.

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 entry requirements as outlined on their pages.

  • Standard entry grades:
    AAAB
    Minimum entry grades:
    AABB
    Gateway entry grades:
    Applicants who have narrowly missed the minimum entry grades, but meet the University's contextual criteria, may be interested in one of the University’s Gateway programmes.
  • Standard entry grades:
    AAA
    Minimum entry grades:
    ABB
  • Standard entry grades:
    38 (HL 6,6,6)
    Minimum entry grades:
    36 (HL 6,5,5)

General entry requirements

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

  • SQA National 5 (B) in English and one SQA National 5 (B) from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing science
    • Geography
    • Lifeskills Mathematics (A grade)
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.
  • GCSE (5) in English language or English literature, and one GCSE (5) from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing Science
    • Geography
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.

Other qualifications

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

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.

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

No previous knowledge of geography is required.

Alternative study options

Students interested in this course may also be interested in the following:

BSc 

Geography is available as both a Bachelor of Science (BSc) and a Master of Arts (MA) degree. The content of the subjects is the same irrespective of Faculty. Students who have a background in the arts or who wish to study Geography alongside Art 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. The entry requirements are the same for all single Honours Geography degrees.

Study abroad

Geography students can apply to 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.

International applicants

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide an English language test score to evidence your English language ability. Find out more about approved English language tests and scores for this course.

Course details

The MA (Hons) in Geography is a four-year course run by the School of Geography and Sustainable Development.

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 specific aspects of geography or to engage with the full, fascinating breadth of the discipline. Specialist subject areas may include: 

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

Final-year students must also complete a 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. Recent locations have included Norway, Iceland and Ireland. All compulsory fieldwork is fully funded by the School. 

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 web page.

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. 

Typically, you will take one geography module per semester in your sub-honours years and 60 - 80 credits in Geography per semester during your third and fourth years (known as Honours).

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 optional modules which have been offered in previous years: 

  • Coastal Processes 
  • Colonial and Postcolonial Geographies 
  • Development: Voice, Power and Identity in Global Times 
  • Environmental Management in Scotland  
  • HIV/AIDs in Sub-Saharan Africa 
  • Ice and Climate 
  • Migration and Transnationalism 
  • Political and Cultural Geographies of the Border 
  • Scrutinising Segregation: Geographies of Diversity and Inequality 
  • Socio-Ecological Systems. 

In third year, students will be required to develop a research proposal for a dissertation and choose from a selection of methods-training modules in Semester 2. 

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 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 appropriate to the programme for the current academic year can be found in the programme requirements.

Teaching

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

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 a research-focused fieldcourse.  

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. 

Sub-honours modules are assessed by a 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 see the common reporting scale.

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.

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 web page.

Fees

Scotland
Tuition fees have yet to be set.

England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland
£9,250

Channel Islands, Isle of Man
£9,250

EU and overseas
£28,190

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.

Joint Honours degrees

You can also take Geography as part of a joint Honours degree in which you will take core modules of your chosen subjects.

Course name UCAS code
Bachelor of Science (Honours) Biology and GeographyCF18
Bachelor of Science (Honours) Economics and Geography2A72
Bachelor of Science (Honours) Geography and ManagementFNV2
Bachelor of Science (Honours) Geography and MathematicsGF18
Bachelor of Science (Honours) Geography and StatisticsFG83
Bachelor of Science (Honours) Geography and Sustainable DevelopmentF802
Master of Arts (Honours) Arabic and GeographyRTL6
Master of Arts (Honours) Arabic and Geography (With Integrated Year Abroad)TV71
Master of Arts (Honours) Art History and GeographyLV73
Master of Arts (Honours) Comparative Literature and GeographyQF28
Master of Arts (Honours) Economics and GeographyLL17
Master of Arts (Honours) Film Studies and GeographyLP73
Master of Arts (Honours) French and GeographyLR71
Master of Arts (Honours) French and Geography (With Integrated Year Abroad)LRR1
Master of Arts (Honours) Geography and HebrewLQ74
Master of Arts (Honours) Geography and International RelationsLL72
Master of Arts (Honours) Geography and ItalianLR73
Master of Arts (Honours) Geography and Italian (With Integrated Year Abroad)LRR3
Master of Arts (Honours) Geography and ManagementNL27
Master of Arts (Honours) Geography and Medieval HistoryLVR1
Master of Arts (Honours) Geography and Middle East StudiesTL67
Master of Arts (Honours) Geography and Modern HistoryLV71
Master of Arts (Honours) Geography and PersianLR75
Master of Arts (Honours) Geography and PhilosophyLV75
Master of Arts (Honours) Geography and PsychologyCL87
Master of Arts (Honours) Geography and Scottish HistoryLVR2
Master of Arts (Honours) Geography and Social AnthropologyLL67
Master of Arts (Honours) Geography and SpanishLR74
Master of Arts (Honours) Geography and Spanish (With Integrated Year Abroad)LRR4
Master of Arts (Honours) Geography and Sustainable DevelopmentL701
Master of Arts (Honours) Geography and Theological StudiesLV76

Additional joint degree options are available for students who take the BSc in Geography.

"With" degrees

You can take Geography as part of a "with" Honours degree in which the majority of the course deals with the first name subject. St Andrews offers the following "with" degrees in Geography:

  • Bachelor of Science (Honours) Mathematics with Geography - UCAS code G1F8
  • Master of Arts (Honours) Geography with Persian - UCAS code 8810
  • Master of Arts (Honours) Geography with Social Anthropology - UCAS code L7L6
  • Master of Arts (Honours) Geography with Spanish (With Integrated Year Abroad) - UCAS code L7RK
  • Master of Arts (Honours) Geography with Spanish - UCAS code L7R4
  • Master of Arts (Honours) Psychology with Geography - UCAS code C8L7
  • Master of Arts (Honours) Russian with Geography (With Integrated Year Abroad) - UCAS code R7L7
  • Master of Arts (Honours) Russian with Geography - UCAS code R7LR
  • Master of Arts (Honours) Social Anthropology with Geography - UCAS code L6L7
  • Master of Arts (Honours) Spanish with Geography (With Integrated Year Abroad) - UCAS code R4LR
  • Master of Arts (Honours) Spanish with Geography - UCAS code R4L7

"With" degrees taken with Russian or Spanish are also available 'With Integrated Year Abroad'.

Additional "with" degree options are available for students who take the BSc in Geography.

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 
  • education 
  • environment 
  • sustainability 
  • tourism and leisure 
  • planning and development 
  • business and finance 
  • security analysis 
  • scientific 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.

What to do next

Online information events

Join us for one of our information events where you can find out about different levels of study and specific courses we run. There are also sessions available for parents and college counsellors.

Undergraduate visiting days

We encourage all students who are thinking of applying to the University to attend one of our online or in-person visiting days.

Contact us

Phone
01334 462894
Email
gsd@st-andrews.ac.uk
Address
School of Geography and Sustainable Development
The Irvine Building
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

School of Geography and Sustainable Development website

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